WINTER HARBOR — Mary Laury believes children should have the same opportunity as adults to participate in the arts.
To that end, the executive director of Schoodic Arts for All is especially pleased the 2019 Schoodic Arts Festival (July 29-Aug. 11) annual arts festival this year will include a weeklong children’s art camp.
In addition, the 2019 Festival features 90 workshops and 28 live performances.
“I am so proud of these classes because we believe we empower kids when we treat them as adults,” Laury said last week.
The art camp, set for 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Aug 5-9, will offer children ages 8 to 13 the chance to work on projects ranging from needle-felting a bee to an introduction to woodworking.
The festival introduced a three-day art camp in 2017. The following year, camp days were scheduled throughout the two-week festival. This year, they are concentrated into a full week, said Anna Woolf, who coordinates the camp as well as the year-round children’s art program.
The art camp during the festival includes 10 different half-day workshops with 10 different artists, allowing participants to get hands-on experience in various crafts.
“The students really get to see the artists in action,” Woolf said.
The festival, which Laury dubbed, “the biggest party of the year,” features 90 workshops and 28 performances over the course of 14 days. Classes vary widely from oil painting to international cooking, with many of them geared toward youth, and others able to accommodate both adults and younger students.
Among them is a stone sculpture class Aug. 6 for ages 9 and older led by Obadiah Buell of the Granite Garden Gallery in Sullivan. Another, Stuffed Handmade Pasta for Kids, is scheduled for Aug. 7 with instructor Chris Toy. A day-long steel drums class, set for Aug. 10 and led by Ellen Johnson, is another good one for the whole family.
Some classes, such as those in pottery, must run multiple days in order to allow time for the clay to dry. But, most are offered in a single session for either a half or full day. This allows participants the freedom to sample a wide variety of classes.
“Some take 12 to 15 classes,” said Laury. In fact, she said, many people schedule their vacations for this period and come back year after year.
Although the titles of classes such as “Painting Fog” led by Hunt Smith and “Sea Creatures in Clay” led by Randy Fein sound complex, they’re not.
“You don’t have to know anything at all to take one of these classes,” said Laury.
The instructors even learn more about their crafts through their classes.
“The best way to learn is through teaching it,” said Cathy Clark, who will show students how to make realistic animals in her “Needle Felted Figure over Wire Amature” class July 31.
“I know the joy I get from learning something new and I thought it would be fun to teach something that hasn’t really been available around here,” said Clark.
Laury said many of the instructors teach every year. Among them is Cynthia Thayer, of Darthia Farm in Gouldsboro, a published novelist who teaches writing.
This year, she is offering a class in flash fiction, which refers to the art of crafting stories no longer than a page. In fact, a flash fiction piece can consist of only a few words.
“It’s really harder to craft a short story than a long one,” said Thayer, who does not describe her classes as easy.
“I advertise it as hard work,” she said. “I’m giving people an opportunity to do something they might not otherwise do.”
Laury said at least two-thirds of the classes offered this year are new.
“It’s fresh every year,” she said. “We make sure we have fun and exciting things because folks come back every year.”
All of the classes are designed to help participants get out of their comfort zones.
“[The classes] are for people who want to push their barriers a little bit,” Clark said.
Laury said the classes are affordable, with most running under $100. This is possible in part because of the annual silent auction, which kicks off the event. Previews and advance bidding take place
uly 26-28, ending between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. July 28.
Local students can enroll in the children’s art camp at a greatly reduced rate, thanks to support from the Winter Harbor Masonic Lodge, she said.
Classes take place in a number of locations in and around Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor, with many at Schoodic’s Hammond Hall and schoolhouse in Winter Harbor.
“Every day at noon we have a free outdoor performer,” said Laury. This year, performances will take place behind the Schoolhouse in Winter Harbor rather than in Prospect Harbor, where they had been in the past. Grab-and-go lunches will be offered to make it easy for people to see the performers.
Laury said she is excited about many of the evening performances, including the Rwandan drummers scheduled for July 30.
“Where in Downeast Maine are you going to see Rwandan drummers?” she said.
Another highlight of the evening lineup is the film “Loving Vincent,” set for Aug. 2. The film, about the life and death of artist Vincent Van Gogh, was created using 86,000 paintings in his style to create the animation.
“It’s the most stunning piece of technology I’ve ever seen,” said Laury.
Although the Rwandan drummers and the film are obvious exceptions, the majority of the performers and artists leading classes are from Maine.
“We’ve got to support our local Maine artists and performers,” Laury said.
Among the locals are fiddler Gus La Casse, a 2019 graduate of Mount Desert High School, set to play Aug. 9, and the Tough End String Band from Orono, who perform Aug. 6.