Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Nancy Kinkade

May 4, 2016

Teacher Leader series


This is the eighth blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 67 posted to date.

IMG_2438Nancy Kinkade presently teaches in RSU #67: 5-6 general music (150 students), 6-8 choral music (68 students), beginning band, 6th  grade band and ⅞ band (65 students). I was hired 25 years ago in RSU #67 as an elementary music teacher EK-5 (525 students).  My position was eliminated four years ago and she was able to shift to the 5-8 general music & 6-12 choral position (450 students). Last year her school district suffered yet another cut/restructure to the music department which provided the opportunity for Nancy’s present position.

What do you like best about being a music/art/dance/drama educator?

I have always loved sharing music with the students. That incredible sensation when beautiful harmony fits just right, doing a great performance, seeing someone just so happy that it is music day, having a student ask to stay after school to practice, having 56 kids play ukulele and sing a song at the same time!! I guess it is the little things that are hard to measure. Perhaps my favorite thing about being a music teacher is making sure that students have music in their lives.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY visual and performing arts program?

  1. Belief in the program
  2. Administrative support
  3. Time in the schedule

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

The assessment movement has created a measurement of success on paper that some people needed to have to give validity to the arts. It has also given us as educators a tool to see where students and teachers need to improve in teaching and learning. It has created clarity to help improve our teaching and to defend what we teach.

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

Being a part of MALI has created a great network of people to share ideas, questions and concerns. I am still at the beginning of really utilizing assessment in my new position, but know that MALI and the people I have met will be there to help me improve my teaching and program.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My proudest moment teaching was a few years ago.  In fourth grade we put on the musical Pirates. The entire fourth grade team and “specials” adopted the theme and ran with it. There was Pirate Math with gold coins, a special reading week and so many other great things. We were able to provide t-shirts and bandanas to all the children. The support staff were there in costume putting beards on the students. My Pirate Principal was there opening stages and helping where needed. It was truly a team effort! The music was great, but it was more the fact that so many people were a part of it and supported it that made it so special!

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

Scheduling and lack of support seem to be the biggest hurdles. You can’t teach children you can’t get in your room! If you don’t have the support of administration to give you those children then your program is doomed. With the cuts to our music/art positions, we have seen a huge impact on the quality of art and music the students are producing. Elementary music and art were reduced 5 years ago, now the effects are showing at the middle and high school levels. There is also a different attitude towards the arts. You can feel it isn’t valued in administration so it is starting to show in the students.  Sadly, we are losing the arts culture.

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

The Music and Art teachers in our district are making our programs successful despite the eliminations. Because these teachers are so dedicated and hardworking, the programs are persevering. In a way, this is too bad because it makes the people who cut the programs think they were right in their decision making. It is kind of a “Catch 22”.

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

If at all possible, work in a place where you are appreciated and valued. Be happy and work hard. Enjoy what you do, work with the other people in your district to make a cohesive arts community and a higher quality of education for the students.

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

Create an “arts” center. I would probably need more money, but a place where students could sing, act, play, move and enjoy guest artists. There would also be technology involved, but I would love to create a “real” theatre with teaching and performing spaces.

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

Right now, my regret is the loss of the program we had. When I am 94, I hope my reflections is that this was a dark period, but something great came after it!




Survey Closing

May 3, 2016

Tonight at midnight

On December 15, 2016 I sent the following message to the Maine Arts Education community:

I am soooooo excited to announce that the Maine Arts Commission has launched the Statewide Arts Education survey which you will be hearing a great deal about in the next few months. We are thrilled that we are partnering with PK-12 Arts educators, Maine Art Education Association, Maine Music Educators Association, Maine Principals’ Association, Maine Department of Education, Maine Alliance for Arts Education, and the New England Institute for Teacher Education.

Here we are four and a half months later and about to close the survey (tonight at midnight). The collection of information has been outstanding. As of this morning, 94% – 556 schools have submitted the survey. This success is because many of you have contributed! THANK YOU seems to small to express how appreciative the Maine Arts Commission is to everyone who has contributed. We are grateful to the visual and performing arts teachers, the census steering committee, principals who submitted the survey for the school, superintendents who urged principals to complete the survey, other educators, teaching artists, parents, community arts organizations, and the many other community members who made phone calls, sent emails, and communicated.

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A large part of this happened thanks to 15 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leaders who served as ambassadors and contacted school personnel. And, Noel Paul Stookey who serves as the census Champion has been amazing. He wrote a letter and created a song/video inviting principals to complete the survey. Many participated due to his message. I am grateful for everyone’s involvement!

Washington superintendents region schools reporting – 100%. Aroostook and York regions – 98%. Hancock and Mid-Coast – 97%. Cumberland and Kennebec Valley – 95%.

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Noel Paul Stookey

This work reflects a strong collaboration and is a clear message to me about how much people in Maine care about the future of visual and performing arts education for all learners! The next steps are being done by the census consultant who will be collecting anecdotal information from educators throughout the state. If you are interested in being interviewed for this part of the census please contact me ASAP. Everyone will not be able to participate but we are looking to collect from our diverse population.

By the middle of the summer we should have a report and a draft plan for how to put the report into action. Over the next year we will be putting the information into the hands of policy makers. Of course, the blog will have the information/details. This could be an opportunity for you to help guide and strengthen arts education at the local level.

We do have about 30 schools who have not completed the survey. If you are wondering if your school is one of them please go to https://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Arts-Education-Census-Status (not updated with the latest as of 8:15 AM) and check the list of who has completed the survey. Thank you to each and every blog reader who has helped with the statewide census!


Teachers go to DC

May 2, 2016

Maine’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Talya Edmund will represent Maine educators at the White House ceremony Tuesday

President Obama to Honor Teachers of the Year

On Tuesday, May 3, President Obama will honor the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and finalists, alongside great educators from across the country, including NAEA Art Educator of the Year Barbara Clover. Maine’s Teacher of the Year, Talya Edlund is a third-grade teacher at Pond Cove Elementary School in Cape Elizabeth will be attending as well. Talya  was the emcee earlier this year for the northern and southern Poetry Out Loud events held by the Maine Arts Commission.

Providing all children in America with the opportunity to get a world-class education is critical to their success and the success of our nation, and there is no more important factor in successful schools than great teachers. As part of the event, the President will lift up the role that great educators have played in improving our education system over the past seven years, and highlight the progress we have made since he took office.

The National Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a national selection committee representing the major national education organizations organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers. As part of this year’s event teachers and educators from across the country will also join in the celebration.

WHAT: President Obama honors the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and finalists at the White House

WHEN: Tuesday, May 3 at 4:00 PM ET

The White House will be posting for the event on its social media channels on May 3 (@WhiteHouse on Twitter, White House on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram).


Congressional Art Awards

May 2, 2016

Student artists recognized

CONTACT: Linda Nelson, Assistant Director
207-287-7050,  linda.l.nelson@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, ME, April 27, 2016–The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce a special, invitation-only event at the Blaine House to celebrate this year’s Congressional Art Competition winners. The tea, hosted by First Lady Ann LePage, the Congressional offices of Representatives Pingree and Poliquin, and the Commission will feature the work of JoJo Zeitlin, a junior at Cape Elizabeth High School in Congressional District 1, and Michaela Shorey, a senior at Rangeley Lakes Regional School in District 2. Ten other students, five from each congressional district who have been awarded runner up and honorable mention status for their art, will also receive certificates at the event. The First Place submissions will hang in the U.S Capitol for one year along with student art from participating Congressional Districts across the nation.

“We are very lucky to have this kind of talent in our student population here in Maine,” said Julie Richard, Maine Arts Commission Executive Director. “It reinforces the strength and quality of our art education programs across the state. Congratulations to our winners and our finalists.”

Zeitlin won District 1 with her black and white photographic portrait of an older man entitled “Brian.” First District jurors Amy Cousins, an art teacher at Gorham Middle School and Piper Bolduc, an art teacher at Old Orchard Beach High School, said they appreciated her skill in capturing the personality of an individual, which they believe is a unique talent for an artist of her age. They commented on the outstanding quality of her pieces as shown through her technical ability to use depth of field and dark contrasts to enhance the subject matter.

“Jo Jo’s photograph shows great composition and technique. As an islander, I love that the image is so distinctly rural, coastal ‘Maine,’” Representative Pingree said in announcing the award. “I think it will really stand out and I’m proud that it will represent Maine’s First District when it is hung at the Capitol this June.  My congratulations to JoJo and all the top finishers of this year’s competition—everyone’s work was truly exceptional.”

Shorey’s top piece, entitled “An Older-Young Girl,” was also a portrait made from various media including pastels and cut paper. Jurors for Maine’s Second District—Robyn Holman, the former curator at USM’s Lewiston Gallery, and Anthony Shostak, an arts educator at Bates Gallery-found Shorey skilled in using the media to convey a sense of the person, and commented on her strong sense of composition, uniting all the elements to further convey the work’s title.
“Each year, I am astonished by the tremendous artistic ability and creative talent of our Maine high schoolers,” said Congressman Poliquin. “I am incredibly proud to showcase Michaela’s artwork at the U.S. Capitol for this next year, where it will be admired and enjoyed by thousands of Americans from across the country. Congratulations, Michaela, on a job well done!”

The judges recognized the work of five other students from each District as follows:
·       District One—first runner-up Anna Callahan of Brunswick; second runner-up Abigail Stevens-Roberts of Saco; and honorable mentions Katie Sprague of Manchester, Gabriel Rosen of Portland and Caitlyn Duffy of Gorham.
·       District Two—first runner-up Rachel Flannery of Auburn; second runner-up Chandler Clothier of Lewiston; and honorable mentions Olivia Berger of South Paris, Alanna Fellows of Lewiston and Shin Hye Hwang of Hebron.

Every year beginning in 1982, the U.S. House of Representatives sponsors the nationwide Congressional Art Competition to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Over 700,000 high school students have competed for the honor of having their work shown in the U.S. Capitol.

The Maine Arts Commission coordinates the competition in Maine, which is open to all high school students and results in a winner, first runner up, second runner up and honorable mention chosen from each of the state’s two congressional districts. The competition is co-hosted by the Commission and the offices of Representatives Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree.
To select student work for consideration, the Maine Arts Commission partners with the Maine College of Art and the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  Gold and silver winners from the Maine Regional Scholastic Art Awards are automatically submitted to be juried in February for the Congressional Art Competition.

For more information on the Congressional Art Competition in Maine, please contact the Maine Arts Commission at info@mainearts.com. To learn more about the Commission’s arts education programs please contact Argy Nestor, Director of Education, at argy.nestor@maine.gov. To learn more about the Commission’s visual arts programs please contact Julie Horn, Director, Visual Arts Programs, at Julie.horn@maine.gov.

The Maine Arts Commission shall encourage and stimulate public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; shall expand the state’s cultural resources; and shall encourage and assist freedom of artistic expression for the well-being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state.


Teaching Artist Workshop

April 30, 2016

May 23-25, Hartford, CT

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Southern Maine Partnership

April 29, 2016

Learning opportunity at USM – two day conference

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Who Are They?: Celebration Barn – Part 5

April 28, 2016


This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant. Please consider ways in which you can collaborate to provide excellent arts education for all learners.

This is the last of 5 blog posts about Celebration Barn which is located at 190 Stock Farm Rd, South Paris, ME. Thanks to Ian Bannon for providing the posts.

Celebration Barn Theater has a long history of producing new work that is crafted, innovative, and wildly alive. In the 70’s and 80’s the Barn’s founder, Tony Montanaro, trained and directed ensembles of touring performers in addition to helping individual artists create compelling works that are uniquely their own.

he Last Hurrah at Camp Maine Photo by Davin Currie

he Last Hurrah at Camp Maine
Photo by Davin Currie

The tradition continues with Amanda Huotari at the helm as Celebration Barn’s Artistic and Executive Director. Last summer, NYC’s Jeff Wirth wrote and directed The Last Hurrah at Camp Maine, a comic summer camp reunion. Celebration Barn’s property played the role of the oldest summer camp in the state as the story unfolded all over the grounds and all around the audience.

Those of you who participated in the performance experienced firsthand the power of Jeff Wirth’s unique brand of interactive theater. It was met with such rave reviews from our audience that we have invited Jeff back to the Barn this summer to teach and present his latest creation: StoryBox.

StoryBox-1024x753The StoryBox itself is a multi-tech stage designed specifically for interactive performances- where live performance seamlessly integrates with improvisational lighting, soundscapes, and video streaming.

Jeff will bring together an ensemble of interactive performers during a week-long intensive training at Celebration Barn. The ensemble members will emerge as, “‘quintuple threat’ performers, combining skills in acting, dramatic improvisation, story structure, social psychology, and technology.”

Inter-actors employ these skills to empower the audience members, referred to as spect-actors, to play and direct the action of each scene. Audience members are invited to engage in whatever way they are most comfortable. They may choose to participate or sit back and enjoy the show as usual.

We can’t wait to see what Jeff–and all of you spect-actors–have in store for us this summer!

For more information about Celebration Barn Theater workshops, visit their by CLICKING HERE.


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