As Island artists ferried their works into the new Art Barn at Featherstone in preparation for its inaugural show this weekend, one paused to talk to about the arts on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s as though the Island arts scene has suddenly burst forth, she said.

Martha’s Vineyard has long attracted writers, painters and other artists, who have found inspiration in the Island’s natural beauty, solitude and unhurried pace, working in back bedrooms, old barns and studios hidden down long dirt roads. Those in the know understood the Island’s reputation as an incubator for the arts. But an arts destination? Not so much.

Now creativity is on display everywhere.

August’s calendar is jam-packed with films, exhibits and performances of all kinds: dance, theatre, and every genre of music. The biannual book festival drew record crowds to Edgartown and Chilmark over two days to hear authors and journalists talk about their craft. All over the Island there are must-see concerts, lectures and openings, much of it showcasing talent that has been quietly nurtured right here. You will even find art at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, where a handsome collection by Vineyard artists and photographers line the hallways.

The addition of the Art Barn and its soaring gallery space represents a major leap forward for both Featherstone and the visual arts on Martha’s Vineyard. The six thousand-plus-square-foot building, which also houses a new pottery studio, a conference room, a teaching kitchen and other classroom space, creates a physical and symbolic centerpiece for a community arts organization that has been quietly growing by leaps and bounds since its founding more than two decades ago.

A generation of painters, potters, photographers and other fine artists have been taught, encouraged and supported in six small buildings spread over six acres on the former Oak Bluffs farm. Now, thanks in part to an anonymous three million-dollar bequest, the nonprofit Featherstone is able to display the fruits of its efforts in a space worthy of the art it has produced.

The generous gift is a reminder of the vital role that philanthropy has played on the Island over the years. More often than not, the philanthropists are summer residents whose deep appreciation for the Island and its people inspires them to give back. And for that Martha’s Vineyard can be most grateful.

Meanwhile, if there is one thing that has kept the Island from claiming its rightful place as an arts destination it is the shortage of indoor venues. While the Vineyard boasts many fine galleries and small performance spaces, there are few places that can accommodate large crowds or even large works of art. Featherstone’s inaugural show Big, opening Friday and running through most of September, fittingly not only showcases large art pieces by an array of well-known Island artists — it also signifies big hopes for the future.

Congratulations to Featherstone, its board and staff for giving the Island arts community a stunningly beautiful new home, and another reason to feel proud.