Spotlight on Maine College of Art & Design’s Pace House: A Stonington retreat

Kate Gardiner ’20 documented the view of Penobscot Bay and a working moment from her 2022 Pace House residency.

First settled by Native Americans known as Etchemins (skicin in Passamaquoddy) about 5,000 years ago, the town of Stonington is the gateway to the Merchant’s Row archipelago — one of the largest clusters of islands in the US.

Today, this tranquil fishing village two-thirds the way up the Maine coast is an unparalleled artist haven and home to the world-renowned Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, galleries, studios, and artistic workshops.

It is also the site of one of Maine College of Art & Design’s most prestigious residencies: Pace House, named for the artist Stephen Pace (1918-2010) and his wife Palmina who entrusted their summer refuge to the College in 2007.

“To have the opportunity to make work in the studio overlooking the ocean preserved just as Stephen Pace had left it is a dream,” said Jenny McGee Dougherty ’05, Associate Director of Artists at Work & Alumni Relations. “Pace House is such a special place. The landscape, the history, and Pace’s paintings collectively offer a space to contemplate and be inspired.”

Each year, through Artists at Work, the College provides summer residencies for its community of artists at this turn-of-the-century sea captain’s residence set on a ledge overlooking Penobscot Bay. Select mid-career artists-in-residence also receive a stipend of support from the Stephen and Palmina Pace Foundation.

2022 Pace House residents include:

  • Rachel Gloria Adams ’15
  • Annika Earley MFA '16, Adjunct Instructor in Foundation
  • Kylie Ford MFA ’18
  • Kate Gardiner '20
  • Connie Hayes '80, Hon. DFA '03 (2020 recipient)
  • Lawrence Kumpf '04
  • Molly Levine '07
  • Kyle Patnaude, Assistant Professor in Metalsmithing & Jewelry
  • Simon van der Ven MFA '01

In addition to residencies, students and faculty use this unique facility for unparalleled class trips and artistic-bonding experiences throughout the school year.

During the summer months, residents at the Pace House may open the gallery to the public on Wednesdays (5:00-7:00pm) and Saturdays (10:00am-2:00pm). Please check to see that the open sign is out before entering the building.

For questions, email alumnirelations@meca.edu.

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