We are using cookies to give a better service experience. By using our services you agree to use cookies. Read more

All articles

Sweet Tree Arts / Sweetland School

Sweet Tree Arts is a community arts organization based in rural Hope, Maine, USA

Creative thinking is at the heart of Sweet Tree Arts / Sweetland School. The business model and development of this small, rural, community arts center and arts integrated school in Maine has succeeded through adaptability, flexibility and perseverance. These lessons and values are practiced and modeled through experiences in the arts and creativity.


HundrED has not validated this innovation.

All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED.

Web presence






Target group
January 2020
The Arts provides a safe place to value new ideas and to openly share them with wonder. This in turn sparks new thinking and invites a rich dialogue.

About the innovation

Building creative community

What we do?

Sweet Tree Arts offers community arts programming, through weekend, after school, summer classes and community events. Sweetland School is a flexible, arts integrated,  learner centered elementary school for children K-8. 

Mission Statement of Sweet Tree Arts

Sweet Tree Arts, in Hope, Maine offers a variety of creative arts opportunities to the local and broader community. Our credo of ‘Roots in the Community, Branches to the Wider world’ Inspires us to create local and global opportunities in the arts for our members and projects.

The purpose of Sweet Tree Arts is to provide community arts programming and alternative education opportunities through the arts. Sweet Tree Arts is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.


* Community programming in the Arts

*. Implement Community arts projects

* Education - offering alternative educational options through the arts.  

* Advocacy of the arts including public performances, published literature, articles and public artwork. 

* Partner with supporting organizations.

Why we do it?

We believe: 

* The arts has the capacity to bring the community together. 

*The creative process allows us to practice authentic, relevant learning opportunities. 

* When we focus our attention with fine tools and lovely materials we find pause, calm and build confidence.

* Real life situations provide purpose and passion and allow us to feel connected and engaged in the world around us. 

*Big Ideas happen with space, time, freedom and choice. 

*Collaboration expands the potential of the individual. When we shift our mindset from winning and losing we create opportunities for us all to  be seen for who we are. 

* Integrity is found in the integration of all subjects.

* We should be valued as capable learners from the moment we enter the world. 

* When we trust our own ideas we begin to trust others and the world around us. 

* Play, both guided and free, keeps the human spirit alive, happy and actively engaged. 

* Change is inevitable and essential. 

* Assuming the role of expert, we get in the way of connection. 

How we do it?

Small classes and groups allow us to build deep connections. 

Trusting the process and following the questions of learners, we move forward. 

Focusing on our stories, we find common themes, practice empathy and support one another. 

Reaching out to local partners and individuals we share resources, ideas and grow as a community. 


Episode 057: Sweetland School Interview with Lindsay Pinchbeck and learners
episode 57 Shift your ParadigmLindsay Pinchbeck and learners of Sweetland School share thoughts on learner centered education. 
Building a school together
Sweetland School / Sweet Tree Arts staff raise a greenhouse and keep moving forward. From left to right Cameron Pinchbeck, Marlee Luehman, Nina Devenney, Hannah Wells, Paul Carwright, Will Foote and Amy Gertner, Lindsay Pinchbeck and Chris Pinchbeck . Missing from photo Argy Nestor, Angela Nelson, Mariel Dowling and Elsie Pinchbeck. It starts with an idea. A conversation. A napkin with sketches. Doors open February 2013, with our first ever story slam, a school is born in 2014. Today an art center full of color, joy, laughter, song, creative thinking, collaboration.Entering our 7th year as a community arts center I reflect with gratitude around our growth and the community support over the years. Now a non profit, offering programming to all ages and collaborating with other local, national and global organizations we are a small art center in a rural community learning the importance of connection and collaboration. Over the years Sweet Tree Arts has been practicing how to cultivate an environment that honors freedom, choice and encourages voice by creating a safe space for the community to ask questions, play and get messy with ideas and materials. I thank you all along this journey, for your patience and support as we continue to learn how to thrive and flourish. https://knox.villagesoup.com/p/building-community-around-art-in-hope/902079https://www.penbaypilot.com/article/sweet-tree-arts-host-sustainability-festival/117302https://waldo.villagesoup.com/p/art-in-education-triangle/1795807
Annual Story Slam
Storytelling events bring our community together. Elevating locals as heroes and putting aside our differences we laugh, we cry, we gather together.
Sewing - Maine to Malawi
Argy Nestor sewing in Mpamila Malawi.When Lindsay Pinchbeck and Argy Nestor returned from Malawi in July 2016 they brainstormed ideas on how to continue to support the teachers and learners of Mpamila Village. Learning about the program ‘Dress a Girl Around the World’ planted the seeds to begin sewing dresses and pants for the children in the village. With the help of strangers, friends and family and a monthly sewing gathering at Sweet Tree Arts about 150 dresses and pants have been created and sent with teachers who have gone to Malawi to continue with the arts integration workshops for the Malawian educators. Lindsay and Argy’s goal is to complete another 200 by June 2020 when they will return with dresses and pants that have shirts, beanie babies and underwear in the pockets. All the learners in Mpamila Village will have received clothing thanks to sewers gathering at Sweet Tree Arts Center. The arts integration workshops with teachers will continue and teaching the community members and young learners to sew their own dresses and pants will be a focus as well. Sewing is part of their school curriculum.https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/18-for-2018/
Teaching and Learning in Malawi Argy Nestor & Lindsay Pinchbeck Waterville Maine Pecha Kucha Vol 23
Pecha Kucha - Malawi Argy Nestor and Lindsay Pinchbeck
PechaKucha 20x20 - Sweet Tree Arts
Lindsay Pinchbeck Pecha KuchaCreator of Sweet Tree Arts a community arts organization in Hope Maine. Celebrating creativity and community through workshops, and community happenings.
Community connections
Since the inception of Sweet Tree Arts adults with development disabilities have been a part of our learning community through classes, workshops and collaborative art shows in our community. The program, run by Nina Devenney now collaborates with learners at Sweetland School. Building connections, breaking down walls and  supporting inclusion is at the heart of our work at Sweet Tree. 
Magic is Happening - Trusting the Process
by Lindsay Pinchbeck, HundrED blog, 30.4.2019 https://hundred.org/en/articles/magic-is-happening-trusting-the-process
Sweetland School: A Conversation with Lindsay Pinchbeck - Education Reimagined
Sweetland School: A Conversation with Lindsay Pinchbeck - Education Reimagined https://education-reimagined.org/conversation-lindsay-pinchbeck/
How Can The Arts Encourage Us To Take Risks & Trust The Learning Process? - Lindsay Pinchbeck | HundrED WEBday
By Lindsay Pinchbeck, HundrED WEBday 25.3.2019 https://hundred.org/en/articles/how-can-the-arts-encourage-us-to-take-risks-trust-the-learning-process-lindsay-pinchbeck-hundred
Connecting to the environment and community through active connection to greens and plants.
Integrating subjects and connecting to artists and experts in the field. 
Integrating subjects and connecting to artists and experts in the field. 
Arts Integration in Malawi
https://meartsed.wordpress.com/tag/gomalawi/In 2016 Argy Nestor and Lindsay Pinchbeck were invited by 'Go Malawi!' to offer professional development to teachers in Mpamila, Malawi. Since then active support through annual workshops offered by other Maine teachers and the sharing of ideas and resources have allowed  for a rich dialogue in arts integration and learner centered opportunities. The results - increased test scores, higher engagement for both teachers and learners, a lower drop out rate for learners and more learners (and an increase of girls) going on to secondary school. http://maineartsjournal.com/water-is-life-and-knowledge-is-power-by-krisanne-baker/
Create a safe space
Creating a safe space for all ages and all abilities to gather and explore creative thinking and the creative process. 
Sweetland School mind map
Outdoor connection
Connecting to the outdoors our learning is full of opportunities to share beauty and wonder. 
Community focused
Connecting to the community is key to our success and survival. Partnerships with local organizations and the town of Hope allow our school to thrive. https://www.penbaypilot.com/article/hope-invites-sunshine/127353
Experiences lead to authenticity
The arts give us permission and a safe space to practice new skills, build connections, slow down and observe the world around us. Through experiences we share and learn authentically. 
Documentation and Reflection
Weekly reflections. Collecting photography and the words of the learners we know where to go next in our emerging curriculum. The self reflective process by learners allows each child to take charge of their learning. 
Sweetland School
Sweet Tree Arts

Spread of the innovation

loading map...