The Star of Hope Foundation was established as an artist-endowed foundation by the late American Pop artist, Robert Indiana, who lived in the historic Star of Hope building in Vinalhaven, Maine until his death in 2018. The artist planned for his valuable estate to be managed by the Star of Hope Foundation which he himself set up in 2016.
The Foundation and its Board of Directors follow strict guidelines in order to qualify and maintain its status as a private, artist-endowed Foundation. To this end, the Board has been hard at work since 2019, rescuing and repairing the iconic Star of Hope building, promoting the visual arts in the community of Vinalhaven and creating arts-centered programming. The Board has also built a professional governance structure.
Understanding that Robert Indiana was a complicated and controversial individual, the Board implemented a robust community outreach process in 2019 which continued into 2020. In addition to a series of public meetings where ideas, suggestions and concerns were stated, the Foundation invited everyone who lives in Vinalhaven to participate in a community-wide survey. The data collected during this outreach is part of the information being used by the Board to create a plan that meets the mission and is appropriate for the diverse communities to be served.
Separate from his art collection and in the forefront of the Vinalhaven community, is the artist’s real estate holdings, which the Foundation took ownership of in 2019. This transfer allowed Star of Hope to undertake a major effort to rescue and stabilize the historic and much-loved Star of Hope Lodge building which towers over Main Street.
The building, which was in severe disrepair when the artist died, has been considered one of the most significant historic structures in Maine. Now, two years later, its intricately detailed Mansard style roof, oversized restored street front windows and bold, red wooden doors, offer downtown Vinalhaven a renewed sense of pride
The Star of Hope Foundation is also focused on developing a strategy for protecting the artist’s valuable art. The Foundation’s strategic planning process will help guide decisions about where the collection will reside and meet its mission for years to come.
The Star of Hope Foundation continues its effort to support and promote the visual arts and arts education in the Vinalhaven community. The Foundation sponsored an arts-education trip to Boston for Vinalhaven (pre-COVID). It continues to provide the space to display K-12 artwork in the Star of Hope’s oversized windows on Main Street. This community access allowed for visibility and a sense of pride and accomplishment for those who participate in the student art shows. During Summer 2021, the Vinalhaven Historical Society was invited to exhibit items from its collection.
Stay tuned for future updates on Star of Hope Foundation’s efforts and programs.