The Sendak Fellowship & Workshop

The Sendak Fellowship/Workshop, a core Program of The Maurice Sendak Foundation, is a residency & workshop that encourages, teaches and supports artists who tell stories with illustration.

For many years, Maurice Sendak wanted to create an ongoing program for what he had been doing informally his whole career: helping promising illustrators. As a young illustrator himself, Sendak was nurtured in the Connecticut home of Ruth Krauss (A Hole Is To Dig) and Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon). Though Sendak, on occasion, taught illustrating and the art of the picture book in formal educational settings (Parsons School of Design, Yale, etc.), he wanted to create a more intimate setting for passing on his knowledge and artistic wisdom.

In 2009, Maurice Sendak enlisted the help of his long-time assistant, Lynn Caponera, as well as photographer and community activist Dona Ann McAdams to help realize his vision of a workshop for illustrators and in 2010 The Sendak Fellowship was founded. Though Sendak was only able to greet and mentor two groups of Fellows before his passing, his legacy is carried on each year through the program, which endures.

Once a year, The Fellowship offers a four-week retreat for two to four artists to live and work away from the distractions of their daily routines.

The Sendak Fellowship offers the opportunity for artists to deeply engage in their work in the relative isolation of a rural setting on the grounds of the Sendak House & Archive. While receiving inspiration from each other, the Fellows gain insight from visiting artists and professionals in the field. And though Sendak himself is not around, his original work is available for viewing by the Fellows, an education in itself. Throughout the Fellowshop guest illustrators and writers lead wide-ranging discussions on publishing, illustrating, writing, and the creative process.

The goal of The Sendak Fellowship, in Maurice’s words, is for the Fellows to “ . . . create work that is not vapid or stupid, but original; work that excites and incites. Illustration is like dance; it should move like—and to—music.”

The Sendak Fellowship was inaugurated in 2010 and ran for three years at a house on Maurice Sendak’s property in Ridgefield, Connecticut. It then temporarily moved to a property in upstate New York and will return and be permanently settled at The Maurice Sendak House & Archive in 2019.


Past Sendak Fellows

Antoinette Portis, Aaron Renier, Paul Schmidt, Robert Weinstock

Ali Bahrampour, Frann Preston-Gannon, Sergio Ruzzier, Denise Saldutti Egielski

Gerardo Blumenkrantz, Tor Freeman, Alice Lickens

Jessica Ahlberg, Ian Andrew, Marc Rosenthal, Sara Varon

Harry Bliss, Nora Krug

Richard Egielski, Marc McChesney, Doug Salati, Stephen Savage

Elisha Cooper, Jenni Desmond, Yuyi Morales

The Fan Brothers – Terry and Eric Fan, Rashin Kheiriyeh, Eliza Wheeler

A Fellowship Retrospective (TBD)

Copyright 2018 The Maurice Sendak Foundation