Since 1992, The Watermill Center has hosted the International Summer Program, uniting over 80 artists from more than 25 countries for a five-week creative intensive. The Summer Program provides a unique opportunity to work with established professionals in the international arts world; to forge an international community of artists from a broad range of experience levels and disciplines; and to investigate what it means to be a “global artist.”
Summer Program participants receive access to an extensive collection of resources central to the Watermill experience: lectures on the arts and humanities led by international cultural luminaries; opportunities to propose and develop work for public presentation during The Annual Summer Benefit & Auction and Discover Watermill Day; 20,000 square feet of multi-purpose interiors and outdoor stages; a theater production archive; The Watermill Center Study Library; The Watermill Center Collection; and ten acres of landscaped grounds and sculpture gardens. Participants also have an opportunity to work with Artistic Director, Robert Wilson and participate in early staging rehearsals as well as take part in research and design workshops with his collaborators.
photo © Chloe Bellemere
The International Summer Program is focused on collaboration and building an artistic community. Every participant contributes to the development of site-specific works, performing arts and design workshops, as well as attending lectures and taking part in landscaping, construction and design projects. Artists apply as individuals and participate in all aspects of programmed projects and activities.
The first half of the Summer Program builds toward 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. During the second half of the program which includes Discover Watermill Day, our annual open house, all 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 art installations, is an integral part of 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.
*for artists with physical disabilities, please visit our FAQ under “Program Activities” for information on how you can participate in the Summer Program outside of physical labor
The Annual Art and Science Insights into Consciousness Workshop was a three-day conference held each summer at The Watermill Center from 2010-2017. During this unique retreat, exceptionally merited artists and scientists were brought together in an inspirational setting to foster an interdisciplinary discussion about consciousness. The conference enabled a reciprocal creative process that advanced both the arts and the sciences, as well as their intersection.
The conference is invitation-only, and only select Summer Program Participants are invited to join in the workshop.
photo © Lovis Ostenrik
Applications for the 2020 Summer Program are open from November 1, 2019 through January 31, 2020.
The 2020 Summer Program will run from July 13, 2020 – August 15, 2020.
- Applications are accepted through the online portal, SlideRoom at https://watermillcenter.slideroom.com – We do not accept application submissions outside of SlideRoom.
- SlideRoom 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.
- 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.
- We do not accept late applications. There will be no extension on the deadline.
- Applicants will be notified on the status of their application by late April. Acceptance and rejection notifications are sent at the same time.
For all technical questions or issues pertaining to work sample uploads, payment issues, trouble submitting, or login problems, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For all questions regarding the Summer Program or the application process, please first refer to our FAQ. If you’re unable to find the relevant information, then email us at email@example.com
photo © Chloé Bellemère
SUMMER PROGRAM FAQ
The 2020 International Summer Program will run from July 13, 2020 – August 15, 2020.
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: 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: What does a typical day look like?
After breakfast, we meet as a group to go over the daily schedule, and assign roles for the day. We then all break off into groups and work until lunch. Following lunch, we go back to work until dinner. After dinner, everyone is free to hangout or return to their homes. Each day begins roughly around 8:30 AM with breakfast and ends around 9:30 PM after dinner. Daily activities include installation building, rehearsing performances, workshops with Robert Wilson, assisting with landscaping, and other odd jobs as needed.
Q: I am an artist with a physical disability, how can I participate?
While a large portion of the Summer Program does involve physical labor, we are committed to working with disabled artists to find ways involve them in the program. This can include assisting with costume and makeup design, doing research for workshops, as well as working closely with our staff on arts administration, meal prep, graphic design, video editing and more. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions and to discuss how you can get involved!
Q: What are the workshops with Robert Wilson?
Each summer, Bob begins researching and developing upcoming theatre, opera, design, and exhibition projects. Participants are given the opportunity to join these workshops and assist with research and design, and participate in staging of future productions. These workshops grant artists the chance to observe and partake in the methodologies of Robert Wilson, and work closely alongside his international collaborators.
Q: How much does participation in the Summer Program cost?
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.
Q: What are the housing accommodations?
All participants are lodged in shared rooms either in The Center’s dormitory or in rented summerhouses. On average, there are generally 15 artists in a house, with 2-3 per bedroom.
Q: What is meant by “local transportation is provided”
Vehicles are provided for transport to and from The Center within the Hamptons area. It is recommended that you have a driver’s license, though it is not required. We will ensure that each house has a handful of drivers to bring you to/from The Center each day.
Q: Are meals provided?
Yes. Lunch and dinner are prepared by a trained chef, and a continental breakfast is provided. Sundays, just breakfast and lunch are provided, and participants are given a modest stipend for dinner.
Q: Will there be any opportunity to present my work?
Yes. Artists are welcome to propose installation and performance ideas for both our Annual Summer Benefit and our open house, Discover Watermill Day. Please note that proposals are subject to review by Robert Wilson and our curators. Not all proposals are accepted.
Artists are also able to show their work on select evenings during short, informal presentations to the staff and other summer participants. We also give the option for artists to teach a morning class on the subject of their choice, which is a great chance to provide your fellow artists a hands-on approach to your practice.
Q: I have a specific project I want to develop, will I be able to during the Summer Program?
No, outside of installations and performances for the Summer Benefit and Discover Watermill Day, there will be no additional opportunities to develop your work. The schedule during the Summer Program is demanding and rigorous, and you will unlikely have much downtime outside of communal activities.
Q: If my proposal isn’t accepted for The Summer Benefit, what will I do?
All artists, whether or not their work is selected for exhibition, will be involved in the development of accepted proposals, either in construction, design or performance, as well as assisting with landscaping, meal preparation, etc.
Q: Can you waive the application fee?
No. The $10 fee is required 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: If I’m a US citizen, do I need to give my passport number?
No. If you are a US citizen or 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: 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: What do you mean by “no aggregates” for a PDF?
Each PDF should display a single work, project, or series. This can include multiple images, text, etc. A single PDF should not reference more than one work.
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: 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: Will the deadline be extended?
No. 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 do not accept late applications.
Q: When will we be notified if we were accepted?
You can expect to hear from the committee by late 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 email@example.com.
Q:How are artists selected to participate in the Summer Program?
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.
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, archivists, and arts administrators. Artists from all disciplines and backgrounds are welcome to apply.
Q: Is there an age limit? What is the average age of participants?
Any artist over eighteen years old is welcome to apply.
On average, artists tend to fall between 20-40 years old.
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: 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 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.