For Writers and Artists Honing Their Skills, Provincetown’s Renowned Fine Arts Work Center Unveils More Than 60 Weeklong Workshops for Summer 2023

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Led by world-class faculty like Carmen Maria Machado, Monica Youn, and Mark Adams, program offers artists and writers at all levels precious time and space to nurture their craft

Provincetown, MA (May 28, 2023)Instead of braving packed beaches and crowded resorts this summer, how does writing short stories with a world-class author or taking a painting course with an acclaimed artist on Provincetown’s idyllic seashore sound?

For decades, writers and artists have answered the siren call of Provincetown’s wild landscapes and extraordinary natural light drawing them to its shores. This summer, everyone from beginners to creators who have been making work for years can take workshops with top writers like Carmen Maria Machado (In the Dream House), Alexander Chee (Edinburgh), Melissa Febos (Body Work), and Nick Flynn (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City) and celebrated visual artists including Joseph Diggs and Tomas Vu at the Fine Arts Work Center’s Summer Workshop Program from June 4 – August 19. 

The Program offers over 60 week-long workshops on topics including creative fiction and nonfiction writing, poetry, drawing, painting, print-making, photography, and more. Many visual arts and writing courses, such as Paul Bowen’s Drawing Provincetown and Mark Adams’ Thoreau on the Beach, invite students to engage with the Provincetown landscape, wrestling with being so close to the power of the sea and making the most of the famous light that stretches the “golden hour” to new limits. 

The Summer Workshops create a vibrant buzz at the Work Center, with around 80 new students and 10 instructors rotating in and out every week in a constant cycle of creativity. Beginning June 19th, faculty host nightly readings and presentations that are free and open to the public and all students. 

“Provincetown on its own will spark anyone’s inner creativity, but the Work Center’s inspiring instructors, supportive community, and newly renovated campus combine to make it an unforgettable and invigorating experience,” said Sharon Polli, Executive Director of the Fine Arts Work Center. “The courses will challenge anyone from beginners looking to fulfill a lifelong ambition to seasoned artists and writers seeking to take their craft to the next level.” 

The Work Center was founded in 1968 by a group of leading artists and writers including painter Robert Motherwell and poet Stanley Kunitz. Originally conceived to provide artists and writers with a community where they could live and work together in the early stages of their creative development, the Work Center today runs one of the world’s most influential residency programs. Among its alumni are Nobel Prize-winning poet Louise Glück, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, and photographer Jack Pierson.

The Summer Workshop Program began in 1995 and offers writers and visual artists from all backgrounds the chance to learn from some of the best practitioners of the fine arts, as well as a community of peers with whom to share their work. Nationally recognized instructors give readings and talks that are open to the public and are community favorites, attracting hundreds to the heart of the Work Center throughout the season. 

The 2023 program features the Work Center’s first-ever Youth Lit Week, curated by Newbery Honor and Stonewall Award-winning author Kyle Lukoff, which offers courses on writing and illustrating picture books, young adult short-story and novel-writing, and writing nonfiction for young people. Youth Lit week runs from July 23 – 29 and coincides with Family Equality’s Family Week in Provincetown, the largest annual gathering of LGBTQ+ families in the world. Also new this year is Queer Week, curated by summer faculty member Andrea Lawlor, which runs from June 25 – July 1 and features courses on zine-writing, queer/trans ecopoetry, and photographic portraits.

This year, through the FAWC Scholars program, the Work Center has doubled the number of scholarship seats available to outstanding low-income writers and artists, queer writers and artists, artists and writers of color, and others from systemically and historically marginalized communities. The Work Center is offering over 90 scholarships through partnerships with groups including Cape Cod Community College, Queen’s College, Lambda Literary, Kundiman, IAIA, and many others. The Scholars program is also providing three new scholarship seats this year through its partnership with Community Building Art Works, a nonprofit that connects service members, veterans, military family members, caregivers, and healthcare workers with creative and therapeutic outlets for storytelling.

Highlights of this summer’s workshops include Lyle Ashton Harris’s course exploring the connections between photography, landscape, and contemporary art, and Mark Adams’s workshop retracing Thoreau’s steps to help students create “sensory maps” of the Provincetown trails and beaches in their sketchbooks. Students can learn to make broadsides – single-sheet creations combining poetry and art – in Elizabeth Bradfield’s workshop combining writing and visual art. 

As an alternative to workshops, students can opt for a self-directed retreat through the Work Center’s new Summer Project Residency. Under the program, which piloted last year, writers and artists stay at the Work Center for two weeks to allow them the time and space to build momentum on works in progress. A residency could be an ideal opportunity for writers or visual artists to put the finishing touches on a long-standing project. 

Former Summer Workshop student Elisabeth Bentley formed lasting friendships and a regular working group through her experience in the program. “My cohort from Nick Flynn’s writing class last summer bonded so thoroughly that we’ve been meeting weekly for the past year to write together,” said Bentley, a screenwriter and producer whose 2019 film A Hidden Life screened in competition in Cannes. “The Work Center opened me up to experimenting in other genres, sending me home with new perspectives on my practice.” 

Another Summer Workshop student, Beth Delagi, has taken more than a dozen photography, painting, and drawing classes since 2013. “We gather at the very end of Cape Cod, somewhat isolated in our own little artist bubble, to become free. I have never felt so much freedom,” she said. 

About The Fine Arts Work Center

The Fine Arts Work Center is an international home for artists and writers in Provincetown, Massachusetts — the country’s most enduring artists’ community. Founded in 1968 by a group of luminary creators including Stanley Kunitz, Robert Motherwell, Josephine and Salvatore Del Deo, and Hudson and Ione Walker, the Work Center has given artists and writers the space and time to pursue their work within a community of peers for more than half a century. The artist-led Work Center supports emerging artists and writers through its world-renowned Fellowship program, and also offers summer workshops and year-round virtual learning opportunities to advance creative practice. Fine Arts Work Center Fellows who have arrived in Provincetown as emerging writers have gone on to win Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, MacArthur Fellowships, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. Visual Arts Fellows have presented their work at the Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and at other venues around the globe. The Fine Arts Work Center supports artistic freedom, nurtures creative connections, and makes possible artistic achievements important to the larger culture. 

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