The Jack Pine Project: Crisis Meets Creative Arts

Jack Pine Project logoThe creative arts are needed more than ever at a time like this. Projects like Songwriting With:Soldiers and the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop connect people in difficult, life-altering circumstances with teachers who help them express their feelings and ideas through the arts. The stories and songs created are powerful and authentic, and the effects on students and their teachers are remarkable.

The Jack Pine Project responds to the current crisis by connecting teachers in the arts with cohorts of students from around Maine. Through a series of workshops, Maine artists, musicians, writers and others will work with various groups to help them express their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and hopes for the future. The project is coordinated by the Maine Folklife Center and Maine Studies Program, with support from the university’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast.

The title of the project is drawn from the Jack Pine, a species native to Maine that thrives in areas burnt by wildfire, needing the heat of fire to release its seeds. The image of a pine seedling emerging from burnt ground is emblematic of Maine’s reemergence from the COVID-19 pandemic and state of social crisis that we find ourselves in, and the role of the arts in this process.

Click here to learn more about the project and get involved.

Maine Folklife Center Closed Due to COVID-19

Due to the temporary closure of the University of Maine campus in Orono, the Maine Folklife Center is closed and will remain so until further notice. All events and activities are now cancelled or postponed until Fall.

All Northeast Archives materials are now held at the Fogler Library Special Collections Department. Please contact them directly for more information. Most items in the collection are now in digital form, and it might be possible for SPC staff to send you these items electronically, even with the campus closed.

Looking for Items from the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History?


Many people contact us looking for audio recordings, photographs, or other materials from the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History (NAFOH). In 2017, NAFOH was transferred to UMaine’s Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections Department. Most of the materials were actually sent to the Library of Congress several years ago, with the goal of digitizing them for public access. Special Collections holds duplicates of those materials, as well as some additional items donated to the Folklife Center since the LOC transfer.

P00929 Blaine 'Tinker' Averill, the cook, and his wife, Goldie, taken between 1945 and 1947, at Little Musquash Lake Woods camp. These two worked together to feed the lumbermen at this camp, three meals a day, all winter, for fifteen years. Goldie remembers that 'I used to love to cook. My husband and I did everything together. And now I just hate to get a meal for myself... He'd do the mixing, and I'd do the frying. We did everything together. And the pies, he'd fill them, and I'd put the meringue on top. [NA1075.006]
Blaine “Tinker” Averill and his wife, Goldie, at Little Musquash Lake Woods camp in the mid-1940s. These two worked together to feed the lumbermen at this camp all winter for fifteen years. [NA1075.006]

Those interested in exploring the Archives should begin their search HERE. If you are looking for a particular item and wish to see if it is available as an mp3 download, audio CD, photograph or pdf file, the staff at Special Collections are the ones to contact. You can find all their contact information by clicking on this link. Please note that Special Collections has its own policies regarding access to materials, as well as potential costs for CDs or other items. Their staff will be able to provide this information.

The Archives have been a large part of the Folklife Center’s identity since well before its official origins in 1992, starting in the 1950s as boxes of tapes, photos and type-written transcripts kept by our founder, Sandy Ives. The transfer of NAFOH to the Library of Congress and Fogler Library means a shift in our mission, and allows us to use our space and equipment for new things. This move does not, however, mean a lack of appreciation for the value of tangible records of our work over the years, or that of other researchers and family documentarians. To the contrary, we respect the value of these precious items, and want to make sure that they are well-preserved, secure, and able to be accessed by researchers, family members and others. We believe this move helps us achieve this goal.

The Maine Folklife Center can still assist and advise individuals or organizations wishing to donate materials to NAFOH. We will also be adding our own new research materials to NAFOH in the coming years. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach us using our Contact Us page. 

About the Maine Folklife Center

Since 1992, the Maine Folklife Center has played a leading role in documenting, preserving and sharing the rich cultural heritage of our region. In fact, the roots of the Center are even deeper, planted in the late 1950s by its founder, the late Edward “Sandy” Ives, a leading scholar on the folkways, folklore and folksongs of the Northern Forest region and the Maritimes. You can read more about Sandy and his impressive body of work here.

Edward 'Sandy' Ives
Edward ‘Sandy’ Ives at his home in North Bucksport.

Today the Center continues its work on the issues, people and stories that define northern New England’s farming, fishing, and forest communities, even as these communities undergo rapid and profound change. The work we do helps to give voice to those often left out of conversations about the future of our region, while also honoring their invaluable cultural heritage.

We invite you to learn more about who we are and what we do, and to explore the rich collection of ethnographic and historical material we have gathered over the years. This material is held in the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, now found in the Fogler Library Special Collections at the University of Maine in Orono. The Folklife Center, which was the original home of these materials, maintains a special relationship with them, and our website provides a useful gateway to the Archives.

Whatever your interest, whether tracking down a long-lost family interview, finding materials for a research or media project, or learning how to do oral history or ethnographic research on your own, we can help. You can check out our collections online (here or at our Digital Commons site), come and visit us in person, or attend one of our public events. And if you need information that you can’t find here, or want to help us with our work, please let us know. We look forward to hearing from you!

Folk Songs of Maine

Hear our founder Edward D. “Sandy”album cover for 'folk songs of maine' Ives sing, or order his CD Folk Songs of Maine, on the Smithsonian Folkways website.

This is the only album that Sandy ever recorded himself, despite a lifetime of learning, playing, and documenting the folksongs of Maine and the Canadian maritimes.

Support Our Work

To give to our general endowment fund, please use the link below. This fund, established in the names of our founder Edward Sandy Ives and his wife Bobbi, supports a variety of Center needs.

To learn more about specific ongoing or planned projects that could also use your support, please contact Kreg Ettenger, MFC Director, at 207-581-1840.