Of the 150 acres of land that constitute Norton Island, 130 are left undisturbed, in their natural state, made accessible by a single walking trail. The natural portion of the island contains many meadows, open ocean vistas, blueberry patches, moss carpets, and forest dells for quiet contemplation and portable work. One can walk for half a day in complete solitude with no sign of civilization.

The developed 20 acres contains log buildings, including small cabins for each artist, open fields and a road connecting them. There are vehicles for land and sea transportation.

The main lodge includes a large kitchen and dining table for 12, a meeting room with podium, library, 3 sleeping areas, and a large deck for outdoor meals and lobster cooking. There are 7 cabins for writers and a small conservatory with a piano for a composer or musician. Visual artists are hosted in the workshop barn with large doors that open south for a well-lit art studio and easy portage of large equipment. The barn also contains ample equipment for wood and metalworking, as well as two smaller, attached studios. Writers and artists generally sleep where they work.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Maine Arts Council, Norton Island
is wheelchair-accessible.

Please note: although the island has plumbing and electricity, the style throughout is quite rustic. Facilities are divided among residents based on need.

Food is prepared by a full-time professional chef. Most eating restrictions are accommodated.

You'll find a complete guide to the island to see after your needs and your safety, as well as materials to help plan the occasional recreational event, if you're interested.

Norton Island maintains a stereo,
a cell phone, and a wi-fi satellite connection to the Internet. Please note: the wi-fi is only available in a single location, the West Camp lodge, which is open to residents during normal hours. But be warned: there is not wi-fi access in the cabins or across most of Norton island.

You won't find a television on Norton Island.

"Since coming back from Norton Island, not a day has passed that I haven't consciously felt grateful for the opportunity and the experience. Without the slightest exaggeration, it was a godsend. As you know, I'd 'never done that kind of thing before,' for a number of reasons, but one of the strongest reasons was that I feared, judging from what I'd heard of writers' residencies, that it might be a nightmare of pecking orders and inflated egos—and God, was Norton Island anything but that. The camaraderie was inspiring, and the work I accomplished was nothing short of astounding. Lord love a duck. It was heaven, no kidding, and I'll be eternally grateful. Stupidly, I packed shorts and t-shirts (it gets chilly in July, doesn't it?) and ended up buying sweatshirts and jeans at that thrift shop in town—but even that was cool: 50 cents a pop? I'm still wearing that junk, my lucky clothes."
Tom DeHaven, author, It's Superman!


Facilities for Visual Artists

Norton Island has studio space for two residencies per session. While these studios are large and the living/sleeping quarters are attached, most artists come to Norton Island to capture the landscape. Consider bringing along a tent or travel easels and materials to move easily around the island to capture sea, sky, and land.

Well-lit studios are a place to work when the weather gets rough, but when the weather gets rough, the rough get painting. The island's surroundings are never more beautiful than in a fog rolling back, or under bruiser thunderheads.

Norton Island is extremely photogenic. However, the island does not have darkroom facilities. Consider work in both black and white and color, and watch for opportunities to capture the big things like flora, fauna, and geological phenomena, but also textures, weather, and local color.

The island is big and sturdy enough for the heavy machinery of all kinds of sculpting work. We have had furniture makers, sculptors who work in metals, and artists who create collage from found objects on the island. There are large power tools and an outside work area available.

"I enjoyed the landscape and your hospitality, as well as that of your friends/employees tremendously. The island has enchanted me, and so has Jonesport. I would love to return to do more work on Norton, Crumple, and Hardwood Islands."
Jane Culp, landscape artist

Facilities for Writers

Norton Island is ideal for writers. It gives focus often sapped by a distracting hectic world without taking away a world of beauty and interest. Writers often remark on how much new work they generate in a residency, and the peace and solitude are perfect for revision work and reading.

The main lodge offers a small but relevant library of books, including books on the local plant and animal life. A new and growing collection of books written on Norton Island also populate the library.

It is a priority of Norton Island to give space to at least two poets at each residency. As with visual artists, it is difficult for poets to ignore the natural beauty of the island. However, many kinds of poets with various projects both formal and innovative have found Norton Island an ideal place to get work done.

Norton Island also reserves one space for each residency for a playwright. Playwrights are encouraged to employ fellow residents for evening readings of new and old work.

Fiction writers find the peace and quiet a boon to the generating new work. A tradition of conversation and manuscript swapping has been encouraged through every session.
All nonfiction writers are welcome. We find nature and travel writers, especially, take advantage of the Maine location.
"I'm a pretty slow writer, a few hundred words every day, so I didn't write two novels and a symphony while I was there. But I did a good month's work in two weeks, and produced a couple of decent watercolors besides. If that were all there was to recommend Norton Island, it would be plenty. But there were also the people, and they were marvelous, residents and staff alike. Each night after dinner a couple would give readings or show art or play compositions, enjoyable and broadening, but the less formal gatherings were also valuable… there was a lot of sitting around the bonfire trading stories."
Joe Haldeman, author

"There is something about a stay on Norton Island that generates ideas. Maybe not answers, but questions rephrased in the way that reveals. For me, it's the island makes me think in a different mode. And without the frenetic pace of life, away from the phone and the boob tube and human pabulum, the space is cleared in both my mind and in a meadow, for my writing, and the occasional picnic."
Brian Bouldrey, author, Honorable Bandit: A Walk Across Corsica
Facilities for Musicians and Composers

The conservatory cabin, equipped with a well-tuned upright piano, increased electrical sources, and proximity to the main lodge, is ideal for songwriters.
"I really treasured being able to disappear into my head every day as I walked around the island, and that, frequently, the world around us disappeared into the fog. I was amazed by the tides and what they revealed and concealed."
Barbara Cooper, artist