What Lies Around the Bend

by Emily Schroeder Willis

Around this time of year, a lot of people are finding themselves ready to move onto the next stage of life.  This could be from finishing up a degree program to ending a residency to simply needing a change of life.  A lucky few will find themselves driving from one part of the country to another to start a new adventure!  But for many folks, this can mean one more rejection letter in your inbox or mailbox.  Don’t be discouraged!  There are always more people seeking residencies/jobs/grad school/internships than there are positions!  A lot of students come up to me as school is winding down and ask, “What do I do now?”  They either didn’t get into any residencies, didn’t know how to apply for them, or are simply not sure where to go next.

Not to fear!  Probably the biggest hurdle any artist has to overcome is that first stretch after graduation and my advice to anyone is STICK TOGETHER!  Find a group of like-minded people and get a group studio rolling. The cost will be much more affordable and the budgetary strains less worrisome when you have 2-4 people to spread the cost around.  Also, when you are with other artists in your same stage of life, you can empathize with one another, share ideas, navigate places to find out about place to apply to for residencies, motivate one another to stay the course and share shipping costs to have supplies shipped to you if you don’t live near a ceramics supply store.  Also, try to set goals for yourself for applying for shows/residencies and stick to it.  If you don’t have anything you are making work for, it’s hard to keep making work.

I heard a statistic once stating only 10% of people who graduate with an art degree are still making art in 5 years.  I have no idea if that is actually the case, but I will say, a lot of people do lose motivation because the life of an artist is really, really hard.  Even I have a hard time keeping myself in the studio at times because others things in life take over.  At the moment, we have moved into a new home that need a little lovin’ and we are also preparing for our first kid due to arrive in about 4 weeks!  It’s exciting, but it’s also been hard to balance all of those things with a teaching position, another part time job, a husband and then squishing in time for a studio practice.  I think there are times in your life when studio life needs to take a back seat (like when family needs to come first), but to make sure that you never give up!  Always keep making, always keep sketching, always keep researching in whatever ways you can. 

As with any of my students, I always give them a list of places to apply to (should they want to pursue a residency or outside studio) which I offer to you.  I try my best to keep the list updated and current, but I am sure there are places that are no longer offering opportunities or those opportunities have shifted and there are great places I am forgetting to add to the list.  My apologies if you find one of these errors.  Best of luck in your endeavors and wherever your road leads you!


·       Access Arts; Columbia, MO

·       Anderson Ranch Arts Center; Snowmass Village, Colorado

·       Archie Bray Foundation Residencies & Fellowships; Helena, Montana

·       The Armory Art Center- Ceramic Residency

·       Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts: Gaitlinburg, TN

·       The Art League School Ceramics Program

·       Artists' Enclave at I-Park

·       Atlantic Center for the Arts

·       Baltimore Clayworks Residency Fellowship; Baltimore, MD

·       Bemis Center for the Arts; Omaha, NE

·       Byrdcliffe Artist Colony- Ceramics Residency

·       Canton Clay Works LLc.; Canton, CT

·       Carbondale Clay Center; Carbondale, CO

·       The Ceramics Center, Cedar Rapids, IA

·       China Ceramic Cultural Exchange

·       Clay Art Center; Port Chester, NY

·       Clay Arts Vegas; Las Vegas, NV

·       The Clay Studio of Missoula; Missoula, MT

·       The Clay Studio- Philadelphia, PA

·       Craft Alliance Center; St. Louis, MO

·       Craftsman House Gallery, Cafe & Pottery Studio

·       Cub Creek Foundation- Residency Program

·       EnergyXchange Incubator Program- Clay Residency

·       Genesee Pottery

·       Greenwich House Pottery; New York, NY

·       The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences

·       Haystack Arts Center; Deer Isle, ME

·       Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Resident

·       Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

·       Jamestown Art Center; Jamestown, ND

·       Jentel Artist Residency Program; Banner, WY

·       John Michael Kohler Arts Center; Sheboygan, WI

·       Lawrence Arts Center; Lawrence, KS

·       Lee Arts Center; Arlington, VA

·       Lillstreet Art Center; Chicago, IL

·       Lux Center for the Arts; Nebraska

·       MacDowell Colony

·       McColl Center for Visual Arts

·       Mendocino Art Center; Mendicino, CA

·       Moravian Pottery and Tileworks; Doylestown, PA

·       Morean Art Center; St. Petersburg, FL

·       Mudflat Pottery School and Studios

·       NCECA International Residency Programs

·       Northern Clay Center- McKnight Residencies; Minneapolis, MN

·       Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts

·       Oregon College of Art and Craft

·       Ox-Bow; Michigan (associated with SAIC)

·       Penland School of Crafts ; Penland, NC

·       Peters Valley Craft Center; Layton, NJ

·       Pewabic Pottery; Detroit, MI

·       Pottery Northwest; Seattle, WA

·       Red Lodge Clay Center; Red Lodge, MT

·       Red Star Studios; Kansas City, MO

·       Richard Carter Studio

·       Rochester Folk Art Guild Pottery

·       Roswell Artists-in-Residence Program; Roswell, NM

·       Rovin Ceramics/Motawi Tile; Ann Arbor, MI

·       Smithsonian American Art Museum

·       St. Petersburg Clay Company; St. Petersburg, FL

·       Terra Incognito Studios and Gallery; Oak Park, IL

·       The Torpedo Factory; Alexandria, VA

·       Touchstone Center for Crafts

·       Virginia Center for the Creative Arts

·       Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts; Newcastle, ME

·       The Wichita Center for the Arts; Wichita, KS

·       Wildacres Retreat- Residency Program

·       Winterthur; Winterthur, DE

·       Women's Studio Workshop; Rosendale, NY

·       Workhouse Arts Center- Ceramics Residency Program


Banff Centre for the Arts; Banff, AB

Harbourfront Centre Craft Department; Toronto  ON

Medalta International Artists in Residence Program; Medicine Hat, AB


The Pottery Workshop; Jingdezhen, China


Vallarius Artist in Residence; Vallauris, France


International Ceramic Research Centre Guldagergaard; Skaelskor, Denmark


Zentrum fur Keramik; Berlin, Germany

The Netherlands:

European Ceramic Work Centre


La Meridiana- International School of Ceramic Art in Tuscany


Sturt Craft Centre- Australia

Australia National University, Post- Baccalaureate Program, Canberra


International Ceramics Studio; Kecskemet