HHaystack has taken a leadership role in examining the role of craft in our society. Haystack began the invitational symposia in 2002. The goal is to address issues related to the hand and craft making within a broader context of other disciplines. Past symposia have included Digital Dialogues: Technology and the Hand (2002), in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, Craft and Design: Hand, Mind, and the Creative Process (2004), in collaboration with the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Craft and Community: Sustaining Place (2006), Creating in Maine: Makers, Manufacturers, and Materials (2006 – 2009), and Cultural Summit: A Gathering of Maine’s Art Leaders (2010- ).

The symposiums are intimate in scale—there are approximately sixty-five participants, including presenters.

Fall 2015

The fifth annual Art Schools Collaborative, September 24-27, convened approximately seventy-five students and teachers from nine art school in the Northeast, to focus on the creative process. Elissa Auther and Meredith Hall were the featured speakers, with additional presentations and studio activities led by: Amy Stacey Curtis, Farrell Ruppert, and Piper Shepard.

Participating schools included the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Ontario College of Art and Design, Rhode Island School of Design, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY New Paltz, Syracuse University, University of the Arts, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, and the University of Maine at Orono.

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Held every other year, Cultural Summit 2014: A Gathering of Maine’s Art Leaders, was an invitational gathering of Maine arts and cultural leaders – an interdisciplinary group who convene to discuss issues in the arts, such as challenges and successes of their individual work and that of their organizations.

Presenters included writer Monica Wood, Adam Rogers of Thos. Moser, Gretchen Berg and Gwyneth Jones, choreographers and performers from the Maine-based modern dance company Berg, Jones and Sarvis, Heather Davis, the executive director of The Telling Room, and Patricia King, the associate director for the Colby College Museum of Art.

Haystack organized this year’s conference, which provides an opportunity for an exchange of interdisciplinary groups that included writers and visual artists, as well as individuals representing non-profit organizations—cultural, performing arts, museums, arts education, and arts funders from throughout Maine. From September 29-30, participants gave brief presentations about themselves or their organization, shared stories of the successes and challenges of their work, and discussed broader issues related to the state of the arts within Maine. Cultural Summit 2014: A Gathering of Maine’s Art Leaders was supported by a grant from the Betterment Foundation and Haystack’s Program Endowment Fund.

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