Posts Tagged ‘Stonington’


Cover Art Contest

December 18, 2016

Island Heritage Trust


Island Heritage Trust, Deer Isle & Stonington Maine’s local land trust, is putting a call out for a Preserve Brochure Cover Art contest. The Trust is looking for black and white original artwork for eight brochures that will visually represent the beauty and character of Deer Isle’s preserves. Artists may submit one or multiple illustrations for one or multiple brochures. Winning cover art will become the public face of the preserves for decades to come.

Deadline: April 15, 2017

Please refer to the Preserve Brochure Cover Art Contest Guidelines for contest details; artwork size is very specific to the format of the brochures. Guidelines can be found at or contact to have them sent.

For more information, contact Marissa Hutchinson, Development Director for the Island Heritage Trust at or call 207-348-2455.


An Email from Dan!

September 19, 2012

I received the following email yesterday morning from Mount Desert Island High School Art Educator Dan Stillman. Dan and his two visual art colleagues, Charlie Johnson and Elizabeth Keenan all enjoyed the opportunity of attending the visual art education conference.

Dear Argy,

Once again our MAEA (Maine Art Education Association) Haystack weekend rejuvenated the student-artist in me and inspired the teacher within me too!

Please indulge an inspired rant:

During my reflective return trip home on Sunday, I mulled over a few stories from art teachers who had a challenging time convincing their administration of the importance of attending yearly Haystack workshops.

I lamented “Why can’t some administrators understand how important it is for an artist to expand his portfolio and broaden her range of media? Why would they even hesitate to support the feeding of our souls? Don’t they want happy, inspired art teachers?!

It later occurred to me that perhaps our MAEA Haystack weekend might be experiencing the same perception challenges that many of our art classes do in our schools back home…

My experience is that most art students, parents, guidance counselors, administrators, and teachers-of-the-three-R’s naively measure the merits of an art class by the tangible art works and the apparent “fun” students have making them. “Specials” are often perceived as a reward for the students– a pleasant break from the rigors of an academic day. Is Haystack just a resort? Just an artist’s retreat? A pleasant break from the rigors of teaching?

While those perceptions are appreciative in nature, we art educators KNOW there are valuable skills and practical benefits to practicing one’s art. Do our principals and superintendents understand the rigor and discipline of an exhausting right-brained workout? Do they understand the degree to which our Haystack workshops put the ARTS STANDARDS into practice?

They should…and it’s up to us to teach ‘em.

  • WE are the teachers and preachers of the CREATIVE PROCESS for crying out loud!
  • WE offer an entirely different vocabulary and language to communicate and demonstrate understanding in all the academic disciplines!
  • AND we work and play at the tippy top of Bloom’s Taxonomy!

For sooo long the arts have been peripheral enrichment to core-subject learning in public education…

Now we have representation at the State level, our own Essential Standards and evolving, technologically-advanced assessments that give us voice and a level of pedagogical understanding no other generation of art teachers (or Haystack participants) have had before…

We should write thank you letters to our learning communities, show them samples of our work and spell out the rigor and reflection we enjoyed… and endured.

Those rushed samples of our weekend art-making can’t capture the intensity of our humbling experience as a student of art and the learning process. We need to share teacher-artists statements too.

Haystack where is not just a break from school… it IS SCHOOL that humbles us right back into students!


2012 Haystack – Maine Art Educators conference

Photos in this post were taken by Charlie Johnson. You can view other photos from the conference by clicking here.



September 18, 2012

A trip to Haystack for professional development

I had the privilege and time to attend the Maine Art Education Association annual fall conference at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I participated in the Basket Making session with 9 visual art teachers from different parts of the state. It was FABULOUS! Most importantly for art educators who attend, other than during the time teachers take to sleep, it is a continuously opportunity for professional development.

The weather was beautiful for most of the weekend and extra special on Sunday morning. I was up until long past midnight on Saturday night completely engaged in creating my 3rd basket. I woke up Sunday morning at 6AM and popped out of bed anxious to get back to the studio to start a 4th basket. I was distracted by the light on the ocean and had to make my way down to the rocks for a few minutes to reflect on my good fortune. To be able to spend time creating in such a beautiful place is a special gift. And to be with a large group of art educators committed to learning is unique!

When I attended Haystack as a teacher and would return to my classroom my students would be so excited to see what I had made and I was equally excited to share. I would attempt to explain to my colleagues about Haystack. Anyone who has been there understands the Haystack experience. What is Haystack to art teachers? What does the experience provide? Why is it important? What is essential to communicate with students, colleagues, and perhaps parents about the experience? Do art teachers have a responsibility to communicate about the experience?

Here is what the opportunity offers me, still, after all these years (I think I’ve attended the fall conference 28 times out of the last 32 years)…

  • I am put in the position of “learner” and understand  how students feel
  • Sometimes I am pushed to the edge and it is uncomfortable, I am stretched and sometimes stressed
  • I experience the creative process and I am engaged creatively and use my creativity
  • My time is limited – I want to do more and tell myself that I can sleep when I am dead
  • Being in an environment I love motivates me and engages all my senses
  • I have the chance to ask art teachers questions about their work as educators and listen to their ideas, questions, excitement, disappointments, and concerns
  • When they get excited about the work they are doing with students it tells me how fortunate Maine is to have such great teachers who not only care about students but are willing to go deeper to become better teachers. Their passion comes through loud and clear!
  • I connect with others and their work when I visit the various studios and see what they are doing. I learn from each of them as they explain their process, their challenges, their ideas and on and on.
  • My soul is nourished in every way and all my senses are awakened and reaching their potential
  • I forget about what I have to do (my lists of work tasks back home) and do what I want to do (create)!
  • I reflect on my work, articulate my learning verbally, put it in writing, share in the critique process, problem solve, integrate my thinking, depend and build on my past learning, and go to the next level.
  • I feel a great deal of pride!
  • I know that this learning opportunity mirrors the work of teachers and is an essential part of professional development opportunities that I have.

As I traveled towards home on Sunday afternoon I tried to imagine what my life as an art educator would be like if there was no Haystack in my world?! I wonder what I will tell my colleagues about the experience? Will I describe the three days and will they understand? Will I be fortunate enough to attend next year?! I sure hope so.

Thank you to Maine Art Ed Association for organizing the conference and especially to the co-chairs Holly Houston and Lynn Wildnauer and the registrar Deb Bickford for their time and commitment to the planning.

Thank you to MDI art educator Charlie Johnson for supplying many of the photos for this blog post.

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