Archive for the ‘Visual Arts’ Category


Big Week for Maine Arts Ed

July 28, 2014

This is a BIG WEEK for Arts Education in Maine!!


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We have more than 90 educators attending the Summit on Arts Education at USM, Portland campus on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and almost half of those will also be attending on Friday for the Teacher Leader day. Included on the attendee list are dance, music, theatre, and visual arts PK-12 teachers, teaching artists, other educators, and representatives from arts organizations and the university. There are 13 teams participating. The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) Leadership team and Teacher Leaders have been crazy busy with the agenda planning that will be full of rich learning opportunities.

Included on the agenda:

  • Sessions on Assessment, Leadership, Student-centered, Standards-based, Proficiency, Advocacy, Arts Integration, Creativity, Literacy, Technology and much more provided by MAAI teacher leaders, leadership team, members, Lesley University staff, technology integrators from NC, MLTI, and MICDL, and teaching artists
  • The unveiling of the Teacher Leader Resource Bank by Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission
  • An electronic discussion with the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) who are at a conference in Washington, DC this week
  • Arts Education Program Director, Jeff Poulin from Americans for the Arts will be presenting a session on Leadership and Advocacy
  • Stories and examples from MAAI Teacher Leaders
  • Time for networking with other Maine educators
  • Arts Education organizations, higher ed representatives, and community groups will be exhibiting and sharing information
  • The opportunity to create an Individual Action Plan and/or a Team Action Plan to implement back home in teachers school districts

Teachers who are attending the Summit will receive contact hours, CEUs or graduate credit.

If you have not registered for the Summit you may still do so no later than TODAY by clicking here For more information please click here



Maine Focus Groups and Community Conversations – don’t miss this opportunity!

Are you interested in joining others interested in arts education to talk about the future of arts education in Maine? If so, please plan on attending the event on

Tuesday, July 29, 7:00-8:00pm at the Maine College of Art, 522 Congress St, Portland, ME.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 2.27.24 PMWe have a wonderful opportunity to help influence the future of our community and the future of our state. Please join me  to participate in a discussion about the kinds of creative opportunities and activities you would like to see available for our residents, our children, and our families. Often times, plans are created for us, instead of with us they miss the mark and we miss the opportunity to see what we value included in the mix.

If you have questions about either of these opportunities taking place this week please don’t hesitate to email me at


7 More Days!

July 22, 2014

There is still time to register

MAAI Logo_Color_TxtRtThe Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) Teacher Leaders are busy putting the last minute touches on their presentations, the food is ordered, the space is ready to go, the participant bags are being stuffed full of information, and the excitement is intense at the Maine Arts Commission. The Summit on Arts Education is only a week away!

Not a day goes by that I don’t receive an email or a phone call from someone inquiring about the Summit on Arts Education being held July 29-31, USM, Portland. Just when I think that everyone who wants to attend has registered or that there can’t possibly be someone who hasn’t registered that wants to attend. Sooooo… if you are still thinking about attending please don’t hesitate any longer. For more information please click here and to go directly to registration please click here If you have questions please email me at

And, if you are an arts organization and would like to join us for Wednesday morning only, July 30, for a Carousel. The morning is designed for organizations who wish to provide information for Summit participants to learn about what there is available for arts education opportunities for field trips, etc. Please contact me if you think this might be a match for your organization. Deadline for this is tomorrow, Wednesday, July 23.

The Summit is designed for you to attend as an individual or part of a team to receive professional development in assessment, leadership, technology, and teaching and learning for the 21st century curriculum. Topics include proficiency, standards-based teaching and learning, student-centered, arts integration and more. You will create a plan that fits your needs in your classroom, school, and district.

I hope you can join us for this first time MAAI offered learning opportunity!






Embrace the Shake!

July 19, 2014

Ya gotta see this!

Recently I had a lovely conversation with the Maine Art Teacher of the Year, Allison Price. We brainstormed about a collaboration on altering books, how our memories from childhood come alive with smells and sites, how as we grow older the importance of family in what we do is evident, how fortunate we are to watch the art work of young students grow and change as they mature and many, many other topics.

We mentioned how great it is to have the internet to inform our thinking and  provide educational experiences that didn’t exist during our younger learning days. She reminded me of this TED Talk done by artist Phil Hansen. It is a GOT TO SEE talk. And, also worth going to Phil’s website.

This is part of Phil’s bio:

As an art student, Phil Hansen’s intense style of pointillism led to a tremor in his hand and a diagnosis of nerve damage. Devastated, he dropped out and lost his way … until a neurologist suggested he “embrace the shake.” That piece of advice tweaked Hansen’s point of view and sent him on a quest to invent different approaches to making art by embracing personal and universal limitations.

On this beautiful Saturday morning in Maine, I share them both with you. TED Talk below and CLICK HERE for Phil’s website. (Hint: listen to the talk first and be sure you have time to meander when you go to the site). My apology I can’t find the embed code so you can just watch it in the blog – please click on the link below for the talk.


Thanks to Allison Price, art educator and the 2014 Maine Art Teacher of the Year, for sharing this link.


ZOOM Planning

July 15, 2014

Getting ready

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.23.53 PMMany of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) Teacher Leaders and Leadership Team have been working (almost) around the clock getting ready for the Arts Education Summit happening on July 29-31 at USM, Portland campus. The Summit is chock full of sessions facilitated by educators with years of experience in teaching and assessment practices. To learn more please click here.

During the last three summers the MAAI has provided a summer institute for teachers interested in being Teacher Leaders. The feedback we received from many teachers included requests to provide summer extended professional development for everyone, not just those who wish to be MAAI Teacher Leaders.

Recently several of the Teacher Leaders planning the Summit came together for a planning meeting using which provides video conferencing. MAAI has been using it for meetings recently and found it very simple and reliable! Above is an image that I took (screen shot) during the meeting attended by 16 educators. Direct registration to the Summit can be accessed by clicking here.

MAAI is continually breaking new territory to meet the needs of arts educators across the state which we know ultimately impacts arts education and all students. It is not to late to register for the Summit! Don’t miss this fabulous opportunity! Please contact me by email if you have any questions at The image below is arts educators (plus 1) jamming last year at the MAAI summer institute.

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Community Art and Skatepark Beautification

June 30, 2014

Story from Waterville High School Art Teacher, Suzanne Goulet

WSHSkatePaula Raymond, a colleague with Adult Education and a resident of the South End planted the seed with
community members and Matt Skehan with Waterville Parks and Rec about making a connection with the
Waterville Senior High School Art Department.

Plans were made in the Fall……but cold weather came a bit early (remember?) ….the Spring arrived!

Laden with Sherwin-Williams donated paint and supplies, a volunteer group of Art and Outing Club students converged on the weather beaten skatepad to add a bit of color. Students came prepared with designs and having explored the culture of street art (Keith Harring, Shephard Fairey, Banksy, etc) and were then joined by visiting community members.

Alternative Education Educator, Ryan Guerrero, shared his street art skills with a transformation of the center pad and mini-ed sessions on the fineries of spray tips.

The canvas is large…..and the inspiration is to contribute two times a year to create a quilt of color and images.

You can read the entire article published in the Kennebec Journal by clicking here.



National Coalition for Core Arts Standards

June 27, 2014

Latest info


The coalition has provided some useful resources on the National Core Arts Standards that I suggest you check out. After the celebration of rolling out the standards most of the information was archived in one way or another. To read more about the speakers or view the power points, click here.

If you missed a portion of the event or would like to re-watch it as a whole, please view the archive here.

As we enter the next phase of this work and beta test the new website, we invite you to try it out. Please visit to view more. As this is the preliminary launch of the website, be sure to continually check back for updates, improvement and additional ahead of the formal launch in October.

Thanks to Jeff Poulin from Americans for the Arts for providing this information.




Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Lisa Ingraham

June 17, 2014

Madison Elementary School art teacher

This is the 12th blog post for 2014 and the third phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) of this series sharing arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to learn from and about others. Lisa has been a teacher leader during phase 3 of the MAAI.

IMG_3439Lisa Ingraham is a Kindergarten-4th Grade Visual Arts teacher in MSAD 59. She has been teaching all 260 of the students at Madison Elementary School for the past 3 years. She has been teaching art for 9 (!) years, all at the elementary level. Her students attend 50 minute art classes once per week throughout the school year. Lisa joined the MAAI has a teacher leader during the third phase. Lisa and her program are highlighted this year in one of the 8 arts classrooms videos being created that highlight standards-based/student-centered learning. Phase 3 videos are almost complete, phase 2 videos can be viewed by clicking here.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

My favorite part of being an arts educator has always been working with every student in my school. This is my third year as the K-4th grade art teacher at Madison Elementary School. I have gotten to know each of the students here, their strengths, their preferences, and their quirks. As I have gotten to know more about my students, I have developed an even deeper appreciation for them as uniquely creative individuals.

What do you believe are the three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. Passion for your content – I firmly believe in the power of the arts to change lives.
  2. Compassion for your learners – Each of my students approaches art in their own way. It is my job to make it meaningful for all of them.
  3. Support from your school and community – I would not be able to do what I do effectively without the support of my administrators, colleagues, and the parents of my students.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

I have found assessment to be critical in helping my students understand what they are learning and why, and how it all connects to their classroom goals and the world outside our school. As I have examined and modified the types of assessment I use the focus has shifted from discrete skills and bits of knowledge to helping students think about the bigger picture. Assessment, while helping me determine where we are going in the art room, has also kept me focused on providing depth for the students within our lesson and units.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

The examples set by the incredible leaders, and teacher leaders I have met through the MAAI helped me understand that really good arts programs don’t happen by accident. Really good arts programs are driven by teachers who believe in what they are doing and are willing to work hard to create them. Thank you all for sharing your passion and knowledge! You have helped me realize that no one knows my art program better than me, and if I am going to make it the best program for my students I need to speak up and say, “this is what we are learning, and this is why it is important.”

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Time is always a factor, as are resources. But I think some of the biggest hurdles I have had to get over have been the narrow expectations of others. While I am working to change this, the perception of the arts as their own isolated content area that will only truly benefit those students who become visual arts professionals limits the types of learning that others can imagine taking place through the visual arts. This affects the importance placed on the arts, their position in the school, and the resources allotted to them.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I love my job! I don’t “go to work” in the morning. I rarely think about it like that. I get to go to school and spend the whole day making art with young students. I feel incredibly lucky. However, I also know the years of work that went into switching to this – my second – career, and the work I’ve committed to in trying to bring the best visual arts education to my students.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

When I went back to school to become an art teacher I had this idea that I was going to teach art. This was my loftiest aspiration: To Teach Art. The reality as it has turned out is that I teach kids. Side by side with art content I teach listening skills, how to be kind and responsible, how to work toward a goal and be persistent, how to appreciate the ideas and opinions of others, and how to learn from so-called mistakes.

My first professor in the very first education class I attended shared with us the old adage that “students won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” My students have confirmed this again and again, which leads me to my answer for the question…

What are you most proud of in your career?

Reaching students who appear at first glance to be unreachable. Some students take longer to trust that they are allowed to be who they are and express themselves creatively in the art room, but these are the students I am sure I will remember well after they leave me. I am thankful to the teachers who work closely with these students every day and have been very generous with their time in helping me make the connections necessary for them to have the successes they do in the art room.

If you were given a $500,000 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I am not really sure what I would do with all the money, but I know my school would have one absolutely incredible art program! (And I would probably still get really excited about finding the best “art supply” at a yard sale or discount store.)

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I hope not. One of my students’ favorite stories is “Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes.” I don’t currently have an art lesson I would like to go with it, but I love reading and singing the book with my students anyway. The best part is sharing the moral of the story, which I tend to repeat A LOT over the course of the school year: “No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song… because it’s all good.”



A Gem in Bangor!

June 14, 2014

University of Maine Museum of Art

We are fortunate in the state of Maine to have several wonderful art museums within a short drive of all corners of the state. I did graduate work at the University and I am really proud of the University of Maine Museum of Art and what it has to offer for education programs.

Recently the UMaine Today published an article on the museum that is worth a read. It provides an overview of the next year along with some of the museums history. For example, I didn’t know that the university’s art collection was established in 1946 by founding museum director and UMaine art professor Vincent Hartgen and in the 80’s became a museum.

Today the museum is directed by George Kinghorn and he works closely with a very small staff to provide top notch education programs under the guidance of Eva Wagner who serves as the Education Coordinator. The staff is delightful to work with, we’ve been fortunate to do some of our work with the Maine Arts Assessment Teacher Leaders at the museum.

I recommend that you visit the museum during your summer break, you won’t be disappointed. Read the entire article and learn more by clicking here.


University of Maine Museum


Plan Ahead

June 8, 2014

MYEA – Start getting your student artwork ready!

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Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 8.45.35 AMThe Maine Arts Commission will be issuing a call for student art at the beginning of next school year. Art teachers from public, private and parochial schools in Maine will be invited to submit one piece of two-dimensional artwork that represents artistic excellence from a K-12 student. The work will be part of the Fall 2014 MYEA show in the State Capitol Complex followed by a special reception for participants, teachers and family. Stay tuned! Details will be announced in September 2014.




Viles Arboretum Art Symposium

June 5, 2014

Invitation to Maine Art Teachers and Students for a unique opportunity

SS71The Viles Arboretum is pleased to extend an invitation to all elementary, middle and high school art teachers to sign up for a unique learning opportunity to be held at the Arboretum in Augusta from September 12 – 21, 2014. We will be holding the first Viles Arboretum Art Symposium on our grounds with eight nationally known artists creating stone sculptures from start to finish. The theme will be nature inspired art. During the week days, we will have five very special opportunities for Maine schools to participate in a private audience with one of the artists and to learn first-hand about the artists’ background, involvement in art, source of inspiration, and much more. In addition to this, each field trip class will be able to meet the other artists, ask questions and observe the various techniques for taking raw stone and turning it into a piece of beautiful art. There is no cost to participate. You just have to schedule your bus and students. Staff at the Arboretum will work with you to be sure all the opportunities you wish to create for your students are available. Please call the Arboretum at 626-7989 for more details or to schedule your group.

SS310The Viles Arboretum is centrally located in Augusta, Maine on 224 acres of fields, forests, wetlands and with botanical collections from around the world. We offer an ever-changing selection of inspirational exhibits, educational and practical programs for the general public and for schools. We focus on interactive, creative and hands-on teaching with a focus on botany and natural history. Our goal is to unlock everyone’s natural ability to understand the nature of our world through your own eyes and by using your own intellect.

We strive to make our 224 acres of fields, forests and wetlands, play a key role in contributing to the quality of life for Maine citizens and visitors from every corner of the world. Our presence contributes significantly to the quality of life in and around Augusta and beyond and our newly installed Art Trail presents the largest publicly accessible display of outdoor art sculpture in Maine.

You can learn more about the Arboretum and its programs, or how to become more involved by checking our website at, checking our Facebook page or simply by stopping in or calling us at 626-7989.

Your school can apply for the Maine Arts Commission Ticket to Ride funding to use for this opportunity. Please click here to  learn more and download the application. The process is fairly simple and there is a quick turn-around once the application is submitted.





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