Jump Right In!

September 16, 2014


We’ve been receiving feedback during the last month on the NEW WEBSITE that brings together the plethora of resources that the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) has created and located during the first three phases of the initiative. It is especially timely since it has many components that can help guide and direct you as you work in your individual schools/districts on the high school graduation/proficiency requirement. If you have not had a chance to check it out, please do. Once you spend some time roaming around the site send me an email at argy.nestor@maine.gov or post a comment at the bottom of this blog post. If you find that something is missing or you are looking for something that is not provided, please let me know. The MAAI leadership team is interested in hearing from you. Thanks to Rob Westerberg for bringing all of these resources together and creating the new website.

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MAAI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission with several partners including: New England Institute for Teacher Education, University of Southern Maine, Maine College of Art, Maine Art Education Association, Maine Music Educators Association, Maine Department of Education, Maine Learning Technology Initiative, and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education.



Maine Educational Theatre Conference

September 15, 2014

Calling all Thespians

Friday, October 10, 2014
9:00 am to 5:15 pm
Russell Hall, University of Southern Maine
37 College Ave., Gorham, ME 04038

The Maine Educational Theatre Conference will be a full-day event (9:00am to 5:15pm) on Friday, October 10th held on the Gorham campus of the University of Southern Maine. All high school theater groups in Maine are welcome to attend, and groups of all sizes can attend, whether you’re bringing 2 students or 25 students! It’s a day for high school students and high school theater directors to attend workshops led by professional theater-makers and meet and share ideas with groups from other schools. Workshops include sessions on playwriting, vocal technique in musicals, stage combat, makeup design, and much much more.

Information available at http://www.northeastedta.org/Maine.html


Portland Symphony Orchestra

September 14, 2014

KinderKonzerts and other info


Strings, Brass, and Winds KinderKonzerts: The Music and Life of Ludwig von Beethoven
October 2014, February 2015, and March 2015
In celebration of the PSO’s 90th Anniversary Celebration and the launch of a three-year Beethoven Symphony Cycle, the Brass, Strings, and Winds KinderKonzert Quintets will focus on the music and life of Ludwig von Beethoven. Join us as we explore the music that Beethoven listened to as a young child (when he was KinderKonzert age!), his early compositions, and his ability to persevere through hearing loss to write beautiful symphonies.

Although the story of Beethoven’s life will be similar across the three KinderKonzert ensembles, audiences will learn unique characteristics of each ensemble and instrument family. Students will benefit from attending multiple performances by engrossing themselves in the familiar theme of Beethoven, approached through the eyes of several different musicians.


Percussion KinderKonzerts: What You See & What You Hear!
May 2015

Audiences should be prepared to make some noise with the Percussion KinderKonzerts: What You See and What You Hear! Using a variety of instruments, the PSO’s percussion ensemble leads attendees in an exploration of percussive sound using mallets, brushes, sticks, and their bare hands.

WARNING: Attendees of the Percussion KinderKonzerts may leave with the strong desire to turn everything in front of them into homemade percussion instruments!
Open Dress Rehearsals
Behind the Scenes at Merrill Auditorium: Grades 6 – College

Students and community organizations are welcome to observe our open dress rehearsals at Merrill Auditorium. These are a casual, informal way to experience working rehearsals, where the conductors might decide to perform pieces in a different order, suggest changes, and make performance decisions prior to the full concerts.


Host a KinderKonzert
In addition to our performances in Portland, Lewiston, and Brunswick, the PSO KinderKonzert quintets are available to perform at your school or organization. Rates begin at $1300 for two performances. Schools are welcome to sell tickets to the public and to co-host with other schools and organizations, to help offset costs. Contact education@portlandsymphony.org for more information.

For more information, including purchasing tickets. please click here.


Exploring Women’s Testimony

September 13, 2014

Free International Conference, UMA

Exploring Women’s Testimony: Genocide, War, Revolution, The Holocaust, and Human Rights

On October  9th and 10th, 2014 the University of Maine at Augusta, Colby College, and the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine will jointly co-sponsor a free international conference to explore and advance awareness of gendered issues as it relates to human rights abuses. Exploring Women’s Tesitmony: Genocide, War, Revolution, The Holocaust, and Human Rights will explore the unique tapestries of women’s experiences as they recount and tell stories, and the fluctuation of memory. This narrative will be viewed through the lens of contemporary storytelling that includes literature, theater, cinema, art and new media.

The program begins on Thursday, October 9th, at the Michael Klahr Center of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine on the campus of UMA. Four panels and presentations will be held during the day focusing on issues of women’s voices of the Holocaust, testimony in cinematic narrative, digital circulation and memorialization, and Art and the Representation of Women’s Trauma.

Following a dinner break, the evening will feature a lecture/play reading of Joyce Van Dyke’s Deported/A Dream Story, a play focusing on the Armenian genocide. The event will be led by the author.

On Friday October 10th, the conference will shift to Colby College in Waterville, where the panels and planned presentations include: Worldwide Perspectives: Women’s Voices, Voices from Rwanda, and The United States: Re-telling American Women’s Lost Voices.

The event will conclude with a reception at the Colby Museum of Art.

Presenters for the conference are scheduled to include:

Ethel  Brooks – Associate Professor in the Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University, and the Undergraduate  Director in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

Audrey Brunetaux – Assistant Professor of French Studies at Colby College. Her research focuses on 20th-century French literature, culture and cinema with an emphasis on Holocaust narratives and films.

Clare  Byarugaba – Co-coordinator of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and one of the leaders in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Inter sex (LGBTI) movement in Uganda.

Jennifer Cazenave – A Post-doctoral Teaching Fellow at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  She is currently preparing a manuscript on the representation of women in the film Shoah, and in the outtakes of the film.

Rhea Cote Robbins – A Maine native, she is a founder and Executive Director of the Franco-American Women’s Institute.

Alexandre E. Dauge-Roth – An Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Bates College. Topic for his presentation: Women’s Transformative Voices within the Literature Bearing witness to the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Joyce Van Dyke – An award-winning playwright, she is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Huntington Theater Playwriting Fellow and a winner of Boston’s  Elliot Norton Award. Joyce received her PhD from the University of Virginia. She currently teaches courses in Shakespeare at Harvard University’s Extension School.

Mona  El-Naggar – A video journalist at The New York Times, she produced her first film, Istislam, in 2013. It explores the Muslim Brotherhood’s grassroots work and prevailing attitude towards women.

Rangira (Bea) Gallimore – An Associate Professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she is the founder and president of Step Up! American Association for Rwandan Women. She is also a co-founder and member of the board of the Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Center in Rwanda.

Christine Holden  – Associate Professor of History Emerita from the University of Southern Maine, where she taught courses in European and Russian history, including European Women’s History, and the first college-level class on the Holocaust in Maine.

Elmina  Kulasic- She is the Executive Director at the Association for Transitional Justice, Accountability and Remembrance. She served as the Project Development Coordinator and Interviewer at the Cinema for Peace Foundation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where she was responsible for the collection of testimonies for the Genocide Film Library in Bosnia-Herzegovina Project.

Sarah  Lightman – A  London-based artist, curator, writer and filmmaker, her art focuses on graphic novels. She is the co-founder of Laydeez do Comics, the first women’s  led autobiographical  comic forum in the UK.

Jennifer Musto  – An Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College, her research broadly focuses on the laws, policies, and technologies designed to respond to prostitution, human and sex trafficking, and forced labor in the United States, with particular focus on individuals and communities deemed “at risk.”

Chris Myers Asch – He co-founded the Sunflower Country Freedom Project that provides educational opportunities to children in rural Mississippi. His first book, The Senator and the Sharecropper: The Freedom Struggles of James 0. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer, earned the Liberty Legacy Foundation Prize from the Organization of American Historians, the McLemore Prize from the Mississippi Historical Society, and the Mississippi Library Association Non-Fiction Award.

Parnian Nazary – She is an Advocacy Manager for Women for Afghan Women (WAW), a women’s human rights organization operating 28 centers in Afghanistan and a center in New York. She grew up in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is fluent in Dari/Farsi, Urdu, and Arabic; and conversational in Pashtu and Hindi. She is a graduate of Seeds of Peace program.

Anna Norris – A Professor of French Studies at Michigan State University, she has published two books on prison writings and women and war. She is currently finishing a book manuscript on Marie Cappelle LaFarge who was convicted of murdering her husband with arsenic in 1840 and was the first person to be convicted of a crime by direct forensic toxicological evidence.

Ellen Taylor – She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Maine at Augusta, and a published poet. Topic for her presentation: The House as Metaphor: Women’s Testimony in Were The House Still Standing.

Shu-chin Tsui – She is an Associate Professor of Asian Studies and Film Studies at Bowdoin College, and the author of Women Through the Lens: Gender and Nation in a Centwy of Chinese Cinema. Topic for her presentation: Body and Pain: From Gendering the Body: Women’s Visual Art in Contemporary China.

Exploring Women’s Testimony: Genocide, War Revolution, The Holocaust, and Human Rights is aimed at students of all ages, educators, and life-long learners.

Contact hours for teachers and life-long learners are available by pre-registration.

For more information, the complete schedule, or to register for this free conference, visit www.hhrcmaine.org or email infohhrc@maine.edu.


Arts in Education Week

September 12, 2014

September 14-20, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 7.43.54 AMCongress designated Arts in Education Week – the second week in September – to promote and showcase the immense role arts education plays in producing engaged, successful, and college-and career-ready students. Celebrate Arts in Education Week 2014, September 14-20! Let your school and community know that the ARTS matter!

Some suggestions on how to celebrate:

  • Have your administrators announce tat is it Arts in Education Week in your schoool
  • Ask mayors and other policymakers to sign proclamations declaring that you are celebrating this week in your town/school.
  • Share advocacy resources within your school system and community.
  • Hang artwork and perform in public places. Invite the press to showcase your celebration of Arts in Education Week.




September 11, 2014

So appreciative of my opportunity

I just returned from two weeks in Greece. In the Spring I got word that one of my cousins sons was getting married and baptizing twins. My sister and brothers and I and our families were invited. When my younger son called and said, “we’re going, aren’t we?” I didn’t hesitate, YES, of course! He’s been fortunate to travel but was saving Greece to go with me. My Dad was born in the village of Akrata on the Pelloponesos and came to America when he was 12. My mother is first generation born here so my roots are very strong.

IMG_0220We flew to Athens and spent time at the National Archeological Museum of Athens and the Acropolis Museum and at the Parthenon. My son had learned about Ancient Greece in his high school AP Art History course and was anxious to see the contents of the museums as well as what remains outside. It is easy for Americans to forget how old many other countries are and so difficult to imagine the number of years some of the structures have been standing. Pollution is damaging the Parthenon daily but I found myself asking over and over, how did they manage to build the amazing structures? And, then to imagine them philosophizing, creating, and solving problems in the structures.

IMG_0065From Athens we flew to Heraklion, Crete (island, 50 minutes from Athena) where my cousin met us at the airport. We helped prepare for the wedding but it was nothing after the months and months of preparation for the 500 guests that were invited. They said that was a small number of guests for a Greek wedding. The celebration started that evening at a gathering with about 50 family members. The bride, groom and close friends had been preparing food all day. A whole goat and lamb were cooked over a small fire, plus prepared in other ways, potatoes, salads, snails, desserts. There wasn’t one item that wasn’t absolutely delicious. All prepared with love and care. The drinking and dancing were of course a major portion of the gathering.

IMG_0309The wedding was equally wonderful taking place outside at a tiny Greek Orthodox church in a BIG setting. The church was built up against looming mountains and everywhere I looked it was beautiful as the sunset on the ceremony. The wedding ceremony wasn’t different than Greek weddings in the US but the setting was breath taking. You’ll notice in the photos the ribbon that is attaching the bride and groom. The stefana are crowns that signify that the bride and groom have become the king and queen of the newly formed family. The best man or in Greek, the koubaro steps behind the couple and places and interchanges the crowns three times, as a witness to the sealing of their union. Immediately following the wedding ceremony was the christening of the twins, which is a beautiful ceremony as well. The reception was filled with more incredible food, drink, music, and dancing.






IMG_0377Following the wedding we visited the beautiful island of Santorini, where it was difficult not to take wonderful photographs! Everywhere we went during the two weeks it was very warm and unusually humid. The sun was brilliant, even at 9AM. Many people swim at the beautiful beaches and spend time outside. The sky is a brilliant blue. Homes have verandas which are extensions of their indoor living space. Many of the restaurants are in side yards of peoples homes.

IMG_0509We left Crete and traveled over the amazing Korinth Canal to visit my fathers village. There are many ancient sites on the Pelloponesos. We visited Mycenae which was one of the major centers of Greek civilization during 1600 BC to about 1100 BC. Again we saw artifacts from that time period including the amazing pots varying in size and patterns. I stared at the entrance which includes the Lion Gates again wondering, how did they do it? All that remains of the tomb of Clytemnestra (wife of Agamemnon) is a huge beehive structure built of giant blocks. While there a touring singing group broke into song and the sound was incredible.

We visited Acrocorinth, occupied from the archaic times to the early 19th century. A moat and three arches including walls mark the entrance which were built as protection. Valuable water resource was available there despite its elevation. There is a pretty little Greek Orthodox church that is still standing and even though it is in need of repair is very sacred. At the top was a temple to Aphrodite which has an unbelievable view.

IMG_0667We traveled by train for an hour to Kalavryta located in the Achaea municipality not to far from Akrata. The railway was completed in 1895. It winds uphill very close to the mountains it was cut out of and is a continuous amazing site. At the top lies the village of  Kalavryta where on December 13, 1943 a massacre took place in retribution for the killing of 81 German soldiers. The Nazis machine-gunned down almost 700 of the Kalavryta men while below them their homes were set fire. Woman and children were ordered to the school and as it was set fire they broke down the door and jumped out the windows to escape. The school was rebuilt and now serves as the museum and does a wonderful job telling the story. It was very moving. We left Kalavryta and traveled over the mountain finding no one on the road other than tribes of goats, rocks that had tumbled down onto the road. The switchbacks were like nothing I had ever traveled before.

Everywhere we went the food was amazing. I love the way the Greeks call ahead and ask if the food establishment is open. There is no menu – the owner comes out to the outside tables and lists what they’ve cooked for the day. Usually 4 or 5 choices, at least one of lamb. Each serves a salad which is usually contains tomatoes and cucumbers. On a separate plate feta cheese and another olives. Often the family wine is available and delicious water from the spring on the property.

foodA highlight of the trip was seeing the evzones at the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Their precisions is a joy to watch. We saw them at the beginning of the trip and then met my cousins son who is a member of this group of soldiers. On our last day in Athens we watched him in the parade and had the chance to visit in the barracks area. I was so proud!

IMG_0862Another highlight was spending time with my relatives. My aunt had 5 children who our around my age and they all of children who are similar in age to my sons. It was a special treat to spend time with some of them, especially for my son. We hope to see some of them in the future on a visit to America.


photoOur visit to Akrata was certainly a highlight as well, staying in the home that my Dad lived in while he was a child before traveling to America. The village is the home to about 2000, many Greeks traveling from Athens for the weekend and/or summer months. The beach is beautiful. Everywhere you look from the veranda or roof of my aunts home is beautiful! The home was updated built around the original three rooms which was in place the first time I visited in 1973. My fathers sister still lives there, she is 90 years old.



IMG_0568The economy in Greece continues to be very poor with about 25 per cent unemployed. Many people out of work for 4 or 5 years. In spite of this, the hospitality has not wavered. My families arms were open and their hearts very giving. I am so appreciative to have made the trip and to have my son join me. I hope these photos (a few of the almost 2000) and my brief description provide a glimpse of our trip. Please feel free to email me or comment in the blog if you have questions.





September 10, 2014

Crayola repurposing markers

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 7.26.31 PMCrayola and schools across North America are banding together to help kids understand the importance of their role in protecting the environment. Crayola established a program called Crayola ColorCycle. Through this initiative, students in K-12 schools across the continental United States and parts of Canada can collect and repurpose used Crayola markers. Check it out and learn more by clicking here. Your schools might want to get involved.



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