Arts & Music

Feel the artistic magnetism that has long drawn creative individuals to DownEast Acadia. 
Opera House Arts Stonington
Opera House Arts Stonington

Arts and culture in DownEast Acadia is tens of thousands of years old with theater, music, visual arts and crafts, and more. Proudly, the region’s native arts and culture still very much alive and thriving.

Native Basket Market at the Abbe Museum
Native Basket Market at the Abbe Museum

Traditional arts

Time-honored crafts such as basket weaving, sculpture, painting, pottery, and the building of birch bark canoes can be seen in present-day practice and 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.

artistic experiences

DownEast Acadia has a long tradition of summer arts and crafts schools, retreats, and festivals — like the Iota Conference 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. There are “artist in residence” programs throughout the region, including at Acadia National Park and  StudioWorks in Eastport.

Performance Venues

Discover venues like the historic 1912 Stonington Opera HouseSchoodic Arts for All,  Eastport Arts Center, and The University of Machias School of Performing Arts. These varied venues present theater, dance, and music by local residents and visiting artists of world-class prominence.

Performances from talented musicians can be found at first-rate performance halls in virtually every corner of the region including Summer Keys, the Bagaduce ChoraleBagaduce Music, and Monteux Music. Additionally, many larger communities across the region have a regular outdoor concert schedules each summer. 

Mermaid Singer at Eastport Passport
Sandy River of Beach Trash serenades at the Eastport-Lubec Artwalk
Seven Arts Gallery
Seven Arts Gallery
Plein air painting in Castine.
Plein air painting in Castine.

galleries

Visit any town large or small, and you’ll find a host of artists, sculptors, and woodworkers showing their works—ranging from classic Maine-themed oils to modern expressionists to elegant furnishings—at the many local galleries or even at their home-based studios.

Local artists love to host opening-day receptions and chat about their work. Check out the event listings in the local papers to find the concerts, classes, exhibits, and festivals celebrating art in the region. For a list of artists in the DownEast area, visit the Maine Arts Commission and search by county: Hancock for the western half of our region and Washington for the eastern portion.

Museums and Venues

Northeast Historic Film

The Bucksport nonprofit archive is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing Northern New England’s moving image heritage and houses a 140-seat theater.

Cherryfield Historic District Walking Tour 

Visit exhibits on early settlements here in Cherryfield, the local blueberry industry, our historic dynamo power plant, and much more.

Criterion Theater 

Bar Harbor’s 1932 Criterion Theatre is again a shining jewel of Art Deco design, featuring world-famous performers, local acts, and expertly-curated films throughout the year.

The Art Gallery, University of Maine at Machias 

The gallery hosts various exhibits of contemporary works, historical themes, faculty and student work, and selections from the permanent collection.

Artsipelago

A window into the artistic and cultural richness of the greater international Passamaquoddy region gives a unique perspective on the world through art.

The Tides Institute and Museum of Art 

Located in Eastport, the institute is home to a permanent collection of art, artifacts, and rotating exhibits.

The Eastport Arts Center 

The Center’s mission is to nurture and promote constituent groups engaged in theater, art, music, film, education, and community outreach. 

Waponahki Museum & Resource Center

Minutes from Eastport, the Center works to preserve the Passamaquoddy Tribal culture and traditions.

Planning Tools

To help you plan your trip we provide  information on drive time and distances to and around the region. Plus info on other commercial transportation options.

Once you arrive in DownEast Acadia, you will want to access local sources of visitor information, state laws, recreation rules, and road conditions.

To help you pack or plan your day, check out the current weather in the region or learn about year-round averages of temperature and precipitation.

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