h1

Interview with Carol Shutt

February 20, 2018

Maine Community Foundation

Recently Carl Little, communication director, from the Maine Community Foundation sent me a link to this wonderful blog post about art educator Carol Shutt. Many of you know Carol from Haystack and the fall Maine Art Education conference. With Carl’s permission I am reposting it. The original is found at THIS LINK.

Carol Shutt has been the K-8 art teacher at Mount Desert Elementary School in Northeast Harbor for the past 27 years. Over the years Shutt successfully applied for several Vincent Astor Incentive Awards from the Maine Community Foundation. In an interview in her classroom this past December, Shutt talked about her life in art and teaching and benefits of the Astor grants and art education.

How did you end up in Maine?

I was born in California, in a small town outside of Los Angeles. I grew up there and then left for college. I started at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and ended up at Syracuse University, which is what brought me east. I graduated in fine arts.

When I moved to Maine, I first was a self-employed craft person because after college I had worked for three years in a really nice craft gallery in Philadelphia, the Works Gallery, run by Rick and Ruth Snyderman. When I came to Downeast Maine in the mid-1970s, there were no galleries so I started making quilts, my own designs, many of them using Amish colors. I did that for about 12 years. And then I became a teacher.

Although my father had been a teacher, I didn’t really think that was going to be my path. I took a temporary position in Steuben and started getting my courses together. After one year at Steuben, I got the job here [at Mount Desert Elementary School]. That was 1991. So this is my 27th year. I retire at the end of this school year.

I think being a K-8 art teacher requires a diverse skill set. Kids surprise you, they do amazing things. The art-making can be the pretext for socializing. This is the class where they can talk while they work.

Can you say something about the importance of art education?

We’re lucky this school and this island are very supportive. And you see how much [art] enriches lives. It’s such a holistic way of learning. You’re maybe getting ideas for imagery from an experience or feeling, but you also get stuck and have to problem solve.

Learning to think critically and creatively is so important. You might just brainstorm ideas. Or you might say, like I did, consider putting two dissimilar images together because that could be more exciting than just one that you might expect. So I feel like in all the arts you’re putting ideas together in new ways and going “Hah! I just thought of this.”

Art is a way to reach all students. I do some one-on-one work with students. It’s kind of amazing what you can do through the arts that you can’t do verbally, in other modalities. It’s powerful. Music is powerful. Dance is powerful.

And it’s also so experiential. It’s amazing how if you just jump in and you’re doing it, it’s so authentic.

In your 27 years at Mount Desert Elementary, you received 10 Astor Incentive Awards. What did they allow you to do?

It’s an amazing benefit for the staff at this school, at the Northeast Harbor Library and the Mount Desert Island High School. It’s amazing to me because the whole goal is to encourage teachers to do things that are self-enriching, with the premise that they will make you a better teacher. They really aren’t looking for people to apply and go take a methods course or go to a conference on curriculum. We already do that; it’s part of the professional development of the school.

The first few Astor grants I received in the 1990s allowed me to study with artists I really like. I studied with Rebecca Cuming, a wonderful artist from Southwest Harbor who now lives in Colorado. I also did a weeklong workshop with painter Louise Bourne. I love her work. I drove down to her studio in Sedgwick every day.

You have also traveled on Astor grants.

My first travel grant took me to Tuscany; there was a weeklong painting workshop there, two wonderful painters teaching it. Lunch was brought out to the fields and you painted outside. At night we’d critique. It was an enriching artistic experience. When the workshop was over, I traveled with my daughter Sarah to Florence and then to France. We visited Aix-en-Provence, where Cézanne painted, and then Arles and van Gogh. I did a lot of sketching in Provence.

How do think the grants have affected you as an artist and teacher?

I think the grants have made me more of an artist. And they have changed how I work with kids. Being a teacher but being an artist too, I am setting an example. The Astor grants gave me more of an identity: this is who I am, this is the kind of art I like to make.

So I think learning to be an artist and then just deepening what I know and what I do. Most of the grants that I did were art retreats. I went by myself and had a routine of working early in the morning and then going out and walking all day, having experiences and sitting and sketching and then coming back and working. There’s nobody there, nothing to distract you—it’s an amazing way to travel. That kind of experience deepens the way I do things with the kids.

Your last trip was to Cuba, in 2017. What was it like?

It was fascinating. I came home wanting to go back immediately. The people were so friendly. So much music, so much art. At the very end I discovered that they have an amazing ceramic museum in Havana. I had met a ceramic artist and he had a gallery and he told me about it. There are art schools in every province of Cuba and they’re very hard to get into, but if you do, you are really supported, you get all kinds of resources.

What do you plan to do in retirement?

I have an art practice so I look forward to having more time and traveling. My husband, Rocky Mann, is a clay artist so I’ve been preparing a part of our studio and I’ve been working on things that I might like to do in clay. I look forward to exploring.

Look for more about Carol Shutt in the spring edition of Maine Ties, MaineCF’s newsletter.

h1

Presidents’ Day

February 19, 2018

President portrait unveiled

On February 12 at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were present for the unveiling of their portraits. In the late 1990s the gallery began commissioning portraits of presidents, beginning with George H.W. Bush. The  gallery is part of the Smithsonian group of museums and has the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of The White House.

Imagine being selected to paint the Obama’s or any presidents portrait? I wonder who the artists art teachers were? I’m guessing that they are both pretty proud!

It was quite and honor for Kehinde Wiley who painted the former president. Wiley is an artist best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African-Americans.

Amy Sherald was the artist who painted the former first lady. Amy is from Baltimore and is known for her unique styles, and her portraits tend to underscore themes of social justice.  Both artists developed relationships with the former president and first lady.  Sherald’s work is less about realism in composition and more about shape and color. Sherald and Wiley are the first African-American artists to create Smithsonian-commissioned portraits of a former president and first lady.

h1

Theatre Professional Development

February 18, 2018

UMaine Orono

You’re invited to the second annual Theatre Professional Development Day hosted by the Department of Theatre, University of Maine, Orono, on April 25, 2018.  Visit the WEBSITE for more information about our feature performance, “Ripple of Hope”, a one-woman show performance by Karen Sklaire, a NYC performer and teacher, and our six workshops by professional teaching artists:
  • Nick Turner, Executive Director, The Grand, Ellsworth
  • Hannah Cordes, Education Manager, Portland Stage
  • Amy Roeder, Director of Education, Penobscot Theatre Company
  • Rebecca Wright, Ellsworth High School
  • Hilary Martin, Vassalboro Schools
  • Rick Osann, Bonny Eagle High School
The $25 registration fee includes lunch.  Six Contact hours will be provided. To REGISTER or for more information, visit our WEBSITE, or as always, drop a note with any questions.  We hope to see you there!
If you have any questions please contact Rick Osann at Bonny Eagle High School at rosann@bonnyeagle.org.
h1

Ukulele Tutorials

February 17, 2018

Jeffrey Weinberger

You can access tutorials for the ukulele that Jeffrey Weinberger has created on his YouTube channel.

His latest one is below for you to check out, The 59th St. Bridge Song, the Simon and Garfunkle classic. Also known as Feeling Groovy from 1966.

h1

Winter Break

February 16, 2018

What to do?

I understand historically that winter break was scheduled to help break the spread of germs and the flu. Makes sense to me! I’m sure that it is still needed for that reason with the number of flu cases in Maine still on the rise. If you’re one of the people suffering from the flu please take care of yourself and get well during winter break.

If you’re not sure what your going to do during the next 9 days here are some suggestions. I hope that you’ll take the time to relax, revive, and reflect! And, of course play music, sing, dance, and create in whatever way you choose to. You deserve a break – know that I appreciate what you do each and every day! Thank you teachers!

READ A BOOK

If you have a wood stove or fire place you know how good it can feel to snuggle up with a book and read by the warmth they provide. I’m always in the middle of a handful of books – depending on what I need at the moment!

  • My professional pile includes the following: Lifelong Kindergarten by Michael Resnick and Creative Schools by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica
  • For fun I’ve been reading: My Love Affair with the State of Maine by Scotty Mackenzie with Ruth Goode
  • And for my personal health I’ve been reading: The Little Book of Hygge – Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

GO OUTSIDE

The sun is getting stronger and the days a little longer. I know how good both of those feel. Spending time in the fresh air can have a positive impact on our health. Even a short walk can make a difference. But if you want to challenge yourself and have never cross country skied or snow shoed the weather is in your favor with the temperatures on the rise.

If you really want to challenge yourself the ice is pretty good for ice climbing and in some places where the sun has melted the ice and snow, rock climbing is happening. My older son guides those interested in this type of challenge with his business Equinox Guiding Service. He takes   people out so they can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and have a blast. He provides all of the equipment, instruction, and encouragement. You can have little or no knowledge and be successful. I certainly recommend guide Noah Kleiner! Tell Noah I sent you and perhaps you’ll get a discount.

WATCH THE OLYMPICS

For folks who want to watch the cold weather from the comfort of the couch in front of the television or computer, check out the Olympics. So cool to watch athletes from around the world come together. Just like the ancient Greeks came together so do modern day athletes – to create a space where the whole world can come together to participate in sport, in peace and togetherness. My younger son Nicholas is in PyeongChang, South Korea and is having a memorable experience. He saw the women’s giant slalom and American Mikaela Shiffrin win gold!

Whatever you do during winter break have fun and laugh as much as you can so you can come back to school ready and excited about the next steps of teaching!

h1

MAC Teaching Artist Roster

February 15, 2018

7 new artists

Seven Maine Artists Added to Arts Commission’s Teaching Roster

Maine Arts Commission’s roster provides additional resources for teachers and schools

AUGUSTA, ME, February 8, 2018—The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to announce the addition of seven new artists to its online Teaching Artist Roster.  Selected by the Arts Commission through an application process, teaching artists provide greater access for teachers, schools, and community groups to area artists who are trained and knowledgeable in classroom requirements throughout Maine. The following teaching artists have been recently listed on the roster:

  • Nicole Cardano

    Nicole Cardano, an actress who teaches elementary and middle school improvisational skills as well as theatre productions and show choir. She lives in Seal Cove.

  • Emilia Dahlin, a musician who teaches students to explore literary devices in songwriting to create powerful imagery and foster a strong sense of authorship. Emilia resides in Gorham.
  • Rob Duquette, a musician and songwriter whose lessons teach themes of resilience, compassion, kindness, gratitude, and a sense of purpose. Rob is from York.
  • Emilia Dahlin

    Kal Elmore, a printmaker who collaborates with teachers to develop lessons that help students experience a new media, a new technique, and/or a different way of thinking about visual art. She is from Old Town.

  • Russell Kaback, a musician and a storyteller who writes songs that tell the story of his grandfather’s life as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor.  Through lyrics and song, students make a lasting connection with the experience of a concentration camp survivor from the Nazi era to the present. Russell resides in South Portland.
  • Dana Legawiec, an actress whose recent teachings involve grade 3-5 students in mask, improvisational, physical theatre, and yoga. She is from Bowdoinham.
  • Rob Duquette

    Tom Luther, a musician who teaches piano and multimedia art. Tom applies traditional composition, improvisation, generative, and interactive techniques in his teaching, drawing freely from his experiences in numerous musical forms.  Tom is from Union.

“We are really proud of the learning opportunities that each artist on the roster provides to our schools and communities in Maine,” said Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at the Arts Commission.

In addition to overseeing the teaching artist roster along with many other arts education programs and services offered by the Arts

Kal Elmore

Commission, Argy organizes the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Mega-Regional Conferences. Maine educators from PK-higher education are invited to participate in this year’s professional development opportunity at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Friday, March 23 at 8:30 – 3:15 p.m.  The workshop facilitators are Maine arts educators who will have dynamic ideas to share.

Since 2011, MALI has provided opportunities for hundreds of educators with inspirational workshops, presentations, and webinars at the school, district, regional, state, and national level. More information and event registration for the 2018 MALI Mega Regional is available here.

Russell Kaback

The Maine Arts Commission currently administers the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative as part of one of its five priorities, fostering PK-12 lifelong arts education programs, in its five-year cultural plan, Fortifying Maine’s Creativity & Culture. To learn more about any of the Maine Arts Commission’s arts education funding opportunities or programs, please contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at argy.nestor@maine.gov or 207/287-2713.

Dana Legaweic

Tom Luther

The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, art organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more than 50 years the Commission has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; has worked to expand the state’s cultural resources; and encouraged and assisted 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. Additional information is available at mainearts.com.

###

h1

Each Kindness

February 14, 2018

Jacqueline Woodson

For Valentine’s Day the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jacqueline Woodson, reading from her book, Each Kindness. Please be kind today to those who need it most.

%d bloggers like this: