Residency Program

Applications for The Watermill Center's 2016 Residency Program are now closed.

Application Guidelines found below along with a video that walks you through the process. 

Click HERE to read about the 2015 Residency Program Artists.


The Watermill Center is a laboratory for performance that supports the development of experimental art. Watermill invites artists to submit ambitious proposals for the creation of work that critically investigates, challenges, and extends the existing norms of performance practice.

The Watermill Center Residency Program began in 2006, when the Center officially opened as a year-round facility. Over the course of the program, up to twenty collectives or individual artists take up residence at the Center to create collaborative works that critically investigate, challenge, and extend the existing norms of performance practice. By June of 2015, the Center will have hosted over 500 residents.

The Residency Program gives artists the opportunity to utilize The Watermill Center as a home and a workshop to create and develop their own work. Each residency varies in length according to artists’ and project needs and generally lasts from one to four weeks. Residency artists are chosen by a distinguished international selection committee composed of artists, academics, and cultural leaders across all disciplines.

In addition to creating and developing their work, artists share their creative process at Watermill with the community through open rehearsals, workshops, and artist talks.  The Center supplements these public gatherings with lectures, seminars, screenings, educational partnerships, internships, and other creative engagements throughout the year.

Watermill’s mission is to provide artists the opportunity to focus on their process. Residents have gone on to perform at venues and festivals including the New Museum, Roulette, PS122, American Realness, Clocktower Gallery, Performa, Vienna’s Donaufestival, Kampnagel in Hamburg, CPR - Center for Performance Research, and the Baryshnikov Arts Center.

Artists from within and outside of the United States are encouraged to apply. Watermill welcomes proposals from performing artists, visual artists, curators, dramaturges, puppeteers, architects, composers, filmmakers, culinary artists, and writers. Watermill also welcomes research proposals from established scholars.

The Watermill Center’s Residency Program is made possibly by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Cowles Charitable Trust, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, and LLWW Foundation.



Proposals must be received by Friday May 29, 2015, 5:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time.


Residencies are scheduled by mutual agreement between accepted Resident Artist and Watermill Program Staff during the following months of 2016:

January – June
September – December

Residencies can be scheduled for a minimum of one week and a maximum of six weeks during the above referenced terms. Occasionally, there are two residencies running concurrently, and/or educational and community outreach programming is scheduled during the term of a residency.


The Watermill Center uses Slideroom to gather proposals and work samples for this application process. All proposals must be submitted via Slideroom. There are NO exceptions.

Application instructions and further guidelines are found on the Slideroom website. 

To apply, visit: 

There is a $10 USD fee per proposal that can be paid on the Slideroom website.

For technical assistance with your application please contact Slideroom directly at

For questions about the residency program, contact The Watermill Center at 631.726.4628 or


A Selection Committee convenes in at the end of June to review proposals. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of the artistic quality of the submitted work samples, the strength and originality of the artist's ideas, and the specificity of the project to the resources Watermill offers. Please visit here to see the list of Committee members.


Information sessions will be hosted in New York City and Watermill through out the application process. Please stay tuned for dates.   


Community Outreach, Education & Documentation Requirements

Resident artists are required to conduct at least one public performance or event. This is often an open rehearsal, screening, or artist talk. Workshops and other community events are strongly encouraged. Each residency is a also encouraged to have an Education component to their residency. Watermill staff will work with you in designing educational activity.


The Watermill Center provides local transportation, housing, and workspace as part of the 2016 Residency Program.  Applicants are responsible for their own production and living expenses during the term of the residency, including food, travel to and from Watermill, art materials and supplies, and equipment rentals.  Watermill will provide a modest reimbursement to offset these expenses.  Details will be provided to you upon acceptance into the program.    

The Watermill Center will offer signed letters of support for outside funding, as initiated by the artist, and can offer advice for any potential funders for assistance. Watermill will act as a fiscal sponsor for any fundraising efforts you might make within reason.


We encourage advance visits to the Center, if possible. Visits should arranged with the Operations Manager at +1 (631) 726-4628 or  We also encourage prospective residents to attend any of the Spring 2015 Open Rehearsals to observe the activities of current Artists-in-Residence. Upcoming events can be found here.

The Facility

The Watermill Center was founded in 1992 by its Artistic Director Robert Wilson. For the past 20 years, the Watermill Center has been home to an International Summer Program led by Robert Wilson, focusing on new projects that he is developing in all areas of the arts. With the opening of its new building in 2006, the Center became a year-round performing arts laboratory for artists. Expanded programs in the Spring and Fall include workshops and classes, artist residencies, conferences and lectures, and a variety of local educational outreach programs.

The Center seamlessly combines performance and rehearsal sites with working and communal living spaces. Its flexible and multi-purpose interiors house formal and informal performance spaces, the Watermill Art Collection, a selection of Robert Wilson's own furniture designs, an extensive reference library, kitchen facilities, and a dormitory. The Center is situated on six acres of wooded and landscaped grounds in a rural environment.

The Center does not provide a traditional theater studio environment. We do not presently have a lighting grid or a technical staff to assist with rehearsals and construction. The main studio spaces have black-stained hardwood floors, white walls, and many windows. There is no separation between studio and gallery or living and working spaces; The Watermill Collection is placed and hung throughout The Center. Artists have the unique opportunity to work amongst these museum pieces and to work with the Center staff to re-curate their environments. Watermill encourages artists to engage with the Collection and architecture, and to explore all facets of The Center, inside and outside.

Basement Level

Epoxy over cement floors, unless otherwise noted.
Garage gallery (8' h x 72' l x 28' w [2.5m h x 22m l x 8.5m w)
Rolling garage doors (heated)
Can be used for workspace, office space, and receptions.
Research library with print and audio-visual materials
Fully-equipped kitchen
Dining room (capacity: 50)
Outdoor dining courtyard (capacity: 100)
Public bathrooms with showers
3-in-1 handicap accessible
Laundry room with four washers and dryers
Collection archive containing artifacts, objects, and audio-visual materials 

First Floor

Rehearsal Room (18' h x 54' l x 28' w [5.5m h x 16.5m l x 8.5m w)
Marley dance floor is available to lay over hardwood floors
Two small studios/galleries
Dormitory (sleeping capacity: 8; additional 4-6 beds available offsite)
Two public shower rooms attached to dormitory

Second Floor

Master residence for staff use only
Two smaller studios/galleries

The Watermill Center is about living and working as a community, so it is necessary that everyone shares responsibilities. Respecting the building, the site, fellow artists, and the rest of the Watermill community is integral to a successful experience.

The Center is located in Water Mill, New York (Southampton, Long Island), approximately two hours by car from New York City and JFK airport.  Directions can be located on our website here.

Application Process Video

(This video was created in 2013.  While some aspects of the application process have changed, much of the information can be applied to this application process.)



Watermill Program Staff
+1 (631) 726-4628