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The Watermill Center's International Summer Program


For the past 20 years, The Watermill Center has hosted an International Summer Program led by Artistic Director, Robert Wilson. Each summer, approximately 65 artists from almost 30 countries gather at Watermill’s Long Island, NY six-acre campus. Participants spend two - five weeks in intense creative exploration which provides a unique opportunity to learn from established professionals, particularly the development and performance methodologies of Robert Wilson and his peers; forge lasting relationships with other artists from a broad range of experience levels and disciplinary specificity; develop networks of US and international professional contacts; focus on new work, and embody what it means to be a “global artist.”

Participants receive access to an extensive collection of resources central to the Watermill experience: ongoing apprenticeships and daily workshops with Robert Wilson and his collaborators; lectures on various subjects from theatre and opera innovation, installation, design, and science led by international cultural luminaries, established artists, and scientists; opportunities to develop new work for public presentation during the annual Watermill Summer Benefit and Discover Watermill Day; access to 20,000 square feet of rehearsal/performance/design spaces; a theater production archive; a 6,000 volume library; outdoor stages; the Watermill Art Collection; and the Center’s landscaped grounds.

In addition to workshops, all participants share in the responsibilities of daily life: housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the Watermill grounds and gardens. Daily physical labor, including landscaping and the construction of site-specific installations is an integral part of the Summer Program. This live/work environment reflects the Watermill idea that an artist works differently in an environment that he or she has helped to create and maintain.

All participants are lodged in shared rooms in either the Center's dormitory or rented summer houses. Shared vans are provided for transport to and from the Center. 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 served at the Center.


An admission committee, which includes Robert Wilson, selects participants according to their artistic ability, achievements, and creative potential, as well as their cultural and professional background. Selection is also partially determined based on the needs of the particular year's workshops, while aiming to ensure a balance between new and returning participants from varying disciplines, countries, and backgrounds. In 2011, over 70 artists and students between 17 and 65 years of age from around the world participated in Watermill's International Summer Program.


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. If you are interested in participating in the Mentor Program by sponsoring an artist please contact Elise Herget at (212) 253-7484 ext. 10 or elise.herget@watermillcenter.org.

Participants are required to pay the costs of their own travel to New York and The Watermill Center and for items for their personal use, and are encouraged to find funding individually, if needed, through scholarships, foundations, and grants.


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 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. Payment is accepted on the Slideroom website and pays for the use of the online application portal. If you are unable to make this payment for any reason, please notify us at summerprogram@watermillcenter.org to explain the issue.

The sections include:
- Personal Information
- Qualifications, Interests, and Letter of Motivation
- Special Opportunities – a chance to express interest in additional participation opportunities.
- References: 2 references are required – the panel will contact references if they need additional information
- Attachment: Resume / CV
- Media uploads: images, videos, pdfs, and audio files can be uploaded or linked to. Specific instructions and requirements are found in the MEDIA section of the Slideroom application portal

More information


Applications are due March 12, 2014 by 5pm EST.

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