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. 

Call for Submissions
Orange County visual artists and poets are invited to apply for participation in the second annual  "Coalesce" - an exhibition at the Eno Arts Mill Gallery scheduled for January, 2024. Ten selected poets and ten selected visual artists will be paired for collaboration. Each poet will write a new poem based on one artwork, and each artist will create a new artwork based on one poem, all of which will be displayed throughout the month of January in the main gallery. A collection of broadsides will be created from each pairing and will be for sale and exhibited during the show. You can view last year's broadside collection here.

The exhibit will open during First Fridays at the Mill on Friday, January 5, 2024. All poets will read their work in the gallery during the event. Accepted artists will receive a $100 honorarium and a complementary broadside of each of their works.


  • All submissions are due by 11:59pm on Saturday, October 1, 2023.
  • Open to artists and poets currently living in Orange County, NC. 
  • Artists who participated in Coalesce 2023 are not eligible to apply.
  • This is a blind selection process and all identifying information will be hidden.

Visual Artists

  • May submit up to two representative work samples (they do not need to be works you plan to submit for the exhibit). An image list with the title, size, medium, year, edition, and price is required. Images should be a minimum 300 resolution.
  • All mediums are allowed
  • All work submitted for the exhibit must be for sale
  • Two and three-dimensional works allowed
  • There are no size limitations
  • Works on paper and canvases less than 1″ thick must be properly framed and wired (no sawtooth hangers)
  • WORK SOLD: For all work sold, the Orange County Arts Alliance (on behalf of the Orange County Arts Commission) will retain a 40% commission (30% for Eno Arts Mill studio artists). The OCAA will collect all monies from the sale of artwork, including tax, through the end of January. Artists will receive payment within 30 days of the show's conclusion. 
  • UNSOLD WORK: Artists may donate unsold artwork to the OCAA or pick up their work the first week of February. 
  • The artist is responsible for insurance of artwork. The OCAC/OCAA will make their best effort to assure the security of the artwork in the Eno Arts Mill Gallery.
  • Artists agree to allow the OCAC/OCAA use of images of artwork for promotional purposes (credit will be given).


  • May submit up to two representative works of any genre, no more than 500 words each
  • Selected writers will be invited to read their works at the exhibit opening on Friday, January 5, 2024. 
  • Artists agree to allow the OCAC/OCAA to promote selected works through social media and the OCAC website (credit will be given)
  • Selected works will be displayed in the gallery during the exhibit.


  • Call to artists open Friday, September 8
  • Call to artists closes 11:59pm on Sunday, October 1
  • Selected artists notified Friday, October 6
  • Artist "meet and greet" dinner Thursday, October 19, 6:30 at Eno Arts Mill
  • Images, inventory information and poems due to OCAC Monday, December 11
  • Work drop-off Tuesday, January 2, 2024
  • Show opening Friday, January 5, 2024
  • Show de-install Tuesday, January 30, 2024

"Coalesce" is curated by writer Morrow Dowdle and visual artist Max Dowdle.

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.
  •  Pets are not allowed.

Piedmont Laureate Creative Non-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 2024. Each year the program is open to writers creating work in a particular selected genre (Creative Non-Fiction, novels, plays, etc.). For the 2024 cycle, applications will be accepted from Creative Non-Fiction Writers of works including biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, travel writing, and new journalism. The selected candidate will focus on elevating Creative Non-Fiction in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties. The application submission period will begin on August 15, 2023, and close on October 3, 2023, 5 pm.

We hope to elevate explorations of Creative Non-Fiction writing across sub-genres and forms. We welcome writers of all forms of Creative Non-Fiction, including biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, travel writing, and new journalism. We ask that Creative Non-Fiction 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 poetry, so we are not accepting submissions from these genres this year. 

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 Creative Non-Fiction:

  • Acts as the official ambassador/advocate in Creative Non-Fiction 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 Creative Non-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 the 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 in 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, 2024 and conclude on December 31, 2024.
  • 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 such as Facebook and Twitter/X
  • 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 Creative Non-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 Creative Non-Fiction writers 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: August 15, 2023
  • Application Submission Deadline: October 3, 2023, 5pm

Application Review Period:

  • Review Period: October 2023
  • Recommendation by Selection Committee of Genre Specialists (fellow writers, critics, and/or esteemed literary community members): October 2023
  • Interview of Finalists by Piedmont Laureate Partner Representatives: November 2023
  • Selection of 2023 Piedmont Laureate: November 2023
  • Notification of Candidate: November 2023
  • Announcement of 2023 Piedmont Laureate to Public: November / December 2023

Piedmont Laureate Term:

  • Piedmont Laureate Appointment Begins: January 1, 2024
  • Piedmont Laureate Appointment Ends: December 31, 2024

Application Requirements

The direct link to the online application is INSERT LINK HERE

 You will need the following to complete your application:

  • 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 virtual and in-person experiences to increase appreciation for Creative Non-Fiction and promote the Piedmont Laureate program.
  • Work sample (8 to 10 pages of Creative Non-Fiction):
  • Author’s name and title of work must appear on each page
  • Writing should be in English
  • If submitting an excerpt of a longer work, please include a synopsis
  • Submission may include a mix of forms
  • Creative Non-Fiction 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