SCAI - Sunrise County Arts Institute logo

The Sunrise County Arts Institute

SCAI is the vision of two Milbridge residents, who in 2008 began living part-time here, and in 2014 relocated full-time from the Catskill Mountains of NY State, with a commitment to making a specific, needed difference within our DownEast-Acadia region through the arts.

The Sunrise County Arts Institute The Sunrise County Arts Institute
SCAI's Center is on a nature preserve-like property with its own wooded Point and sand beach. Photos: Sunrise County Arts Institute


Who are we, and what do we do?


COVID-19 note, updated 2022: During this ongoing period of quarantine for most activities, SCAI continues to offer singing/voice, acting and writing sessions ONLINE for individuals and groups, via conference apps. 

Please contact Danielle Woerner for more information, and see the many options here, and on our sister website, Sing into Joy - Singing as a Path to Wellness.


SCAI, founded in 2014, was incorporated in 2015 as a Maine public benefit corporation.  While indoor activities at our scenic Center in Milbridge and other locations in Maine are on hold during the pandemic, we have many online offerings, and outdoor activities in the warmer months:

SUNRISE COUNTY ARTS INSTITUTE (SCAI) offers ongoing programs and special events in music, theater, writing, visual arts, and interdisciplinary arts, at its scenic Center in Milbridge, ME, and partner venues in the region.  

It also provides a venue for artists "from away" to get to know our region, as they come to complete concentrated creative work on retreat, or to share their gifts and experience through teaching residencies.  

Our mission: to inspire and foster the creative and performing arts in Washington County, Maine, and the wider Downeast & Acadia Region, for personal, community and regional development.

  • Private voice lessons (part-scholarship as needed), and tutoring for home-schooled students in music, writing, songwriting and related subjects
  • Group lessons and workshops
  • Youth theater opportunities for outdoor and virtual productions
  • Artistic support for school & after-school programs, including collaboration with the Ellsworth Community Music Institute
  • Singing and writing groups
  • TLC's (Tiny Little Concerts) at the studio on Fish Point (expected to resume in 2023+)
  • Residencies by visiting performing artists and teachers, with public presentations
  • Autumn: DownEast BookFest, a celebration of writers, good writing and delicious reading
  • In November, SCAI supports writers during National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo), who are completing a new 50K-word novel in the 30 days from Nov. 1-30.
  • "Starry Nights" at Fish Point.  We have deep dark skies & bright stars over the bay!  
  • Programs integrating the arts with nature, on SCAI's mini-nature-preserve property, and public resources in our glorious region. 


These expansions of our offerings require an influx of new financial support to bring them to fruition! 

Our model is cooperative with existing organizations in our region, and we're happy to be working collaboratively with several of them.  See our Links page for the growing list.  


See Some of Our Milestones


Meet the Co-Founders

Danielle Woerner, President and Artistic Director, is an internationally respected singer and recording artist, voice teacher and workshop leader, writer and songwriter.  Also an entrepreneuse with deep background in PR, marketing, award-winning journalism, arts administration, and the arts and mental health, Danielle brings all those skills and attributes to SCAI. Photo: Michael Gold
Claude Johnson, Vice President and Executive Director, is now in his "encore career" at SCAI, having retired from a successful 4-decade career in information technology, in which he was responsible for IT development and for the management of businesses, products, and people internationally.   Claude co-directs planning and activities, and oversees the Center's property and infrastructure. Photo: Johanna S. Billings



The Sunrise County Arts InstituteOur Center, on its own private wooded peninsula with a sand beach, is situated on a quiet road just minutes from the center of Milbridge, a hub town currently undergoing an economic and tourism renaissance in the dramatically beautiful zone designated the Bold Coast. We're about halfway between MDI/Acadia National Park, and the Campobello Island/Eastport area at the far eastern end of the Maine coast. Our Center includes a large high-ceilinged studio with a grand piano and a fine harpsichord for rehearsals, intimate concerts, and readings of plays and new literature; and a private ground-floor handicap-accessible apartment with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and its own kitchen, laundry and entrance, which is used for retreats, residencies and regular community events.*

In addition to the Center itself, larger-scale public activities are presented at several nearby churches, schools and community centers, which have enthusiastically offered to host these events.

*Note: when not being used for SCAI events and retreats, the apartment is available for vacation rentals. You can see details on this private site page, then contact us directly for dates and pricing.  Paid Creativity Retreats and vacation rentals help support our operating expenses to make local programs possible. 


Support for SCAI

Washington County is a dramatically beautiful region — with a mostly seasonal agrarian/fishing and tourism economy.  Most of our programs, including private lessons, need to be subsidized for about 75% of participants, so they can be offered free or for a modest contribution.  Founders/Administrators and Board members are volunteers.  So our fund-raising is for very modest operating expenses, and most importantly the programs themselves, for the people who want and need them and the enrichment they offer.


Please visit our "Get Involved" page to see many ways you might be able to help us fulfill our mission!  

Upcoming SCAI Events & Collaborations

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