For the second year, the Island Institute hosted a free six-week lecture series every Wednesday from July 11-August 15 that focused on the Maine coast. Authors, artists, community members, and other experts discussed life along Maine's waterfront and offered their perspectives, reflections, and insights on everything from art and aquaculture to modern-day challenges and connections.

Our 2018 Summer Lecture Series featured:

July 11 – Island Inspiration, Monhegan's Art Colony 1895-2000

Leith MacDonald, Artist and Curator

Artist and curator Leith MacDonald talked about his recent research for a catalogue of Monhegan art. Using rarely seen paintings from a private collection, MacDonald explored a variety of connections between the artists and their subjects on Maine's premier art colony.

Audio recording 

July 18 – Confronting Rising Seas on Island and Coastal Communities

Susie Arnold, Ph.D., Marine Scientist, Island Institute

Sea level rise is a persistent and long-term problem. The predicted impacts on homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure, including working waterfronts, could structurally change the communities and economies along our coast. These changes may happen over a long period of time, or they may happen abruptly if we are hit with a large storm. This lecture will discuss the basics of sea level rise, including projections for future water levels, and how the Island Institute is working to build the capacity of Maine’s island and coastal communities to help them adapt in the face of these changes.

Video recording 

July 25 – Island Politics 

Phil Crossman, Vinalhaven Selectman and Business Owner

Being faithful to your political convictions is not always easy on an island. Where are you going to go after you've humiliated your opponent?

Vinalhaven resident, business owner, town selectman, and author Phil Crossman will take a personal, humorous look at the intricacies of life on an island and island politics, and offer his dry take on how being faithful to your political convictions is not always easy on an island. 

A regular columnist for The Working Waterfront, published by the Island Institute, Phil has also had published work in The Maine Times, Down East, and Yankee magazines. He is also the published author of two books: Observations: A Maine Island, and Away Happens. Crossman is a humorist in the Mark Twain mold: wry, satiric, and keenly aware of the shortcomings of human beings, but with a leavening of self-deprecation and underlying sympathy. Though rooted in a regional consciousness (coastal Maine), his humor succeeds in making the local universal. 

Audio recording

August 1 – Island Insights and Inspiration

Barbara Ernst Prey, Artist

One of our country’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, Barbara Ernst Prey will give a talk on island insights and inspiration highlighting her four decades of island painting. New York-based but a longtime summer coastal resident, Barbara has a deep connection to the islands of Maine – her family was among the first settlers of Vinalhaven and North Haven, as well as the Midcoast and other Maine islands, and it is these islands and the structures that she is drawn to. 

Audio recording

August 8 – The Evolving Working Waterfront

Tom Groening, Editor, The Working Waterfront

Just what do we mean when we talk about Maine’s working waterfront? Is it just piers, docks, and moorings, or is there more that makes our coast "work"? Tom Groening, editor of the Island Institute’s The Working Waterfront newspaper, will speak about the battle to retain fishing access to the rapidly developing waterfront that began in the 1980s, as well as what assets remain and what challenges loom for the Maine coast, including quality of life, traffic, affordable housing, and an aging population.

Audio recording

August 15 – Farming the Sea: Aquaculture in Maine’s Future

Nancy Harmon Jenkins, Author and Food Authority

Why talk about the future of aquaculture since it’s been around Maine at least since the 1970s? Nowadays, mussel and oyster farms are thriving enterprises, and new efforts at sea farming come online every year – from seaweed to goldfish to yellowtail, a prime eating fish. Some of these have failed, and some continue to thrive; there are currently at least 24 species of seafood and sea vegetables being raised on nearly 200 Maine farms.

The kingpin of aquaculture remains Atlantic salmon. Recent proposals for land-based salmon, raised in enclosed tanks in both Belfast and Bucksport, promise even more economic significance for Maine fish-farming. While touching on other aspects of aquaculture, Nancy will focus on salmon – because it’s truly the elephant in the room – and will take a look at what these new developments will entail, especially for consumers. She will also look at more traditional salmon farming Downeast and try to dispel some of the more unfortunate mythology with which it has been tainted, reassuring people that yes, Maine-raised salmon represents a tasty, healthful, locally-sourced choice that we can all get behind.

Audio recording