Since 1992, The Watermill Center has hosted the International Summer Program under the direction of Founder ­and Artistic Director Robert Wilson. Each July and August, approximately 60-100 artists from over 30 countries gather at Watermill’s Long Island, NY site. Participants spend five to six weeks in an intense collaborative creative environment. The Summer Program provides a unique opportunity to observe the development and performance methodologies of Robert Wilson and his collaborators; to work with established professionals in the international performing arts world; to forge relationships with artists from a broad range of experience levels and disciplines; to develop networks of US and international professional contacts; and to investigate what it means to be a “global artist.”

The Summer Program participants receive access to an extensive collection of resources central to the Watermill experience: daily meetings with Robert Wilson; lectures on subjects including theater and opera innovation, installation, design, and science led by international cultural luminaries, established artists and scientists; opportunities to propose and develop new work for public presentation during The Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction and Discover Watermill Day; 20,000 square feet of rehearsal/design spaces and outdoor stages; a theater production archive; The Watermill Center Study Library; The Watermill Center Collection; and The Center’s eight-and-a-half acre landscaped grounds and sculpture gardens. Participants will also have an opportunity to audition for Robert Wilson’s summer staging rehearsals and to take part in workshops with his collaborators.

Support our Summer Program Participants by making a donation today! 

photo © Chloe Bellemere

During the International Summer Program, every participant collaboratively contributes to site-specific works, performing arts project workshops, design project workshops as well as attending lectures and taking part in landscaping and design/construction projects. Artists apply as individuals and participate in all aspects of the programmed projects and activities.

The first half of the Summer Program builds toward one of our main public events, The Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction , which includes the creation of site-specific outdoor art installations conceived by guest artists and select summer participants, who work together, side-by-side. During the second half of the program, which includes one of our other main public offerings, Discover Watermill Day, all Summer Program participants are invited to take part in table and staging workshops with Robert Wilson and collaborators from upcoming international productions.

An artist works differently in an environment that he or she has helped to create and maintain. All participants share in the responsibilities of daily life, including: housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining Watermill’s grounds and gardens. Daily physical labor, both indoors and outdoors, including landscaping and construction of site-specific art installations, is an integral part of the Summer Program.

Robert Wilson, his collaborators, and producers and specialists lead dozens of hands-on projects during the Summer Program. Throughout the entire summer, all participants share in the work, both creative and physical, on a rigorous schedule under the direction of Robert Wilson and a professional staff.

The Annual Art and Science Insights into Consciousness Workshop  is a three-day conference that is held each summer at The Watermill Center. During this unique retreat, exceptionally merited artists and scientists are brought together in an inspirational setting to foster an interdisciplinary discussion about consciousness. The goal is to enable a reciprocal creative process that will advance both the arts and the sciences, as well as their intersection. 

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

The conference is invitation-only, and only select Summer Program Participants are invited to join in the workshop.
photo © Lovis Ostenrik

Applications for the 2019 Summer Program are open November 26, 2018 – March 4, 2019.


The 2019 Watermill Center International Summer Program will run from July 15 through August 18, 2019.

A selection committee, including Robert Wilson, chooses the Summer Program participants. Participants are selected based on their artistic abilities and objectives, achievements, and creative potential, as well as how they might be served by, and contribute to, the Summer Program at Watermill. Selection is also determined based on the needs of the particular year’s workshops and activities, the need to maintain a diverse group of participants from varying disciplines, countries, and professional and artistic backgrounds, while aiming to ensure a balance between new and returning participants.

Since 2008, the tuition for each International Summer Program participant has been provided in full by the Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation. The Foundation spends approximately $8,000 on each artist, which covers housing, food, local transportation, materials needed for work in the program, and the operating cost of the facility. The Foundation raises these funds through sponsorships from foundations, as well as individual benefactors who support the mission of The Center by joining the Watermill Mentor Program.

Participants are required to pay the costs of their own travel to New York and to The Watermill Center. The Watermill Center does not cover the cost of personal use items, and participants are encouraged to find individual funding, if needed, through scholarships, foundations, and grants.

All participants are lodged in shared rooms either in The Center’s dormitory or in rented summerhouses. Vehicles are provided for transport to and from The Center within the Hamptons area. All participants spend the entire day (from 9am to 10pm, seven days a week) at The Center. All meals are prepared with trained chefs and provided on-site.

For questions about the Summer Program or the application process, please email

For questions about technical problems with the SlideRoom application portal, please email

Admission to the program is by selection only. The Watermill Center uses SlideRoom to gather applications and work samples for its International Summer Program. All material must be submitted via the online portal through SlideRoom. There are NO exceptions.

The application for the International Summer Program is available online at

The online application portal will lead you through the various required questions, attachments, and media uploads (work samples). There is a $10 USD fee per proposal that covers the cost of the application portal. Payment is accepted on the SlideRoom website. If you are unable to make this payment for any reason, please email us at to explain.

Applications are due by March 4, 2019 at 11:59pm EST.

Step-by-step application instructions are available on the SlideRoom application portal.

All technical questions or issues pertaining to work sample uploads, payment issues, or login problems, please email Any other questions regarding the Summer Program, please email

If you have work samples that are not electronic that you would like to include, please email to determine if the items are appropriate for the application process.

You can expect to hear from the committee by mid-April via email. We know that everyone is eager to make plans, so please know that we do our best to review materials in a timely fashion. Applicants may be contacted for additional information after they have submitted their application. If you have any other questions that are not explained in the application materials, please email

If you are looking for answers to help you complete the application to the International Summer Program, please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions below. If you don’t find your answer there, please email and we will be happy to help.

Q: What are the program dates?
The 2019 International Summer program runs from July 15 through August 18, 2019. First time participants are asked to arrive one day early in order to acquaint themselves with The Center.

Q: Do I have to be onsite for the entirety of the program?
If accepted, you will be required to participate each day during the program for the dates indicated in your availability. We know that some people may have obligations during the summer so please make sure to indicate this on the application, but preference may be given to applicants who can ensure they will be present for the entire duration of the program. Brief time off is planned into the schedule, but is subject to the activities, events and workshops planned.

Q: If I’m a US citizen, do I need to give my passport number?
If you are a US citizen and also a US resident, we are able to waive the passport requirement because you are already in the US. However you will be required to furnish some form of legal state identification such as a driver’s license. In this case, please indicate the type of identification in the passport field as well as its number. Include the ID’s date of expiration in the passport expiration field.

Q: I don’t have a passport number or I won’t have my renewal until after the application deadline.
We require that international applicants have a passport to avoid difficulties should they be accepted. If you are not able to furnish your passport number at the time of submission, please indicate in the passport number field that you will send it in by email at a later date. However, we will not be able to begin reviewing your application until we have received your valid passport number. Once the acceptance letters are sent out, applicants who are accepted are required to confirm their participation within two weeks of the offer. If you don’t have a passport at that time, you will be blocking a space for another eligible applicant. For this reason, we require applicants to have a valid passport before their application will be reviewed.

Q: Can you waive the application fee?
The $10 fee is required by and goes directly to SlideRoom, which collects and stores applications online. The fee does NOT go to The Watermill Center. As such, we are unable to waive the application fee.

Q: I don’t have a credit card to pay the application fee, what should I do?
Applicants lacking a personal credit card have been able to successfully process the application by asking a friend, family member or colleague to help by using their credit card to make the payment online. You can begin the application immediately without paying any fee. The fee is only due when you complete the application and wish to submit it.

Q: My credit card is based on a currency other than US dollars.
The SlideRoom portal will accept any major credit card for payment and will convert your local currency into the US dollar equivalent at the time of payment.

Q: As an artist I have a carefully constructed identity / I prefer to use my stage name.
We require that applicants furnish their legal details (name, date of birth, etc.) in our application. If you have an artistic name you might indicate that in the nickname field. There are several opportunities to explain your artistic identity within the application’s forms.

Q: I am a multi-disciplinary artist; which of my samples should I send?
Make sure you submit samples that show off your work in the best way possible. That doesn’t mean that your material has to look professionally produced, but endeavor to send samples that are easy to understand and visually clear. A strong, concise description of the work will also help in our understanding of your submitted material.

Q: I have too much I want to show, how can I choose?
Choosing is the hard part, but also intrinsic to the artistic process. Send us your best samples. If you have a website, be sure to include that on the application as we may visit that if we need more information.

Q: I would like to upload or link to media (videos or music) that is longer than 3 minutes.
We ask applicants to limit their samples to 3 minutes as we are restricted by how much time we can spend on each application during the review process. With hundreds of applications to evaluate comprised of thousands of media samples we are obliged to limit the material we receive if we are to respond to the applicants within a reasonable timeframe. We encourage you to cut or edit your content into a 3-minute segment to ensure that it be properly reviewed. If your media is longer than 3 minutes there is a risk that it will not be completely evaluated. We know that this restriction is not ideal for everyone and we regret the inconvenience.

Q: I have a text I want to submit that is longer than 5 pages / My portfolio is in PDF format but is longer than 5 pages.
As with video and sound files we are limited by the amount of content we are able to review. The PDF option is available so that applicants can offer text or specially formatted material. If you have a long text to submit, please upload it in sections. PDF documents longer than 5 pages will not be reviewed in full. We know that this restriction is not ideal for everyone and we regret the inconvenience.

Q: Can our theatre/dance company or artistic collective  apply as a group?
The International Summer Program is not designed for group applications. Group members are encouraged to each submit their own application, which will be reviewed individually. We cannot guarantee that if one of your group were to be accepted that the other members of your group would also be accepted. The Watermill Center’s Artist Residency Program, which operates from September-June, caters well to groups. Please see our website for additional information.

Q: Who is typically admitted to the Summer Program?
Each year differs, but in general we select a large proportion of performers, dancers, actors and performance artists. We complement the group by inviting a select number of directors, sound designers and composers, set designers and architects, industrial designers, costume designers, lighting designers, dramaturges and writers, carpenters, landscape gardeners, photographers and video makers, stage managers, carpenters, riggers, archivists, and arts administrators.

Q: My work is not presented in English.
We accept media samples (video, photos, visual art works) in any language, but the review panel will be conducted in English. If you are worried about communicating your ideas to the panel you may wish to translate these or a portion of these for submission. Please ensure that all of the form questions are answered in English. Of course, we actively solicit applicants from all over the world and are pleased to see material in different languages, but our capacity to review such material may be limited.

Q: I am waiting for some last minute video material to arrive; can I submit it after the deadline?
No, all media must be submitted online through the SlideRoom portal by the application deadline. Once the portal is closed no further adjustment of your application will be possible.

Q: I have a lot of material on my website. Can I link to it?
We have a section on our forms for you to provide your website information if you so choose. The panel may visit your website should they require further information, but it is not guaranteed, so please ensure that you upload any material you wish to be reviewed directly into the SildeRoom portal in the MEDIA section.

Q: Can I get an extension?
Please make sure to submit your application as early as possible, ideally one week before the deadline, so as to avoid any potential problems. We will not extend the deadline.

Q: Where do I upload my letters of recommendation?
You don’t. At this time, we are only asking that you indicate the contact information for two individuals who may speak on your behalf. If the panel needs further information about an applicant, they may choose to contact the references provided. So, you are NOT asked to supply any letters of recommendation.

Q: I indicated my availability for an assistantship. If selected for an assistantship, will it limit my access to the program?
Yes and no. We are happy that we are able to offer these opportunities in order to offer more access to the program. If you are selected to fill one of these roles, you will be tasked with specific and dedicated responsibilities, which may mean you are not able to participate in every aspect of the program. Assistants will be granted unique access to the inner-workings of Watermill, the staff and will also be deeply integrated into the program itself.

Q: What activities are planned this year?
The schedule and content of the program are constantly in development as we try to include as many varied and interesting opportunities as possible during the course of the program. Our 2017 program, for example, was comprised of more than 75 unique creative works and activities. Please check out the highlights from previous years.

Q: When will we be notified if we were accepted / When will we find out / When will you tell us / I have to know now!
We are hoping to notify all applicants of their eligibility by early spring 2019. We appreciate and respect the need to make summer plans, arrange travel, and/or find funding. We do our best to speed along the review process as much as possible. We will notify all applicants to the program, both those accepted and those denied, at the same time. You will receive regular updates during the review process to let you know about our progress. We appreciate your patience.

Q: I have a different question.
Ok! Drop us an email at and we will do our best to help.

Please don’t wait until the last minute to submit your application. With many applicants waiting until the last minute to submit their applications, there can be technical difficulties on the day of the deadline. We don’t want you to miss the ability to submit your application because of this or any other unforeseen issue.

photo © Chloé Bellemère