Wintergreen Arts' New Vision

A reading of scenes from John Cariani’s plays in NYC raises funds  for hometown arts center

The Wintergreen Arts Center is a struggling, yet shining beacon of creativity in the northern Maine community of Presque Isle, the small town where Tony Award-nominated actor and playwright, John Cariani, grew up. John participated in arts programs at the William V. Haskell Community Center and at Pine Street Elementary School and Cunningham Middle School. He discovered his love for acting at Presque Isle High School.   

And now he’s a professional actor. He’s appeared in several films and television shows and is currently starring on Broadway in The Band’s Visit which recently won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Musical. John owes his success to the arts programs he had access to as a kid growing up in Presque Isle. 

When he learned about Wintergreen’s financial difficulties, he decided to enlist his castmates from The Band’s Visit—including Tony and Emmy Award winner, Tony Shalhoub—to help raise some money to benefit the arts center.
"The Band Visits Cariani"

Mr. Shalhoub and the company of The Band’s Visit  presented “The Band Visits Cariani,” an evening of scenes from John’s plays, to benefit the Wintergreen Arts Center.  

The one night only event took place on Monday, October 1st at 7:30pm at the Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center in midtown Manhattan.  

The Band Visits Cariani” featured scenes from John’s well known play, Almost, Maine, which explores love and loss in rural northern Maine. Almost, Maine has become one of the most popular plays in the United States with nearly 4000 productions to date. It recently unseated Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as the most frequently produced play in North American High Schools and has been translated into over a dozen languages. Scenes from three of Cariani’s other plays—LOVE/SICK, Last Gas, and cul-de-sac—were also featured in the evening.
On the connection between his plays and The Band’s Visit, Cariani says:

The Band’s Visit is about love, loss, longing and loneliness in a fictional town in the middle of nowhere in Israel. A lot of my plays are about love,  loss, longing and loneliness in a fictional town in the middle of nowhere in northern Maine. I’m intrigued by the intersection of these two make-believe worlds. And I’m excited to see the actors who appear in The Band’s Visit every night tackle scenes from my plays—and raise some money for a good cause while they’re at it."

Please join John and his fellow Broadway cast members in supporting the Wintergreen Arts Center by donating here.

About Wintergreen Arts Center:

Wintergreen Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2006 and located in the northern Maine town of Presque Isle. Wintergreen is an organization based on the idea that creativity, advocacy, and community can produce great things.

Our mission is to provide meaningful experiences that encourage an appreciation of the arts, stimulate creativity and innovation, and offer an artistic community space where all are welcome.  


Our Programming:

Our programs include Under the Willow Tree, a Creative Preschool, After School Arts and Summer Arts Programs, Mini Open Studio, First Friday Downtown Art Walk (featuring local artists), Ladies' Art Night, Pizza 'n Art for Teens & Tweens, and more.  We also work with community partners and volunteers to host a variety of fundraising events including our Holiday Signature Events such as Artful Egg, Spooktacular, Family Gingerbread Festival, and Wintergreen Express, which attracts people from central Maine to Canada.

Our Volunteers:

Last year, our 400 volunteers tallied 8,700 total volunteer hours; estimating 1,500 hours volunteered by local college, high school, and middle school students.  Wintergreen is a popular venue for students to earn their Community Service hours.  It takes dozens of young volunteers to staff our singing elves and Santa’s helper positions for our Wintergreen Express event alone. 

 Community collaborations:

Just one example that indicates Wintergreen has gained the support of others who serve our local communities is a recent $25,000 technology grant from MMG Insurance Company.  With this generous grant, Wintergreen now offers digital arts classes.  The larger goal of our collaboration with MMG Insurance is to promote technological literacy by offering fun technology-based, creative programming that leads to positive self-expression and life-long learning.

 Here is a music video (Cruisin’ for a Brusin’) created by our 2018 Summer Arts videography and dance students with the use of our new technology tools: - Cruisin' for a Brusin' 

How you can help:

Please consider donating to this campaign, and sharing it with your friends and family on Facebook, email, Twitter, and text message. Each share makes a real difference! 


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Fundraising team: Wintergreen Arts Center (2)

Dottie Hutchins 
Presque Isle, ME
Aroostook Arts and Education Center (Wintergreen Arts Center) 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Kim Guerrette Michaud 
Team member

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