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The Seattle Atelier (SA) is excited to announce the launch of its inaugural Fellowship program, a groundbreaking initiative designed to support the next generation of great representational painters. For our first year, a select cohort of up to 10 exceptionally talented and dedicated young artists artists will receive an unparalleled package of funding, training, resources, and professional opportunities to develop their skills, launch their careers, and create works of enduring cultural significance.

Think of the Seattle Atelier as an art "grad school" for those who have finished a formal atelier, art program, or have similar experience and want to dedicated themselves on improving their craft - while creating art for the public good - without the stress of having to find paying clients.

At SA, we believe that the classical tradition of realist painting - with its emphasis on beauty, craft, storytelling, and the human experience - is more relevant and necessary than ever in the 21st century. Our mission is to create the conditions for a rebirth of this vital tradition, by giving the most promising artists the support they need to realize their full potential, and by engaging the public with their work and process in innovative ways. As a Fellow, you will be at the forefront of this ambitious endeavor - part of a tight-knit community of peers and mentors who share your passion and commitment to shaping the future of realist art.

This prospectus provides an overview of the structure, offerings and expectations of the SA Fellowship. We hope it will give you a sense of the truly unique and transformative experience that awaits you as part of our founding cohort. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at We look forward to learning more about you and your work!

About the Fellowship

The SA Fellowship is a one-year (possible year extention), fully-funded program that provides emerging representational painters with the time, space, and resources to develop their artistic practice and launch their professional careers. Fellows are selected through a competitive application process that evaluates both their technical skill and their potential to contribute to the Institute's mission of advancing the classical realist tradition and producing work for the public good.

Benefits and Resources

As an SA Fellow, you will receive:

Expectations and Responsibilities

In addition to their independent studio practices, Fellows are expected to be active and engaged participants in the life of the Institute. This includes:

Curriculum and Programming

The SA Fellowship is designed as a comprehensive training and professional development program, with a curriculum that balances studio mentoring and instruction with a range of academic and practical seminars. Fellows typically spend 3-4 full days per week on self-directed work in their studios, and 1-2 days participating in collaborative review, courses, and programs. We are here to help you create your finest work.

Studio Instruction

The core of the SA curriculum is the personalized coaching and critique that Fellows receive in their studios from our faculty of renowned realist painters and teachers. Each Fellow is assigned a lead mentor who visits their studio for in-depth critiques at least once per month, and Fellows can book additional sessions with any faculty member throughout the year to get targeted feedback on specific issues or works-in-progress. In addition, master copies and plein air studies made during field trips are reviewed by relevant faculty experts.

Liberal Arts Seminars

To help Fellows develop the conceptual framework and humanistic worldview to match their technical skills, the SA curriculum includes required seminars in art history, theory and criticism, with an emphasis on the Western figurative tradition and its contemporary relevance. Fellows take one seminar per quarter, with topics ranging from the Renaissance rediscovery of classical form to the 19th century academic tradition to the philosophy of beauty and meaning. Select seminars also include field trips to local collections, public art sites, and relevant museum exhibitions.

Professional Development

In addition to training great painters, SA is committed to launching great careers and empowering Fellows with the knowledge and networks to thrive professionally. The curriculum includes regular required workshops on practical topics like artist statements, grant writing, web and social media presence, building relationships with galleries, managing commissions and sales, and more. Fellows also have access to SA's extensive contacts in the art world, with opportunities to connect with leading collectors, curators, dealers and journalists through studio visits and special events.

Public Engagement

SA Fellows are more than just students - they are ambassadors for the Institute and the classical realist tradition. Each Fellow is expected to participate in at least one public-facing program per quarter, with opportunities ranging from teaching weekend workshops to the public, to giving talks or demos at SA open house events, to leading exhibition tours, to being featured in documentary content. Fellows are also encouraged to propose their own community engagement projects, such as public murals, school partnerships, or collaborative exhibitions. By honing their skills as educators and advocates, Fellows will be well-positioned to make an impact in the cultural sector long after graduation.

Facilities and Campus

Studios and Workspaces

In 2023, SA moved into a brand new 40,000 sq ft facility in the heart of downtown Seattle, designed specifically to meet the needs of classical realist painters. The building features:

SA Museum and Galleries

The SA facility will also house a public museum and galleries dedicated to representational painting, sculpture, and works on paper, with an emphasis on 19th century academic realism and contemporary classical realism. The museum will host 4-5 exhibitions per year, including solo shows by leading contemporary realists, thematic shows curated by staff and guest scholars, and an annual juried exhibition of student and alumni work. The street-level gallery also hosts regular pop-up shows, open studios, and sales of Fellow and alumni work.

In addition, SA has a dedicated exhibition prep and documentation studio, where Fellows can access professional-grade lighting and camera equipment to photograph their work, with assistance from trained student workers. The Institute covers the cost of photographing, framing and shipping all Fellow works that are selected for SA exhibitions and events.

Housing and Amenities

While SA does not directly provide housing for Fellows, we are committed to helping them find convenient, affordable, and inspiring places to live during their time in Seattle. Our Student Services team maintains an online listing of vetted rental properties within walking distance of the Institute, as well as a roommate matching service to help Fellows connect with potential shared housing opportunities. All SA facilities and programs are also located in a vibrant, walkable neighborhood with abundant access to coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, art supply stores, and other urban amenities.


Faculty and Mentors

SA has assembled a world-class roster of over XX core faculty members, each of whom is both an accomplished professional painter and a dedicated, experienced teacher. Our faculty represent a range of stylistic approaches within the realist tradition, from classical figurative to contemporary narrative to hyper-realism, but all share a deep commitment to the values of craft, observation, humanism and beauty. Faculty members maintain active studio practices in addition to their teaching responsibilities, and many are represented in major museum collections around the world.

In addition to their group teaching and workshop responsibilities, each core faculty member serves as the primary studio mentor for 1-2 Fellows per cohort. Mentors are carefully matched with Fellows based on aligning interests, personalities and working styles, with input from both parties.

Guest Artists and Scholars

Each term, SA hosts intensive workshops and master classes with an international roster of visiting artists and scholars. These guests bring diverse perspectives and enrich the core curriculum with specialized techniques, cultural contexts and critical dialogues. Recent and upcoming guests include artists like [NAMES], art historians like [NAMES], conservators and materials experts like [NAMES], and critics and curators like [NAMES]. Fellows have both formal and informal opportunities to engage with these guests, from participating in their workshops to attending private receptions and dinners in their honor.

Staff and Leadership

SA is led by a team of accomplished arts administrators and educators who bring decades of experience advancing the cause of representational art. Our staff include:

Andrew Conru, Founder and Board Chair

A pioneering tech entrepreneur and investor, Andrew is also a prolific collector and patron of classical realist art. Since stepping back from his software ventures, he has dedicated himself fully to philanthropic projects that leverage the power of traditional art to enrich contemporary life and culture. His vision and resources made SA possible, and he remains closely involved in all aspects of Institute governance and programming.

Ryan Brown, Founder and Director of [X]

A pioneering tech entrepreneur and investor, Brown is also a prolific collector and patron of classical realist art. Since stepping back from his software ventures, he has dedicated himself fully to philanthropic projects that leverage the power of traditional art to enrich contemporary life and culture. His vision and resources made SA possible, and he remains closely involved in all aspects of Institute governance and programming.

Application Process

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

The SA Fellowship is open to early-career representational painters of all backgrounds, working in any style or subject matter within the broad realist tradition. Applicants must:

Fellows will be selected by an independent jury of accomplished realist painters and arts professionals, who will evaluate candidates based on a holistic assessment of their portfolio, written statements, recommendations, and interviews. The jury will consider factors such as:

SA is committed to building a diverse cohort of Fellows that represents a range of identities, experiences, and perspectives. We strongly encourage applications from candidates of all racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, geographic, and disability backgrounds. The Institute does not discriminate on the basis of any legally protected characteristic in its admissions policies or procedures.

Application Materials

A complete application consists of:

Finalists will be invited for a remote interview with members of the selection committee, and may be asked to provide additional materials such as sketchbooks, source photographs, or in-progress works.

Timeline and Deadlines

The application cycle for the 2024-2026 SA Fellowship opens on July 1, 2023. The deadline to apply is 11:59pm PST on January 15, 2024. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

The admissions timeline is as follows:

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don't have a formal art education?

SA recognizes that not all talented representational painters have had access to traditional atelier or academic training programs. While we appreciate seeing evidence of formal artistic study in an applicant's background, it is not a requirement for admission. The strength of your portfolio is the most important factor.

Can I attend part-time or complete the Fellowship remotely?

At this time, the SA Fellowship is an immersive, full-time, in-person program. If you are unable to commit to living in Seattle for the full two years, we encourage you to consider applying in a future cycle. You may also be interested in SA's public workshops and online courses, which can be attended on a flexible schedule from anywhere in the world. Check out our Programs page.