Leap Before You Look

November 25, 2015

Until January 24, 2016

The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston is having their biggest show ever and wow, is it an interesting exhibit (and title) called “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College, 1933–1957”. The show has more than two hundred and sixty works by almost a hundred artists, curated by Helen Molesworth. Black Mountain College was not an artists’ community or a writers’ colony, or even an art school. It was a very small college that was established in the Depression and lasted for about 24 years. Located in Asheville, NC, the most students enrolled was 60. It had to close when the money disappeared. While operating students could take a full liberal arts education including science, mathematics, history, economics, languages, and literature.

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Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 3.22.32 PMHere’s what I like best about Black Mountain College: What made Black Mountain different from other colleges was that the center of the curriculum was art-making. Students studied pretty much whatever they wanted, but everyone was supposed to take a class in some kind of artistic practice—painting, weaving, sculpture, pottery, poetry, architecture, design, dance, music, photography. The goal was not to produce painters, poets, and architects. It was to produce citizens.

John Andrew Rice established the college and he did not think of art-making as therapy or self-expression. He thought of it as mental training. Many of his ideas came from John Dewey but there are reflections of Plato’s philosophy as well.

You can read the entire article from the New Yorker about the college and the exhibit by clicking here.


Tina Wood Shares

November 24, 2015

What a switch!

Recently 15 year veteran visual art teacher Tina Wood, Marcia Buker Elementary School (Richmond), emailed me about the work she is doing with students. I could hear the excitement in her voice about what is happening in her classroom that I just had to ask her permission to share it. Below is the email – in Tina’s own words.

IMG_2111I recently had an amazing breakthrough in teaching and learning and must share! At RSU#2 we adopted National Art Standards for our district as our learning targets. I put these in “I can” statements for students and their interest and understanding in learning outcomes was noticeable. Students were curious, questioning and open minded.  Using these statements and their unique art ideas I have been looking for an enjoyable, fun way to assess student knowledge.

Dan Tompkins, IT support at Marcia Buker Elementary School (MBES) found an app, Easy Blogger JR, for the 4 new iPads I wrote a grant for and it has been electric in the art room. Students easily photograph, text or talk about their art and ideas matching their learning to their learning targets independently. It is easy to comment on their posts and students will be able to comment along with parents and teachers. Students are coming in the art room to do their assessment during recess!

This is the biggest amount of joy and bubbling creativity I have ever seen expressed by students!

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 7.16.26 AMThe first blogs posted are 5th grades alabaster stone sculptures that they began while at Viles Arboretum Sculpture Symposium on October 3rd during a day long field trip exploring nature, creativity and stone carving. The article was published in Portland Press Herald Sunday October 11th about MBES students in the Outdoor section called Making a Solid Impression.

I hope you might have time to visit our blog, mbesart.blogspot.com. This is an inspiring adventure for myself and Marcia Buker Elementary School students. If you have questions for Tina please contact her at twood@kidsrsu.org.

And a recent update from Tina: It is exciting in the art room as we learn and grow and express ourselves. Students in the 5th grade have started tweeting what they are learning in art as part of their end of class evaluation. FUN! mbesartstudio on Twitter!





Waterville High School GRAMMY School

November 23, 2015

Congratulations to the music program!

Waterville Senior High School selected as 2016 GRAMMY Signature School

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 8.01.47 AMThe GRAMMY Foundation has selected 119 schools nationwide as GRAMMY Signature Schools semifinalists for 2016. Created in 1998, the GRAMMY Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.

Each of the GRAMMY Signature Schools finalists will receive a custom award and monetary grant to benefit its music program. The top programs are designated Gold recipients, and the best program of the Gold recipients is designated as the National GRAMMY Signature School. The remaining schools are designated as GRAMMY Signature Schools. For schools that are economically underserved, the GRAMMY Foundation established the Enterprise Award to recognize the efforts these schools have made in music education. A list of semifinalist schools in the Enterprise Award category will be posted in mid-December. The GRAMMY Signature Schools program is made possible in part by the generous support of Converse, Ford Motor Company Fund, Hot Topic Foundation, Journeys, Les Paul Foundation, and RBC Foundation USA.

The GRAMMY Foundation has also established the GRAMMY Signature Schools Community Award, an extension of the GRAMMY Signature Schools program. Through our partnership with Converse, the Hot Topic Foundation, Journeys, Les Paul Foundation, Brookfield Properties and the RBC Foundation USA, the GRAMMY Foundation identifies deserving public high school music programs to receive the award and a $2,000 grant. To date, 500 awards totaling approximately $1 million in grants have been distributed to high school music programs.

“From our perspective, many public high schools across the country provide top notch music education programs for their students—often working with very limited financial means,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. “Our GRAMMY Signature Schools program steps in to augment those resources with cash grants, and to celebrate the excellence of these programs and the beneficial and lasting effects of a music curriculum in the lives of young people. We are especially excited to celebrate a landmark in our GRAMMY Signature Schools Community Award program, which has awarded its 500th grant since the initiative began in 2010.”

In mid-March 2016, the GRAMMY Foundation will announce the finalists for the GRAMMY Signature Schools program. These schools will receive a custom award and a monetary grant ranging from $1,000 up to $6,000 to benefit their music program.


Eastern Maine Pops Orchestra

November 22, 2015

Tempo – an orchestra for young musicians



In Today’s News

November 21, 2015

Portland Press Herald

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 9.33.57 PMLast of 2 stolen N.C. Wyeth paintings were returned and will be put on display this week until January 3 at the Portland Museum of Art. The paintings were stolen from an unoccupied apartment in 2013. The FBI said the theft was probably the most significant art heist in Maine history and justified the offering of reward money. Read the the entire Portland Press Herald article, November 20, article at http://www.pressherald.com/2015/11/19/remaining-2-stolen-n-c-wyeth-paintings-recovered-authorities-say/.




November 21, 2015

Update on the plans

Below is information from Liam Sullivan, Director of Enrollment and Outreach at the Maine College of Art in regards to the Scholastic Art Awards. Please contact Liam at lsullivan@meca.edu if you have any questions.

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In preparing for the Scholastic Art and Writing awards the following is important information:

  • If you haven’t done so this year; please register as an art educator or encourage your art educator colleagues to register on the Art and Writing website: http://www.artandwriting.org/.
  • Encourage all your participating art students to register themselves as student participants on the same website.
  • All entries are due by December 17, 2015. There will be no exceptions. Digital submissions must be uploaded and paperwork plus payment must be postmarked by that date; December 17, 2015.
  • Keep in mind that the Maine Congressional Art Competition winners will be selected from the the Scholastic entries that are recognized in the Silver or Gold categories.
  • Submission fees are $5 per individual piece; maximum of 12 individual pieces. $20 per portfolio; only for seniors; maximum of 2 portfolios per senior. Fee Waivers to cover the submission costs are available for qualifying student participants.

Important Dates:
Dec. 17                All Entries due! Image, info; signatures and payment postmarked.
Jan.  6                Judging (Snow date: 7)
Jan. 8/11            Students and art teachers are notified of the jury decisions
Jan. 15 – 18        Artwork Drop off (Snow date: to 19)
Jan. 19                Email regarding Exhibition RSVP
Jan. 20 – 22       Hang Exhibition
Jan. 23 – Feb 13   Exhibition
Feb. 5                  First Friday 5 to 8pm. (Unofficial Reception and Open House)

Feb. 13                Ceremony and art work pick up

  • 1pm Awards Reception
  • 3pm End of Ceremony and Exhibit
  • Attendees or School Reps: take artwork down and bring home
    Rest of pieces moved into temporary storage

Another email communication will take place prior to December with updates. Please keep in mind this part of the competition is just for high school student’s visual artwork; the writing component is hosted by another institution. In the meantime; if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at your convenience at artandwriting@meca.edu or by calling 207-699-5037.


Bowdoin College Museum of Art

November 20, 2015

Such a great resource

Last month I had the opportunity to meet with folks from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. It was a delightful visit and I learned a great deal about what the museum has to offer schools. Honor Wilkinson is the Curatorial Assistant and Manager of Student Programs at the museum and provides information to help you think about visiting the museum with your students. The information is complete with how to schedule a trip and prepare your students to get the most out of the visit.

Please tell the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about the art museum at Bowdoin.

bcmaThe Bowdoin College Museum of Art hosts one of the earliest college art collections in America, dating back to James Bowdoin III’s bequest of European paintings and Old-Master drawings in 1811. Today, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art is the only encyclopedic museum in Maine, with an extensive antiquities collection that is one of the most impressive collection of ancient artifacts of any college museum in the United States. With predominant holdings in American and European artwork, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art also has Asian, African, Pre-Columbian, and Native American art and artifacts as well. The long history of collecting that is present within the Museum’s walls is complimented by the long history of the Walker Art Building itself. The Museum is situated at the center of Bowdoin College’s campus, and it hopes to be a central figure in the Bowdoin students’ liberal arts education. As a teaching Museum, the BCMA is not only an accessible resource for Bowdoin students and faculty, but for the students, the educators, and the public across Maine as well.

What are your roles?

My title is the Curatorial Assistant and Manager of Student Programs. I act as the liaison between the Museum of Art and the Bowdoin students, facilitating class sessions and research, as well as student programming and events. In addition, I coordinate tours of the Museum’s exhibitions. I also supervise the Bowdoin student Education Assistants who plan and develop educational resources, Family Saturday events, and lead tours. I am involved in the curatorial planning, research, and design of exhibitions as well as the Museum’s educational outreach.

Describe what the museum has to offer for education and educators who are interested in bringing students to the museum.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.25.11 AMAs a new initiative, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art will create multiple grade level, in-gallery activity worksheets that focus on exhibition themes and visual analytical skills. These educational resources for grades 1-4, 5-8, and 9-12 will be available for all visitors to the Museum and will be provided, specifically, for school tours. These resources, corresponding to our rotating exhibitions as well as our permanent collection, will also be accessible online for educators to review or utilize before or after their visits. The goal of the educational resources is to support and enhance students’ visits, as well as facilitate easy and successful visits for educators who may not traditionally use the Museum of Art as a resource. These educational resources are created by the Bowdoin Student Education Assistants under the supervision of the Museum’s Curatorial Assistant and Manager of Student Programs. Family Guides for our rotating exhibitions and permanent collection exhibitions are also available for parents and young children to use.

In addition to the expanded focus on K-12 outreach, the Museum also organizes object-viewing sessions in the Museum’s seminar room with objects that are not on view in the galleries.

For any educators who are not familiar discussing or teaching with art objects, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s Curatorial Assistant and Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow are happy to work with educators to develop lesson plans or student activities for your Museum visit. We would be happy to select objects to view or lead the class session.

Are there learning opportunities that you’ve created to use in an integrated fashion at the museum?

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.25.20 AMWhile we provide educational programs and opportunities for elementary school, grade school, high school, and college students, as well as professional experience for Bowdoin students, the student Education Assistants develop and plan Family Saturday events every month that target the children in a younger age range—pre-K to grade school. The Education Assistants organize and lead a half-hour, interactive tour of one of our exhibitions and then lead hands-on craft activities that correlate to the exhibition theme in the Museum’s seminar room. The Family Guides and Grade-Level Activity Books are also available during Family Saturdays.

Do you provide any pre or post resources to help prepare the visiting students?

The educational resources that pertain to each exhibition are available on the Museum of Art’s website for educators or the general public to use before or after their visit. However, as an academic Museum, we are dedicated to using our collection for teaching purposes and we have, in the past, created educational material at the request of a specific tour or class. If an educator desired material for his or her class based on an exhibition or specific work at the BCMA, we would be happy to provide custom materials as well.

What are the steps in making a field trip to the museum happen?

To schedule a field trip to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, visit our website and fill out the simple online tour-scheduling form for guided tours of the Museum or special exhibitions. Once your tour has been scheduled, you will be provided with directions and parking locations for school buses and chaperone guidelines, which requires a chaperone for every 10 students. If you are interested in a more customized visit, please contact Honor Wilkinson, Curatorial Assistant and Manager of Student Programs at hwilkins@bowdoin.edu or (207) 721-5098. Because the class and tour schedules are quite full, the Museum asks that you schedule your visit three weeks in advance. The BCMA is open to working with educators to make its collections as accessible and useful for their use. There is no entrance fee for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

How should students be prepared (what can the sending school do) so students can go away with such an excellent experience that they just can’t wait to return?

Students should come to tours or class-sessions in the Museum ready to participate. Prior to their visit, the sending school can discuss with the students that it will be an interactive session. One of the goals of the Museum and its educational outreach is to develop visual literacy across multiple age ranges. To prepare students for their visit, the sending school could emphasize that no answer to the question “What do you see?” is wrong and that participation and discussion during student visits is what leads to understanding and knowledge of the art, as well as an excellent Museum experience.


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