Why This Conference?

With the proliferation of conferences, camps and retreats, you may be wondering, "Why should I attend The International Encaustic Conference?" If you are serious about the art you make in encaustic, this is the Conference for you.

"Wow! It's like the Who's Who of the encaustic world
all in one place!"
—Mazarine Treyz, Conference 6.

The International Encaustic Conference is the longest running annual encaustic conference in the world
We started out as a full-blown Conference, not a camp or retreat, in 2007 with 140 attendees and have been growing ever since.  Our presenters are the best in the field. Our focus is professional. And we bring together a lively mix of artists, critics, curators and gallerists. So not only are the talks and demos inspiring and informative, we create and provide the opportunity for our conferees to network in ways that are just not possible at any other encaustic event.

“This conference is a stellar way to build community.”
--Barbara O'Brien, Director, Kemper Museum of Art, keynote speaker, Conference 7

We are not an organization, a fact that we see as a plus: There are no membership dues, and everyone pays the same fee in stepped gradations over time. The opportunties from showing, learning and networking sustain our conferees all year long. Smaller professional groups have formed as a result of Conference participation, and numerous national and regional exhibitions have been organized as a result of the networking that takes place here. Indeed, several membership organizations, such as IEA and New England Wax have been strengthened by their members' early and continuing involvement in The Encaustic Conference.

"Rather than dividing our conferees with achievement awards, we find ways to reward the achievements of as many artists as possible."
--Joanne Mattera, Conference founder and director

Numerous Opportunities to exhibit
By participating in The International Encaustic Conference, our conferees have numerous opportunities to exhibit their work, not only in Conference-specific situations like the Hotel Fair, Postcard Show and the annual juried show--none of which carries an entry fee--but at the galleries in town. Provincetown is the country's oldest continuous arts colony. Its inhabitants know and love art. There are galleries galore, and many of them are eager to be involved with the Conference. Last year, for instance, over 100 artists from the Conference had work on the wall somewhere in town. And at the Hotel Fair every conferee who chooses has a place to show. Not incidentally, a number of artists are now showing with Provincetown galleries--some are even represented--as a result of their involvement in The Encaustic Conference.
"We are so fortunate to have and be part of this encaustic community you have created."
--Diana Gonzalez Gandolfi, New Jersey, Conference 6 

Must you be a professional artist to attend?
Not at all. We welcome you if you are curious as well as if you are serious. We do expect that you'll have a basic working knowledge of encaustic. (And if you don't, we provide several sessions of basics to familiarize you with the processes, terms and concepts you'll need to carry you through the Conference.)

Must you be a professional to present?
Yes. The organizers are professionals, the point of view is professional,  the presenters are all professionals--and they are unique to The Encaustic Conference. Indeed, they are the tops in their field--exhibiting artists who have shown nationally and internationally in solo exhibitions, who have been reviewed in the major art magazines, who have published books and articles, and who contribute to the discourse in the larger art world. So not only will you find the best presenters, you will find them to be excellent role models. I like to say that you may arrive an "encaustic artist" but you will leave an artist, with a broader sense of what is possible, both with the medium, and with what your place might be in the larger art world.

Moreover, we are inclusive and supportive. Rather than dividing our conferees with achievement awards, we find ways to reward the achievements of as many artists as possible through presentations, exhibitions and a curatorial mentorship program.

If I attend alone, will I feel uncomfortable?
Not at all. You may arrive alone, but you will quickly make many new friends.We do hold an orientation on Friday morning for our new arrivals, but you'll find that making friends is as easy as introducing yourself to the nearest person or asking a group, "May I join you?"

"This was my third conference. How wonderful to see old friends, meet new friends, and experience artists whose medium is wax."
--Susan Delgalvis, Alaska, Conference 6

Are IEA members welcome?
Of course. We have IEA members who present at all levels. We also have some IEA members who attend only this Conference. Indeed, Cherie Mittenthal, who co-produces the Conference with me, is a member of IEA. We are inclusive and supportive.

Why Provincetown year after year?
Well, first, who doesn't love Provincetown? As the country's oldest continuous art colony it has a history that embraces Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko. Hans Hoffman and others. The light is fabulous. And it's a ready-made environment for what we do. Moreover, Truro Center of the Arts at Castle Hill in the next town (a straight shot on Route 6) is eminently well equipped to host the Pre- and Post-Conference workshops.

Equally important, we have found that rather than having to reinvent the wheel each year with a new group of organizers as other conference and events must do, the Encaustic Conference is able to build upon what we have already established. Each year runs more smoothly than the one before. We deepen our relationships with the galleries and museums in the area. Restaurants are willing to stay open later to accommodate us. (Cherie, who lives in Provincetown yearround, is a huge part of why we were so well accepted so quickly into the community.) Returning conferees have room preferences and favorite restaurants, galleries and shops they like to return to. They put down their own roots, so to speak. Many return in the off season.

"What a great week! A dream of what an extraordinary life lived as an artist can be."
--David A. Clark, California, Conference 6

I have included comments by conferees to underscore my own claims about The International Encaustic Conference. It's an annual event that sustains a community yearround, an open-to-all event that operates at a professional level. Anyone can claim quality. We deliver it. Year after year.