Located on Cutts Island in Kittery Point, Maine, S.I.A.R is housed in a unique historic seaside Cottage, overlooking the Gulf of Maine on the Atlantic Ocean and the point of land between Sea Point and Crescent Beaches. The land was donated to the Kittery Land Trust in 1999 by Eliot Hubbard, a former member of the board of the DeCordova Museum in memory of his aunt, Rosamond Thaxter (1895 – 1989). It is surrounded by the Brave Boat Harbor Division of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, which offers miles of nature trails along the ocean, through forests and salt marshes.
The original inhabitants of Cutts Island include Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), an American writer, poet, artist and daughter of Thomas Laighton, the lighthouse keeper and 19th Century hotelier on the infamous Isles of Shoals, which lie approximately 8 miles off the Maine/New Hampshire coast, within sight of the Cottage. Celia Thaxter became the hostess of her father’s hotel, the Appledore House, on Appledore Island and welcomed many literary and artistic notables including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Whittier, Sarah Orne Jewett, William Morris Hunt and Childe Hassam, Edward MacDowell and his wife; American pianist William Mason, son of Lowell Mason, and John Knowles Paine, America’s first serious composer of note.
The Cottage is now owned by Morris Halle, Professor and co-founder with Noam Chomsky of the Linguistics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) , and his late wife, painter Rosamond Thaxter (Strong) Halle, who graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 1946, and whose artwork fills the Cottage.
It is in the spirit of these visionary and artistic Thaxter women that the Seapoint International Artist Residency was founded. It is through the cultural exchange of ideas and artistic endeavors that their legacy will live on at this incredible artist retreat. – Alicia Goodwin, Founder/Director