Archive for the ‘Visual Arts’ Category


The Art of Giving Gala

August 18, 2014

Last week in Portland

IMG-20140814-00079 To mark the diamond anniversary of Down East Magazine, they commissioned six commemorative covers from six of Maine’s top artists. The art was raffled off last Thursday at a gala event in Portland. Down East is donated $10,000 to 6 charities of the artists’ choosing. Five hundred tickets were sold, 6 lucky people went home with wonderful artwork, and 6 charities benefited from all the generosity.

It was a great evening with delicious food, wonderful company, and great art to look at before they were given away. The artists included the following and their chosen charities are listed with them.


  • Eric Hopkins – North Haven EMS
  • Alex Katz – Colby College Museum of Art
  • MECA Emerging Artist Renee Bouchard – Maine College of Art
  • Angela Adams – The Locker Project, a Community Partner of The Good Shepherd Food Bank
  • William Wegman – Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association
  • Barbara Ernst Prey – Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Eric Hopkins

The evening’s festivities were inside the working buildings of the Portland Company Marine Complex where we were surrounded by three dimensional art structures created by Cindy Thompson at Transformit. The mood was further be set by Laurie Andrews Design, and Headlight Audio Visual.

Music included 60 years of hits performed by the Larry Williams Band of Tony Boffa Music followed by a special performance by Gunther Brown.

Several businesses provided delicious food and drink. It was a delight to see Eric Hopkins. Many of you remember him from the statewide arts education conference in 2007 that we held at the Samoset in Rockport. Eric provided an inspirational keynote that day. And, it was a treat to meet William Wegman and one of his Weimaraner’s that was featured in the magazine. The Wegman dogs have been the inspiration for nearly 20 children’s books. Some of you may have seen his dog photos on the Maine Turnpike rest area in Kennebunkport.



Schoodic Sculpture Symposium

August 15, 2014

August 3 – September 14, 2014

DSCN3300The 2014 Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium runs 7 days a week and is free and open to the public. The Symposium
forms an outdoor sculpture studio event, allowing people to interact with the artists and see the process from start to finish.
The location is next to US Bells Foundry, in a ball field in Prospect Harbor, ME. This i s the fifth SISS held in Maine, the longest reoccurring public outdoor sculpture Symposium in the U.S.A. The event features a large welcome tent, restrooms,
a picnic area and ample parking. Closing Ceremonies are likely to be held on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 in the afternoon (time to be determined).
Those of you who have attended one of the past four symposiums are well aware about how unique this opportunity is for visitors. You have the opportunity to speak with the sculptors and see them in action. I have been able to attend on multiple occasions during the last 4 symposiums and I must say coming back during the symposium to see the progress being made is very fun!
The following artists are participating in the symposium which is scheduled August 3 – September 10, 2014.
DSCN3296School and student information

Over 500 students visit the Symposium during each event thanks to the teachers and administrators that make this opportunity happen!
The closing ceremonies will most likely be held on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014. The goal is that
sculptures will be installed in their respective communities during the final week of the Symposium. Therefore, to see the sculptures in one place, it is recommended that you consider bringing school children to the site earlier on or before the closing ceremonies and also plan on a trip to the place where the sculpture will be installed in your town, so that the children can be there as the sculpture is placed.
We are hoping this way the artists will be present when the sculpture comes to your town/city, making the event even more meaningful and rich!
The exact date that each sculpture will be installed will be determined during the Symposium and is dependent on several things, including the readiness of the site to receive the sculpture. The logistics of moving the piece from Prospect Harbor to its permanent location can be tricky and delays due to equipment or weather can be frequent. All sculptures are expected to be finished by the closing ceremony date, but will remain on display at the event site until they are one by one, moved to the communities over the course of the final week.
Let us know when you are coming to the Symposium site, so we can alert the artists and assistants and engage in enhanced health and safety procedures. The artists enjoy talking to the children, and will stop work during your tour of the site.
We look forward to seeing you there! If you have any questions please contact, Cathy Lewis Principal, Surry School and SISS Board Member

In Today’s News

August 14, 2014

Just out from the Maine Department of Education, Commissioner’s Update

August 14, 2014


Maine Arts Assessment Initiative hosts New England Summit on Arts Education

The Maine DOE joined over 90 educators, teaching artists, and interdisciplinary teams at the New England Summit on Arts Education, July 29-August 1, at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. This three day professional training opportunity was coordinated by the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) and provided participants with a collaborative approach to explore methods of teaching, learning, and assessment in arts education.

Jeff Poulin, Arts Education Program Coordinator for Americans for the Arts, delivered an important message about the critical role of arts education in developing essential knowledge, skills and creative abilities needed for success in school, work and life. During the Summit, educators developed individual action plans focused on essential components of student learning and proficiency including arts integration, studio habits, technology and assessment.

Veteran teacher-leaders and educators new to MAAI joined together to learn from each other through numerous presentations, workshops and lectures. Over the past year, the MAAI teacher-leaders have developed standards-based units, including assessments, lesson plans and resources, and have provided guidance on how to select appropriate tools for classroom assessment. These materials are now available for review and use on the MAAI Resource Bank.

Representatives from the Department and arts organizations and institutions from across New England were in attendance at the Summit, including Lesley University, Lincoln Street Center and Northland Village Foundation, Maine Art Education Association, Maine Music Educators Association, Maine College of Art, New England Institute for Teacher Education, Portland Ovations, Portland Museum of Art, Portland Symphony Orchestra, and the Art Education and Music Education Departments of the University of Maine.

The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative was an initiative established in 2011 to create an environment in Maine where quality assessment is an integral part of the work of all integral part of the work of all arts educators in order to improve student achievement through teaching and learning. The initiative builds capacity through collaboration and the development of professional practices designed by teachers, for teachers.

For more information about MAAI, contact the Maine Arts Commission’s Director of Arts Education, Argy Nestor at or 207-287-2713.

For more information about arts integration, contact the DOE’s Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Kevin Facer, at or 207-624-6826.

To read the above article on the Department’s website please click here.


Literacy Can Enhance Learning and Assessment in All the Arts

August 14, 2014

A clear message


Pam presenting at USM

Literacy conversations are taking place across the state in all classrooms. This is nothing new, literacy has been the hot topic and essential at all grade levels for a few years. Arts educators utilize, present, and support literacy instruction at varying levels. Some of you embrace it and others wish it would just go away. After all, the Maine Learning Results Visual and Performing Arts Standard A is Disciplinary Literacy.

Lisbon High School art teacher and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) Teacher Leader, Pam Ouellette, has put literacy in its rightful place in her visual arts classroom. Just this Spring (of 2014) Pam provided the keynote for the Maine Art Education Association conference at Brunswick High School. Two weeks ago Pam provided the morning session presentation for all participants at the Summit on Arts Education, USM, Portland. She has shared her power point with the MAAI and we’ve made it available to you on the new website at!inter–cross-disciplinary/crz6. Checking out the power point will give you a sense of the amazing work that Pam is doing in her classroom. She speaks eloquently about how her students are articulating fully about their artwork while telling the stories and making deeper connections.

Pam’s presentation should be seen by every Curriculum Leader, Literacy Specialist, School leader across the state. It is spot on and there is valuable information for everyone who hears her. If we can obtain a video of Pam presenting we will be sure and post that as well and you’ll be the first (or second) to know.

If you have questions or would like Pam to come to your school and provide her presentation to your staff please contact her.




Phase IV Teacher Leaders: MAAI

August 13, 2014

Teacher Leaders announced

MAAI Logo_Color_TxtCtrThe Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) is proud to announce the new Teacher Leaders who have stepped up to take on a leadership role during phase IV and the 2014-15 school year. The Summit on Arts Education officially launched Phase IV of the MAAI with the Summit on Arts Education held at USM, Portland, July 29-August 1.

The following are the new Teacher Leaders and below them you will find the Teacher Leaders returning for another year from a previous phase. To date, MAAI has provided professional development for 61 Teacher Leaders representing all regions of Maine. These teachers have created and presented workshops to over 1000 Maine educators during the first three phases of MAAI. Please join me in thanking them for taking on the leadership and providing learning opportunities for Maine teachers! MMAAI has 38 active teacher leaders participating during Phase IV! YAHOOOOO!

During the 2014-15 school year you will be able to read their Another Arts Teacher’s Story which is a series of blog post containing the Teacher Leaders stories. You can read the teacher stories from the last three years by searching for them on the blog using the search words “Another Arts Teacher’s Story”.

For a complete listing of the MAAI Teacher Leaders from all four phases please go to the new website and check out the Who We Are page under MAAI, specifically at!teacher-leaders/ceac.

New Teacher Leaders


  • Cynthia Keating, grades K-2, Village Elementary School, York
  • Frances Kellogg, grades K-4, Ellsworth Elementary Middle School
  • Pamela Kinsey, grades K-12, Easton Schools
  • Kate Smith, grades PK-3, Central Elementary School, South Berwick


  • Theresa Cerceo, grades K-12, Dr. Levesque Elementary School, Wisdom Middle/High School
  • Samantha Davis, grades 6-8, Molly Ockett Middle School
  • Michaela DiGianvittorio, grades 9-12, Gray-New Gloucester High School
  • Sarah Gould, grades 9-12, Gray-New Gloucester High School


  • Emma A. Campbell, grades 9-12, Thornton Academy

Returning Teacher Leaders from Phase I, II, and/or III


  • Drew Albert, grades 9-12, Maranacook Community High School
  • Sue Barre, grades 5-12, Waterville Senior High School
  • Jennifer Etter, grades 5-8, York Middle School
  • Judy Fricke, early childhood, Maine Street Music Studios
  • Patricia Gordan, grades K-4, Raymond Elementary School
  • Jane Kirton, grades 9-12, Sanford High School
  • Linda McVety, grades K-5, Songo Locks Elementary School
  • Jen Nash, grades 5-8, Sebasticook Valley Middle School
  • Jenni Null, grades K-6, Songo Locks Elementary School
  • Ashley Smith, grades 9-12, Brunswick High School
  • Jake Sturtevant, grades 9-12, Bonny Eagle High School
  • Shari Tarleton, grades 6-8, Brunswick Junior High School


  • Amy Cousins, grades 6-8, Gorham Middle School
  • Melanie Crowe, grades 6-8, Marshwood Middle School
  • Jennie Driscoll, grades 9-12, Brunswick High School
  • Suzanne Goulet, grades 9-12, Waterville Senior High School
  • Gloria Hewett, grades 6-8, Mount View Middle School
  • Lisa Ingraham, grades K-4, Madison Elementary School
  • Danette Kerrigan, grades 6-8, Sacopee Valley Middle School
  • Charlie Johnson, grades 9-12, Mount Desert Island High School
  • Lisa Marin, grades K-12, Jonesport-Beals High School and Union #103
  • Brian McPherson, grades K-5, Woodside Elementary School
  • Jeff Orth, grades 6-12 Richmond Middle/High Schools
  • Pam Ouellette, grades 9-12, Lisbon High School
  • Janie Snider, grades K-8, Hancock Grammar School


  • MaryEllen Schaper, grades 6-8, Bonny Eagle Middle School


  • Beth Lambert, grades 9-12, Carrabec High School
  • Lisa Neal, grades 9-12, Nokomis Regional High School

Maine Arts Assessment Initiative – NEW Website!

August 12, 2014

Created for you!

The crazy adventure/uncharted territory known as the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) is now 4 years old. During that time, over 1,000 Arts educators have participated in MAAI activities, including workshops, state Conferences, Webinars, courses, and on and on. One of the unforeseen benefits of all this professional development has been the excavation of vast amounts of materials and documents to further our understanding and our work. From rubric construction and advice on implementing standards, to blogs, publications, and web resources, it seems that there’s little out there that hasn’t been unearthed in the process of working as colleagues in this state. Along those lines, it has been a bit of a pipe dream to create a web site that actually stores all of these resources in a user friendly format; “one stop shopping” for all things Arts Assessment. Being unveiled here is the manifestation of that goal,


The website is split into easily searchable topics: Assessment Documents, Helpful Videos, “tons” of Web Links and Advocacy. We also decided to make this site the home page for MAAI, so there is a link there giving the mission, history and present day activities for educators to plug themselves into. Also featured is a “Proficiency Toolkit”, providing a step-by-step process by which Arts educators can move forward in their work to meet local and state requirements, adopting standards work in their own programs/schools/classrooms in ways that make sense to them.

All of us in MAAI are extraordinarily proud of the work that’s going on across the state. But it’s all for naught unless the work continues. Here is a way to access all the amazing resources out there in the world that will help us do so. Take a peek at the website when you get a few minutes, and hop onto the areas that resonate the most with your own professional needs. We welcome feedback and suggestions as this site continues to spring to life, and hope you will utilize it as a favorite “go to” site in the months and years to come.

A GREAT big thank you to Rob Westerberg for his numerous hours of work bringing together all of the information and creating the new website!


Gee’s Bend Quilts

August 3, 2014


Exhibition: now through August 30, 2014

Christine Macchi, Executive Director
Maine Fiberarts, 13 Main Street, Topsham, ME 04086



“Do It Your Way: Gee’s Bend Quilts and Quilters in Maine” is an exhibition on view now through August 30 at Maine Fiberarts, 13 Main Street, Topsham. The exhibition includes twelve large quilts created by the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama—a group that has been quilting since the sixties and who became famous for their freeform and original style. The New York Times once hailed these quilts as “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.”

In 2002, art collector Will Arnett recognized these quilts as important works of art and organized an exhibition which began at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and travelled to nine major museums across the country including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Whitney Museum in New York City. The quilts and the quilt makers of Gee’s Bend garnered national media attention, including articles in Newsweek, O, Smithsonian Magazine and Martha Stewart Living. In 2006 the United States Post Office issued Gee’s Bend quilt commemorative stamps.

Boykin, Alabama, the home of most of the Gee’s Bend quilters, has been described as one of the most isolated villages in the U.S. Here, undeterred by a scarcity of materials and long days working in their gardens or in the cotton fields, generations of black women have developed a unique tradition of quilting. Traditional ideas and sewing techniques are passed on, back and forth in this tightly-knit community, but the highest praise is saved for quilts that follow their own inspiration. In Gee’s Bend, quilting rules are broken. Often unable to afford new materials, the makers use pieces from feed bags, worn patches from blue jeans, and other incongruous materials together in one quilt. A seemingly quiet cotton top deviates with one shocking red flannel edge. Corduroy remnants, available for a while from an adjacent clothing factory, even polyester—nothing is wasted or forbidden. Dissimilar materials can be found side by side. If a traditional log cabin pattern is established in one-quarter of the quilt, then in the other three-quarters, that pattern is twisted to other ends, turned sideways or upside down and backwards, done in many or in one color instead of two—becoming more interesting as the rules are flaunted.
The quilts demand that the viewer, see, feel, and deal with the unpredictable.

Unlike African American “story quilts,” Gee’s Bend quilts are not narratives. They are expressive in the way that the best abstract paintings are—more like “jazz,” than “folk song.” Patterns may start from tradition, but then are improvised upon. Corners do not always abut precisely. Lines need not always be straight. Ripping has its own charms. Once stated, often a pattern is exploded, turned and run askew. If it is pieced more regularly, then colors are used contradictorily.

It is perhaps entirely natural that during the show of Gee’s Bend quilts at the Whitney Art Museum in 2003, a New York Times art critic raved. Leaping in one single move from the periphery to the center of the art world, these quilts were at home.

This exhibition marks the first time the quilts and the quilters have been north of Boston and is part of an exciting collaboration.  A second exhibition of different quilts takes place at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, August 2-September 7. Finally, Fiber College in Searsport, initiator of the events, offers classes and special programming to celebrate the women. Four of the Gee’s Bend quilters—China Pettway, Stella Mae Pettway, Revile Mosley and Lucy Mingo—will teach classes between September 2-8. The evening of September 3 has been reserved for a public New England boiled dinner and forum and gospel singing (during which two quilts will be raffled) at the Searsport Congregational Church moderated by Suzette McAvoy of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Tickets for the dinner are available through

Since the year 2000, Maine Fiberarts has hosted exhibitions that change every two or three months. This Fall, the group will bring shows of contemporary fiber art to both the Glickman Family Library at USM in Portland, and to the galleries at Maine Fiberarts. The statewide arts nonprofit currently hosts a free online Fiber Resource Guide, Bulletin, and Folio to promote Maine’s fiber community. Visit the group in Topsham Tuesday-Friday, 10-4, Saturday, 11-2, or online at

#    #    #

“Gee’s Bend Quilts and Quilters in Maine” is an exhibition of large, colorful, free style quilts created by the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Quilts are on view at Maine Fiberarts, 13 Main Street, Topsham now through August 30 and the gallery is open Tuesday-Friday, 10-4, Saturdays, 11-2. For more information, 207-721-0678, A second exhibition, workshops and a dinner and forum to meet four of the quilters takes place through September 8. Check the websites of Maine Fiberarts, Penobscot Marine Museum, and Fiber College for more information.



Big Week for Maine Arts Ed

July 28, 2014

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


MAAI Logo_Color_TxtCtr

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.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 963 other followers

%d bloggers like this: