Spring on Martha’s Vineyard brings a burst of events in theater, music, galleries, agriculture, and culinary delights in what is known as SPRING FOR THE ARTS. Martha's Vineyard is the perfect place to witness a vibrant reawakening from a calm winter slumber, and enjoy a perfect Spring fling. Plus, the nice weather and reduced rates for lodging make visiting in the Spring even more appealing.
Here’s a highlight of some of the amazing events happening this season. Be sure to check the calendar for a full list of all events.
Ladies Night at Featherstone Center for the Arts, March 7
Enjoy a ladies night out with your friends as you’re guided by local Martha’s Vineyard artist Genevieve Jacobs to explore different mixed media techniques. At the end of the night, you will have your very own piece of artwork to take home. More information: http://www.featherstoneart.org/
Murder Mystery Night, March 12
Join the historic Harbor View Hotel for a classic evening of “who done it” filled with laughs, suspense and delicious food as guests figure out who among them has committed the crime. Overnight package available. More details: http://harbor-view.com
The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, March 17 – 20
Grab your bag of fresh popcorn, cozy up on a couch and indulge your senses at this spectacular annual festival. Every March, the rural heart of Martha’s Vineyard transforms for a weekend filled with compelling and entertaining films, fabulous local food, and conversations with filmmakers, writers, and actors from around the world. More than movies, this event engages the film-loving community through discussion, debate, and education. More info here: http://tmvff.org/
Writing Your Memoir with Moira Silva, March 7-28
You'll laugh. You'll cry. And you will write! From your finest moments to turning points to surprising failures, we all have stories to share. In this supportive workshop, you’ll bring them all to life and create your very own collection of mini-memoirs or a single polished piece. No prior writing experience necessary. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Contact 508-693-2896.
Cribbage Tournament, March 27
Come to the Island’s original and oldest brewery, Offshore Ale Company, for an all-levels single-day tournament of this unique game that dates back to the 1600s. Contact 508-693-2626
Monday Night at the Movies, The Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, All March
This fabulous series is hosted and curated by Jamie Alley, and is a very-Vineyard experience in its uniqueness. Jamie is a veritable font of fascinating movie facts which he shares with the audience at each film. His selection is a brilliant and eclectic mix of classic films that are rarely shown on the big screen. More information: http://mvplayhouse.org/theater/
Film, Food, and Friends on Friday, All April
This is truly a Vineyard experience, where someone opens their home to strangers for a night of entertaining. Author John Caedan is on Martha’s Vineyard while preparing the launch of his latest novel. Guests are invited to join him every Friday night as he makes a pot of outrageous soup, opens the door of his writer’s studio in Katama to five friends, and enjoy dinner and a movie. It’s an “all ages, all kinds, couples and singles” thing, with a focus on laughter, intelligent interaction, and new friends. Contact 303-325-3947
Night Heron Gallery Spring Opening, April 1
The Night Heron Gallery is Martha’s Vineyard’s only artist owned and operated cooperative gallery, featuring the work of 10 island artists, with the added and unique feature that one or more of the artists are always present. Come in and celebrate the joy of Vineyard art at the Spring Opening! More information: http://nightherongallery.com/
Shakespeare for the Masses, April 2 and April 3
No need to fear a Shakespeare production! These events are “quick & painless & free & fun.” Organized and edited by Nicole Galland and Chelsea McCarthy, and performed by a rollicking troupe of Playhouse Players. More info: http://mvplayhouse.org/theater/
Vertical Influences: Ice-skating Performance, April 9
Head on over to the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena to enjoy a wonderful show by Le Patin Libre, a contemporary ice-skating performance company. Get up close and view this thrilling and serene performance. More info: http://dancetheyard.org
Dinner & Comedy, April 15
Head over to the grand Harbor View Hotel and laugh, laugh, laugh your way into Spring with comedians Ryan Lehamn, Chris Zito, Stacy Kendro and Justin Hoff, but first enjoy a delicious culinary experience and views of the Edgartown Lighthouse. Or just come to the show! More info: http://harbor-view.com
Exhibit Opening: “In the Giant’s Shadow - Vineyard Life During the Whaling Age” at Martha's Vineyard Museum, April 15
There was a time when nearly everyone on the Island was involved in whaling. It was one of the most important and lucrative businesses in the country, and it required the efforts of shipwrights, shopkeepers, candle makers, coopers, farmers, and many others to support the captains and seamen who took to the seas for the hunt. This exhibit will explore when whaling was the center of Martha’s Vineyard life. More info: http://www.mvmuseum.org/
Sheepapalooza, April 16
A real Spring hoedown at The FARM Institute in Katama allows you to join others in a celebration of sheep and shepherds, local food, farming, and fiber. This annual events features sheep shearing, meeting newly born lambs, a sheep dog demos, wagon rides, and fiber arts such as spinning, weaving, dyeing, felting, and knitting. The day also includes local food by the Artcliff Diner Food Truck. More info: http://farminstitute.org
Daffodil Show and Spring Celebration, April 16
Wow yourself at the Polly Hill Arboretum with their vibrant daffodil show. Held at their Far Barn, the day showcases dozens of varieties. There will also be children’s arts and crafts and a guided tour will also be offered. More info: http://pollyhillarboretum.org
Yiddish Literature, April 17
Join the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center for readings and discussions on Yiddish Literature. Pre-registration is required. More info: http://www.mvhc.us/calendar.html
9th Annual Shearing Day at Island Alpaca, April 23
Over 60 alpacas are scheduled for shearing and public viewing at this wonderfully fun and unique Island event, where you will meet alpacas and enjoy a day with Island friends. More info: http://islandalpaca.com/
PechaKucha Night, April 29
Devised in Japan in 2003 as an event for young designers to network, PechaKucha Night has since turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world — including Martha’s Vineyard. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for “chit chat,” it rests on a simple presentation format: show 20 images for 20 seconds each, making presentations rapid and concise. The event is sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and held at the Harbor View Hotel. More info: http://mvmuseum.org
Pink & Green Weekend, May 5 – May 8
Nothing says Spring on Martha’s Vineyard quite like the annual Pink & Green Weekend! The festival celebrate the heart of Spring and Mother's Day with weekend-long events like the Pink & Green Prom, Pub Crawl, Mother’s Day Brunch, sales, and so much more. Additional info: http://edgartownboardoftrade.com
Eat, Paint, Love Your Body, May 6
Join other women for a three-day cooking and painting retreat with Island chef Jan Buhrman and artist Melissa D’Antoni. Share the importance of the local food while exploring your creative self. The retreat will educate, inspire, and empower women to embrace their bodies and sources of nourishment, with immersion in painting, cooking, community and pleasure — learning an expanded sense and expression of wholeness. More info: http://kitchenporch.com
Martha’s Vineyard Mini Maker Faire, May 7
The first ever Martha’s Vineyard Mini Maker Faire will celebrate the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset and showcase all kinds of incredible projects. There will be arts and crafts, science and engineering, food and music, fire and water — but what makes the event so special is that the inventive projects are brought together with their smart and creative makers, inspiring everyone to become a maker and connect to the people and projects in their local community. More info: http://mvmakerfaire.com/about/
Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival, May 12 – May 15
This annual celebration of food and wine on Martha's Vineyard brings together foodies and tasters from all over the nation with a weekend long festival that includes events like oyster safaris, private home dinners, breakfast & bubbles, champagne & burgers, a grand tasting, and so much more. Additional info: http://www.themvwinefestival.com/
Cheese & Charcuterie Island Style, May 21
Join two of the Island’s leading purveyors, Jacqueline Foster and Jefferson Monroe, as they lead you through a day of mastering the art of cheesemaking and charcuterie with the finest island products. The day turns into evening as this locavore event becomes a tasting extravaganza in the Island’s local flower studio, Morrice Florist. Here, the stage is set for an evening of face-to-face talks with local producers in our artisanal classroom, paired with a social walk-around tasting of the islands best goods. More info: http://www.ffsmv.com/the-full-schedule.html
2nd Annual Martha’s Vineyard Environmental Film Festival, May 27 – May 29
This thought-provoking weekend event includes an opening night reception, a Saturday evening champagne reception with live music, and movies that focus on important and intriguing environmental themes. More info: http://mvfilmsociety.com/nature-as-inspiration/
18th Annual Vineyard Artisans Festival, May 28 – May 29
This is the opening show of the season, displaying all the new work Island Artists worked on during winter. The event includes great food, free parking and admission, many demonstrations, and a playground for kids. More info: http://www.vineyardartisans.com/
23rd Annual Cross-Island Hike, June 4
Since 1993, the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank has observed National Trails Day – the first Saturday of June – by conducting a day-long hike across the Island to expose people to the network of trails that connect the Island’s many conservation lands and public properties. Come join the ecological adventure! More info: http://mvlandbank.com
31st Annual Taste of the Vineyard, June 16 – June 18
This grand, two-night affair includes events such as patrons stroll, live music, dancing, silent auction, and — of course — incredible food. More info: http://www.tasteofthevineyard.org/
6th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Faire Festival, June 17
Say goodbye to the last day of Spring and hello to Summer at the Faire Festival at Washington Park in Oak Bluffs. The magical day includes travelling guests, living art statues, music, and more. Additional info: http://midsummerfaeriefestival.com/Midsummer_Faerie_Festival/Welcome.html
Oak Bluffs Harbor Festival, June 18
The unofficial kickoff to Summer and the farewell to Spring, the Oak Bluffs Harbor Festival — right on the harbor — includes live music, food, arts, crafts, and a ton of fun. More info: http://www.oakbluffsmv.com/events/annual-events/
Martha’s Vineyard booms with international visitors. Every year, the Vineyard gains more international awareness which allows the Island to welcome visitors from all different regions of the world. At the top of each webpage, we recognize just a few of these countries that visitors come from, and have translation pages to try to encourage travel to Martha’s Vineyard. The Island’s beauty and culture is different than anything else you can find in the world and we believe it should be experienced by all!
A Haven for Creativity
Arts and Culture thrive on Martha’s Vineyard. For years, all sorts of creative minds have found solitude and a place for reflection on the Island, inspired by the gorgeous scenery and relaxed way of life. Authors, painters, sculptors, photographers, dancers, actors, artisans, and filmmakers infuse the Island communities with a tangibly vibrant cultural life.
More than a dozen public galleries display an eclectic mix of work by talented Vineyarders and internationally-renowned off-island artists. Lose yourself in impressionist views of the ever-present sea and marvel at fanciful sculpture. You could spend weeks discovering all the art the Island has to offer, and more is being created all the time! Several artists and artisans open their studios, granting the public a first-hand look at their creative process, even offering courses and hands-on activities to inspire your own creative potential.
Classical and experimental incarnations of the performing arts also flourish here. Performances span dance, music, and theater in venues ranging from a large performing arts center to more intimate stages across the Island. Many playwrights and directors often premiere their newest work on Vineyard stages.
Film is also a mainstay of Island culture, with two annual film festivals in March and in September. Two film societies on the Island express varied styles, and both also often invite filmmakers to speak and inspire discussion at many of their screenings.
A Culture Shaped by Historic Traditions
Alongside the Vineyard’s rich arts scene are traditions stretching back 10,000 years. Descendants of the Island’s earliest Wampanoag inhabitants preserve their tribal culture at the Aquinnah Cultural Center. Stately mansions, built by intrepid 19th-century whaling captains who called Edgartown home, transport visitors to the days of New England’s maritime glories. Discover these and other stories at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, in several historic houses, and at the island’s five lighthouses.
A diversity of cultures and lifestyles forged and continues to shape communities on Martha’s Vineyard. During and after the Great Depression, African Americans came here seeking economic independence. Visit landmarks of their story along the African American Heritage Trail. Faithful parishioners of the Methodist Camp Meeting brought bright colors and life to Oak Bluffs with their whimsical “Gingerbread Cottages,” constructed at the height of the revival’s popularity in the late 1800s.
Immerse Yourself in the Vineyard’s Arts & Culture
How do you get involved in the great creative work happening on the Vineyard? One way to stay connected is Arts App, a mobile application piloted by Cape Cod and the Islands. The free app is available from the iPhone or Google Play Store, and puts a directory, a map, an events calendar, and news and twitter feeds at your fingertips. Each organization controls its own page, ensuring you get the most up-to-date information.
Still need some inspiration for what to do? Take a look at these sample itineraries: 1 Day Itinerary, 3 Day Itinerary and Family Friendly Itinerary. Find one that suits your needs – whether you want to dedicate an afternoon to the arts, or several days of your visit!
Each fall, Martha’s Vineyard, along with Cape Cod and Nantucket, dedicates the entire month of October to a celebration of the arts. Fall for the Arts strives to initiate and sustain conversations among artists, patrons, and the public. For up-to-date information about this year’s festival, click here or visit the homepage of ARTS Martha’s Vineyard, an arts and culture collaborative on the Island.
Fall for the Arts runs throughout the month of October, drawing visitors to enjoy the as-yet under-appreciated autumn “shoulder season,” when temperatures cool slightly, and the largest crowds disperse, making for a more tranquil Vineyard experience. Galleries and studios stay open for the festival, and signature events unique to the Island take place every weekend. Among these, the Vineyard Artisans Festival showcases varied handicrafts made on the Island. The culinary arts also figure prominently, with “Art of Chocolate” at Featherstone Center for the Arts and the Food & Wine Festival. The month concludes with Art*Island, a festival of arts & ideas.
Check back soon for updates about this year’s Fall for the Arts partners and events!
Aquinnah Cultural Center
Martha’s Vineyard Museum
African American Heritage Trail
Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association
Featherstone Center for the Arts
Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival
Local Wild Food Challenge