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


This is a year-long program, in which young people living on or visiting the peninsula (Pre-K through 12th Grade) are invited to visit any conservation property and create something that expresses their inspiration from and connection to that place. Works may created at any point in the year either on the child’s own time, during a school trips, or as a part of an OAAI workshop.

 All participants’ work, once submitted, will be displayed and celebrated at an art show in the next year, and some pieces will appear in publications around the Blue Hill Peninsula!

Open To All School Aged Children!

All Forms Of Creative Expression Welcome!

Photography, Drawing, Painting, Poetry, Writing, Mixed Media, Ceramics…

Who We Are

Chrissy Beardsley Allen- is the Development and Outreach Director 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.