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Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture

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Artists Residency


Henry Varnum Poor


+1 212-529-0505

39 Art School Road Madison, Maine, United States

136 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10011, USA

Open today · 10AM–4PMThursday10AM–4PMFriday10AM–4PMSaturdayClosedSundayClosedMonday10AM–4PMTuesday10AM–4PMWednesday10AM–4PMSuggest an edit

New York Studio School of, Visual Arts Gallery, Emerging Artists Theatre Co, Art in General, Pi Art Center

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The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture is an artists residency located in Skowhegan, Maine. Every year, the program accepts online applications from emerging artists from November through January, and selects 65 to participate in the nine week intensive summer program. Admissions decisions are announced in April. The School provides participants with housing, food, and studio space, and the campus offers a library, media lab, and sculpture shop, among other amenities. The tuition for the program is $6,000, however aid is available, ensuring that everyone accepted into the program can attend, regardless of financial need.


While on campus, the participants interact with five or six resident faculty artists for the duration of the program, as well as five to seven visiting faculty artists, both of whom are selected by Skowhegan’s Board of Governors. Participants are not allowed to bring family or friends with them to Skowhegan, nor are visitors allowed on campus. Lectures by faculty artists, which are generally held on Fridays, are open to the public.

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During World War II, New England portrait painter Willard C. Cummings was stationed in Alaska in the Army Art Unit. There, he shared his idea for an educational model “where young artists could study with leading artists of the time” with Sidney Simon, a sculptor also in the Unit. Upon returning from the War in 1946, with the help of Simon, Henry Varnum Poor, already an established presence in American Art, and Charles Cutler, a New England stone sculptor, Cummings turned his family farm into a functional alternative school run by artists for artists.

The School, as the name indicates, was originally focused on the traditional art forms of painting and sculpture, but gradually, the program began accepting artists of all practices, even being the alleged site of the first contemporary Land Art piece in 1968 by Douglas Leichter and Richard Saba.

Similarly, while The School originally offered classes such as life drawing or plein air painting, the school eventually forewent traditional forms of instruction save for weekly faculty lectures, and all classes on campus are now self-directed by participants. Fresco instruction, however, has always been a part of the program. Today, The School is unique in that it is one of the few institutions in the United States that teaches this technique. Since 2010, N. Sean Glover has been the fresco instructor.

Since 1952, The School has recorded the lectures given on campus by resident and visiting faculty artists. They now comprise an archive of over 700 lectures and are accessible to artists and researchers in select repositories including The Colby College Museum of Art, The Archives of American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Getty Research Institute, and The Museum of Modern Art

Notable alumni

Skowhegan alumni have included a number of well-known artists, including:

  • Ellen Altfest '02 [1]
  • Nicole Awai
  • Lee Bontecou
  • Christopher Carroll
  • Sarah Cain '06
  • Dan Corson
  • Victoria Fu '06
  • Chitra Ganesh '01
  • Diana al-Hadid '07
  • Isabelle Johnson
  • Robert Indiana
  • Alex Katz
  • Ellsworth Kelly
  • Cabot Lyford '47
  • Enrique Martinez Celaya '94
  • John J. O'Connor (artist)
  • Sheila Pepe '94
  • William Pope.L
  • Naomi Safran-Hon '12
  • Jean Shin '99
  • Hugh Auchincloss Steers '91
  • Nari Ward '91
  • Pae White
  • Faculty

  • William Zorach
  • Karl Zerbe
  • Henry Varnum Poor (designer)
  • Jack Levine
  • Herb Aach
  • Berenice Abbott
  • Awards to alumni

    Artist's Lifetime Achievement Award, National Academy Museum– Alex Katz ('49, '50)

    National Artist Award, Anderson Ranch Arts Center– Enrique Martinez Celaya ('94)

    Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant– Jennie C. Jones ('96)

    Adolph and Clara Obrig Prize, National Academy Museum– Robert Andrew Parker ('52) Susan Louise Shatter ('64)

    American Academy of Arts and Letters Awards– Brian Alfred ('99) Ellen Altfest ('02) Matt Blackwell ('80) Mark Ferguson ('94) Stephen Mueller ('68) Dana Schutz ('99) Gedi Sibony ('99) Arthur Simms ('85) Emna Zghal ('04)

    Rome Prize, American Academy in Rome– Daniel Bozhkov ('90)

    William H. Johnson Prize, William H. Johnson Foundation for the Arts– Edgar Arceneaux ('99)

    Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship– Marie Watt ('95)

    John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships– SoHyun Bae ('93) Chris Lan Hui Chou ('02) Christopher Duncan ('75) Judy Fox ('76) Kalup Linzy ('02) Karyn Olivier ('00)

    MacArthur Fellowship– Whitfield Lovell ('85)

    New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships– Danielle Abrams ('92) Patricia Cronin ('91) Peter Dudek ('78) Alessandra Exposito ('97) Heather Hart ('05) Wayne Hodge ('06) Shih Chieh Huang ('01) Yoko Inoue ('00) Jihyun Park ('02) Michael Rakowitz ('96) Peter Simensky ('03) Shinique Smith ('03) Steed Taylor ('97) Mary Temple ('99) Hank Willis Thomas ('05) Traci Tullius ('02) Nari Ward ('91) Saya Woolfalk ('04) Charles McGill ('87)

    United States Artists Fellowship– Laylah Ali ('93) William Pope.L ('96)

    Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant– Cris Cristofaro ('70)

    Art Matters Grants– Sanford Biggers ('98) Daniel Bozhkov ('90) Wayne Hodge ('06) Shaun Leonardo ('04) Charles McGill ('87) Kori Newkirk ('97) Clifford Owens ('04) Cauleen Smith ('07) Allison Wiese ('99) Saya Woolfalk ('04) Leslie Hewitt('01)

    Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation Grant– Donna Conlon ('02)

    Gwangju Biennial Prize– Allora & Calzadilla - Guillermo Calzadilla ('98)

    Creative Capital Grants– Brody Condon ('01) Allison Wiese ('99) Wayne Hodge ('06)

    Fulbright Senior Research Grant– Margaret Lanzetta ('81)

    Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Grant– Jon Cuyson ('06)

    Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants– John Bisbee ('92) Lillian Garcia-Roig ('90) Rajkamal Kahlon ('98) William Villalongo ('02) Amy Feldman ('13) Allora & Calzadilla - Guillermo Calzadilla ('98)

    Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Grants– Astrid Bowlby ('02) Heesop Yoon ('05) Tamara Zahaykevich ('95) Amy Feldman ('12)

    Penny McCall Foundation Grant– Allora & Calzadilla - Guillermo Calzadilla ('98)

    Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants– Marcus Bjernerup ('04) Sarah Cain ('06) Beth Campbell ('97) Christopher Duncan ('75) Katie Grinnan ('92) Iva Gueorguiva ('05) Kirsten Hassenfeld ('97) Eric Hongisto ('98) Young-Min Kang ('04) Elanit Kayne ('07) Haegeen Kim ('06) Tracy Miller ('92) John O'Connor ('00) Jean Shin ('99) Hong Zhang ('03)

    Virginia Center for the Creative Arts 2012 Fellowship - Charles McGill ('87)

    Cintas Fellowship– Allora & Calzadilla - Guillermo Calzadilla ('98)


    Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Wikipedia

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