First One-Day University on Martha’s Vineyard

Osprey sculpture by Barney Zeitz, part of the arts on display at the One Day University. — Photo courtesy of ACE MV

A one-day conference called One-Day University: Arts, Culture, Sustainability will be hosted by Adult and Community Education of Martha’s Vineyard (ACE MV) on Saturday, June 23, at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School from 8 am to 3 pm.

This will be the first of its kind conference for Island arts, culture, and sustainability groups, according to Lynn Ditchfield, the event’s organizer. “Our Island is a model for sustainability and is known for its community of artists,” she said. “The conversations that develop from combining these domains we think will be powerful.”

On offer will be more than a dozen workshops, round-table discussions, and a score of gallery exhibits from artists and local groups that will focus on the interaction between art, culture, and sustainability efforts in agriculture, energy, health, education, and the environment.

The day will begin with coffee and tea and registration, with time to tour the gallery. Participants will either choose two shorter workshops or one longer intensive. All will take place in a three-hour period.

The interactive workshops will be specific to a singular topic, or they will combine a specific topic of sustainability with arts and culture. Some examples of integrated topics are: integration of arts and media in education to promote community sustainability; teaching sustainable living through food; and how architectural design using green technology builds resilience in communities.

A lunch, developed around locally available foods, will be served by Island caterer Jan Buhrman and her Kitchen Porch company. The lunch hour will include round-table discussions on a variety of topics. The final conversations will address significant questions developed throughout the course of the day.

Featured guests at the conference include educator and psychologist Robert Leaver who has “facilitated thousands of groups seeking clarity and action plans for social problems,” according to the One-Day University brochure. Susan Klein, Vineyard storyteller and author of “Through a Ruby Window” and “Martha’s Vineyard – Now & Zen” (with photographer Alan Brigish), will deliver the keynote speech, called “Sustainability: Common Good, Common Sense, Common Story.” The closing remarks will be by professor and former president of the Rwandan Parliament Joseph Sebarenzi, author of “God Sleeps in Rwanda.”

Event coordinator Sarah Monast said, “ACE MV is the mothership for this event.” She added that the idea for the One Day University had its genesis with members of community organizations and businesses, particularly The FARM Institute, South Mountain Company, The Vision Fellowship, ACE MV, and The Yard.

Representatives of these organizations got together last October to look at how the arts, culture, and sustainability are interrelated. “How can people use their knowledge, skills, and work to start a conversation about the interaction between these three things?”

The day-long event is sponsored by Arts MV: The Arts & Culture Collaborative, The FARM Institute, The Vision Fellowship, Mass in Motion, and The Yard. Ms. Monast said that the New England Grassroots Environment Fund provided a grant and consulting about follow-up work, to help continue the conversations after the conference.

She also said that the inspiration for the conference came from the Bioneers by the Bay Conference held the last eight years in New Bedford, hosted by the Marion Institute, a nonprofit that sponsors “Programs and projects that delve into the root cause of an issue and seeks to create deep and positive change,” according to their website,

Admission is $99; $89 for seniors or M.V. Regional High School students; $84 with Our Island Club card. Lunch is included. For information and to pre-register: or register at 8 am on Saturday morning.

For optional graduate and undergraduate college credit through Fitchburg State University, contact Email or call 774-310-1131 for more information.

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