Quarry Farm Visual Arts Fellowship


The Quarry Farm Fellowship program is funded by the Mark Twain Foundation.  The Center for Mark Twain Studies deeply appreciates its magnanimous, continued support.

“Ghosts of Quarry Farm” by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo,
2022 Quarry Farm Fellow (oil painting, 8”x12”)

The Center for Mark Twain Studies offers one fellowship-in-residence in 2024 for any visual artist at any career stage, giving them the opportunity to research and/or work on an art project at Quarry Farm, the family home of Twain’s sister- and brother-in-law, Susan and Theodore Crane. Twain and his family lived at Quarry Farm for over twenty summers. During this time, in an octagonal study located about one hundred yards from the main house, Mark Twain wrote the majority of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry FinnA Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and many other major works. Fellows are consistently struck by the beauty and quiet of the home and its surroundings, an environment inspiring in its own right and especially conducive to research and production.

Reflecting the mission of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, Quarry Farm Fellowships foster and support scholarship and creative works related to Mark Twain, including, but not limited to, his literature, life, family, associations, influences, reception, and significance. The fellowship selection process aims to assist scholars and artists in producing work of highest distinction and cultivate a wide-ranging community of scholars with diverse backgrounds, specializations, and ranks.

Visual Arts Fellows will be granted a two-week residency, including housing at Quarry Farm, and a $1000 honorarium.

Fellows will be assured of their privacy since they will be the sole occupants of the main house during their stay.  Immediate family members may accompany Quarry Farm Fellows, but this must be pre-arranged with the Director. Fellows have access to a fully equipped kitchen. Linens are provided. A full-time Caretaker is on the premises in an apartment adjacent to, but separate from the main house, and is available to assist Fellows throughout their residency.

If feasible and available, Fellows may have the opportunity to work in the Elmira College art department, located on the Elmira College campus.  This would depend on the nature of the fellow’s project, academic schedule, and other circumstances that may arise.  Fellows are also welcome to use the Mark Twain Archive located in the Elmira College Gannett-Tripp Library. The Archive houses an exhaustive assemblage of biography, criticism, and reference sources; microfilm of material related to Elmira from the collections of the Mark Twain Project, the Mark Twain House, Vassar College, and the Huntington Library; and a library of photographs. The Archive also holds the association volumes from Quarry Farm, containing Mark Twain’s marginalia, the Antenne Collection of books from Mark Twain’s personal library, and the John S. Tuckey Collection of more than two hundred and fifty scholarly titles. The Collection is updated continuously.


View from the Quarry Farm Porch. Photo courtesy of Dave Rochelle.
  • Fellowships require fellows to be in residence for a majority of their fellowship.
  • Fellows are expected to work on their proposed projects while they are in residency.
  • Collaborative artist and design teams must be limited to two people.  The honorarium will be divided in half for each person.
  • Fellows must provide a short summary (maximum 500 words) and at least one image of what they accomplished during their residency and an evaluation of the resources they used at Quarry Farm and in the Archives within 90 days of leaving Quarry Farm.  This deadline can be extended if the situation warrants it.
    • The Visual Arts Fellow must relinquish their rights of the aforementioned image(s) for the purpose of reproduction in perpetuity for publication by CMTS and Elmira College.
    • The artist retains the copyright to their image, with the agreement that Elmira College and the Center for Mark Twain Studies may freely use images now and in the future.
  • CMTS recognizes that many artists do not have the ability to be away from their home for an extended period of time due to domestic and professional obligations.  As a result, successful applicants may propose a shortened residency of 3-7 days, if required by their circumstances, for projects to be continued at their home base.
  • Every Quarry Farm Visual Arts Fellow is encouraged to donate at least one work of art directly related to their fellowship to CMTS.  This piece will become part of the overall permanent art collection at Quarry Farm, documenting and archiving the artistic production that takes place at Quarry Farm.  The work(s) will most likely be installed on the Quarry Farm main house second floor, Barn, or Maid’s Cottage. CMTS reserves the exclusive right to decide whether the piece will be installed and its location.
    • CMTS will not sell the aforementioned work of art to raise funds. 
    • The purpose of the donation is to enhance the overall aesthetic of Quarry Farm as a cultural humanities site where literary and artistic production occurs, and to inspire future scholars, writers, and artists working and creating at Quarry Farm.
    • CMTS is open to a conversation with the Visual Art Fellow about the nature and time frame of the donation.

Application Process

Applications must be submitted to [email protected] or to Dr. Joseph Lemak, the Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, at [email protected]. Applications for 2024 will be accepted until November 30, 2024.  Applicants are notified when applications are received, and are notified of the fellowship competition outcome by January 31, 2025.

  • Contact and biographical information about the applicant
  • Current resume or CV of no more than 10 pages
  • A cover letter of no more than 1500 words describing the visual arts project and its progress to date
  • 5 work samples from the last three years. Applicants should not exceed this limit. Only 5 images will be accepted in the application. Images can be submitted in the following ways:
    • Images as jpegs or pngs at least 1200 pixels on the long side and labeled with the artist’s name, followed by the image number. (example: mtwain01.jpg, mtwain02.jpg).  A matching image list (Filename, Title, Size, Medium, Year) must also be submitted with all entries.
    • Images embedded in a pdf.
    • Images featured in a PowerPoint or Google Chrome slideshow.

An artist’s proposal should explain how access to the unique setting and resources at Quarry Farm will inform/enable the creation of new work.  Applicants should be aware that on premise work at Quarry Farm cannot require tool or weight intensive activities or open flame.  There may be an opportunity to take advantage of the Elmira College art studio facilities with approval from the Elmira College art faculty.  Please be prepared to discuss your needs and to be flexible.

Application Criteria

Fellows will be chosen by a ten-person selection committee.  Applications will be judged on the following factors:

  • The project’s potential value to Mark Twain Studies.
  • The clarity, relevance, and current status of the specific project being proposed.
  • The feasibility of the artist’s medium at Quarry Farm and the Elmira College art studios.

2025 Quarry Farm Selection Committee

  • Derek Chalfant, Associate Professor of Art, Elmira College (ex officio)
  • Aaron Kather, Assistant Professor of Art, Elmira College (ex officio)
  • Jan Kather, Media Artist, Elmira College (ex officio)
  • Joseph Lemak, Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, Elmira College (ex officio)
  • Christopher Longwell, Associate Professor of Art, Elmira College (ex officio)

Past Recipients

Cindy Hunter Morgan (2024)

Cindy Hunter Morgan is the author of Far Company (Wayne State University Press, 2022) and Harborless (Wayne State University Press), which was a 2018 Michigan Notable Book and the winner of the 2017 Moveen Prize in Poetry. She also is the author of two chapbooks, Apple Season (Midwest Writing Center Chapbook Award, 2012) and The Sultan, The Skater, The Bicycle Maker (Ledge Press Chapbook Award, 2011). She teaches creative writing at Michigan State University, where, for several years, she also taught book arts. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, including Tin House Online, Passages North, Salamander, Sugar House Review, and West Branch. For several years, she was a regular contributor for Murder Ballad Monday, a blog devoted to the exploration of the murder ballad tradition in folk and popular music. She is a co-founder of FILMETRY: A Festival of Film and Poetry. She leads various poetry workshops and book arts workshops. Her artist’s books are held in private collections and in Murray & Hong Special Collections at Michigan State University Libraries, the Zhang Legacy Collections Center at Western Michigan University, and the Rolvaag Library Special Collections at St. Olaf College.

I love working in and with the intersections of poetry and book arts, and I will use my fellowship at Quarry Farm to work on a few projects that fuse these practices. One project, Dear Mark Twain, will become an accordion book constructed with pockets to hold a series of letters I will write to Twain. This epistolary project – an imagined correspondence and collaboration with Twain – will reach across time and history and collapse (and perhaps dispense with) traditional notions of chronology. Such is the power of letters. This project will play with form and genre and offer opportunities for tactile engagement with Twain’s life. It is modeled on an existing (completed) project informed by an epistolary engagement with Emily Dickinson, and it will be part of a larger manuscript I hope to see published as a collection of letters. I’m also interested in creating another artist’s book in which I think about and wrestle with Twain’s assertion that there is no such thing as a new idea. “We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope,” Twain wrote. “We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations.” I will use the library at Quarry Farm to consider how – and where else – Twain wrestles with ideas of originality and, perhaps too, thinks about kaleidoscopes and stained glass. My artist’s books are a celebration of the artistic process, and I believe they have the potential to unlock new thinking about the ways art inspires art.