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

Bearnstow’s Summer 2017 Season has con­cluded, and plans are already under­way for 2018. Watch this site for the roster of Summer 2018 workshops!

Bearnstow’s Summer 2018 Day Camp

Our 2017 Young Artist Residents

Experience Bearnstow by Ruth Grauert

Bearnstow’s “Peg-Leg” Piano

Meet Bearnstow’s Horses!

In Memoriam — Suzanne Jones

In Memoriam — Joanne deMariano

  Visit Bearnstow on Facebook



Bearnstow lies on sixty-five acres 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 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. Its oldest building, the Lodge, was the only struc­ture on the lake on the 1880 geological survey. Bearnstow is located at Spruce Point Camps, which is listed 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 breadth and depth 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 histery 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 (begining at the end 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. There are usually two classes each morning, each workshop having its own aesthetic (see workshop descriptions). 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 7:30 p.m. from June 28 through August 16. 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. The Young Artist Residency Program for summer 2018 will run from June 14 to August 26. To apply, please send résumé, portrait photo, and letter of recommendation to Bearnstow Administration.


Acknowledgments 2017

We wish to thank the following for contributions and/or in-kind services to Bearnstow during the 2017 season: Carolyn Alpert, Altman Rentals, Inc., Marianne Archard, Murray Campbell, David Courier, Kevin Doran, Janet Erickson, Arthur Fink, Gideon Forbes, Barbara Gottschalk, Mimi Garrard, Ruth Grauert, Carol Gregory, Molly Hess, Eric Jones, Paula Jones, Kennebec Land Trust, Helen Kent-Nicoll, Peter Kyle, Margery Lieber and Patrick Szymanski, Sandra Merrick, Bebe Miller, Mount Vernon Community Center, Alene Onion, Gerald Otte, Matt Scott, Joanna Tibby, Jim Van Abbema, Vienna Union Hall, Nitzia Vieyra, Justin Waskiewicz, Gary Wittner, James Woods, and Joe Zina.

Bearnstow Board of Directors


Bobbie Gottschalk, Founder and Direc­tor, Seeds of Peace, Washington, DC


Ruth Grauert, Founder and Artistic Director, Bearnstow, Jersey City, NJ

Bebe Miller, Treasurer, Bearn­stow; Dancer/ Choreo­grapher; Pro­fessor of Dance, Ohio State UniversityColumbus

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

Jim Van Abbema, Webmaster for Bearnstow and Wildlife Biologist, Bronx, NY

Advisory Board
  • Mary-Therese Duffy, Licensed Clinical Counselor, Raymond, ME
  • Janet Erickson, Software Documentation and QA, Framingham, MA
  • Laura Faure, Director, Bates Dance Festival, Bates College
  • Sandra Merrick, Community Contact, Mount Vernon, ME
  • Jo Tibby, Community Contact, Mount Vernon, ME
  • Clyde Walton, Kennebec Land Trust, Fayette, ME



It is Bearnstow’s mission to continue its commitment to education in the creative arts and natural sciences.
Read complete Mission Statement.


Bearnstow is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, and all contributions are tax deductible. Please mail checks to Bearnstow, 83 Sanford Place, Jersey City, NJ 07307; or 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 button to go to Bearnstow’s secure payment page.

Bearnstow is registered in Amazon’s Smile Program and receives a small donation every time you buy an eligible product. Log in with this easy-to-rememer link: http://bearnstow.org/amazon.

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