June 4 brought a dramatic increase in the student population of Vinalhaven as the school hosted the first Inter-Island Arts Festival. Students and teachers from North Haven, Islesboro and Islesford joined Vinalhaven staff and students in a day of art exhibits, workshops and performances.

Artwork by students from all four schools was exhibited throughout the building. Students of all ages took an “art tour.” Exhibited work included examples of photography, drawing, various forms of sculpture, fiber art, vocational art and other two-dimensional pieces.

Festival organizers offered a dozen different workshops. High school and middle school students were able to choose from papermaking, marbling, photograms, printmaking, drumming, Middle Eastern dance, ecstatic dance, architecture and two different Meet the Artist sessions. Vinalhaven elementary students participated in kite making and theater workshops.

In addition to workshops, students were provided time to perform for each other. In a theater performance in the school’s new Smith Hokanson Memorial Hall in the morning, students from Vinalhaven performed scenes from their recent production of “Annie Jr.” and North Haven students performed scenes from their recent community production of “Little Women.” Because the theater performances ended earlier than expected, North Haven, Vinalhaven and Islesboro students performed songs originally planned for the afternoon.

Due to a power outage in the middle of the day the afternoon musical performance, slated for the Hall, was moved to the gym. “The power failure at 11:45 put a glitch in the day,” said Karen Burns, Vinalhaven’s Island Institute Fellow for Drama and one of the festival organizers, “but everyone seemed to bounce back. The kids behaved exceptionally well and seemed to enjoy the interaction with other island kids.” One attendee commented that the festival was “powerful even without power.”

Festival organizer Keely Felton, an Island Institute Fellow on North Haven, decided the program was a resounding success. “It was a really good pilot year,” she said. “We would love to extend it to other schools next year. The school [facility] worked really well. It would be kind of hard to imagine doing it anywhere else with that many people.”

The Inter-Island Arts Council, a group formed at the Island Institute Teachers Conference, organized the festival. The Council includes representatives from Vinalhaven, North Haven and Islesboro. According to Burns additional support came from the Vinalhaven School Enrichment Committee (IIAC), which had been talking about sponsoring an arts festival for years. “It was mentioned during the first IIAC meeting and we decided to try to use the new school space to our advantage and expand it to all of the islands,” she said. The Inter-Island Arts Festival was sponsored by the Island Institute and MBNA.