Archive for the ‘Visual Arts’ Category


2015-16 MLTI Artwork Challenge

December 14, 2014

Student Opportunity

Over the last six years, the MLTI device has featured screen savers featuring outstanding student works of art (twenty each year). To date, there have been well over two thousand pieces of artwork submitted. WOWZER! Currently images are made available as a screensaver download on the following MLTI Devices: HP ProBooks & Apple MacBooks.

"Eye in Triangle", by Dominick Bernard, Deering High School, Grade 10

“Eye in Triangle”, by Dominick Bernard, Deering High School, Grade 10

The opportunity to submit artwork is available to Maine students in grades K-12. MLTI asks that students submit only ONE piece of artwork to be considered for 2015-2016 MLTI devices. Please take careful note of the sizing and labeling requirements. Submissions not meeting these requirements or students submitting multiple works will not have their artwork reviewed. The deadline to submit artwork for this challenge is January 2, 2015. Works of art submitted will be scored by an independent review committee using a rubric.

The students whose artwork is selected will have their artwork on 2015-2016 MLTI Devices, receive free Student Conference registration (May 21, 2015) and also have their artwork printed and displayed at the Department of Education in the spring.

"Holograms", by Elana Bolles, Yarmouth High School, Grade 11

“Holograms”, by Elana Bolles, Yarmouth High School, Grade 11

Please submit your artwork to Juanita Dickson. Anyone can submit the artwork (guardian, teacher, student, etc), but please be sure to include the following information in the email:

  • Student name
  • School name
  • Grade
  • Teacher (Adult) name & email address (this is who we’ll contact with result)
  • Artwork title

Don’t forget to read the guidelines! If your picture is not properly sized/submitted, it can not be considered for the challenge.

For the artwork submission guidelines (.pdf) please click here.

"Striations", by Matthew Lambert, Mount Desert Island High School, Grade 10

“Striations”, by Matthew Lambert, Mount Desert Island High School, Grade 10

MLTI Artwork Challenge Timeline

  • January 2, 2015 – Submissions due.
    Please email your submission to Juanita Dickson at Confirmation of receipt will be emailed to you.
  • January 3 – January 20, 2015 – Selection committee reviews submissions using a rubric.
  • January 25, 2015 – Teachers of the students with selected pieces will be notified by this date. A release form will need to be signed by parents and sent back to MLTI before any names are released to the public.
  • February 15, 2015 – Release forms due to back to the MLTI Project Office
  • Late February 2015 – Selected artwork information released to the public.
  • May 21, 2015 – Student Conference. Selected students will be invited to join us at the Student Conference free of charge (students will need to complete online registration)

Please contact Juanita Dickson at with any questions.

To view all of the past screen saver images please click here.



MAAI Mega MDIHS Review

December 8, 2014

Nancy Salmon’s review

Nancy Salmon is a member of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s Leadership Team. She is a dancer who has contributed enormously over the years to arts education in Maine. She attended the MAAI Mega MDIHS at Mount Desert Island High School on November 25,2014. Below you will find her review of the day. Thank you Nancy!

Nancy Salmon worked with the Teaching Artists during the Summit

Nancy Salmon

Being a relative newbie on the MAAI Leadership Team, the Mega-Regional workshop at MDI High School was my first. I arrived early and friendly teachers directed me toward the “arts wing.” I knew immediately when I found it – Art EVERYWHERE! Student work on all the hall walls, three visual art studios, a beautiful and LARGE music room and a Dance Studio!

My assignment was to help register people – actually two MDI students took that on, and I was the “elder” helper handling any monetary transactions. Registration table was the perfect place for me to put names, faces, places, and teaching roles together.

I participated in two workshops even though I’m not a public school teacher. I totally enjoyed Jane Snider and Lisa Ingraham, both visual arts teachers, workshop Studio Habits of Mind: Using the “Hidden Curriculum” to Encourage Student Autonomy (or anyone’s autonomy). A couple books they use and introduced were Studio Thinking 2 and From Ordinary to Extraordinary. Jane’s and Lisa’s workshop was a perfect introduction to some very useable concepts and exercises regardless of art discipline. Participants included teachers of all the arts.

Stevie McGary

Stevie McGary

My second workshop, Stir-Crazy: A Movement Tool Kit for the Sedentary School Day was conducted by Stevie McGary, a new teaching artist on the Maine Arts Commission roster. Lots of activities in Stevie’s “tool kit” to use students’ fidgety energy in a productive, creative way. Many of the activities could be used right in the classroom.

Back in the dance studio after lunch, Stevie took us through a short dance class, demonstrating the kinds of things she does in her visiting artist/residency work. (The video of the day that Charlie Johnson created will be posted on the Maine Arts Ed blog in the near future).

For the afternoon session we divided into 2 groups, performing arts teachers (all music teachers in this instance) and visual arts teachers. I participated in Rob Westergard’s session. The session was an opportunity to share successes, challenges and helpful ideas regarding Teacher Effectiveness and Proficiency.

All in all, a success! I’m reminded of how totally impressed I am with the smarts, the passion, the commitment to the arts and STUDENTS that arts teachers are in spite of all the challenges that exist in our public school environment. Applause for all!


Successful Mega!

December 2, 2014


The feedback is clear – the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s Mega – regional workshop at MDI High School last week was a success! Participants learned new information and the work that is done each day in classrooms across Maine was reinforced. Once again the highlight was the opportunity for Arts educators to come together for a professional development opportunity that was designed specifically for them.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.48.20 PM

A HUGE THANK YOU to Charlie Johnson and his colleagues at MDI High School for hosting, to the MAAI Teacher Leaders who provided outstanding workshops: Janie Snider, Lisa Ingraham, Shannon Westphall, Frances Kellogg, Sue Barre, Charlie Johnson, to Teaching Artist Stevie McGary for the workshop and artists showcase, and to Catherine Ring, Rob Westerberg, and Nancy Salmon who provided technical assistance and leadership for the day!

I LOVE reading the feedback and how the day influenced participants thinking and teaching. Don’t take my word for it, below is what some of the participants said. I will post more in the near future along with a video that Charlie created to document the day.

  • I can’t believe how quickly this day flew by! As always, I wish that we had more time like this and opportunities to meet… I love these MAAI conferences, I always leave feeling more grounded and ready to take action
  • I like the Habits of Mind posters and the idea of the check list to keep throughout a project to assess each habit… These were really solid examples of what can be done.
  • I have already been implementing a few of these processes into my curriculum. Now, I just need to communicate this to my students in a clearer, more consistent manner.
  • Our district is focusing on Habits of Mind. I didn’t realize Studio Habits of Mind are different, but similar. Definitely a lot of useful information.
  • On the arts assessment website there is a proficiency toolbox that I will be able to revamp my assessments at my school.


  • how to authentically apply the learning results to assessment
  • how to create a simple rubric for standards is an easy way to keep track of what 1, 2, 3, 4 etc actually means
  • simple, quick class assessments concrete examples of student growth — A+
  • about how to apply assessments to the art classroom and how to make the language usable for students of all ages
  • recording with the ipad for quick assessment
  • strategies for holding myself and my students accountable for what they are learning and creating in the art room
  • engage and persist can be a way to think about behavior in a positive way
  • about some fun and creative resources to help with assessing my students
  • how students demonstrate their learning through a hands-on project (pinhole cameras)
  • even a quick 60-second movement can benefit across the school day
  • how to clearly describe different standards and allow students to have an important part in the grading process
  • some quick and effective ways to assess students on the fly in the elementary music setting, and how to score and record them.
  • all about the site:, I LOVE IT. Need to spend loads of time there.

The above list includes just some of the feedback from November 25. If this is information that you’d like to learn more about please be sure and attend another Mega-regional workshop that is planned for this school year. The dates and locations are below and the link to the registration is


Plan Ahead

December 1, 2014


Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.24.20 PMThe Maine Arts Commission, in partnership with the First Lady of Maine Ann LePage, will be issuing a call for student art for inclusion in the Spring 2015 Maine Youth Excellence in Art exhibition at the State Capitol Complex in Augusta.

The request to participate will start on December 8th 2014, with the cutoff date of January 7th 2015. 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.


Car Talk

November 26, 2014

Three-Speed Potter’s Wheel

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 12.10.50 PMHow many of you listen to NPRs Car Talk? I can see many hands in the air across the state of Maine right now. If you are a regular listener you probably heard this weeks recorded show #1447 entitled “Three-Speed Potter’s Wheel”. A caller needed some assistance in following directions that he had read in a magazine about making a potter’s wheel out of car parts. Specifically an old car transmission. One of the funny lines is: “Reverse could come in handy next time he mis-throws a pot!”

It is not only funny, as all of Tom and Ray’s recorded shows are, but also a fascinating idea to hear about. We talk about STEAM, this would be a great collaborative integrated lesson/unit that would dig deep in both the engineering and art world. And, talk about 21st century skills! Problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and much more would be needed and developed. And on top of that it would be practical and real-life hands on learning.

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 12.10.02 PMEven if you don’t decide to do this with students I highly recommend that you listen to the recording, if you missed the show on Saturday morning. It is great, classic Tappet brothers. You can access the recording here




Shining the Light of Truth

November 16, 2014

Falmouth High School

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 8.54.26 PMNancy Durst teaches visual arts at Falmouth High School. Her advanced students just finished another intense unit on Genocide. Included in their studies students also learned about cleansing here in Maine that specifically impacted the Wabanaki Tribe. After hearing numerous presentations from Genocide survivors from Darfur, Rwanda, and Maine, each student created a piece of artwork that they felt they most needed to express.  Students photographed the artwork, added a public service announcement, and printed them off poster size.  The original pieces will

be displayed aside their public service announcement November 20th, 5:30 at USM Hannaford Hall.

Genocide and ME: Shining the Light of Truth, Nov. 20 in Portland


College Fair

November 10, 2014

National Portfolio Day – Boston


Flanked by two representatives from Lesley University are L to R Boothbay High School art teacher Manon Lewis, senior Courtney Brewer, and her Mother Patricia Brewer

Every year, and always on a Sunday, in the fall, Manon Lewis, Boothbay High School art teacher takes a group of interested students to National Portfolio Day in Boston. This is a “college fair” for students who plan to attend (or are simply interested in) colleges that offer majors in the fine arts, design and architecture.

Art schools from across the country have representatives who evaluate and give input to students who offer up their portfolios. In addition, it can simply be a way for younger students to pick up catalogs and other information about various schools. The event used to be held, on alternating years, at the various art and design colleges located in Boston. But, over the years, the event has become so well attended (and huge), that it can no longer be housed on a college campus and is now held at the Hynes Convention Center. This year it was held on October 19th.

Manon travels with her students on the Concord Trailways bus from Portland to Boston and then take the “T” from South Station to move around the city.  Many of her students attend several years running in order to work up the confidence to have their portfolios critiqued. And on several occasions, Ms. Lewis has had students accepted to colleges “on the spot”, on the basis of the work in their portfolio. This is almost as exciting for me, as it is for them! This year one of my students was accepted for the major of “Animation” on the merit of her portfolio, at Lesley University.  Her mother also came with us to Boston and was as thrilled as her daughter! (see photo)



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