Imagine Martha’s Vineyard without the arts. Some things would not change — the ferries would come and go (most of the time); crops would be sown and reaped; shellfish and lobsters would be harvested to grace our tables; striped bass would be caught and weighed; the sun would shine on our beaches; the wind would carry sailboats across the sound; the benches outside Alley’s would remain full; and the schools would continue to focus on the three Rs.

Imagine however a Vineyard in which children were ignorant of our fossil heritage; where kindergartners missed the magic of monarch butterflies coming into being; where first graders never went to a theatre production; where creative dramatics, ecological awareness, and even the agrarian history of the Island were neither explored nor celebrated.

Imagine an Island without chamber music, where Handel’s Messiah and community signs were not heard; where songs to the fisherman weren’t sung; and where there was no town band; where the young and not so young, the professionals and the novices, didn’t dance on stilts; and the boards of the Yard remained empty.

This would be a Vineyard without vibrant communities of potters, painters, writers and musicians. A place without library murals and galleries, without film festivals and societies. A place without groups of writers and readers, quilters, and knitters. In short, It would be a place without a voice, without a soul.

If you find Vineyard without the arts unimaginable, consider joining the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council. The council is looking for residents of Edgartown, Vineyard Haven, Chilmark, Aquinnah and Oak Bluffs to fill open positions. Each year the council distributes grants to institutions, organization and individuals to advance the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences on this Island. The new members would be appointed by their respective town governments for a three-year term. There are at most three meetings a year, including one or two days in the fall when grant applications are reviewed and award decisions made.

Please feel free to contact me at for more information.

Robert Hauck