Express Yourself

Star Arts

Saturday, June 20 to Saturday, June 27

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Arts Conference Profile

Star Arts is an affirming community of emerging and established artists in many mediums who come together on a magical island to engage and create in a safe, nurturing environment. Amidst music, laughter, sea gulls, and spectacular sunsets, we inspire each other to deep personal reflection and to deep interpersonal connections. Sometimes we expand on current talents; sometimes we take risks on new frontiers. Always, we come away refreshed, relaxed and wishing to come back again.

Whether venturing into joint efforts or following a solitary voice in personal reflection, Star Island can be a creative, spiritual place to call home. Professional and amateur artists alike are welcome to spend their mornings in the workshops of their choice: music, writing, drama, photography, painting, or dance. Conferees are also welcome to let their muses choose the time and pace of their inspirations. “Porch sitting” is an honored occupation as well. Other activities include glorious music, spontaneous performances, concerts, talent shows, chapels, rehearsals, quiet contemplation, afternoon skill-sharing, and other adventures to nourish the creative, spiritual, and curious mind. Do everything – or do nothing. It’s your week.

Minister of the Week

Rev. Kate Wilkinson, Unitarian Universalist Meeting House of Provincetown
Star Island 2015 Star Arts Rate Chart

Program Fee

$110 per person


Yes, the conference offers scholarship aid for both new and returning conferees. Please click here for more information.


Contact Barbara O’Brien, Star Arts Registrar at email hidden; JavaScript is required

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Sounds of the Shoals

December 5th, 2013

Star Island Gentlemen Playing Instrumentsby Laura Ermini, Star Gathering 1, Former Pelican

I have been coming to Star Island almost each summer of my life. I also spent an entire summer on island as a Pelican. There are certain songs that “bring me back” and each one would be included on my Star Island playlist. The choices are as varied as the weather and the ice cream flavors, so bear with me!

  • Oh Poiseidon of the Sea: This must have been a childrens’ nursery rhyme or a Raffi song, as we used to sing it as barn bunnies. Jean Maguire, who led us in my youth, would take us to east rock and we would shout, repeatedly at the sea, “Oh Poiseidon of the sea, you can’t catch me!” We’d scream it with ascending volume, and Jean always timed it just right so that when we were done with the last verse, a BIG wave would come! (Later she told me that waves come in 7s, and the 7th wave is the biggest).
  • Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane: This song came out when I was in Junior High. The song doesn’t remind me of Star as much as the piercing guitar riffs that sound just like seagulls.
  • This Reality by Adrian Sicam: I bought Adrian’s CD when I was in Youth from the bookstore after he performed live in a Pel Show. A few years later he sat at my table when I was a Pelican. It was like having ELVIS at my table! I was so starstruck I could barely move!
  • If I had a Hammer by Peter, Paul & Mary: My FAVORITE part of my entire week on Star Island is the bonfire. My friend Brian Goldblatt plays his acoustic guitar and sings with my friend Janet Nobles, who has an equally angelic voice. This is the quintessential church camp bonfire song.
  • Out Here on Star Island by Brian Goldblatt: My fellow SG1 conferee Brian wrote this song years ago, and it’s a perennial favorite at the Bonfire or Chapel each year.
  • Send Me on My Way by Rusted Root: When I was in Youth, it was very popular to play “jam bands” and dance like crazy in Brookfield. The years we had African drums to add to this really seared memories into my head.
  • Any song from the Beastie Boys album HELLO NASTY: This album came out in June 1998 and I remember some of my waitae colleagues went into town the day it dropped. I can see the album cover in my mind and ANY of those songs remind me of the Underground.
  • The Myseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill & California Love (Tupac): Shack Deck. ‘Nuff Said.
  • Hail to the King by Avenged Sevenfold: Now in my adult years, my friends and I have long outgrown Youth Conference and being Pelicans. Now we spend our evenings in Newton Center playing “Bags” (cornhole) and listening to Pandora from someone’s phone. One especially fun night this year while playing bags I heard this song, and now think of Star each time I hear it.

  • Do you have your own Star Island playlist? Share your songs and what they mean to you with us by emailing email hidden; JavaScript is required.

    Night of Stars

    November 20th, 2013

    Star Island celebrated Starry Night this past Saturday, November 16 with a great number of friends. Guests from as far away as Maryland made their way to our offices in Portsmouth, NH for an evening of discussion, crafts, and good food.

    Guests participating in the First Star portion of the night were entertained by David Whitford. More than just a long-time Shoaler attending the Life on a Star 1 Family Conference, David is also an Editor-at-Large with Fortune Magazine. David talked about his 3-months of reporting in China including an article about one of China’s richest men. First Star saw an engaged audience delve into these fascinating stories.

    The Starry Night Craft Gallery featured four vendors selling items as varied as wheat weavings to hand-made glass beads. Another table showcased works by Star Island related authors and publishers. Friends, staff, volunteers, board members and locals all came together to celebrate Star Island during this annual fall fundraiser.

    The evening was kept lively with the music of the Brown and White Band and delicious food provided by Dos Amigos.

    Starry Night is a fundraiser to support Star Island’s mission and projects like the Veteran’s Raffle.

    Here are some photos from Starry Night 2013:

    Starry Night 12

    Starry Night 1

    Starry Night 2

    Starry Night 3

    Starry Night 4

    Starry Night 5

    Starry Night 6

    Starry Night 7

    Starry Night 8

    Starry Night 9

    Starry Night 10

    Starry Night 11

    Sacred & Secular Choral Singing for Church, Hospice and Community Choruses

    Star Island Harmony

    Friday, September 14 to Sunday, September 16

    A weekend of mostly a cappella 4-part harmony singing; of arrangements of folk songs, hymns, spirituals, gospel, seasonal songs, shape note songs and songs written by folks steeped in the oral tradition; for directors and singers in church, hospice and community choruses, and for those who simply love to sing. Singing led by Mary Cay Brass, Kathy Bullock and John Harrison.


    20th Traditional Music and Dance Weekend

    Star Hampshire Dance

    Friday, September 14 to Sunday, September 16

    Our small, friendly music and dance weekend focuses on contra dancing, and also includes square, English country and couple dances. There is time to relax and explore the beautiful, historic island, including joining yoga or singing conferences, rocking on the porch or attending a chapel service. The talented caller, Lisa Greenleaf, will work with equally talented musicians.


    Music and Faith

    Star Gathering Youth Conferences

    Saturday, July 28 to Saturday, August 4 or Saturday, August 4 to Saturday, August 11

    What does your choice in music say about you and your faith? Share and experience your faith in a community of explorers, in a place that fosters exploration and expanded horizons. No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.


    Make, Play, Show

    Star Arts Conference

    Saturday, June 16 to Saturday, June 23

    Wake your inner artist in an inspiring weeklong, adults-only retreat among a tribe of fellow explorers. You can draw close to sources of magic, within and around you, that will make the 2012 StarArts Conference deeply memorable and emotionally rich. You can move your body, then move your mind and soul.

    That is why so many past participants and workshop leaders return year after year for workshops in art, music, theater, dance, photography, and writing. To many, this island haven is “our spirit’s home.” With meals and other needs met by a dedicated island staff, you’ll be amazed by how much you can do in a week. The range of activities — from social dancing, poetry reading, slide and art shows, chapel services, evening entertainment, and more — will delight you with memories that will linger and sustain you throughout the year.

    Foghorn, dinner bell, acoustic music, seagull cry; crack of softball bat, murmur of porch talk, mingle of social hour, fragrance of beach rose, touch of timothy grass. StarArts is all about expanding your reach in whatever field of endeavor you favor in a visually exquisite and vibrantly supportive environment. We find that aptitudes in ourselves that seem dormant or impossible on the mainland come to life on-island.

    So check out our lineup of workshops and activities and set your imagination free. We encourage you to join us for an extraordinary week of creativity and community.

    Paula Stelzner and Richard Waring, 2012 Co-Chairs


    Next Page »

    Star Island is one of the rocky, wind-swept Isles of Shoals, located off the coast of Rye, New Hampshire. For over 100 years, summers here have provided individuals and families with a welcome respite from their busy mainland lives.

    Star Island Corporation is a nonprofit organization which maintains the island and its facilities and provides hospitality services for visitors.

    Contact Star Island

    Phone: (603) 430-6272
    Fax: (603) 430-6270
    Island Phone: (603) 601-0832
    Staff Email Address List

    Star Island Corporation
    Morton-Benedict House
    30 Middle Street
    Portsmouth, NH 03801

    Get directions to the office

    Content © 1999–2015 Star Island Corporation. Clouds photo © Axel Rouvin.
    Other photos © their respective owners.