Heartwood College of Art started as a School of Art in 1993 in Kennebunkport, Maine. It began as an “idea”, not foremost a business - conceived to inspire a passion for the visual and performing arts. Heartwood initially offered theater, dance (jazz, ballet and African) and a full range of art courses for children and adults. Year-round Community Workshops and eight-week classes were offered in painting, drawing, ceramics and jewelry.
As Heartwood grew, Licensing for an Associate Degree program was approved at the State level. At this time the name was changed to Heartwood College of Art. Growing interest spurred the development of a four-year BFA program. Perhaps Heartwood’s highest achievement was that of a low residency MFA program in 2008. At the time of licensing there were only two such programs qualified in the State of Maine.
Heartwood has been guided and run by an amazing team of faculty and board members. The affordable tuition made it possible for many to enroll who would never have otherwise pursued higher education. The beauty of such a small college created an opportunity for many first generation students to find a “home.”
Faculty members, all working artists, became role models for the students, thus creating a mentoring aspect to their teaching.
Because it was such a small community school, it was flexible and delivered a unique experience.
Heartwood College of Art is a non-profit 501(C)3. Innovative fundraising efforts have included Soupah Bowl, Art auctions (i.e. Paint the Bunk, Trust in Art and Paint the Port), and countless art openings by faculty and visiting artists. “Art to Heal”, a studio experience for cancer patients and their caregivers, was co-sponsored with Southern Maine Healthcare. Heartwood also developed “Artwood Bound”, a program for every fifth grader in the Kennebunks to experience a high level studio immersion for one full week, thus giving back to the community. The program ran for five years.
The strength of HCA has always been creative thinking and problem solving, but inevitably the world has changed, and many small schools have closed. However, our original mission statement stands. … To educate and inspire a passion for the visual arts.
Heartwood recently moved out of the Pepperell Mill Campus in Biddeford as there was no longer a need for large studio spaces.
What is next?? The next chapter is still being written. Artists in Service to Humanity, a philanthropic focus, continues Heartwood’s initial mission with an added impetus to raise awareness and funds for organizations that are on the frontlines. Over the years Heartwood cultivated a network of regional artists and hopes to harness their energy and talent to help generate resources for environmental and Art to Heal projects. In the process of raising funds, Heartwood will continue the educational component of the college with special projects and workshops. Please stay tuned…