Middle School Music Teachers Invited

November 23, 2014

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School invitation – Free Student Matinee

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Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School invites Maine middle school music teachers and their students to Camden for a free matinee performance.

Friday, March 27 at 9:30am
Camden Opera House

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This renowned 5-member a cappella group from Boston will perform a free student matinee for area middle schoolers as part of the ensemble’s three day residency in Maine.

Please contact Monica Kelly at monica@baychamberconcerts.org for more information or to reserve your spot.

Limited seating available – 50 seats per school maximum.

Visit http://www.overboardvocals.com/ to learn more about Overboard.

Presenting Residency Sponsor: Slim Goodbody Corporation/John & Christine Burstein.


Farnsworth Art Museum

November 22, 2014

Holiday gathering

Share the Wonder Celebration
A Family Tradition
Saturday, November 29, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Farnsworth Art Museum

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 6.39.12 PMThe museum’s traditional holiday family festival attracts upwards of 1,200 children and adults to a myriad of activities and events taking place throughout the museum campus. The three-hour events will feature the following stations at which participating children may have their Share the Wonder passports stamped:

  • Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble performing “Solstice Surprise” in the auditorium
  • Press Gang performing holiday music in the library
  • Cookie decorating
  • Carriage rides around the campus
  • The Share the Wonder train display at the Wyeth Center.
  • Craft activity at the Gamble Center
    These programs are free to the public and museum admission will be waived to all throughout the three-hour festival.

For more information please click here.


Stress Reliever

November 21, 2014

These 12 Childhood Art Techniques Can Help Adults Relive Stress

This article is written by Priscilla Frank for The Huffington Post. The beginning of the article is below with a link to the entire piece.

Making art doesn’t necessarily sound like a stress reliever. Finding inspiration, keeping concentration, finding your artistic voice — these things demand extreme attention, time and effort. Yet there is something about expressing your creative side that can help put your mind at ease.

Most forms of art making involve both logic and creativity — for example, coloring inside the lines and mixing and matching colors to your preference. The combination of vision and precise motor skills also leads to an all-encompassing experience that captivates the brain, pushing other stressors out of the picture, at least temporarily. “The idea that creative expression can make a powerful contribution to the healing process has been embraced in many different cultures,” Heather L. Stuckey and Jeremy Nobel wrote in the American Journal of Public Health. Caregivers involved with creative arts intervention methods at cancer treatment centers in particular “reported significantly reduced stress, decreased anxiety, and increased positive emotions after taking part in the intervention.”

To read more please click here.


National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

November 20, 2014

Applications Now Open!

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 6.07.23 PMThe President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is accepting applications for the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards.

The twelve award-winning programs this year will each receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award from the President’s Committee’s Honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama, at a ceremony at the White House.

After-school and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs are encouraged to apply. Please click the following link to access the online National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards Application: http://www.nahyp.org/how-to-apply/

Completed applications will only be accepted via the online process.

Monday, February 2, 2015, 5:00 PM PST is the application deadline.

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Community Cast Join Louisville Orchestra

November 19, 2014

Louisville Orchestra

Teddy Abrams, the Louisville Orchestra, and a community cast of hundreds come together to create a powerhouse performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. It is very cool to see the number of people who come together for this performance. High schools, community choirs, professional choirs join to make an incredible sound.


Center for Arts in Education

November 18, 2014

Professional development opportunity

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Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 10.42.50 PMThe 2015 NATF Letter of Intent form is due November 19th!

Click Here to Apply!

The Center for Arts in Education invites arts teachers from public arts high schools and Title 1 high schools and middle schools to apply for funding for artistic development through its National Artist Teacher Fellowship program. Join us in celebrating 15 years of the NATF program, which offers arts teachers the opportunity to immerse themselves in their own creative work, interact with other professional artists, and stay current with new practices.

Click here to see our brochure.

 The NATF program provides grants of up to $5,500 to enable selected arts teachers from all disciplines to rejuvenate their own art-making. A complementary grant of $1,500 is awarded to each Fellow’s school to support post-fellowship activities in the classroom.

Eligibility for NATF:

Schools must:

  • Be a public arts high school, magnet school, or charter school with the primary mission of fostering the development of artistic talent; or a Title 1 middle or high school with a sequential arts program.
  • Offer sequential arts courses as a requirement for graduation
  • Employ artists as teachers

Arts Teachers must:

  • Be permanently assigned full or part-time faculty (teaching a minimum of 6 hrs/week in an arts discipline)
  • Be minimally in their fifth year of teaching arts at the high school or middle school level (middle school educators must be from a Title 1 schools)

Previous NATF and Surdna Fellows (Rounds 1-14) are ineligible to apply for 2015 NATF program.

Online Letters of Intent are due November 19, 2014

For complete program information, please visit our website:


Are the Arts Academic?

November 17, 2014

What do you think?
Last week while I was in New Orleans at the Professional Development Institute held each fall for the “Arts Ed Managers” (people in positions like mine at the Arts Commissions, or Arts Councils, as they are called in many states), we visited an Arts high school that had the morning devoted to “academics” and the afternoon devoted to the “Arts”. The school is 40 years old but in more recent years it added the “academics” so students could spend the entire day there to receive all of their instruction. I asked one of the administrators why they considered the Arts as non-academic and thought about the handful of conversations I’ve had with York High School music educator Rob Westerberg on the topic. When I returned I asked Rob if he would write a blog post on the topic and below is the post. It would be great to hear what you have to say on the topic. As you read through it please think about where you stand on the topic and I invite you to post a comment at the end of the post. Consider having this discussion with your own school district arts staff. Thank you Rob!

IMG_0727In 2010, a student applying to Stanford University posed this question on an online forum called “College Confidential”, asking if their music teacher’s recommendation letter would count as an academic teacher recommendation. This was the primary response: “A music theory teacher, or music history teacher, I could make arguments for. A band director does not teach an academic subject, any more than a football coach or a driver’s ed instructor does.” In contrast, that same year, Indiana published their Academic Standards for Music which states, “The ultimate goal of a fine arts curriculum is to enable students to be proficient creators, performers, critics, listeners, and observers of the arts. Students who attain academic standards in the fine arts will be able to use the arts to think and learn independently, know themselves and the world around them, and communicate in the art forms studied.

So which are the Arts: co-curricular or academic? Let’s take a closer look at the two diametrically opposed perspectives.

As for the insinuation that the Arts are co-curricular, the Glossary of Educational Reform (created by the Great Schools Partnership) defines co-curricular in part as, “typically, but not always, defined by their separation from academic courses. For example, they are ungraded, they do not allow students to earn academic credit” I don’t think too many would argue with this definition, simple though it may be. But Great schools partnership continues with, “A few examples of common educational opportunities that may be considered co-curricular include student newspapers, musical performances, art shows, mock trials, debate competitions, and mathematics, robotics, and engineering teams and contests.” We can decry that the music and art references are entirely misplaced, but we’d be in the vast minority. And we could argue that the Arts are more academically rigorous than the other examples, but we’d be very wrong (more rigorous than robotics – really??).

Yet having said all that, there’s one argument the Arts have that sticks: many of our performingIMG_6137 arts presentations and art shows are tied to academic coursework. So let’s look at that end of the spectrum. The Indiana document, which clearly states the Arts as academic, embeds one extraordinarily important caveat: students are to “attain academic standards”. Let’s roll with that. Great Schools Partnership definition of standards: “concise, written descriptions of what students are expected to know and be able to do at a specific stage of their education—that are used to guide public-school instruction, assessment, and curricula.” Got that? Academic courses are entrenched in curriculum, instruction and assessment. Again, I find it hard to believe anyone would argue this definition.

Now back to the original question: are the Arts co-curricular or academic? To witness arts education across Maine, the answer seems to be a big, resounding, “depends.” It depends on whether or not you base it on what we say, or you base it on what we do. Based on what we say, we’re indeed academic. Based on what we do, it’s usually anything but. I’ll tell you why. We are resistant to changing the way we do things to actually reflect the definition of being an academic subject; we run our Visual Art and Performing Art classes the way we were exposed to when we were in High School. We run them the way we were taught in College. We run them the way we’ve been allowed to by administrators who are happy to have us do what we want because they largely do not see us as academic anyway. At the elementary level, we are viewed as keeping the kids occupied so classroom teachers can have a prep. At the Middle and High School levels, as long as the exhibits and concerts look and sound great, we’ve always received pats on the back and told to keep up the good work.

IMG_3615As Maine implements its proficiency law, it’s about time we in the Visual and Performing Arts took a cold, hard look in the mirror. We are in the extraordinary position of linking arms with the other academic subject areas and joining them in this work if we choose to, holding every individual student academically accountable. I have heard for years from colleagues – verbatim – that “you can’t (or shouldn’t) assess the arts”, and “some kids are just more talented than others”, and “we teach kids, not stuff”, and “when will there be time to rehearse?”, and “I just want my kids to be happy in my classroom.” You know what? We can go there… we can absolutely determine as a state that these are our mantras, and that we are here to enrich our students lives in awesome, meaningful and lasting ways. Game on. Just don’t whine when we finally get removed from the school day, and get completely marginalized as co-curricular in nature. The alternative of course is to move forward as fully fledged, card carrying members of the academic core. But doing so means having to get off our soap boxes, out of our comfort zones, and articulating exactly what we are. Academically. No more, no less. By definition, that means developing standards and proficiency for every student. Every individual student. No more excuses. Does this mean reinventing what we do, how we do it and what that all looks like in practice? You bet it does. But before we complain about it, we need to ask ourselves if the alternative is acceptable. It’s time to get off the fence for once and for all and determine what we are. If we’re truly academic, it’s time to act it.


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