Cultural Capital: Deer Isle, Maine

Despite being a small town, Deer Isle is very rich in cultural capital. Due to Deer Isle’s isolated location, the town and culture has remained authentically New England throughout the years. Because of its island location, industries such as lobstering and boat maintenance are very prominent. With a long history of lobstering, granite quarrying, and an appreciation for the arts, Deer Isle’s small town-culture is both rich and diverse.


With an economy that is almost entirely based on the lobstering industry, Deer Isle’s surface-level culture may seem very homogenous. However, when taking a closer look, only about 20% of Deer Isle’s working residents are involved in lobstering or fishing (American FactFinder). The artist community in Deer Isle makes up for a large part of the culture. The Haystack Mountain School of Crafts has brought in renowned artists from all over the country to teach courses (Deer Isle-Stonington Chamber of Commerce). There are also dozens of art galleries spread throughout the community, ranging from large commercial studio spaces to smaller galleries located in the barn or garage of an artist.


Another cultural focal point of Deer Isle is the Opera House. Located right downtown, the Opera House Arts is a non-profit organization that started with the mission of restoring the historic opera house. After restoring the building, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is used for a variety of community based theatrical, musical, and dance performances throughout the year. The Opera House also provides a variety of classes and seminars for Deer Isle residents (About the Opera House Arts).




About the Opera House (n.d.). In Opera House Arts. Retrieved October 1, 2016, from

(n.d.). In American Fact Finder. Retrieved October 1, 2016, from


Welcome to Deer Isle and Stonington (n.d.). In Deer Isle – Stonington Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved October 1, 2016, from