In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

A Short History Of Performing Arts On Mount Desert Island

Text by Gina Sabatani and Taylor Thomas-Marsh

Nestled alongside Maine's central coast, the small island of Mount Desert has been a celebrated destination for vacationers and outdoor enthusiasts for well over a century. While many are familiar with the island as a vacation spot, few are aware of its rich, eclectic arts history and its role as a major destination for world renowned performing artists over the years. These artists included some of the most well respected and popular composers, musicians, vocalists, dancers, stage actors and film stars of the era.

In this exhibit we highlight some major focal points in Performing Arts History on the Island with examples from Early Performances on MDI during the late 1800s, then onto the early part of the 20th century and the Building of the Arts Era when concerts, festivals, dance and theatre were abundant. We also explore the cultural shift in popular entertainment when Movies Come to the Island.