News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Compass, April 10, 2014
Haystack receives $2 million grant

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts has received a $2 Million grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation—the largest gift the school has ever received—which will be used to endow the school’s new Open Studio Residency program; according to a news release from Haystack.

In 2012, Haystack received a multi-year, $300,000 grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation to support the three-year (2013-2015) pilot phase of the residency.

The Windgate Charitable Foundation chose to make this recent gift—the Windgate Foundation Endowment for Programs—as an unrestricted one, providing Haystack flexibility in its programming for this and other initiatives. This support allows the school to offer the two-week program at no cost to participants and provides the long-term support needed to offer the residency—which replaces one of Haystack’s workshop format sessions—as an ongoing part of its regular programming. Funds from this award will be used to support the program from 2016 onward.

There are many residency programs in the country, each with its own format and style. Haystack’s residency is distinguished by its collegiality, with artists working side-by-side in open studios, and by the involvement of thinkers and makers from other fields as well. The Open Studio Residency also breaks new ground for Haystack as an institution, extending the use of the school’s studios and facility. The program gives makers the time and place to investigate new ideas, which can have a significant impact on the craft field.

Haystack’s six studios (ceramics, fiber, graphics, iron, jewelry, and wood) are open to participants to work alongside one another and move among the studios, as well as the school’s new digital fabrication lab (fab lab). Technicians are in the studios to provide advice and assistance with projects, as needed. In addition to open studio time, Haystack structures time for makers to share work and discuss ideas. This open format makes great use of the studios and gives participants another way to focus on creative process, craft practice, and materials.

“We’re particularly pleased to receive this award from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, whose past support has allowed us to expand our vision of how craft and creative process can be integrated with other fields,” said Stuart Kestenbaum, Haystack’s director. “These funds will enable us to continue investigating new ideas relating to craft practice, and provide opportunities for makers to explore new ideas for their own work.”