Summertime in Maine: A Haven for the Arts

Artists have flocked to Maine in the summertime
for well over a century. It is
easy to see why, with picturesque fishing villages, the magnificent rocky coast
and breathtaking mountain vistas; Maine's scenery is truly inspiring. As a
result, Maine is home to several programs across the state that help cement its
reputation as a premiere destination to study the arts, and for visitors to see
world-class exhibits and performances.

Visitors in search of a
vibrant dance scene need look no further than the
campus of Bates College in
Lewiston. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2007,
Bates Dance Festival (BDF) has earned a reputation as a leading presenter
and professional training program for contemporary dance. Each summer, BDF
serves as a place for an international community of dancers and choreographers
to study, create and perform. The five-week program brings together renowned
choreographers such as Liz Lerman, Rennie Harris and Doug Varone, who will
present new works this season. BDF welcomes the public to a series of fifteen
performances and events, many of which feature acclaimed contemporary
dance artists from around the world. Contact: 163 Wood St.,
Lewiston, ME
04240; (207) 786-6381;

The town of Brunswick is known for its quaint downtown district featuring
interesting shops and eclectic dining options. There are also several museums
to enchant history buffs, including the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Museum,
dedicated to the life of the Civil War General, and the Peary-MacMillan Arctic
Museum, which showcases mementos from a North Pole expedition
undertaken by Robert Peary and Donald MacMillan.

The town is also home to
Bowdoin College, which hosts two long-running arts
programs during the summer, the
Bowdoin International Music Festival and
Maine State Music Theater.

Musicians from across the globe have been spending their summers on
Bowdoin's wooded campus since 1964 to attend
The Bowdoin International
Music Festival.
Two hundred musicians attend the school each year, where
they have the opportunity to study with a faculty comprised of musicians and
composers from major orchestras and conservatories around the world. The
festival also presents a wide variety of musical programming through its
various concert series, giving thousands of residents and summer visitors the
chance to hear both student performers and well-known musicians. Contact:
6300 College Station,
Brunswick, ME 04011; (207) 373-1400;

For many summer visitors, their trip to Maine is not complete without a visit to
Maine State Music Theater. Founded in 1959, the theater stages four
musical theater productions every summer, ranging from revivals like 42nd
Street to more current musicals like The Full Monty. It is the only resident stock
professional musical theater in the U.S., and allows over 100 professional actors
and production technicians to live, work and play in Maine for 12 weeks every
summer. Contact: 22 Elm St.,
Brunswick, ME04011; (207) 725-8769;

Further up the Maine coast, the idyllic
Downeast town of Deer Isle is home
to the renowned
Haystack Mountain
School of Crafts
. The school offers
intensive studio-based workshops for
all skill levels ranging from a few days
to three weeks. Some of the crafts
featured include clay, glass, metals
and weaving. Visitors are welcome
to peek in at the works in progress
during weekly tours, and there are also several auctions held featuring finished
projects. The public is also welcome to attend the frequent slide lectures and
lively visiting artists' presentations that are held many evenings in the school's
auditorium. Contact: PO Box 518, Deer Isle, ME 04627; (207) 348-2306;

Off campus, nearby towns and villages are brimming with shops and galleries
that draw many art lovers. Visitors may also enjoy a night at nearby
Stonington's restored Opera House, which frequently hosts movie screenings
as well as live performances.

The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture is a nine-week summer
program offering artists a chance to focus on their artistic growth while
surrounded by the beauty of Maine's countryside. The school was founded in
Skowhegan in 1946 to create a welcoming environment for artists to learn
together in a collaborative atmosphere. It is held in extremely high regard in the
art world, and each year over one thousand artists compete for only 65
openings. As a result, some of the best emerging artists in the world study at
Skowhegan, and the work they create there often can be seen and felt in the art
world for decades. The well-known alumni and instructors include Alex Katz,
Louise Nevelson and David Driskell. It is also one of the few remaining schools
in the country that still teaches fresco painting. Some former students' frescoes
can be found on the walls of the nearby
South Solon Meeting House. The
school sponsors a lecture series on weekday evenings that is free and open to
the public. Artists are only allowed to attend one summer, making it a truly
once in a lifetime opportunity. Contact: PO Box 449, Skowhegan, ME 04976;
(207) 474-9345;

Nestled in the foothills of western Maine, Celebration Barn Theater has been
drawing performers for more than 30 years. Located in the town of South Paris,
the Barn has gained a reputation for training some of this country's finest
mimes, jugglers and storytellers. Workshops range from three days to two
weeks and past classes have included voice, clowning and stage combat. Every
Saturday night during the summer, audiences can be assured of an eclectic,
vaudeville-style experience. Contact: 190 Stock Farm Rd., South Paris, ME
04281; (207) 743-8452;

For lodging in Maine's cities and towns click here.
For Maine bed & breakfast/inns click here.
The Heart of New England
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont
Contact | The Heart of New England HOME | Search
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
Summer Arts in Maine
What to Do in the
Summer in Maine

Click here to get your
FREE subscription to
The Heart of New
England weekly

Love New England?
Put it on your wall!  
We have a huge selection
of New England art, prints
& historic postcards.  Visit
Art Gallery today!

More Travel Stories:
New Hampshire
Home ~ Life in New England ~ Recipes ~ Garden ~ Travel ~ B&B/Inns ~ Made in New England ~ Events ~ Art/Prints ~ Archives ~ About Us
Maine Goodies
Home ~ Life in New England ~ Recipes ~ Garden ~ Travel ~ B&B/Inns ~ Made in New England ~ Events ~ Art/Prints ~ Archives ~ About Us
Deer Isle-Stonington, Maine
Maine a haven for artists
Click here for a free MAINE Travel Brochure!