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2016 Haystack Alumni & Friends Retreat

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine
September 28 - October 2, 2016 / Register by September 5th!

Attendees: Fill out Bio and Image Form Here!


What is Haystack?  Watch this video created by Joel Kurtz '87

What is the Alumni & Friends Retreat all about? See photos from last year and check out what a sample schedule of events looks like.

The History of MassArt at Haystack
(hint: the founding director was an alumnus!)

Experience an unforgettable long weekend of art-making at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts overlooking the breathtaking Maine coastline. Share experiences, skills, and memories in daytime workshops and evening gatherings led by current MassArt faculty and alumni.

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts is a beautiful art school located in Deer Isle, Maine. Its original director, Fran Merritt ’34, was the visionary who saw the potential in the site and eagerly convinced the Haystack Board of Directors to purchase the current property. 

Since 1978, under the direction of faculty member Janna Longacre, MassArt students and faculty have rented the entire Haystack facility for four days of art-making in this spectacular environment. From the beginning, MassArt faculty thought students would benefit from the experience of living and working together as a community where the environment was breathtaking and the food was out of this world. Many students have said that it was the best experience they ever had while at MassArt.

Responding to many requests from alumni, Janna organized the first Haystack trip for alumni in 1998. Unlike the student trips, the alumni and friends trip is full of workshops and demonstrations. Enjoy everything from ring making to plen air painting, nature walks to dance parties, and of course, plenty of fantastic food. All participants have an opportunity to show their own work and network together. Janna also shares information on grant writing, artist residencies, and international opportunities for artists. All four days are packed with exciting activities to inspire, challenge, and give everyone an opportunity to expand their art-making process.

Of course, there is also the opportunity to relax, meditate, and take it all in. Breathe deeply and look at the stunning landscape. Located on the edge of the water, overlooking a beautiful seacoast, Haystack is one of the most inspirational locations you will ever visit. Spending four days there is a gift to yourself and others that you won’t soon forget. We have had many alumni return, some again and again, to take advantage of this retreat, and many of them say it is one of the best things they have ever done.

So, we hope this year will be your year. Whether it is your first time or you have been there many times before, Haystack is always new and will always refresh you. Call your friends and plan to join us this fall. You’ll be so glad you did.

2016 Workshop Offerings

Panorama Workshop for all artists

This 3-hour workshop will contain a short presentation exploring the history of panoramic art with an emphasis on traditional and non-traditional art. We will then move to a drawing/painting workspace to create small sketches that allow the artist to experiment with various media and methods.

Hand-painting on Silk

Attendees of this workshop will learn preparation and technique for hand-painting on silk with dye. Silk will be available for purchase for a modest fee and dyes are provided free of charge. Painted silk can be worn as a garment, or stretched and hung as wall art. The sky is the limit for this elegant and colorful medium.

Through the Pinhole

From Plato's Allegory of the Cave all the way to the contemporary work of Abelardo Morell and others, pinhole imagery has captivated the imagination of countless people. The unique, “impressionistic” photographs that result from the process provide a great way of experiencing the light and scenery of the Haystack environment. Participants will have the opportunity to build a pinhole camera using everyday objects and use it to make beautiful black-and-white prints in the darkroom.

Monoprinted, Ghost Printed, and Stenciled

In this workshop we'll learn how to make rich and colorful monoprints by using a roller, a flat surface (such as plexi glass), paper cut outs and other flat objects (like leaves), ink and paper. The second pull of the print is called the ghost print, which can be surprisingly beautiful. We'll experiment with the ghost print, allowing for the unexpected twists that are inherent in printmaking. We'll wander, observe, and imagine the real or fantastical creatures that live in the trees, rocky shoreline, water, earth and sky around Haystack.

Woodland Spoon Carving

In this spoon carving workshop, students will learn how to create their own wooden spoon. Watch demonstrations on how to split logs with a froe, then how to carve out spoon blanks with a carving axe. Each student will get their own freshly chopped piece of wood to turn into spoon of their own design. Shaping is done using only one straight and one curved knife. In the end, students will finish their spoons with a mixture of oil and local beeswax.

Raku Tile Workshop

Raku is a traditional Japanese firing process that involves taking ceramic pieces out of a red hot kiln at 1800 degrees and placing them in containers filled with combustible materials. There will be fire, smoke, and excitement in the air during the process. The glaze colors produced from the firing are spectacular and unique. Participants will have the opportunity to glaze pre-fired ceramic tiles and watch and assist in the Raku process. A huge hit last year, this is an exciting process to see and be a part of.

2016 Scholarship Opportunity

This year, the MassArt Alumni Association is offering seven $225 need-based scholarships to alumni to attend this year's trip, thereby reducing the cost to either $325 for a twin near the central washroom or $375 for a twin with bath.

Past scholarship recipients are unfortunately ineligible for a 2016 scholarship, though past applicants who were not awarded a scholarship are encouraged to apply. 

Apply for a 2016 Haystack Scholarship here.

Applications are due Friday, July 29th, and recipients will be notified by August 5th 2016. All MassArt alumni with financial need are encouraged to apply, including prior applicants who were not awarded scholarship in the past.

Register by September 5th!

Register here online or call the Alumni office at (617) 879-7020.  You will need payment method ready to complete this registration.  Registration closes September 5, 2016.  If you need to set up a payment plan, please contact Patrick Luteran Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at (617) 879-7020.


Room and meals are included in the registration fee...and the food is AMAZING!!  In the Haystack tradition, rooms are assigned based on age and physical need.  Pricing for 2016 is as follows: 
  • Dormitory (shared quarters with 5 or more attendees) $450
  • Twin (shared with one other attendee) $550
  • Twin with bathroom (shared with one other attendee) $600
Both the dorm and twin options are near the central washroom with stall-style showers. Please indicate any special needs you may have on the registration page or contact the fundraising events office.


Individuals are responsible for their own transportation to the campus.  Please find driving directions here.  If you would like to offer a ride, please contact Patrick Luteran Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at alumni@massart.edu or (617) 879-7020.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

The following cancellation policy pertains to all cancellations for any reason whatsoever, which must be made by email to alumni@massart.edu or phone to (617) 879-7020.
  • 100% refund for cancellations before August 16, 2016
  • 50% refund for cancellations before August 31, 2016
  • No refunds will be given for cancellations received after September 5, 2016


MassArt strongly recommends purchasing insurance against cancellation, trip interruption, luggage loss or damage, personal injury or hospitalization. By accepting to join this retreat without insurance, participants hold MassArt completely blameless of any conditions that will result in cancellation, trip delay, trip interruption, or injury.

Release of Liability

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) acts only as an agent for the participant with respect to booking their reservations at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts during the period specified. MassArt and its agents and representatives do not accept responsibility for loss, damage, injury, accident, delay, irregularity, expense, or liability caused by negligence or default of any subcontracting organizations, their employees, their agents, or representatives. Any such losses or expenses shall be borne by the participant. We reserve the right to cancel the tour prior to departure, in which case the full payment will be refunded to the participant without any further obligations on our part. Any sickness, injury,accidents, dismemberment, or death of a participant is not the responsibility of MassArt, its agents, and representatives, as participants have been advised of the option of purchasing individual insurance against such happenings. By signing up for this retreat, I acknowledge my full awareness of these terms.

Have more questions?

For more information or answers to specific questions, please e-mail alumni@massart.edu or call (617) 879-7020.

For more about Haystack visit the Haystack Website.

Contact Information

Primary Contact

Patrick Luteran
Assistant Director, Alumni Relations

Date & Location

Date: 9/28/2016 to 10/2/2016
Location: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts

621 Huntington Avenue / Boston, MA 02115 / (617) 879-7020