Artisan Development Program at North House Folk School

by Jessica Stolen
photograph of North House Folk School

North House Folk School is now accepting applications for Cohort VIII (September 2024 – June 2026 program dates). 

Apply here: Artisan Development Program Application Information.

Questions about the program are welcomed anytime. Please contact Program Director Jessa Frost at

The Artisan Development Program nurtures the growth of the next generation of traditional craft artisans. The program offers professional development including mentorship, education practice, studio space and time for artisans committed to pursuing craft education as a professional pathway. Resident Artisans in the program build in-depth experience in their craft, while enhancing the vitality of North House Folk School as craft ambassadors for the school. Participants cultivate meaningful relationships, develop craft and teaching skills for future leadership, and forge connections with regional, national and international institutions and artisans.

The program of study for artisans includes the following:

  • Craft Study — Engagement with professional mentors, dedicated studio space, budget for mentorship, materials, and tools, training in professional practice and entrepreneurial skills
  • Teaching Skill Development — Assisting instructors in courses at North House, independent teaching at North House, participating in professional development
  • Public Engagement — Regional travel to build professional networks, represent North House, as well as demonstrating craft and representing the program on campus.
  • International Connections — Assisting in creating opportunities for international instructors to visit and teach at North House; travel on a learning journey to  Scandinavia


This program has evolved significantly from past years in order to increase the number of participants and make it more possible for people from a diverse array of situations to participate. Of particular note, the two year program no longer requires residency in Grand Marais for the full two years. Housing and studio space is provided in Grand Marais during the first immersion year of the program; during the second independent study year of the program, participants are offered support to pursue their learning goals in a location of their choosing. In both phases, living in proximity to North House is highly recommended as there are significant benefits to being part of the day-to-day happenings of a thriving folk school community. 


This program is designed for craft artisans and makers with four or more years working in their craft medium who already have some experience teaching and showing their work. Resident Artisans focus in one or more areas of craft with current available core areas for focus being: fibers (felting, spinning, weaving, knitting), basketry, leatherwork, wood (turning, timber framing, boat building, carving, building), and foods. Other areas of emerging interest to the Folk School may be proposed, provided that they have a strong connection to traditional northern craft.

The program is designed to benefit emerging craft artisans by providing them with a supportive environment to hone their skills, develop their voices as makers and teachers of craft, and steep themselves in what it means to make a life and a living in the world of traditional craft. Past residents have used their time in the program to take their work in new directions, develop and deepen connections with master craftspeople as mentors, create foundations for craft entrepreneurship, and expand their horizons as educators.

This program is largely geared towards US citizens and legal permanent residents because they have easy legal ability to complete the following program requirements: 1) ability to be in the United States for two years continuously, 2) receive income 3) travel internationally to Scandinavia and 4) have an ongoing relationship with North House in the future. Please note, North House is not an accredited educational institution through which you could apply for a student visa, and they cannot help you obtain a visa to participate in this program. If you are not a US citizen or legal permanent resident and you believe that you can still accomplish the above requirements, you’re welcome to apply.


This program includes two distinct phases, each approximately one year in duration. In Year 1, Sept-July – the Immersion Year – participants are actively engaged in required structured activities at or with North House for ~50% of their time. This includes training in teaching practice, entrepreneurship, and professional practice, as well as two regional learning journeys and one international journey to Scandinavia. The remaining time is available for self-guided studio practice, mentorship, and travel. In Year 1, furnished lodging is provided in a house shared with other Resident Artisans. Each Resident Artisan has their own bedroom. Kitchen, bathrooms, living room, and dining room are shared. Studio spaces are semi-private in a large sunny historic building just blocks from the main North House campus. Studios are empty and are to be outfitted fully by each participating resident. 

In Year 2, August-June – the Independent Study year – participants are offered many opportunities for paid work including teaching, demonstrating, and other roles as well as a tuition stipend for coursework at North House. In both years, funding for professional development and mentorship is provided.  

CLOSESApril 1, 2024 12:00 pm

More info

Leave a Comment


Join our email list

© 2024 Southwest Minnesota Arts Council. All Rights Reserved.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. ACCEPT READ MORE

Privacy & Cookies Policy
Skip to content