Artwaves has many arts classes that go even beyond the visual arts.


One thing that is well known about Mount Desert Island is its great school system. But we all know learning doesn’t have to stop after formal schooling is over.

Participating in continuing education opportunities is a fun way to learn new things, meet new people, and even improve your career prospects. You can learn a skill, like jewelry making or painting; get CPR certified and potentially save a life; or have the opportunity to try something you’ve never done before, like sailing or line dancing. Even better, you can do all these things right here on MDI!

The Maine Adult Education Association is a great place to start. They offer everything from high school completion programs to workforce preparation to personal enrichment classes. Some courses are even offered online. Our local branch is Mt. Desert Island Adult and Community Education. Headquartered out of MDI High School, they offer a variety of free or low cost educational programs to anyone age 17 and older. Course catalogues are available online (if you have a mailbox on Mount Desert Island, you might have also noticed a mailed copy of the flyer). They focus on skills and technology training, literacy, and personal enrichment. You can brush up on your Microsoft Excel skills, take a defensive driving class, learn jewelry making or collage, or explore dream interpretation. They also occasionally offer dance classes, music programs, and dog training. For more information contact director Anne Patterson for details at (207) 288-4703 or

College of the Atlantic offers summer courses and workshops for adult learners, featuring hands-on experiences exploring MDI. These are typically offered in late July and August and fill up quickly (by mid-February, one course was already full). In 2019, they are offering Field Botany, a digital photography workshop (waitlist only), and Watercolor Painting. COA adult learning courses are not cheap, but they offer in-depth opportunities to explore topics with expert teachers and excellent facilities. Click here to see their offerings.

Want to learn to sail? MDI Community Sailing Center in Southwest Harbor has programs for every skill level. Their beginner sailing course takes place over 3 weeks, and includes both classroom instruction and lessons on the water. If you prove your competence by the end of the course, you can qualify for an individual membership to the sailing center for the rest of the season at no additional cost. There is also a women’s sailing club that meets on Monday nights. Of course, these sailing courses are offered in the summer, but spaces fill up quickly so register early!

If you’ve heard of one continuing education program on MDI, it is probably Acadia Senior College. This small but mighty organization provides a substantial amount of programming with well-known and well-qualified instructors. One catch is that ASC courses are open only to those over the age of 50 (or people whose spouses are over 50). Course topics range from deep dives into a historical event to political explorations to rug hooking and opera appreciation. Registration requires membership ($35/yr or $90 for 3 years) and then a per course fee. Their website is kept up to date with offerings and they also have an email list you can sign up for:

Several community organizations provide classes specifically related to health and wellness.MDI Hospital offers a free CPR course for the general public, along with more advanced CPR trainings that fulfill some job requirements. Healthy Acadia sponsors a range of workshops and courses from healthy cooking to Tai Chi.

People looking for a creative outlet can find lots of opportunities at Artwaves in Town Hill. Artwaves aims to serve as a center of learning for every age and skill level. They offer visual art classes, like figure drawing or oil painting, as well as a variety of dance and movement programs. Some classes meet for a single session and some over several weeks.

No matter what you want to learn more about, there is probably a way to do it on MDI.

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comment section!

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