Haystack continues to develop new programs to serve people on the local level as well. Haystack’s High School Programs are some of the other outreach programs that Haystack offers, and largely subsidizes, for residents of its home state and local communities.

Student Craft Institute is a three-day studio session for approximately 70 Maine high school students from as many schools throughout the state, who work with noted New England artists. 2017 is the 34th annual Student Craft Institute. The program welcomes high school juniors, from throughout the state, who have been identified as particularly gifted in the arts, to work in the studios on Haystack’s award-winning campus. Participants include students from a number of isolated rural communities, which is an important aspect of the program for the opportunity it provides to youngsters from different backgrounds to discover that they have common interests and can support one another in work undertaken together. Students from local high schools work closely with their instructors in Haystack’s studios.


Students from local high schools work closely with their instructors in Haystack's studios.

Students from local high schools work closely with their instructors in Haystack’s studios.


Over 1,000 Maine high school students have attended Haystack’s Student Craft Institute. 2017 faculty include: Kyra Alex (textiles), Kelly Jean Conroy (metals/jewelry), Martha Grover (ceramics), Erica Sweeney (book arts), Wade Warman (mixed media), and Eric  Ziner (blacksmithing).

Haystack’s 2017 Student Craft Institute is supported by Haystack’s Program Endowment Fund.


Haystack’s 2016 Studio Based Learning, an annual, a three-day studio program for area high school students, was held from September 19–21. For twenty-two years the program has provided students with the opportunity to participate in workshops
in craft media taught by professional artists. Students and chaperones live on campus throughout the program and, in addition to studio time, faculty artists present work and share their ideas, inspiration, and creative processes, each evening.

Sixty-eight students, from Deer Isle-Stonington High School, George Stevens Academy and the Harbor School in Blue Hill, Bucksport High School, Vinalhaven High School, and Mt. Desert Island High School, attended this year. Instructors included: Patrick Quinn (blacksmithing), Anna Low (book arts), Ellen Wieske (metals), Chris Leith (textiles), and Heather McCalla (wood).

Studio Based Learning was supported in 2016 by Parker Poe Charitable Trust and Haystack’s jackandharriet Fund.

Mentor Program is a follow-up activity of Studio Based Learning, which links local high school students with area artists who incorporate the studio experience into local arts curricula throughout the school year. Mentorships provide an intensive educational environment – the mentor concept is frequently cited as a great way to engage adolescents – one that not only can increase students aspirations, but provide an integrated and challenging educational experience. From January – early April, 2017 Haystack has offered its 19th annual Mentor Program in which students worked with area artist mentors in an individualized and intensive setting. Students from Deer Isle-Stonington High School, George Stevens Academy, the Harbor School in Blue Hill, Mount Desert Island High School, and area homeschoolers participated in workshops with professional artists over several weekends. 2017 mentors include: Kyra Alex (textiles), Mark Bell (porcelain clay/wheel-throwing), Sarah Doremus (automata), Carole Ann Fer (stoneware/table setting), Katy Helman (digital photography), Julie Morringello (lamps/lighting), Amelia Poole (textiles/eco-printing) Susan Webster (mixed media/graphics), Ellen Wieske (metals/jewelry), and Eric Ziner (blacksmithing).


Each year the Mentor Program culminates with an exhibition of student and mentor work at Haystack’s Center for Community Programs.


The show is mounted at Haystack’s Center for Community Programs


Thursday April 27 & Friday April 28 from 9am – 4pm

Saturday April 29 from 2 – 4pm – CLOSING RECEPTION


A selection of student work from the Haystack Mentor Program was also on view, in April, as part of Student Art Month at Blue Hill Public Library.

Support for the 2017 Mentor Program is provided by these funds of Haystack’s Program Endowment: the Ann and Chuck Holland, Belvedere, and Betsy Rowland. Haystack’s 2017 general operating fund is supported in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The highlight for me was how I wasn’t ever limited. The information was presented in a way that let me explore it and when I asked ‘Is this possible?’ the answer was always ‘YES!'”
Sarah Elliott, High school student from George Stevens Academy who participated in Haystack's mentor program


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