If you’re looking for a week-long residency-like experience at MASS MoCA with a great instructor to help you reach new heights and without the angst of a highly competitive application process for a self-directed residency, check out our workshop-in-residence opportunities. They come with all of the benefits of a private 24/7 studio space, private bedroom, and open access to MASS MoCA's galleries, with the added benefit of a workshop-style framework and guidance from a professional in the field.

We also welcome to the Studios, on a very limited basis, self-directed artist groups (must be 4, 8, or 12 members) looking for a week-long artist retreat. These have similar perks, just without the instructor.

Read below for upcoming Workshop descriptions, and email to inquire about workshop or retreat opportunities. 


Debi Pendell: Visual Artist Independent Study & Critique

$1,350 (includes 6 nights of housing & private studio for the week)

May 13- May 19, 2020

Details below

David Lane: Wood carving and puppet-making

(includes materials, housing & shared studio for the week)

June 17 - June 23, 2020

Details below


Judith Kruger: Abstraction Master-Class

Sept. 23 - 29, 2020

$1,650 (includes 6 nights of housing & private studio for the week)

Details below

Boiler House Poets Retreat

October (Sept. 30 - Oct. 6, 2020)

Open by invitation only, but inquire to be considered

Email to inquire about attending any of our workshops.

David Lane


Wood Carving & Puppet Design

This unique residency workshop will focus on wood as a primary construction material for building performing objects. We’ll work with traditional carving techniques as well as rotary power tools to create masks and bodies, and then get deep into the mechanics of joints and controls. We’ll look at various ways that wooden sculpture may be employed to create realistic notions, and explore more abstract ideas, delighting in the unexpected discoveries that come with a sense of playfulness in the creation process. 

We will take advantage of the collaborative nature of this workshop to share ideas, and create an environment which fosters colloquy, experimentation, and a supportive creative atmosphere.

Formal instruction and demonstrations will begin each day at 9 am and run until dinner. The evenings will include open studio and specialized programming such as a show-and-tell and puppet-film night. Access to the studio space is 24 hours and we may wander the museum during regular museum hours. Field trips to the Clark Art Museum, Williams College Museum, hiking, and swimming holes will be organized once the group arrives, and as time allows.

Curriculum Overview

Residency — When we’re not engaged in studio time, we will have unlimited access to wonder the halls of MASS MoCA and find inspiration in the work of Sol LeWitt, Anselm Fiefer, Franz West, Laurie Anderson, Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, James Turrell and many other world class artists. 

Design —  The abstract/realism continuum; emotion and tone; larval lumps, mask design, conceptual approaches, the interplay between design and performance.

Carving — Rotary-tool & traditional wood carving techniques.

Controls — Discussion of effective control mechanisms for different situations.

Joints — Leather, fabric, interlocking, ball and socket, shock cord.

Hansjürgen Fettig — Discussion of designs and mechanisms imagined by the ingenious German puppet maker.

Painting — Planning, mixing, washes, scumbling, dry-brush, air-brush, color theory.  

Costuming — Simple patterning and sewing.



Dates: June 17 - June 23, 2020

Fee: $1250 (includes materials, shared studio spaces, single room with shared bath, access to kitchen, lunches, and dinner on the first night)

For registration, email: Questions? Contact the instructor at

For More Information:

About the Instructor

Dave Lane is a painter, performer, puppet & mask maker, and one of the original members of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop in Calgary, Alberta. He is the Co-director of the New England Puppet Intensive, a 15-day residential workshop, and Co-producer of the annual Berkshire Lantern Walk in collaboration with the Clark Art Museum.

Dave is a two-time, Jim Henson Foundation grant recipient for his original play “The Chronicles of Rose”, and his silent-clown play “The Painting” was a regional selection at the 2017 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He is the co-creator of Iinisikimm, a puppet-lantern play celebrating the return of Plains Buffalo to Banff Nation Park in Alberta. The project was supported by a Canada Council New Chapter Grant.


Judith Kruger

Judith Kruger.jpg

Abstraction Master-Class

Judith Kruger — who exhibits widely in the United States, Japan and elsewhere, and teaches sought-after workshops throughout the country — now brings her masterful methods for abstraction to the Studios at MASS MoCA. Her paintings, prints, and mixed-media works address human-environment connectivity and their shared vulnerabilities. She is recognized internationally for her advocacy of natural painting materials and historic, ecologically friendly processes based on years of research and alchemic experimentation.

Judith has an impressive following of serious, practicing artists, working in all mediums, who cite her intensive, direct teaching approach as an authentic, life-changing catalyst for both technical and conceptual growth. This Master Abstraction workshop is not medium specific, thus focusing on many of the formal concerns that Judith addresses in her own work, including depth of space, destruction, luminosity, ambiguity, perceptual shifting, and material presence. This includes both idea-driven and non- objective work. Concepts will be addressed on an individual basis as a benefit to the entire group. Private and open critiques, discussions, film showings and relevant demos are included.

This is an opportunity for each participant to delve more deeply into their own work and medium in an immersive setting with Judith’s and the group’s input.

(Please note that this master-class is not intended to provide novice-level instruction in abstraction or Nihonga painting. It is for experienced abstract artists. Those seeking to learn the basics of pigment should consider Judith’s introductory workshops.

$1,650 (includes 6 nights of housing & private studio for the week)

September 23 - 29, 2020

Email to request a slot


Debi Pendell

Debi Pendell.jpg

Visual Artist Independent Study & Critique

For many artists, the word ‘critique’ immediately brings to mind (and to heart) these dictionary synonyms: censure; find fault with; slam; slap; takedown; put down. Many artists avidly avoid critiques, having painfully experienced critique as disapproval. In the method taught and practiced in this workshop, critique means: to discuss the merits of; to analyze. We even employ what the dictionary considers antonyms for critique: compliment; praise. Critique is a necessary and valuable tool in the making of art, but it only functions when the goal is education and encouragement: everyone walks out of these critiques excited to get to work, to experiment, to play, to create.

By analyzing and speaking about the work of other artists, you learn tools and techniques that you can employ in your own work. By hearing educated and perceptive responses to your own work, you discover whether or not your work is being read in the way you intend. This is a unique opportunity to be that ‘fly on the wall’ and hear what is honestly said about the work you present.

In addition to critiquing the work of the other artists attending the residency, we will also go into museum exhibitions and explore some of those works. The intent is to analyze, understand, and clearly state one’s response in a way that enhances everyone’s experience – even when you don’t ‘like’ the work at all. You may very well discover just how useless the terms like and dislike are when it comes to engaging art and making art.

Each participating artist in this workshop-in-residence will develop their own project. The instructor is available for consultation in planning the project prior to the workshop. The instructor will provide targeted assistance to each and every artist tailored to the individual needs of their project. This includes one-on-one critiques, as well as technical assistance. 

$1,300 (includes 6 nights of housing & private studio for the week)

May 13- May 19, 2020

Email to request a slot


The Boiler House Poets



Since 2015, a group of writers called the Boiler House Poets (after the memorable boiler house building on the MASS MoCA campus that’s visible from several of the studios’ windows) has convened every fall at the Studios at MASS MoCA. This self-directed group uses their week-long retreat to create new poetry and gather each day to share and workshop new works.

The Boiler House Poets are: Joanne Corey, Marilyn McCabe, Yvonne Murphy, Ann Dernier, Gail DiMaggio, Jessica Dubey, Kyle Laws, Katherine Morgan, Erica Bodwell.

Previous members include: Catherine O’Brien.

The Boiler House Poets are not currently accepting new members. However, if you would like to reach out to them about the possibility of joining, contact