In September, Tarah Waters began work in Eastport as an Island Fellow through the Island Institute (publisher of The Working Waterfront). Waters is a Colorado native and graduate of Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. with a B.A. in international studies.
Her work is focused on Eastport’s growing arts community, and she is serving as one of four staff members of the Eastport Arts Center.
Waters also served more than two years in the Peace Corps, doing youth development and health education work in Morocco. Young people in Morocco and Eastport “are both ready to take on the world,” she said, and both have ample courage and enthusiasm. In her first week in town, she was impressed to see young people on bikes out by themselves in the evening for an arts center event.
She finds Eastport “stunning, completely natural and mysterious” and the people to be “proud and community oriented.” The arts center is a testament to a commitment to creative energy, she observed. With seven constituent groups including an orchestra, chorus, home theatre company, film program and an art gallery, the center has on-going year-round events.
On any given day, Waters will be assisting with youth programs at the center and the school, helping with administrative duties and setting up for the numerous year-round events.
The creation of a “maker’s space” was central to the project application that brought this island fellow to Eastport. Working in collaboration with the Peavey Memorial Library and the Tides Institute, Waters, on behalf of the arts center, is floating the idea of creating a well-equipped communal space in town that would serve the creative community.
“This space would provide opportunities for artists, students and other community members to share ideas and build on their skills,” she explained. A wood shop, sewing area and high tech graphic equipment could be included.
Waters says she’s learned that imposing ideas on a community doesn’t work, and she is finding ways to learn from stakeholders.
“It is up to the people that live here to take ownership,” she said.
In recognition of the scope of this project, she is imagining starting small with a group of kids building projects in the arts center.
Coverage of Washington County is supported by a grant from the Eaton Foundation.