PRESS RELEASE: Maine's Own Dollywood?

October 13, 2005
For immediate release

Carol Noonan
Stone Mountain Arts Center
c/o Carol Noonan Music
695 Dug Way Road
Brownfield, Maine 04010


For more info go to:
Stone Mountain Arts Center or
Carol Noonan Music


Well not quite, but singer songwriter Carol Noonan from rural Brownfield Maine is determined to bring the arts into her own backyard......literally.
Noonan has become famous for her grass roots approach to selling and marketing her music independently to her devoted fans. Now she will take that same approach to put up a performing arts center on her farm to be called the Stone Mountain Arts Center.

She will host national folk, blues, jazz, and pop acts, a local variety show prairie home companion style, and even an opera society, among other forms of artistic expression. As Noonan says, “there are no rules here in the will be OUR Arts Center...I want the lady who listens to public radio and the guy who goes to the monster truck shows to both be buying a ticket here”.

And OUR arts center is right. Many of the folks who have invested in this venture are neighbors, friends and family, who will garnish seasonal discounted tickets for their faith and support in this creative Maine couple. This gives them a core audience that will always come, bring someone, and spend money on dinner and drinks. Oh yes, did we mention you can get dinner before the show up there in the middle of nowhere?. That is one of the unique things about this space. The obvious draw is the beautiful timber frame structure with its proposed stained glass backdrop for the stage and it’s humble mountain views, but being able to drive casually, park, and eat dinner before the show in a completely stress free environment, is something even many of the city venues can’t boast of.

Noonan has made a commitment to bring back the art of presenting a show. “I feel like people are paying a lot of money these days for tickets and aside from the performance itself, they are not getting enough for their buck. Uncomfortable chairs, no concessions, traffic, parking...all these things factor into a memorable or non-memorable experience. I want our experience to definitely be memorable. We hope to be a destination spot in fact. There are lots of B&B’s in the area who I think will benefit from those folks who want to make a weekend out of a visit to the Stone Mountain Arts Center. We’ve got everything here....mountains, lakes, skiing, hiking.....and now the arts!!! We don’t want to have to drive into the cities for a cultural fix...we want the arts to come to us. And we are not the only one to have this idea. There have been arts centers popping up all over New England in the middle of nowhere for that same reason.”

The “we” Noonan refers to is herself and husband Jeff Flagg. They are a typical Maine couple in the sense of being hard working and independent. But they are an unlikely pair when it comes to their careers. Noonan, is a critically acclaimed singer songwriter and folk singer, and Flagg a commercial fishing net builder, is one of the best and few in his field. Though both have come to a crossroads in their careers recently. Strict fishing regulations imposed on the New England fisheries in recent years has changed a once thriving industry to a struggling this native Mainer doesn't see his future in. Noonan, tired of being away from home, and longing to give back to a community that has embraced her, sees her future and her husband’s out her kitchen window in the form of a renovated barn and a log trimmed stage.

This project is laced with love and community. Part of that community is a fine pianist and composer named Dana Cunningham. She is a beloved regional favorite who has donated her talents to a cd collaboration with Noonan to raise funds for the Stone Mountain Arts Center. It is called a Water is Wide. Many folks had expressed interest in getting involved in the Arts center in some small way, and the Water is Wide is a good way to do it. As Noonan says in her liner notes:

“ Investing in the Arts is an investment of the heart. And if you have purchased this cd you understand that. If you don’t live here, you may not feel the pulse of our little town. But I am sure you can feel the weakening heartbeat of arts and culture in our country. But I feel a stirring in our villages...the natives are definitely restless. And if you can't fight the big fight, fight the small one. The small ones can really add up. My sincere and heartfelt thanks, C. Noonan”

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