Semester at Penland

Students enjoying sunset on Roan Mountain Deonte making paste paper Deonte making paste paper Penland studios at night Carley at show and tell Izzy in rocking chair
The study away experience you’ve been yearning for…

Interested in seeing your work through a different lens? Looking for an immersive, eye-opening adventure? This program may be for you.

Take a deep dive into your studio practice, work in an amazing creative community, and earn 15 credits. In this program you will:

  • travel regionally to visit artists, museums and galleries,
  • work intensively in the studios at the Penland School of Craft,
  • and process your experiences in a cross-disciplinary seminar.

Important Dates

Information Sessions

  • Thursday, February 15th, 11-12, East 136 and via zoom
  • Thursday, February 15th, 6-7, via zoom 

Applications Deadline

  • Applications for Fall 2024 are due Monday, February 26 for priority consideration, and then on a rolling basis. Space is limited. Apply via this Google Form.

Looking for an intensive experience?

  • Work intensively in a single studio
  • Build a personal creative practice
  • Develop excellence in your work
  • Visit working artists and craftspeople
  • Create lasting professional connections


Contact Ila Prouty, program director, at or 828-262-2255.


ART 3830 – Penland Studio (1-9)

Students complete intensive studio workshop(s) at the Penland School of Craft, meet regularly with the instructor, and complete a portfolio of work. Barring duplication of content, a student may repeat the course for a total credit of 12 semester hours

ART 3840 – Penland Seminar (3) [WID]

This cross-disciplinary seminar will explore strategies and approaches to craft and studio practices with special focus on conducting research and cultivating writing skills. It will provide an integrated introduction to the theory and practice of making contemporary craft and art. Coursework will include readings, discussion, reflection papers, cross-disciplinary critiques, and presentation and promotion of work. Writing about the process of creating, displaying and articulating the meaning of one’s own work and the work of others will be emphasized. Seminar, four hours. 

ART 3850 – Art and Design + Travel (1-3)

Students investigate a regional art scene through visits to local artists, spaces and events.  This may include: artist studios, non-profit spaces, galleries, museums, openings, artist talks, collectors’ homes, exhibitions, festivals, and craft shows. Coursework may include preliminary research, writing, discussion and studio experimentation. 

Costs Fall 2024

Program cost depends on a few variables: your studio choice, whether you participate in Penland’s work exchange program*, and what type of housing you request.

The Art Department is raising funds with the goal of lowering costs for all students. We have raised $2900.00 to reduce Penland fees by and cover traveling expenses.

Students are responsible for all personal expenses, materials and studio fees.

  • $2026.00 – Cost for Penland Work Exchange students including housing and meals
  • $9600.00 – Cost for Full Pay Students including housing and meals
  • $1000.00 – Materials, Tools and Incidentals

Scholarships available:

  • $1,000.00 – Art Department
  • $2000.00 – Crafting the Future (Students of Color) 

These numbers are estimates, and will be updated. To understand your specific costs, please meet with Ila Prouty.


What’s the big deal about Penland?

It’s hard to believe, but a prestigious, internationally known craft school has been tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains for over 90 years. The studios are world class, the instructors are masters in their fields, and the experience as a whole is life-changing. Just ask one of the Art Dept. professors – many of them have studied, taught courses, and attended residencies there.

How will the credits apply to my degree?

You’ll get up to 15 credits for the semester. In an advising session with Ila you’ll sort out how the credits apply in Degreeworks, and then connect with your individual advisor to confirm the plan.

So far, students in the BFAs in Studio, Art Education, and Graphic Design have taken this program. These courses can also be counted in the Art Minor.

For BFA Studio Art students, the courses apply in the following manner:

  • ART 3830 – Penland Studio (1-9) Studio Electives
  • ART 3840 – Penland Seminar (3) [WID] Equivalent to ART 3015
  • ART 3850 – Exploring a Regional Art Scene (1-3) Related Areas

Should I apply for the work exchange?

something to think through carefully. Work exchange students work outside the studio, usually in the dining hall, for approximately 20 hours per week. This has clear upsides, and a few downsides. Benefits: Work Exchange makes the program very affordable, connects you with students working in other studios, and is an opportunity to practice balancing work in and outside the studio. Downsides: Your time will be somewhat divided with work shifts for a few hours on most days, the work is usually physical, which can be tiring on top of working in the studio, and your work shifts will reduce the amount of time you have to make your work.

Most people who did the work exchange felt it was worthwhile, but they might have chosen to be fulltime in the studio if they could afford it. Other people felt that work outside the studio helped them with pacing the intensity of their creative work.

If you are considering this, talk it through with Ila Prouty.

What studios can I work in?

You’ll focus in one studio during each session, and you’ll get to choose from specific workshops, which change each year:

  • 1-week session studios: Iron, Letterpress, Clay, Photo, Printmaking, Drawing/Painting, Metals, Textiles, and Wood
  • 6-week session studios: Clay, Drawing/Painting, Glass, Metals, Wood, Papermaking, and Textiles

Specific workshop descriptions will be listed in January.

Is this for the whole semester?

Yes and No. You’ll be at Penland intensively for 9 weeks. (2 weeks of travel plus 7 weeks of studio work). The seminar course will meet in a hybrid format for the full semester. We will meet online before arriving at Penland, in person while we’re at Penland, and mostly online through the end of the semester.

I’ve already signed a housing contract, can I get out of it for the semester?

Yes. Once you’re accepted, we’ll notify Housing, and you can get out of your contract. You will need to reapply for the Spring semester.

Can I leave on weekends?

Most weekends will not have programming, although you may never want to leave the studio! If you participate in the work exchange, your free time will depend on your work assignment. (If you have a specific event that you need to attend, it might be possible to trade work slots with someone.) It’s not possible to hold an outside job during the time that we’re at Penland.

Can I have my pet on campus?

Nope. But you could look into renting a spot off campus nearby. It’s an hour drive from Penland to Boone, and there are evening events and studio hours, so living in Boone while in this program isn’t possible.

What about Covid measures?

At this point, Penland requires people to be vaccinated and up to date with boosters. They are also currently requiring masking indoors for the first 10 days of the workshops. This policy is updated regularly. You can find the details here.


First cohort of students at Penland

The Fall 2022 Cohort

Clockwise from left, Caitlin Blackwell, Jacob Fluharty, Carley Greene, Elissa Paula, Deonté Harris, Kelly Smith, Morgan Jones, and Izzy Stoneback, with Ila Prouty

Shelf with Curve

Shelf with Curve

Jacob Fluharty

Line Bowl

Line Bowl

Carley Green

Recycled Materials Chain

Recycled Materials Chain

Elissa Paula

In the Semester at Penland, I was able to answer questions I had about my artistic practice and myself. I did nothing but learn and grow this entire experience, and I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle what’s next.

Morgan Jones, BFA Art Education Major

Studio visit with Hoss Haley

Studio visit with sculptor Hoss Haley

Looking at maquettes for large scale public sculptures during a studio visit with Hoss Haley