WKU Faculty member Tim Broekema produced this documentary in conjunction with Maine Media Workshops promoting the power of continuing education.

Over the last 35 years, the Workshops has influenced thousands of people – many of them in life-changing ways. When asked what was the most important part of their experience, some talk about the spectacular beauty of the environment, others praise the excellence of the programs, the world-renowned faculty or state-of-the-art equipment. Many respond by acknowledging the staff and their dedication to creating exceptional experiences. The comment received most often, however, reflects what is created when all these essential elements coexist: an appreciation for the ability to completely immerse oneself in one’s art and become part of a community passionate about creativity.

There are many different programs at the Workshops. Some concentrate on lab or studio work where others involve field trips to view the enchanting scenery. What they all have in common is an opportunity to remove oneself from the demands of everyday life and join a passionate community committed to learning a new skill or improving one’s work. While discussions of theory, history and criticism may be part of any workshop, what sets these workshops apart is a dedication to making. Students learn by doing, by trying new things, by seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Besides the programs themselves, there is no shortage of other opportunities for growth at the Workshops. Whether waking before dawn to catch the early morning light, attending after dinner gallery shows or screenings of work from some of the world’s finest artists, or working into the night on projects or assignments, the Workshops experience is intense and all encompassing. It affords the participant the opportunity to live one’s passion 24/7.

Full days are punctuated with hearty meals served under the eating tent or in the dining hall. This is a time for informal discussions with classmates and faculty as well as to meet other people at the Workshops involved in related programs. The spirit of sharing that permeates the community destroys any pretense and breaks down barriers of age and experience. Participants end their rich days at any of a wide variety of accommodations both on- and off-campus.

The week’s end is capped by a traditional Maine lobster dinner complete with corn on the cob and baked potatoes (alternative choices are always available). The campus community then usually gathers in the sound stage to celebrate the week’s hard work. Expertly produced presentations premiere the creations of each week’s workshops. It is amazing to see the quality of what can be accomplished with such intense energy in just one week’s time!

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