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Our History

A Brief History of Featherstone Center for the Arts

• Meetinghouse for the Arts was formed as a not-for-profit arts organization in 1980 to promote the arts and develop community through the arts.

• Early functions were held in Wintertide at Five corners in Vineyard Haven

• In the 1990’s Meetinghouse began to look for a new and more permanent home.

• Two of its board members were artists – Mary Stevens and Virginia Besse.

• For many years Featherstone Farm had been a horse farm owned and operated by the Bannerman family. Many Vineyard families took horseback riding lessons here.

• The owners in the 1990’s - Mary Stevens and her husband Bill were considering selling their 
24 acre horse farm. Mary wanted her farm to become an art center- not a condo development.

• Virginia Besse convinced her husband Arthur to donate the majority of the funds to purchase six and a half acres of Featherstone Farm. There were other donors who helped raise the $300,000 to purchase land for an arts center.

• In August 1996 The MV Land Bank purchased eighteen acres which they lease to farmers – hence the cow pasture in the front and garden plots in the back and through which they provide public walking trails.

• In August 1996 Meetinghouse for the Arts purchased the six and half acres which had the six buildings of the horse farm.

• Meetinghouse for the Arts had to rehabilitate the land and the buildings and reclaim them from horse buildings to an art center.

• Earliest exhibits were held in the horse barn stalls in 1995 and 1996

• The horse barn became the photography lab, monoprinting and weaving studio.

• The brood mare barn became the pottery studio.

• The lower barn became the studio for woodworking and stained glass.

• The Studio was Mary’s studio on top and her daughter’s pottery studio below. 
Her daughter Sherry had built the outdoor kiln.

• The farmhouse became the gallery, library and computer lab.

• The very smallest building - The Pebble - was once a beauty shoppe that was torn down and 
rebuilt as an artist-in-residence facility and is now used as additional classroom and auxiliary 
exhibit space.

• In 2002 the Meetinghouse for the Arts officially became Featherstone Center for the Arts. After all, 
it is on Featherstone Farm…

• For many years Peggy Pinney served as the Executive Director and Chair of the Board and led the task of creating the land and buildings into an art center.

• In 2003 Francine Kelly became the first paid Executive Director and has grown the programming 
and visibility of the center.

• Teaching artists are paid by the hours they teach.

• Featherstone is supported by income from classes, gallery sales, grants, fundraisers and private donations.

• The center is governed by an active board which developed new by-laws, term limits and clearer, more precise governance guidelines in October 2007.

• The board meets monthly on the third Tuesday of each month. Featherstone, the island's only year-round non-profit arts center, celebrates 20 very fruitful years of bringing art, in a myriad of forms, to island audiences and participants.

Featherstone Center for the Arts Mission

Featherstone is a community arts center on Martha’ s Vineyard which provides excellent
year-round arts programs for Vineyarders and visitors of all ages.

Featherstone has become a destination providing inspiration, education and creative
nourishment on six acres of rambling meadows, galleries and studios which was once
Featherstone Farm.

Featherstone offers:
• Year round gallery shows
• Art instruction by gifted, talented and dedicated teachers
• Adult art classes
• Free after-school programs for teens
• Art classes for children
• Pre-school and family arts programs
• Children’ s summer art camps
• Artist-in-residence programs
• Outdoor musical performances
• Flea & Fine Arts Market
• Photographers Salons
• Summer Festival of Poetry
• The Art of Chocolate Festival
• Annual Holiday Gift Show
• Outdoor Labyrinth
• Sculpture Garden
• Opportunities for partnerships and collaborations
• Opportunities for artists to create and belong to an arts community

Featherstone Center for the Arts is 
a year-round community arts center - 
a place of inspiration, education and creative nourishment. 

Creating Community Through the Arts

Featherstone's Charter Donors

Featherstone Purchase and Capital Improvements Through the Generosity of our Charter Donors 

Charter Donors


Virginia and Arthur Besse
For Adelaide, Charles, Dorothy, Julia and Margaret Gostenhofer
For Elizabeth, Louise, Margaret and Ruth Slocum
Mary and Bill Stevens
Margaret Pinney Vance

Sustaining Donors:
Mrs. Helen Bowring
Mr. David Durst

Supporting Donors:
Anonymous (2)
Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Feldman
Mr. & Mrs. Morton Feldman
Mr. & Mrs. John L. Grandin lll
Mrs. Lynne Kenney
Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Tow
Mrs. Cope B. Walbridge
Mr. Donald Welles lll
Mr. & Mrs. Donald Wilks

Ms. Genevieve Abbot
Mrs. Lucy Abbot
Mr. & Mrs. Charles C. Abbott, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. Tony Abbott
Mr. & Mrs. William Abbott
Mr. & Mrs. John Abrams
Mr. & Mrs. Wallace Baker
Mr. Clarence Barnes lll
Mr. & Mrs. Warren Baum
Mr. & Mrs. H. Warren Beach
Mr. Howell Begle & Ms. Julie Elber
Mr. & Mrs. Nate Benjamin
Mr. & Mrs. Steve Bernier
The Rev. & Mrs. Alden Besse
Mrs. Emily Bramhall & Mr. Steve Stinnett
Ms. Martha Pease Bronson
Mr. & Mrs. Fenton J. Burke
Ms. Christina Callan
Mr. & Mrs. Malcolm Campbell
Mr. Ted Cammann
Mr. W. Bliss Carnochan
Mr. & Mrs. Melville Chapin
Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Charren
Mrs. Betty Chestnut
Mr. & Mrs. Willaim P. Costanza
Ms. Marty C. Crary
Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Culkin
Ms. Carolyn Cullen
Ms. Lucy Dahl
Mr. & Mrs. Norris Darrell, Jr.
Dr. & Mrs. Louis DeGeofroy
Ms. Patricia de Kovan
Mr. & Mrs. Donald W. Dick, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. Robert W. Doran
Mrs. Chris Dreyer
Mr. & Mrs. David Dutton
Mr. Mait Edey
Edgartown National Bank
Mrs. Flora H. Epstein
Mr. & Mrs. John Eubank
Mrs. Morton Fearey
Mr. & Mrs. Howard Feinstein
Mr. & Mrs. Oliver D. Filley
Mr. & Mrs. Royal Firman, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. James Foster
Ms. Anne O’Connor Fulton
Mr. & Mrs. William Gamson
Mrs. Kappi Getsinger
Mr. Rael Gleitsman
Ms. Jackie Grimm
Mrs. Susan Halby
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Hale
Mr. Joseph Hall
Dr. & Mrs. Lincoln Hanson
Ms. Jean Hay & Mr. Jack Sternbach
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas J. Healey
Mrs. Nancy Highet
Ms. Tatnall Lea Hillman
Mrs. Harriet Hoar
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Hoerle
Mrs. Nancy Hoffman
Ms. Isabel Hooker
Ms. Anne Howes
Ms. Dana Hughes
Mr. & Mrs. Simeon Hyde
Dr. Michael Jacobs
Mr. & Mrs. Ernest K. Jacquet
Mr. Theodore G. Johnson
Ms. Virginia C. Jones
Mr. & Mrs. T. Curry Jones
Mr. & Mrs. Manfred Karnovsky
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Kaplan
Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Kellman
Mr. Robert Kelly
Ms. Mary Brewster Kennedy
Ms. Joan Kennedy
Mr. & Mrs. Jerome P. Kenney
Ms. Margaret Knight & Mr. Sidney Morris
The Rev. & Mrs. Richard Knight
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Knight, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Krinsley
Ms. Yvonne Kwauk
Ms. Cecily Lang
Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Levine
Dr. Jason Lew
Mrs. Pat Luce
Mr. & Mrs. David Luening
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Lunbeck
Mr. Don Lyons
Ms. Ellen M. Macke & Mr. Howard Pifer lll
Mr. Bruce MacNelly
Mr. Frank T. Mansure
Martha’s Vineyard Cooperative Bank
Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Martin
Mr. Scott McArthur
Mr. & Mrs. David McGrath
Ms. Helen E. Meleney
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Mendenhall
Mr. Philip Metcalf
Ms. Barbara Moore
Mr. & Mrs. James Moorhead
Mr. & Mrs. Len Morris
Dr. &Mrs. Dryden Morse 
Mr. & Mrs. Jerold B. Muskin
MV Insurance Agency
Ms. Marianne Neill
Ms. Julie Norman
Hon & Mrs. James Oakes
Ms. Emily Osman
Mr. & Mrs. Vance Packard
Ms. Eleanor D. Pearlson
Permanent Endowment for MV
Mr. & Mrs. William W. Pinney, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. William Randol
Mrs. Talbot Rantout
Mrs. Margorie Raskin
Mr. & Mrs. Edwin G. Reade, Jr.
Mr. Richard Robinson & Ms. Helen Benham
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Rogers
 Mr. & Mrs. Edmund Ross, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. Howard S. Rowland
 Mr. & Mrs. William Saltonstall
Mr. & Mrs. Martin M. Scher
Mr. Hugh W. Schwarz
Mr. Sumner Silverman
Mr. & Mrs. David H. Smith
Mr. & Mrs. Robert M. Solow
Ms. Karin W. Stanley
Mrs. Helen Hall Stephens
Mr. & Mrs. Louis Stephens
Mr. William T. Stewart
Mr. & Mrs. Marcus Strock
Dr. Peter Strock
Ms. Julie G. Sturgis
Mr. & Mrs. John Suhler
Ms. Mary Sullivan
Dr. & Mrs. Edward B. Sussman
Mrs. June B. Tabor
The Net Result 
Thimble Far
Mr. & Mrs. George Thompson
The Rev. & Mrs. Hal A. Tilghman
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas S. Tilghman
Tisbury Inn
 Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Treat
Mr. & Mrs. Archer W.P. Trench
Ms. Penelope Uhlendorf
Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Van Riper
Mr. & Mrs. Oswald Villard
Mr. & Mrs. John H. Ware, Jr.
Mr. James A. Weisman & Ms. Felicity F. Tuttle
Mr. David H. Wice
Mr. & Mrs. Fred Williams 
Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Wortzel
Mr. & Mrs. Geyy Wroe
Mr. & Mrs. John M. Wuerth
Mr. Hans J. Wyss

Featherstone Center for the Arts at a Glance

The Martha's Vineyard Artistic Outlet

With gallery shows, classes and workshops, art camps, evenings of music and poetry, and special events, Featherstone has been the living beating heart of the Vineyard art scene for over a decade now. Starting out in 1980 as the Meetinghouse of Martha's Vineyard, with a mission to sponsor and encourage community involvement in the arts. Meetinghouse found a home, and a name, when the center, in partnership with the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Association, acquired the farm in May 1996. Meetinghouse changed its name to Featherstone in 2002. Featherstone celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in 2011 and its twentieth anniversary in 2016.  

Watched over by a cow, the six acre parcel devoted to the Arts Center, maintains the feel of a working farm. Situated among unspoiled woods and meadows, the center's five buildings house studios, show space and offices. The farmhouse has been converted into a gallery and office space, the main barn, once used as stable for horses, has been transformed into a lofty artist's studio for photography, printmaking and weaving. A tool barn was reinvented as a workshop for woodworking, stained glass and metalwork. What was once the stable for breed mares and their foals is now the Pottery Studio. On the grounds is an outdoor, wood-fired, brick kiln.

Budding artists/artisans/musicians can explore a diversity of crafts through the Center's many workshops led by professionals in a variety of artistic fields. Along with drawing, painting and photography classes, Featherstone's adult offerings include ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, felting, quilting, knitting, printmaking, tapestry, poetry, writing, mixed media, and technology. 

Art For Kids and Teens

Our children's art offerings include: week-long art camps in the summer as well as weekday and Saturday art classes in the fall, winter and spring. Preschoolers to young teens can participate in daily, age appropriate art related activities. After school programs in photography, ceramics, and printmaking are offered free to teens during the school year.

Outdoor Entertainment

Musical Mondays and Thursday Jazz take place during the summer, spotlighting local musicians in a bucolic outdoor setting. 

Flea and Fine Arts Market

The Featherstone Flea & Fine Arts Market is offered every Tuesday in the Summer 
from  9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. — featuring over sixty vendors.

Summer Festival of Poetry

Summer poetry readings in the evenings throughout the Summer