MOUNT VERNON — Bearnstow on Parker Pond, now entering its 73rd season, and located at 84 Bearnstow Road, is a unique summer arts retreat dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of the natural environment. Ruth E. Grauert, co-founder/director, 99 years young, oversees the launch of the 2018 program of public events, which runs through Sept. 1.

Movement & Performance Workshops for Adults

• July 8-14: Peter Kyle and Scott Giguere (New York City): “Slow Tempo”

• July 15-21: K.J. Holmes (New York City): “Combining Disciplines for Creative Performance”

• July 22-28: Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig (Maryland) : “In the Body, On the Land”

• July 29-Aug. 4: Claire Porter (New Jersey): “Writing and Moving, a Creativity Retreat”

• Aug. 5-11: Lauren Kelly-Washington (Maryland) and Judi Jones (Kansas): “Finding Joy and Peace through Movement and Storytelling”

• Aug. 12-18: Robin Gilmore (Maryland): “Mapping the Human Terrain”

• Aug. 19-25: Jonathan Trejo (Mexico) and Kareli Montoya (Los Angeles, California): “Living the Culture of Mexico through the Dance”



• Every Friday at 7:30 p.m. from July 6 through Aug. 17, Bearnstow offers free performances directed by the current week’s faculty for workshop participants and artist residents, in Bearnstow’s Main Hall.

• 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 29: Songwriter/guitarist Gary Wittner and saxophonist Gideon Forbes in Concert, Bearnstow Main Hall.


• Every Wednesday through Aug. 23, Bearnstow offers free community classes for all ages and abilities, taught by the current week’s workshop faculty, at the Mount Vernon Community Center in Mount Vernon.

• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25: A Concert of Mexican Folklorico, directed by Jonathan Trejo and Kareli Montoya, Union Hall, Vienna.

• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1: Young Artist Residency Concert, works created throughout the summer workshops, Union Hall, Vienna.

Co-founded as a children’s camp in 1946 by Grauert, who still teaches and curates programming, and the late Frances Reid, Bearnstow has been nourishing the arts and natural environment on the site of a traditional Maine hunting and fishing camp dating from the early 1900s. Since the mid-1990s the programming has shifted and expanded to include a two-week day camp for local children; a series of eight weeklong workshops for adults in movement studies and performance taught by a world-class faculty; since 2012 a week devoted to natural history conducted by visiting naturalists; a summer long Young Artists Residency Program supporting the creative and professional development of young professionals in the arts; and new this year, an Artist Retreat program, supporting individual artists, and small collaborative teams from any discipline, looking for dedicated space and time to contemplate and advance their creative work.

Bearnstow lies on 65 acres of pristine woodland, bordering the serene Parker Pond in Mount Vernon. Twelve rustic buildings, most nearly a century old, are nestled along the 2,400 feet of rocky shoreline. Participants and guests are housed in rustic cabins, complete with electricity, full bathrooms, and screened porches where they can enjoy the soft breezes from the lake and listen to the loons call.

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. It was originally built as a honeymoon cottage by Daniel Folsom for his fiancée, though as fate would have it, they never actually married. Bearnstow is listed as Spruce Point Camps in the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1922 the property’s natural environment has been carefully protected, first by Colby College biology professor Webster Chester, and then by Bearnstow.

Throughout its long history the resonance of place in all activities has been central to Bearnstow’s mission: care of land and spirit is essential to daily practice. The largely unspoiled environment provides an alternative freedom for aesthetic expression away from the demands of daily life, affording both depth and breadth of experience for teacher, student, and audiences.

Under Grauert’s continuing visionary leadership — Bearnstow was established as an interracial, interreligious, co-ed, arts and non-competitive sports camp — its programs are supported by a team of seasoned professionals including recently named Associate Director Peter Kyle (Artistic Director Peter Kyle Dance in New York City and newly appointed Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut), General Manager Molly Hess (Boston-based dancer/choreographer, arts administrator and teacher), and Natural History Week Curator and Web Master, Jim Van Abbema (New York City-based wildlife biologist). The team of Young Artist Residents who help run camp operations in exchange for the opportunity to study at Bearnstow include Ocoee Chapelle of Maryland, Sophia Diehl, of Utah, Symara Johnson, of Oregon, and Daniel Martinez and Bárbara Valencia Bladinieres, both of Mexico.

To learn more about Bearnstow, visit

To learn more about Bearnstow’s workshops, performances and special programs, visit

For directions to Bearnstow, visit

For more information, contact Peter Kyle, associate director, at [email protected], or at 293-2280.

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