DownEast Acadia has an arts and culture scene that goes back not only generations to the first Europeans settlers, but long before that among the region’s Native American communities.
Traditional folk art such as basket weaving, sculpture, painting, pottery, and the crafting of birch bark canoes can be seen in present-day practice and in historical exhibitions at places like the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor and the Waponahki Museum & Resource Center at Pleasant Point, where workshops are often held as well.
We have a long tradition of summer arts and crafts schools, retreats, and festivals—like the Beehive Design Collective, the Tides Institute & Museum of Art, Iota’s classes for short-form writing, and the world-famous Haystack Mountain School of Crafts—that bring together artists and artisans and result in an explosion of multidisciplinary and multifaceted creativity.
We have venues—like the 1912 Stonington Opera House and Schoodic Arts for All—that host theater, dance, and music by talents that range from local residents to visiting artists of world-class prominence. And art galleries abound. Visit any town large or small, and you’ll find a host of artists, sculptors and woodworkers working in their home-based studios, and showing their works—ranging from classic Maine-themed oils to modern expressionists to elegant furnishings—at the many local galleries or even at their studios. Groups of artists have put together routes for those interested in visiting their studios: Our artists love to host opening-day receptions and chat about their work. And check out the event listings in the local papers to find the concerts, classes, exhibits, and festivals celebrating art in the region and local communities!
For a list of artists in the area, visit the Maine Arts Commission and search by county: Hancock for the western half of our region and Washington for the eastern portion.
A few other not-to-be-missed arts and culture opportunities include: