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.

2016 SCI

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. 2018 will mark the 35th annual Student Craft Institute. From Southern Maine to some of the most remote parts of the state and coastal communities, over 2,000 students have taken part in the Student Craft Institute since its inception. Teachers at participating schools are invited to identify one student each, who displays outstanding potential in the arts, to participate in this annual spring program on the Haystack campus.

Held each May, the program provides 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.

2017b SBL Group Photo

Haystack’s 2017 Studio Based Learning, an annual, a three-day studio program for area high school students, was held from September 18–20. For twenty-three 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.

Students from Deer Isle-Stonington High School, George Stevens Academy and the Harbor School in Blue Hill, Bucksport High School, Ellsworth High School, Vinalhaven High School, and Mount Desert Island High School, are slated to attend this year. Instructors will included: Farrell Ruppert (blacksmithing), Nate Willever (ceramics), Holley Mead (fiber), Amanda D’Amico (graphics), Amelia Tolke (metals), and Heather McCalla (wood).

Studio Based Learning was supported in 2017 by the Maine Community Foundation, Parker Poe Charitable Trust, and Haystack’s jackandharriet Fund.


2017 Mentor Program_lampshadesMentor 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, 2018 Haystack is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Mentor Program in which students work 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 participate in workshops with professional artists over several weekends. 2018 mentors included: Kyra Alex (textiles/re-fashioning workshop), Mark Bell (porcelain clay/wheel-throwing), MaJo Keleshian (expressive drawing), Michelle Levesque (Haboti silk dyeing/fiber), Linda Perrin (beginning glassblowing), Nisa Smiley (bronze metal clay (BMC) jewelry), Ellen Wieske (making jewelry/setting a stone), and Eric Ziner (blacksmithing/a bright idea-lamps).

Each year the Mentor Program culminates with an exhibition of student and mentor work.

Support for the 2018 Mentor Program is being provided by these funds of Haystack’s Program Endowment: the Ann and Chuck Holland, Belvedere, and Betsy Rowland. Haystack’s 2018 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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