Stuart Kestenbaum

Stuart Kestenbaum

Stuart Kestenbaum

Born in 1951 in Newark, New Jersey, Stuart Kestenbaum is an arts administrator and poet. Kestenbaum completed his BA in comparative religion at Hamilton College (1973) before pivoting to a career in the arts. After a summer course in ceramics at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, he maintained a studio practice of his own, selling wholesale and retail wares for five years in Portland, Maine. In 1981, Kestenbaum accepted a position as an associate at the Maine Arts Commission, where he directed programing focused on art and literature. In 1985, he was promoted to assistant director of the commission. After three years in this role, Kestenbaum was selected to be the third executive director of Haystack. He held this position for just under 27 years, a period of expansion for the school during which Kestenbaum helped launch many programs, including annual conferences, a residency program, and a digital fabrication studio in partnership with MIT. Kestenbaum has also worked closely with the American Craft Council, serving as the chair of the board of trustees from 2014 – 2017. In addition to his work as an arts administrator, Kestenbaum is an accomplished poet and was named poet laureate of Maine in 2016. Since leaving Haystack, Kestenbaum has continued to pursue poetry and is acting as a strategist and spokesperson for the Craft School Experience, an online consortium of five American craft schools. Kestenbaum is also the host of Make/Time, a podcast launched by craftschools.us that features conversations with craft artists. Stuart Kestenbaum was honored with a 2008 Distinguished Educators Award from the James Renwick Alliance and was elected an Honorary Fellow of the American Craft Council in 2006.