Stone Mountain Arts Center for the Performing Arts coming soon to Brownfield Maine  


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So reading about a new arts center is not going to blow your socks off, make your jaw drop or even get your undies in a bunch like my not so classy husband might say. But this is not like any performing arts center, non profit with"bored" of directors, or fancily renovated city hall. This is a humble 200 seat timber frame music hall nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains in little Brownfield Maine... Brownfield that literally burned to the ground in the forties...Brownfield that has a post office and a corner store filled with snowmobilers or canoers depending on what time of year it is ...Brownfield where artists like Marty Stuart , Mary Chapin Carpenter, Béla Fleck, Capitol Steps, and Paula Poudstone might pass a trailer, a few cows, or the occasional loose horse on their way up the hill. Up the hill to the Stone Mountain Arts Center, next door to Vinnie the pizza guy who parked cars for us one night with a bow tie and a cane., or Dan Shea's house who put the red clapboards up on this barn only 8 months ago......or Irving Potter's grand farm, who is referred to in a closing song of the monthly Stone Mountain LIVE Variety Show:

Well we've come to the end of our little show
Please drive safe and please drive slow
As you drive down the hill please check out your brakes
We don't want you to run into Irving Potter's place. (in full chorus).

Oh, and did I mention it is in my backyard!?

There are no restaurants nearby....barely a sign....just mountain views, country roads, and simple neighbors who are in walking distance to see a show. But they are not the only ones coming. The word has gotten out. People are driving three hours to see an artist here. Why?

I dunno...there is something here bigger than me that drives this train. It’s in them dar hills or something like that. There is just something about this neighborhood..the “Blake neighborhood”, named in the 18oo’s for the first people settling here. The audience feels it, and so do the artists...they all want to come back. I felt it the first time I came up to see our 200 year old farmhouse that sits in front of this big 12 year old red barn....a barn that was literally picked up, moved, and plopped onto a new foundation, to eventually block the view of my kitchen window. When it was moved half the town was here, to hold a line in the rain as it was lifted up and guided to its new home like a Macy’s Day balloon ..............

The Stone Mountain Arts Center was opened less than a year later, by myself, a road weary musician, and my husband a commercial fishing net builder. We are unlikely but yet uniquely qualified to take on this task. He built it, and I filled it.....And it's full alright. Every show has sold out or close to it, even in January. They said it would never fly, no one would come, we were crazy....but ask any performer or audience member alike, and they will tell you there is something special here. The big name artists love the idea of connecting with a small audience again. With a purposeful 21 inch high stage, there is no great distance from the audience to the performer. For most of them it is how they began, for the lesser known artists, it is where they are most comfortable.

Click to read some
Artist comments
Click to read
"Musician strikes a chord
in rural Maine"

on Explore New England

There is a story here....a story about a town allowing us to do this in my own backyard. A story about a couple reinventing themselves as they approach 50...but the most important story is about how rural people create their own worlds where they live, and the quality of those worlds. It is about the people. If you have read this far, it means maybe you're interested in these people. I have pasted a story below about country legend Marty Stuart visiting our humble little town. It will give you an insight to what I am talking about and what lies in store for you at the Stone Mountain Arts Center!

My best,
Carol Noonan


An Excerpt from the SMAC Chronicles.....


For those of you who missed the Marty Stuart show here at Stone Mountain Arts Center, I am so sorry. I can truly say it is not just the best show I have seen here at SMAC, but it is the best show I have ever seen in my life!!

So here’s the thing, if you don’t know who Marty is, let me explain.....
He is a country legend...played with Johnny Cash for years, has won countless grammy and country music in the country hall of fame, a regular performer on the Grand Old Opry...blah, blah...get the picture? ......he is a big star in the country music world.

I tell you all this to drive the point home that this big act coming up to our small neck of the woods, is kind of an awesome tale in itself......but the fact that they really got a “taste” of our little community is the best part of the story........

These big acts have kind of a weird schedule when they are on the road....They play a gig, get in the bus, and drive all night to their next destination. Often they arrive at the venue in the wee hours of the morning and park and sleep until nine or ten and then go to the hotel to catch a cat nap in a real bed, and shower before their sound check. Meanwhile the crew works on the elaborate stage production. So now with that background, I will describe their day here in Brownfield.....

They got to our always controversial town at 4:00 AM in the morning, and started up our Dugway Road, only to find a tree across their right of way.... a casualty from that crazy storm we had the other night. Anyway, they had to back down a mile of country road, that is not easy to maneuver going forward, never mind a big rig! But being laid back country folk themselves, they pulled into the Brownfield Town Garage unruffled and slept till 8:00. The driver said, there was a moment of panic from the Marty camp, when a few early risers looked out the window and spied the town garage thinking it was the Stone Mountain Arts Center. But soon my Jeff came down and escorted them up a more treeless route to their Blake neighborhood destination. That huge tour bus towing an equally long trailer, came rolling in and they poured out wiping the sleep for their eyes. 12 hours later they were dressed in their spangly jangly country duds, and took the stage.

During the day, we shuttled them in a borrowed van from a kind local canoe rental business that said “15.00 a Day" plastered on the side, advertising this band of Southern musicians as if they were for hire. (I wish Marty was that cheap!) They showered and caught some cat naps at the Snowvillage Inn and then requested a place to have lunch and a band meeting at noon time away from the venue. Unprepared of course, I had a moment of panic, but luckily I knew just who to call.

I reserved the "function room" in the back of the quaint and colorful Eaton Village Store where Phil treated them to his famous cheeseburgers. I told Phil that I would be picking up the check, and consequently the band racked up a whopping 32.00 worth of sustenance. (Phil waved the room rental ...haha) On the way back, they took pictures of the beautiful foliage and mountains that we get to see everyday.

They were amazingly gracious and referred to my husband Jeff and I often throughout the performance. I heard from their agent today, who wanted to book them a return visit right away.....they said that our little place was the best stop on the tour. They said our audience was "powerfully enthusiastic and full of love", and our chef fixed them, and I quote, "the best dang food we ever had on a tour....nice to have some home cookin' for a change!" They commented on what a beautiful dressing room we had, and I admitted to him that we had just finished it the night before thanks again to the help and creativity of friends and neighbors.

Marty was very kind and talked to Jeff and I for a long time after the show about our dream, and how important it was. he said we had something very special here, including the audience. It reminded me of why we did this, and why we have risked so much.

He also asked me if he could borrow my Silvertone guitar for a recording he was working was just the sound he was looking for. He offered to rent it, and feeling like a groupie, I told him just to take it with him, and then he would HAVE to come back. “He said, honey, we’re already comin’ back!”

So you know those days you have, when you think wow, we are so lucky to live here.......look around, not just at the the people. Marty did. He will be back in September,

Carol Noonan

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