The Orange County Arts Commission serves as a clearinghouse for arts information, facilitator of arts programs and advisor to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners regarding the arts. We have been the Designated County Partner (DCP) of the North Carolina Arts Council in Orange County since 1985 and are responsible for sub-granting state and county funds to arts organizations, schools and artists throughout the county. Our mission is to promote and strengthen the artistic and cultural development of Orange County, North Carolina.

In order to submit an application or register, you need to first create a Submittable account.  If you need assistance, please contact Katie Murray at or 919-245-2335. 

The Eno Arts Mill is located within the historic Eno Mill in the West Hillsborough neighborhood. The Orange County Arts Commission (OCAC) currently occupies two spaces with artist studios, located close to each other within the mill:

  • The Eno Mill Artist Studios are 11 studios within a 3,000 square-foot working space. Click here to view a map.  
  • Suite 17 includes the OCAC offices, a classroom, gallery/events space, and 5 offices/studios available to artists and/or cultural organizations.  Click here to view a map. 

All studios include 24/7 access (workspace only), wifi, utilities, opportunities to exhibit work, communal gathering and workspace, and access to a loading dock and restrooms. Both spaces are on the first floor of the mill.

Applications are accepted from artists, designers, and craftspeople looking to further their professional careers through dedicated studio practice. Studios will be awarded based on criteria listed below.

The OCAC is looking for creatives who:

  • Are community-minded and will benefit from a co-working, semiprivate studio environment
  • Display commitment to their craft through an existing body of work
  • Create original work
  • Are willing to participate in monthly public events, such as Last Friday Art Walk. The space will not be open to the general public other than during special events and by appointment with studio tenants.

Tenant Selection Considerations

  • The OCAC seeks to represent a variety of artistic disciplines.
  • The OCAC seeks to include artists of varying levels in their career.
  • The OCAC seeks to include artists of varying ages, races, and backgrounds.
  • Will this person’s practice work within the space available? 
  • Does this person already have a place to work?
  • Will this person use the space regularly? Will they participate in open studios and other public events?

Important Information

  • Filling out an application does not guarantee studio space.
  • The Mill Studios are work only, we do not provide live-work spaces (however this is a possibility in coming years).
  • A security deposit of one month’s rent plus first month’s rent, which may be pro-rated, are due at lease signing.
  • To ensure the safety and security of all tenants, accepted tenants must be willing to undergo a criminal background check.
  • All tenants must hold a minimum $1M general liability policy showing Orange County and Hedgehog Holdings as additional insured. You can anticipate this costing between $200-$500 per year, or approximately $20-$50 per month. Certificate of Insurance must be on file before keys are given. The OCAC can connect you with a local insurance agent to assist you, if needed.  
  • Tenants are required to sign a one-year lease which may be renewed annually for up to three years. 
  • Tenants are required to agree to our Tenant Agreement Code of Conduct.
  • For studios that do not have access to natural light, interior lighting has been installed which mimics natural light (5,000 kelvins).
  • Equipment or materials that produce excessive fumes requiring special ventilation, smoke, fire, excessive dust, noise, or permanent damage to the facilities are not appropriate for this space. Preservatives/solvents including turpentine, ammonia, sodium fluoride, phenol or mercury compounds, as well as spray paint/spray fixative and dry pigments are not allowed. Only low-odor or odor-free mineral spirits are allowed. All solvent-soaked rags must be placed in a self-closing waste disposal can and emptied on a regular basis.
  • The studios are visual artists only; however, the classrooms and gallery can be rented for musical performance and/or rehearsal.
  • Tenants must possess awareness of the health, safety, and hospitable working environment of other artist tenants and a respect for the upkeep and preservation of the facilities. This includes but is not limited to noise pollution (eg: loud equipment and music), use of toxic materials, and the use and proper disposal of studio waste (eg: solvent soaked rags, hot wax, turpentine, acetone, etc) and keeping common areas clean. Artists will also avoid unsolicited critiques and only offer feedback when asked.
  •  Allowance of pets is to be determined by selected artist group. All artists must agree to the presence of pets, otherwise, they will not be allowed.
  • A 30% commission will be collected by the OCAC for work sold in public exhibit spaces.

Piedmont Laureate Fiction Application Call

The City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Durham Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission, and United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County are pleased to announce the opening of the application process for the position of Piedmont Laureate for 2022. Each year the program is open to writers creating work in a particular selected genre (poetry, novels, plays, etc.), and for the 2023 cycle, applications will be accepted from writers of poetry. The selected candidate will focus on elevating fiction in Wake, Durham and Orange counties. The application submission period will begin July 11, 2022 and close on August 30, 2022, 11:59pm.

We hope to elevate explorations of poetry writing across sub-genres and forms. We welcome writers of all forms of poetry and poetic presentation styles, including slam poetry, beat poetry and spoken word poetry. We do ask that the poetry writing is created for an adult audience and emphasizes the written form. Note that future Piedmont Laureate specialization years will include playwriting and screenwriting, fiction, and creative nonfiction, and as such we are not accepting submissions this year from these genres.

Piedmont Laureate Program Mission
The Piedmont Laureate program is co-sponsored by the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Durham Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission, and United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County. Its primary goal is to promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts in the Piedmont region. The program is dedicated to building a literary bridge for residents to come together and celebrate the art of writing, enriching the lives of all our citizens.
The Piedmont Laureate serves for one year and will offer the following activities in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties:

  • Present readings in a virtual or live environment at designated public sites (libraries, arts centers, schools, universities, and other community gathering places)
  • Encourage creative writing for all age groups (by offering workshops or other types of outreach)
  • Promote literature at select public events in a virtual or live environment
  • Bring attention to literature in less traditional settings
  • Propose original activities to expand appreciation of the literary arts

Piedmont Laureate Position Description
Advocate/Ambassador in Fiction:

  • Acts as the official ambassador/advocate in fiction literature for the sponsoring partners and their respective governing agencies
  • Represents the sponsoring partners at literary events*
  • Works with the sponsoring partners to further the literary arts in the local community as an advocate for fiction.

Recognition as Piedmont Laureate:

  • Receives recognition at various area events* and receives online media coverage related to the Laureate program

Hosts Community Literary Outreach Events:

  • Participates in and/or creates 3 events* for each sponsoring partner for a total of 12 virtual or live events.*
  • Regularly update Piedmont Laureate partners on the progress/status of the programming
  • Update Piedmont Laureate website events list monthly

Online Presence and Promotion:

  • Updates the Piedmont Laureate blog, social media platforms, and website at least once a month following best practices for these platforms. Minimum of 18 blog updates, social media more frequently.

*Note: Event ideas may include formats such as workshops, readings, presentations, book signings, virtual/remote meetings, programs, podcasts, interviews, appearances, outreach, etc. Considering the impact of COVID-19 upon our world, the Laureate Partners anticipate a mixture of in-person and virtual Piedmont Laureate events and will follow the Piedmont Laureate’s lead as to what feels safe and appropriate for event format.
Specific outreach activities for the Piedmont Laureate program, planned in conjunction with the sponsoring agencies, will reflect the program’s stated goals, and may include:

  • Readings and other creative writing activities
  • Participation at select virtual and live functions
  • Online media and virtual appearances
  • Creation of at least one (1) original activity to expand appreciation of literature

The Piedmont Laureate may also offer suggestions for future projects that will inspire public engagement in both real and virtual environments and focus on local support of the literary arts.

Piedmont Laureate Term and Honorarium

  • The Piedmont Laureate appointment is a one‐year term that shall formally commence on January 1, 2023 and conclude on December 31, 2023.
  • The Piedmont Laureate will receive an honorarium of $6,000. The Laureate will be paid $3,000 up front, $2,000 midway through the term, and $1,000 upon completion of all events. This disbursement will be coordinated and processed by United Arts.
  • The candidate will be required to sign a contractual agreement with United Arts to be eligible to receive the honorarium.

Piedmont Laureate Application Selection Process
Candidates will demonstrate:

  • Exemplary writing skill
  • History of publication and/or record of recognition within the field
  • Engagement with literary field and outreach to community
  • Comfort with public presentation and interaction in both virtual and in-person environments
  • Understanding of social media platforms Facebook and Twitter
  • Understanding of cloud platforms for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars
  • Availability and willingness to travel in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties for scheduled readings, workshops, and other public events when it is safe to do so according to federal, state, county, and municipal COVID-19 guidelines.

All submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee of literary community experts appointed by the sponsoring agencies. The selection committee will base its decisions primarily on the following criteria:

  • The applicant’s apparent potential as an ambassador for fiction.
  • The nature of the applicant’s affiliation with the community and support of the program’s mission statement.
  • The unique quality of the applicant’s writing samples.

Applicant Eligibility
The open call is for all writers of fiction residing in Wake, Durham or Orange counties who meet all of the below guideline criteria:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Resident of Wake, Durham, or Orange counties for at least one year
  • Plan on maintaining residency in Wake, Durham, or Orange counties for the duration of their appointment as Laureate

Application Selection Timeline
Application Submission Period

  • Application Period Opens: July 11, 2022
  • Virtual Information Session: August 9, 2022
  • Application Submission Deadline: August 30, 2022, 11:59pm

Application Review Period

  • Review Period: September 2022
  • Recommendation by Selection Committee of Genre Specialists (fellow writers, critics, and/or esteemed literary community members): September 2022
  • Interview of Finalists by Piedmont Laureate Partner Representatives: October 2022
  • Selection of 2021 Piedmont Laureate: October 2022
  • Notification of Candidate: October 2022
  • Announcement of 2021 Piedmont Laureate to Public: October / November 2022

Piedmont Laureate Term

  • Piedmont Laureate Appointment Begins: January 1, 2023
  • Piedmont Laureate Appointment Ends: December 31, 2023

Application Requirements
Please upload the following to the online form:

  • Statement of interest (500 words or less): detail how you will contribute as Piedmont Laureate based on the position description and the goals of the program
  • Proposal (500 words or less): detail your ideas for using virtual platforms and in-person experiences to increase awareness and promote the Piedmont Laureate program
  • Work sample (8-10 pages of poetry)  
  1. Sample should be double-spaced with author’s name and title of the work noted on the first page
  2. Writing should be in English
  3. If submitting an excerpt of a longer work, please include a synopsis
  4. Submission may include a mix of forms (e.g. acrostic, haiku, ode, sonnet, etc.)
  5. Poetry submitted must have been completed in the last       five years
  • Resumé: please emphasize literary achievements, literary engagement, and community outreach
  • 2 letters of support
  • Up to 2 critical reviews of work (optional)

The selection committee reserves the right to ask for additional information as needed.

Orange County Arts Commission