Where creativity and community meet

That’s the slogan of the Eastport Arts Center, housed in the 1837 Washington Street Baptist church after that congregation moved up the road and renamed itself Cornerstone Baptist in 2005.

Eastport Arts Center, Washington Street.

Only two blocks from the waterfront downtown, the center is the home of the Stage East theater company, Northern Lights Film Society (how I’m awaiting its reawakening from its Covid hiatus), Quoddy Voices, Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony, a series of visiting musicians in many genres, lectures of all stripes, and even yoga and New England contradances. Its activities range from performances and rehearsals to exhibitions and workshops, physical fitness and dance, open mics and communal meals. It’s also available for rental.

Upstairs features a 106-seat theater/concert hall, while downstairs has an open community gathering space, gallery, and commercial kitchen.

The venture itself was spearheaded by the eight artists who cofounded the Eastport Gallery on Water Street, which by 1990 had become a hub and magnet for creative spirits in town. The gallery remains a constituent organization member of the center.

I’m especially glad it’s all just a short walk from my doorstep.

Quite simply, I see it as the heart of the community, something that makes Eastport unique. Recent Sunday afternoons have hosted a delightful cycle of music, discussions of visual arts and local businesses, historical insights, and even free mustard.

Across the country, one institution often dominates the culture life of the wider community. In Cincinnati or Cleveland, for instance, I’d say it was the symphony orchestra.

In New Hampshire, was the New Hampshire Symphony, before its demise, or the Currier Gallery of Art.

What’s the biggest cultural influence where you live?

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