A unique summer retreat dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of
our natural environment. Weeklong workshops are offered for youth and adults
that explore the natural world through the lens of creative arts and sciences.

Welcome to Bearnstow

See Bearnstow‘s 2020 roster of faculty and workshops.

Young Artist Residency Program

Artist Retreat Program

Bearnstow Accommodations

History of Bearnstow

Experience Bearnstow by Ruth Grauert

Children’s Camp in the ’50s & ’60s

Make your tax-deductible donation to Bearnstow today!

Visit Bearnstow on Facebook

In Memoriam

We are saddened to learn that our mentor, teacher, director, and friend to generations, Reg (Ruth) Grauert, passed away peacefully at her home in Jersey City on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, after a brief illness. Close members of her very supportive family were at her side. Reg was 101 years old.

Over the past few weeks she expressed her excitement to spend another summer in Maine, as she had since 1945. She hoped for a time she could be surrounded by friends and the energy of a full camp.

View the full memorial tribute here.

Reg at the mouth of Uncle Daniel’s Brook at Bearnstow in June 2016

Regrettably, the 2020 Bearnstow summer workshops have been suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we know this is a disappointment to all of us, we hope you understand the necessity of this decision. Keeping our staff, teachers, and participants safe and free of exposure must be a high priority.

We have left our previously scheduled workshops and events intact for your review, and we hope to be able to schedule the same or very similar programs in 2021.

Thank you for your interest and for registering at Bearnstow. We look forward to summer 2021 and hope that you will consider registering for one or more of our workshops then! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Bearnstow lies on sixty-five acres (26.3 ha) of pristine woodland, border­ing the serene Parker Pond in Mount Vernon, Maine. Twelve rustic build­ings, most nearly a century old, are nestled along the 2,400 feet (732 m) of rocky shoreline. Participants are housed in rustic cabins, complete with electricity, full bathrooms, and charming screened porches where they can enjoy the soft breezes from the lake and listen to the loons call. For more information see Bearnstow Accommodations.

The property is protected in perpetuity by a conservation easement held by the Kennebec Land Trust. The oldest building, the Lodge, was the only structure on the lake on the 1880 geological survey. Outdoor classes are often taught from the Lodge porch (photo left). Bearnstow is listed as Spruce Point Camps in the National Register of Historic Places.

Bearnstow has had a rich history of arts-related activities linked to a practice of environmental responsibility. Throughout our history the resonance of place in all activities has been central to our mission: care of land and spirit is essential to daily practice. Our unspoiled environment provides an alter­native freedom for aesthetic expression away from the demands of daily life.

Our summer programs emphasize the connection between environment and learning. The immediacy of our natural surroundings affects the depth and breadth of the learning that takes place, for both teacher and stu­dent. For a sense of the impact of our natural environment, read Experi­ence Bearnstow, by Ruth Grauert.

Workshops for Adults

Since the early 1990s, Bearnstow has offered workshops in movement stud­ies and performance taught by a world-class faculty, and since 2012 a week devoted to natural history conducted by visiting naturalists (Natural History Week).

Sessions for Young People

A two-week Day Camp for children 6 to 14 years of age is offered each summer (beginning the last week of June). Children partici­pate in a daily program focused on creative arts and physical activities, including classes in dance, art, swimming, and horseback riding. Teen dancers are invited to attend adult workshop classes from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Permission of the instructor is needed for admission. Fee is $75.00 for the five morning sessions. To apply, write Bearnstow Administration describing the student’s interest.

Community Classes for All Ages

Bearnstow offers free community classes for all ages and abilities at the Mt. Vernon Community Center every Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. from June 26 through August 14. Please see the workshop descriptions for the instructors and content of each class. For more information, phone 207-293-2280 (after June 15).

Young Artist Residency Program

Designed for the emerging performing artist, the Young Artist Residency Program is a summer intensive of excellent dance and dance instruction. The program includes full participation in all workshop classes (8 week­long workshops, 25 hours weekly), instruction and mentoring by an international staff of professional dancers and choreogra­phers, and participation in weekly informal showings and a presentation of their own work in a formally mounted concert. In return, the residents assist in food preparation and camp facility maintenance throughout the summer. In addition to these duties, our young artist residents have designed programs and promotional material, conducted research, composed sound scores, choreographed their own works, created dance videos, and have gone on to perform together in other venues. To apply, send résumé, color portrait photo, and letter of recommendation to Bearnstow Administration (admin[at]bearnstow[dot]org).

Bearnstow Board of Directors

Carol Dilley, Chair, Department of Theater and Dance, Co-Director of Dance, Bates College

Bobbie Gottschalk,
Co-founder and former executive director, Seeds of Peace, Washington, DC

Margery Lieber, For­mer Associate General Counsel, National La­bor Relations Board, U.S. Government, Arling­ton, VA

Bebe Miller, Artistic Director, Bebe Miller Company; Prof. Emerita of Dance, Ohio State Uni­versity, Columbus, OH

Gerald Otte, Choreo­grapher/Dancer/Com­poser; former Adjunct Instruc­tor in Dance, Hunter College, New York, NY

Advisory Council
Molly Hess, Associate Director, Bearnstow; Day Camp Director; dance artist and educator, Brooklyn, New York
Mary-Therese Duffy, Licensed Clinical
Counselor, Raymond, ME

Sandra Merrick, Community Contact,
Mount Vernon, ME
Jo Tibby, Community Contact,
Mount Vernon, ME

Jim Van Abbema, Web Advisor, Wildlife Biologist, Bronx, NY

Bearnstow is committed to education in the creative arts and natural sciences.
Read complete Mission Statement.

Acknowledgments 2019

We wish to thank the following for contributions and/or in-kind services to Bearnstow during the 2019 season: Altman Rentals, Inc., Marianne and John Archard, Jenny Bean, Bob Beswick, David Courier, Mary-Therese Duffy, Ted Elliman, Janet Erickson, Laura Faure, Allyson Jones, Marc Ferraro, Arthur Fink, Gideon Forbes, Suzy and Squire Fridell, Mimi Garrard and James Seawright, Tom and Bobbie Gottschalk, Gottschalk, Ruth Grauert, Carol Gregory, Molly Hess, Eric Jones, Paula Jones, Elizabeth Keen, Peter and Anne Koletzke, Peter Kyle, Phyllis Lamhut and Robert Small, Margery Lieber, Lydia Merrick, Sandra Merrick, Bebe Miller, Morten Moesswilde, Mount Vernon Community Center, Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance, Alene Onion, Gerald Otte, Kellie Pennington, Eunice Reneyske, Mike Retelle, Nicole Rogers, William and Patricia Rosenberg, Jo Tibby, Tuft & Needle, Jim Van Abbema, Vienna Union Hall, Nitzia Vieyra, and Gary Wittner.

Donations: Bearnstow is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation; all contributions are tax deductible. You may donate online by credit card. Please enter the amount of your donation (e.g., 100.00 without the $ sign) in the field on the right and click the Donate to go to Bearnstow’s secure payment page. Or, if you wish to donate by check, we ask that you send it directly to our bank in Augusta, Maine. To help us track your donation and know your preferred donation area, please complete our online contribution form.

Join Bearnstow’s Mailing List: Subscribe (or Unsubscribe) to the Bearnstow mailing list and keep up to date on all of Bearnstow’s activities. Write Bearnstow Administration, complete your information and tick “Subscribe” or “Unsubscribe” on the form.

Bearnstow is registered in Amazon’s Smile Program and receives a small donation every time you buy an eligible product. Next time login to Amazon here.

Please visit our companion Web site — Bearnstow Journal — which offers articles on the Nikolais esthetic and the arts.