reated as a research and studio program in the arts, Haystack’s original mission was to teach fine craftsmanship, develop latent or inherent creative ability, and carry on research and development in connection with the crafts. Over the years, the vision was refined to include the investigation of craft in an aesthetic climate, honoring tradition while acknowledging the rich potential of contemporary visual art. People come to Haystack to develop and discover skills, to nurture their creativity, to ask questions, to reassess their work, and to push into the unknown. The combination of a stunning natural setting, a unique campus designed by award-winning architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, and the focused energy of the school community, provides an environment that supports a serious exploration of craft, ideas and imagination.
|1950||Haystack is founded by a group of craft artists, supported by Mary Beasom Bishop, near Haystack Mountain in Montville, Maine. The first sessions held are in ceramics, blockprinting, weaving, and woodworking. Francis and Priscilla Merritt are hired to direct the new crafts program.|
|1951||First scholarships are awarded in exchange for students’ part-time work on campus.|
|1961||Haystack moves to its new home at Sunshine on the coast of Deer Isle, Maine.|
|1964||New graphics and woodworking studios are added, and the first glassblowing workshops are held.|
|1971||First international session is held, followed by more throughout the decade to include German, Japanese, African, and British sessions.|
|1978||Founding Director, Fran Merritt, retires. Howard Evans is chosen as his successor.|
|1979||Gateway lecture hall and performance center is built.|
|1982||The first Open Door workshop for residents of Maine is offered.|
|1983||The first Student Craft Institute for Maine teens – High School juniors – is offered.|
|1984||Haystack’s Scholarship Endowment is formed, creating opportunities for up to 100 technical assistant, work study and minority students to attend annually.|
|1987||Haystack is awarded the American Craft Council’s Gold Medal Institutional Award for “trailblazing leadership and longtime service in education.”|
|1988||Stuart Kestenbaum is hired as Haystack’s third Director.|
|1991||Haystack’s Monograph Series is established to examine issues of philosophical importance to the crafts.|
|1994||Haystack receives the American Institute of Architects’ Twenty Five Year Award in recognition of the school’s design excellence. Studio Based Learning, a fall workshop for local high school students, and the New England Workshop, a shorter fall session for residents of New England, are offered for the first time.|
|1998||Scholarship Endowment passes the $1 million mark, creating 15 new named scholarships and full fellowships.|
|1999||Haystack Mentor Program for area teens is offered. Teens work in the studios of local artist/mentors throughout the winter.|
|2001||Haystack celebrates its 50th Anniversary.|
|2003||Campaign for Haystack: Renovation and Renewal, Phase II, is initiated to expand the Gateway auditorium to include exhibition space, and to build a new visiting artist’s studio.|
|2004||Discovery: Fifty Years Of Craft Experience At Haystack Mountain School Of Crafts, edited by Carl Little, is published.|
|2005||Haystack completed the Campaign for Haystack: Renovation and Renewal, Phase II, which allowed for the building of a second office structure, the completion of the expansion to the Gateway auditorium, and the construction of a new visiting artist’s studio.|
|2006||Haystack is added to the National Register of Historic Places. The former Blue Heron Gallery and adjacent home, located in Deer Isle village, were purchased by Haystack, where a Center for Community Programs and the school’s permanent offices will be established.|
|2007||Haystack staff moved their administrative offices to the new location in Deer Isle village, and the new Center for Community Programs was opened and winterized for year-round use.
The first Haystack Summer Conference convenes.
|2008||Haystack celebrates Stuart Kestenbaum’s twenty years as Haystack Director. The first summer exhibition was held at Haystack’s Center for Community Programs.|
|2009||Haystack launches Campaign for Haystack: Innovation and Community to support facility renovations and community and innovative programs.|
|2010||Haystack completes Campaign for Haystack: Innovation and Community, surpassing its 1.5 million goal.
The first Art Schools Collaborative conference is offered.
|2011||Haystack completes addition to the visiting artist studio – the former space becomes a new fab lab (digital fabrication lab) established in cooperation with MIT. Haystack celebrates the 50th anniversary of its Deer Isle campus and launches Campaign for Haystack: Campus 50th Anniversary in support of historic preservation, campus improvements, and ‘green’ initiatives. The first Haystack Art Schools Collaborative – a conference for students and faculty from ten art schools from the Northeast and Canada – convenes.|
|2013||The first Open Studio Residency program is offered. Haystack celebrates Stuart Kestenbaum’s twenty-five years as Haystack Director.|
|2014||Haystack receives an unrestricted $2 Million grant – the school’s largest gift ever – from the Windgate Charitable Foundation to endow the school’s new Open Studio Residency and other, future program initiatives.|
|2015||Stuart Kestenbaum leaves his position as Director of Haystack after twenty-seven years. Paul Sacaridiz is hired as Haystack’s fourth director.|
|2016||The Haystack fab lab (established in 2011 in partnership with MIT) is awarded the Distinguished Educators Award from the James Renwick Alliance; this award—the first given to a program—acknowledges the influence of Haystack’s digital fabrication lab on the work that we do at the school and how that work has reached outwards from the campus to impact the broader field.|
|2017||Haystack celebrates the 35th Anniversary of Open Door.|
|2018||Haystack celebrates the 35th Anniversary of Student Craft Institute and the 20th Anniversary of the Mentor Program.|