Creating a creative home for everyone: Featherstone Center for the Arts

Featherstone Center for the Arts sits on the scenic eastern banks of Martha’s Vineyard. Surrounded by beautiful trees and sculptures, artists of all ages and abilities express their creativity on a six-acre farm turned arts campus, complete with sun-filled studio spaces, classrooms, and galleries as well as ample outdoor space for concerts, a weekly flea and fine arts market, and sculpture exhibits.

While Featherstone has always been a home for artists looking to connect with their inner creativity and to one another, over the past two years, with the support of Creating Connection, Ann Smith and Posie Haeger, the two-person team behind Featherstone, have been deepening their commitment to their local community.

“We have implemented thoughtful marketing and community outreach and engagement to share what we do and why it is beneficial to our community. Through a revised mission statement, a new website, social media, engaging programming and multiple collaborations, we feel we have strengthened our connection to our stakeholders and are better equipped to share creative experiences with all of our community.” – Posie Haeger, Director of Development

Taking action on inclusion

Featherstone was already a vibrant year-round cultural hub offering a variety of programs, classes, and events; and with the recent addition of new spaces, they were well equipped for growth in all areas.

So Ann and Posie set out to do just that – identify new ways to invite people in to their space, showing how Featherstone was a place for both tourists and islanders alike.

Creating Connection in Action

Nearly every aspect of Featherstone’s programming and messaging has been infused with a values mindset. These include:

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Looking back at their impact

Ann and Posie report increased participation in all aspects of Featherstone: growth of classes, children's summer art camp, event participation, and artist submissions. Reflecting on their work over the past two years, Posie believes Featherstone is making art and creative expression more accessible on the island:

“We are engaging more people by better communicating what we do and creating programming that is inclusive and interesting to a more diverse population. Featherstone is recognized in the community as a creative destination, but also a connector and gathering place for all regardless of age, background, or skill. We have hosted collaborative shows and events, which offer artistic enrichment and create a sense of community.”

Recent anecdotes from artists and community members referring to the Center as “vital”, “the pulse of Vineyard creativity”, and “one of the jewels in the island’s crown”, offer additional signs that Featherstone is successfully building a creative home for everyone on the island.