The Open-Air Arts Initiative is a collaboration between the Blue Hill Heritage Trust and Cynthia Winings Gallery. Its mission is to use nature to ignite creativity in the young people who live on the Blue Hill Peninsula.

This is a self driven program, in which school aged young people on the peninsula (Pre-K through 12th Grade) will visit any Blue Hill Heritage Trust trail or conservation property and create something that expresses their inspiration from and connection to that place. All participants’ work, once submitted, will be displayed and celebrated at an art show in the next year.

The Initiative asserts: ‘Yes! be inspired, we believe that you are all creative and amazing, show us what you see out there, we think its amazing too!’

Who We Are

CBAllen on BHMtn

Chrissy Beardsley Allen- is the Outreach and Development Coordinator for the Blue Hill Heritage Trust. As a native of the Blue Hill Peninsula, she has deep roots in this community. Growing up in Surry as well as on King Hill Farm in Penobscot she spent her summers exploring the forests and beaches on her family’s land on both the Union River Bay and Toddy Pond in Surry. As an adult she recognize how incredibly fortunate she was to have these properties in her family, and how important it is to protect special places on the peninsula, make them public, and keep them open for the everyone to enjoy forever. She resides in Blue Hill with her husband and two children.

My hope is that the Open-Air Arts Initiative will encourage kids to explore and discover their own creative abilities through experiencing special places on the Peninsula.  To me, this project is not about talent, but rather celebrating what inspires each of us and how we express that in our own unique way. My love of this place has instilled in me the importance of what we have on this peninsula, and made me an advocate for land preservation. Much of my connection to this place comes from my love of photographing it. My hope is that by providing young people with the opportunity to become inspired by these special places, and create something meaningful to them out of that inspiration, that they too will feel more connected with the Peninsula.


Cynthia-bio-photo-rotatedCynthia Winings- Cynthia Winings is an artist and the owner of the Cynthia Winings Gallery in Blue Hill. She attended Moore College of Art and Design for her BFA, and received her MFA from Brooklyn College. In 1995 she attended Haystack School of Craft for ceramics, and met her husband, David Dillon, the owner of Bucklyn Coffee. Years later, that experience of Maine and Blue Hill inspired her to return to the peninsula with her family.  She and David moved to Brooklin Maine in 2010, and they purchased the former Leighton Gallery in 2013. Cynthia is happy to collaborate with the BHHT for this creative program, the Open-Air Arts Initiative, and is inspired to get her children out on the trails!

I have a distinct childhood memory of drawing some rocks, leaves, and a salamander, and thinking that I was trying make them all look ‘better’! Throughout my artistic career, I would turn to nature as subject and inspiration. Even now, my artwork is concerned with the myriad mysteries in nature happening all around us, hidden from view. I am pleased to be involved with the Open-air Arts Initiative because I love to support a program that encourages children to be artists in nature, discovering beauty in the natural world. As an artist, I love the idea of children being inspired by the beauty in their backyards and beyond, because I know that fostering awareness and understanding helps transform disregard and insensitivity. The Open-air Arts Initiative provides a framework for moments of creative inspiration to happen out in nature, encourages discovery, and offers the freedom to express oneself.