The Rudolf Steiner Institute is an educational institution
offering a wide range of learning opportunities to adults who seek
to deepen the spiritual foundation of their lives. It is the intention
of the Institute to create an open community environment
where individuals from diverse backgrounds will feel welcome
to experience the spiritually based knowledge of anthroposophy
in the context of their own world view, beliefs and interests.
The history of the Rudolf Steiner Institute is, like all history, cyclical as well as linear. A march through the years points to people who have made the Institute the phenomenon it is. The names, familiar to many and some less so, are a host of dedicated and insightful teachers and artists. To list them would not only fill many pages, but would inevitably be less complete than it can and should be. The important thing is that, people, a wide and diverse selection of them, have converged for over nearly four decades to create community and interact creatively. Study, art and social engagement are consistent markers in the long history of RSI. Instituting new programs and forms give RSI a surge forward, another facet to its long-time work.
The Institute manifested its being in Maine at Thomas College for seventeen sessions starting in 1987. We created a presence of this kind of work in Maine and further in New England and Canada. The Institute’s regional presence complemented the continental and international scope of the teachers and participants who came to the Rudolf Steiner Institute. Anthroposophy’s global underpinnings were made manifest practically and productively.
The Institute developed further by transforming its format into a session of one-week intensives as well as its regular three-week courses. Hosting kindred groups began in this period of RSI’s history. The Association for Healing Education, the Barfield Graduate School, Arcturus (Chicago) Waldorf Teacher Training and the Rudolf Steiner Centre of Toronto made the Institute their home for their gathering and work. We shared faculty members, courses, and most of all, community and the cultural cross-pollination of ideas and creative impulses. It was a time of continued deepening of the Institute’s mission and purpose.
A connection to the west coast colleagues came through courses with Dennis Klocek, Brian Gray, Janet Kellman, Ted Mahle and others. Ties to the anthroposophical work at Forest Row in England continued through bringing Rachel Shepherd, Paul and Margli Matthews, Tijno and Bons Voors, and Michael and Roswitha Spence to RSI to share their insight and accomplishments in a variety of fields with RSI participants.
Arthur Zajonc, Robert McDermott, Henry Barnes, Christopher Bamford, Virginia Sease, Michaela Glöckler, Eileen Bristol, Richard Dancy, Douglas Sloan, Nick Thomas, Doug-las Miller, Nancy Poer, Joan Almon and Gertrude Reif Hughes fostered the Institute’s alliance and cooperation with world-wide anthroposophical experience, research and leadership. Anthroposophy and meditation remain central to the Institute’s priorities and efforts.
Renown and rising artists including Christian von Grumbkow, Charles Andrade, Ann Stockton, Elizabeth Radysh, Philip Pianezzi, Peter Schiefer, Van James, Ulla Neigenfind-Bossert, Edna Emmet and Jennifer Thomson brought their unique artistic styles and creativity to students with a variety of skills and experience.
Social ecology and spiritually grounded understanding of current global issues are central to the mission of the Rudolf Steiner Institute. Chris Schaefer, Jerry Schwartz, Robert Hill, Eric Utne, Ha Vinh Tho, Lisi Ha Vinh, Annie Blampied, John Cunningham, Jennifer Brook-Quinn and Brigitte Bley-Swinston contributed their knowledge and cooperative spirit to this area of research and inquiry.
Leaders in education including Hans-Joachim Mattke, Audrey McAllen, Mary Jo Oresti, Bruno Callegaro, René Querido, Magda Lissau, Georg Locher, Janene Ping, Betty Staley, Jack Petrash, Kevin Hughes, Patti Smith, Heather Goodwin, Tim Hoffmann, Ellen McDermott, Adola McWilliams, Rena Osmer, Felicitas Vogt, Nancy Blanning, Susan Howard, Suzanne Down, Anne Greer, Connie Manson, Rachel Ross and Cynthia Aldinger shared their insight into human developmental psychology and classroom prac-tice.
Eurythmy, movement, drama and music are significant arts in the Institute’s vision and scope. Annelies Davidson, Preston Barker, Renate Krause, Molly Amies, Alheidis von Bothmer, John Saccone, Sarah Kane, Adrian Locher, John McManus, Glen Williamson, Barbara Audley, Robert Powell, Eleanor Winship, Mary Thienes-Schunemann, Alexan-der MacKenzie, Nancy Mellon, Paul MacDonald, Michael Chase, Fabian Lochner, and Larry Glatt, Jeff Spade are but a few of the artists RSI has offered to its participants in the past twenty years.
Mathematicians, scientists and health hygienists like Norman Davidson, Jamie York, Lawrence Edwards, Kenneth Melia, Bruce Kirchoff, William Brinton, Wendy Cook, Jo-hannes Kühl, Philip Incao, Susan Kurz, Anne-Marie Fryer, Elizabeth Sustick, Betsy Cashen, Henri Bortoft, Wolfgang Schad, Jaap van der Wal and others demonstrated phenomenological observation and thinking along with its manifest application in the natural and human worlds.
In addition to the many active and engaging people who brought the Institute to life, there are some we lost to this life during this time. Teachers and Institute staff crossed the threshold of death and we look to them for continued help and grace from beyond. They inspire us then and now. Among them from the board of the Institute are Deborah Watts Hill, Terry Neville and M.C. Richards. We also look to dedicated faculty members who have crossed the threshold.
In 2003, RSI faced the need to find a new venue for its gathering and creating. The dedication and participation of our Canadian friends led us to try Bishop’s College just across the Vermont border in Quebec. Border-crossing issues, however, made it impractical to continue there.
Green Mountain College in Vermont was the Institute’s next venue. For four years we gathered and furthered the work of the creating an intentional community of seekers and creators. The mission of service to education, spiritual development and social awareness continued and deepened.
The Green Mountain location suited RSI in many ways. Marco Pogaçnik, an earth-healing practitioner who taught at RSI, said that the location had much natural etheric health. We hosted Robert Sardello and Cheryl Sanders and the School of Spiritual Psychology Sacred Service Reunion along with Vivian Gladwell’s Clown Facilitators Train-ing. The two-week course format replaced the original three-week one.
In these years the Artist-in-Residence program featured opera singer, Shana Blake Hill and concert pianist, Gili Melamed-Lev. The time at Green Mountain saw an expanded connection to the international art and architecture world through the participation of environmental architect Herbert Dreiseitl and internationally recognized sculptor, Axel Ewald.
The culmination of our time in Vermont was an art-in-nature installation by Axel. Involving the entire community, he created an organically-shaped series of walls using local slate leading to the Poultney River, a significant campus feature.
Now we look ahead to sessions at Stonehill College in Easton Massachusetts. The college’s facilities and the convenient location will serve us into the future. New faculty members join Institute regulars to forge the ever-evolving future of the Institute. RSI will host the conference of the Physician's Association for Anthroposophic Medcine/ Anthroposophic Association of Medicine and Therapies in America.
The Institute also begins a new thematic form for classes and colloquia designed to ad-dress today’s pressing social, economic and cultural issues. Teachers and participants will find a place conducive to the continuing and expanding mission of RSI. This progressive work in social development, spiritual striving and educational renewal work is ever more significant today and is the reason for the efforts and dedication of the whole Rudolf Steiner Institute community.