Posts Tagged ‘Stuart Kestenbaum’


Monson Arts

April 25, 2019

Intensive Summer Workshops

Monson Arts in beautiful Monson, Maine is offering one-week intensive summer workshops. They provide an ideal environment to focus on learning and studio work. Taught by instructors renown in their field, these classes are designed to give participants unhindered time where they don’t have to think about anything other than making. Monson Arts provides all meals and the option of housing right in town within walking distance to all of our facilities. Studios are open 24 hours.

Monson Arts is eager to have art teachers participating in their programs and will document workshop hours to support your certification needs. They are offering a 25% discount for workshops to Pisacataquis County residents.

During July and August 2019 Monson Arts will be offering eight workshops in a variety of media from drawing and painting to writing and audio production. A typical workshop includes 10-15 participants and they are able to host two workshops at a time in their facilities. Sessions begin with dinner on Sunday night and conclude with lunch on Friday. Workshops are open to anyone 18 or older and working at any level from beginners to advanced professionals. Enrollment is on a first-come first-served basis.


  • Book Arts: Erin Sweeney
  • Relief Carving: Daniel Minter
  • Writing: Kimberly Ridley
  • Mixed Media/Sculpture: Anna Hepler
  • Printmaking/Mixed Media: Susan Webster
  • Audio: Alex Overington
  • Painting: Nina Jerome
  • Fiber/Mixed Media: Lissa Hunter

Check out the workshop catalog at THIS LINK for complete details and sign up online. If you have any questions please contact Monson Arts Artistic Director Stuart Kestenbaum at

To learn more about Monson Arts visit their website.


A Night of Poetry

March 16, 2019

Everyone welcome!

The Maine Council for English Language Arts has added a new event to its annual conference at Point Lookout: an evening of poetry at the Summit! On Thursday night, March 21 from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. join us for an evening of poetry and conversation featuring Maine’s Poet Laureate. Enjoy a reading by Stuart Kestenbaum, connect with writers and educators, relish appetizers and beverages, and share your own poetry or a favorite poem. What a delightful way to take off the chill of a late winter evening! Cost to attend: $55.00. FOR MORE INFORMATION! 


He was the director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine for 27 years, where he established innovative programs combining craft and writing and craft and new technologies. He is an honorary fellow of the American Craft Council and a recipient of the Distinguished Educator’s Award from the James Renwick Alliance.

Thanksgiving (Deerbrook Editions), Prayers and Run-on Sentences
(Deerbrook Editions), and Only Now (Deerbrook Editions), and a collection of essays The View From Here(Brynmorgen Press). He has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines including Tikkun, the Sun, and the Beloit Poetry Journal. He was appointed poet laureate of Maine in 2016. Former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser has written “Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read, heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life. No hidden agendas here, no theories to espouse, nothing but life, pure life, set down with craft and love.”


Stu Leads MECA

August 16, 2016

In the news

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 12.18.38 AMMaine’s Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum will lead the Maine College of Art as interim president until a replacement for Don Tuski is found. By CLICKING HERE you can read about the transition on the MECA website.


Maine Poet Laureate Announced

March 24, 2016

Stu Kestenbaum

Meet Maine’s Fifth State Poet Laureate -Stuart Kestenbaum of Deer Isle Assumes Mantle

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 9.05.21 PM

Stuart Kestenbaum

AUGUSTA, MAINE–The Maine Arts Commission (MAC) is thrilled to announce the appointment of Maine’s fifth state poet laureate. Stuart Kestenbaum, a resident of Deer Isle, will succeed Wesley McNair, who held the position since 2011. By legislative statute, the State Poet Laureate is appointed for a five-year term and may be reappointed for a second consecutive term. Kestenbaum’s predecessors include, in addition to McNair, Kate Barnes (1996-1999), Baron Wormser (2000-2005), and Betsy Sholl (2006-2011).

“When I was at Haystack I would frequently read poems—often by Maine poets—to artists who came from all around the US and other countries,” Kestenbaum said in a recent interview. “I wanted to give them a sense of place—of Maine—of its ingenuity and tenacity and of poetry’s power to slow the world down momentarily and let us see what’s most important.”

Stuart Kestenbaum is the author of four collections of poems, Pilgrimage (Coyote Love Press), House of Thanksgiving (Deerbrook Editions), and Prayers and Run-on Sentences (Deerbrook Editions) and Only Now (Deerbrook Editions). He has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines including Tikkun, the Sun, the Beloit Poetry Journal, Northeast Corridor, and others and on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac.

“Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read, heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life,” Ted Kooser, from 2004-06 the nation’s thirteenth poet laureate, wrote in regard to Kestenbaum’s Prayers and Run-on Sentences. “No hidden agendas here, no theories to espouse, nothing but life, pure life, set down with craft and love.”

Kestenbaum retired in 2015 as the longtime director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. He is currently the chair of the American Craft Council, for which he was elected an honorary fellow in 2006. This month he was also named an honorary member of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) during NCECA’s 50th annual conference in Kansas City, MO.

“Stu’s work beautifully captures the quirky, rural characteristics that make Maine unique and beloved,” said Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission. “The selection committee was unanimous in recommending him to the Governor to be Maine’s next Poet Laureate.”

Maine’s Poet Laureate position is an appointment designed to promote poetry throughout the state while honoring an eminent Maine poet for his or her achievements. The position was established by Maine statute in 1995. To be considered for this appointment, poets must be full-time Maine residents and have a distinguished body of poetic work.

“I’m so honored and grateful to have been selected as the state’s poet laureate. I hope to make connections between writers and other creative disciplines and to celebrate poetry’s power to transform us—poet and reader alike– in unexpected ways,” Kestenbaum added.

To learn more about the Maine Arts Commission’s current and future programs please go to You may also join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @MaineArts.


The Maine Arts Commission shall encourage and stimulate public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; shall expand the state’s cultural resources; and shall encourage and assist freedom of artistic expression for the well being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state.


Congratulations Stu

December 12, 2015

Makers, Mentors and Milestones

KC-Emaillogo[14]Stuart Kestenbaum to be named honorary member of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts during the Makers, Mentors and Milestones: the 50th Annual Conference of the Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts!

Stu was the director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts for 26 years, and left in May of 2015.The November 10, 2016 conference will be held in Kansas City Convention Center and will explore personal, social and aesthetic forces that animate creative work with elemental materials, methods and ideas in the midst of the information age.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 8.51.42 PMRecipients of this award have made outstanding contribution to the professional development of the ceramic arts. Haystack serves learners and teaching artists from throughout the U.S. and abroad. Under Stu’s leadership programming has included workshops, community focused initiatives, mentorship for teens, interdisciplinary symposia, retreats, a writers’ series, residencies, and launched a digital fabrication studio.




In Today’s News

October 23, 2014

Portland Press Herald

This following article was written by Bob Keyes.

Stuart and wife Susan Webster receiving the Maine Alliance for Arts Education Advocacy award in 2012

Stuart and wife Susan Webster receiving the Maine Alliance for Arts Education Advocacy award in 2011

DEER ISLE — Stuart Kestenbaum, director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts for 26 years, will leave his position in May 2015.

He recently informed the school’s board and staff of his intentions.

Kestenbaum, a poet, will stay in Deer Isle and continue to work in the arts.

“I can’t imagine a better place to work than Haystack,” he said in a statement. “I am leaving to continue the investigations that the school has inspired in me – to write and speak about creativity, to explore connections between art and science, and to consult with organizations on how to develop and maintain dynamic programs.”

During Kestenbaum’s tenure, Haystack has become a leading center for the study of craft, creativity and culture. The school attracts international students and teachers, offers workshops for high school students, conferences, retreats, a writing series and residency program and a digital fabrication studio.

Kestenbaum is known nationally. The College of Fellows of the American Craft Council elected him an honorary member and the James Renwick Alliance awarded him a Distinguished Educator’s Award.

A national search for his replacement is planned, said Lissa Hunter, chair of the school’s board.

Haystack “is a world-class institution in large part because of the dedication, skill and creativity” of Kestenbaum, she said.


Haystack GATEWAY

April 27, 2013

From the Director, Stuart Kestenbaum

imagesI absolutely love getting the Gateway Newsletter from Haystack Mountain School of Crafts located in Deer Isle, Maine. My favorite part is reading the segment on the front page called From the Director. Stuart Kestenbaum is the director and has been at the school for several years now. He is an accomplished writer and when I read his From the Director segment I am “there” at Haystack. Stu’s gift of writing helps me smell, taste, feel, hear and imagine whatever he is describing.

When I arrived home today I found the Gateway in my mailbox and before I even took my coat off I stood in the kitchen reading his message. For those of you who have been to Haystack I am sure you will easily picture his words. For those of you who have not been so fortunate, I am guessing his piece will provide you with the images he describes.

Thank you to Stu for permission to re-print his message below. Many of Stu’s columns, along with some other writing in creativity, have been collected in one book called The View from Here: Craft, Community, and Creative Process, published last year from Brynmorgen Press.

Spring 2013

Once upon a time there were pay phones. You could drop a dime in the slot to make a local call and talk as long as your wanted, or with a pocket full of change you could talk long distance, with the operator coming on from time to time to tell you how much the next few minutes would cost. You could make collect calls, which wouldn’t cost you anything. If you were a savvy phone user, you could call home collect, the operator would announce your name and your parents could refuse the charges, and know for free that you had arrived safely at a distant location.

In those golden days of the landline, the pay phone was everywhere—gas stations, restaurants, movies, hospitals, and on street corners.  Some had glass bi-fold doors—I think there is still one at Moody’s diner in Waldoboro—where you could be in an intimate space of quiet conversation while the world bustled outside.

Pay phones witnessed heartbreaks and celebration, arrivals and departures. They were an essential way to communicate. Haystack used to have two pay phones—one in the dining room and one in a handmade booth on the main deck, built of spruce siding with a cedar shingled roof. The word “Confessional” is carved on the door.  The Confessional is right next to the office and without intending to, you might sometimes hear the caller’s description of the dinner menu, studio work, or life with roommates.

Other than writing letters or cards, those two phones were the only way to communicate with friends and family. We would even ask people to limit their calls so everyone could have a turn, and you could often hear the phones ring—real bells not a ringtone—at meals.

Times change. In Maine, New England Telephone became NYNEX, which became Verizon. The mobile phone arrived. Verizon sold its Northern New England landline business to a company called Fairpoint. A few years ago, Fairpoint informed us that since we weren’t generating enough income for them from the phone in the dining room, we would have to pay a very large monthly fee. So the phone was removed. You can still see its ghostly imprint on the wall.

Last fall Fairpoint jettisoned its no longer paying for itself pay phone business, selling it to another company, which informed us that they wanted us to pay another exorbitant fee for the remaining phone—the Confessional. We refused, and sometime this spring the phone will be removed. The building will remain—I think of it as our own shrine to communication. Perhaps people with the urge to talk on the cell phones can sit in there and talk, or just quietly confess to no one.

Now we can communicate in so many ways—talk, text, email, facebook and tweet.  Even with our slow internet on an island in Maine, information moves pretty quickly and constantly too. Of course quick isn’t always what we’re after, especially when it’s coupled with constantly. At Haystack we have the rare opportunity to disconnect. We can disconnect from the part of our lives that is sometimes swirling around us with more information than we can process, and re-connect with another part of ourselves.  It’s the part that’s not skimming the surface, but diving deeper, it’s the part with the questions and other answers. It’s the part that has been waiting for us to call.

Stuart Kestenbaum


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