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Drumming

July 30, 2020

8 year old on the drums

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Bridge Over Troubled Water

July 30, 2020

Beautiful voices of children

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Two Songs and One Story

July 17, 2020

A light touch with meaning

In 1985 Barbara Cooney wrote the children’s book Miss Rumphius and interwoven through the book is the simple message: “do something to make the world more beautiful.” 

Last month in the DownEast magazine Virginia M. Wright wrote the article Why We Love Miss Rumphius Now More Than EverThe message is one that all Maine citizens can relate to as we drive anywhere in Maine these days and see the lupines growing. It’s an amazing site to behold and a chance to pause and consider ~what am I doing to make the world a more beautiful place? 

I sat next to Barbara Cooney on a plane in 1990. As the article says: Barbara Cooney didn’t care for sugary tales. “It does not hurt [children] to read about good and evil, love and hate, life and death,” the author and illustrator said in her 1959 Caldecott Award acceptance speech. “Nor do I think they should read only about things that they understand. … A man’s reach should exceed his grasp. So should a child’s. I will never talk down to — or draw down to — children.”

We have an opportunity as educators to read and learn and consider what action to take about what is going on in the world. If you’re looking for RESOURCES please check out the BLOG POST that is growing everyday with Social Justice resources.

Don’t Worry Be Happy

What the World Needs Now

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Not All Heroes Wear Art

July 10, 2020

Art started in Washburn Elementary School

This story made the news station WAGM. Check it out at THIS LINK! Great work art teacher Beth Ann Cummings from Washburn Elementary School.

With students learning from home, many teachers have had to get creative. Including one local art teacher who wanted her students to use their art homework to reach out to members of their community.

Beth Ann Cummings is the visual arts teacher at Washburn Elementary School. She says teaching art remotely is difficult because she is never sure what materials her students have on hand. So, while looking for ideas on a group Facebook page with other art teachers, she came across the idea to use student art work to honor first responders. So, she decided to do her own version, called Heroes for Hearts. She sent out a video of instructions to her class. Cummings says, “We all know about heroes from television, movies or books right? I think we all are finding out that no all heroes wear capes. To participate in this project, all you need to do is to cut out a big heart. If you don’t have big paper you can do a bunch of little hearts. You’re going to decorate them and hang them in the windows of your home, or send them to work with your parents in their place of business to hang them. You can write messages of hope on your hearts, encouragement. I’m hoping these hearts will bring smiles to peoples faces and show these heroes on the front lines that we really, really appreciate them, during this tough time.”

In addition to students from Cummings school participating, she mentioned the idea to other art educators in the County and some of those schools decided to participate as well. Easton, Hodgdon, Houlton and Van Buren joined in. Cummings says she would love to see other communities participate in honoring the County’s heroes.

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On Hiatus

July 1, 2020


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Young Artist’s in Quarantine

June 30, 2020

Student’s share their stories

This is part of a series highlighting the stories of young artists in quarantine. The period of free time that many people are experiencing has led to a sense of freedom in creating– when not held back by the standards expected by society and in much of art education (or needing to prove talent/fill resumes) it’s incredible what can be done. Alone in your room with just a paintbrush or guitar has led many students to find a new independence in art when they have the ability to create just for themselves. We’re hoping that by telling these stories, a change will occur in the way we approach arts education, to focus on the growth of the individual, even after quarantine comes to an end. Thank you Robyn Walker-Spencer, 2020 graduate, Camden Hills Regional High School, for launching this series of young artists in quarantine.

Kate Kemper just graduated from Camden Hills Regional High School. Below is her pandemic story.

I have always been an artist, I think. I have a grandparent on each side of my family who were extremely gifted in the arts, and my parents always say the “artist gene” skipped a generation. Over my life, I’ve expanded my mediums. I work in many forms of fine art; I am a painter, singer, poet, ceramist, and beginning mural artist.

What really sparked my love of art and helped me develop good foundations was my education at Ashwood Waldorf School. As a part of the core curriculum, I painted wet-on-wet in painting class and made a crayon drawing for every academic lesson over eight years.

In my senior year of high school, I took an advanced art portfolio class which pushed my artistic abilities even further. I learned about putting meaning into art and the different ways to make a statement about the world through the lens of creation. I now feel empowered to express my voice through a piece and do art much more frequently.

Separate, 2020, 14” x 17,” Mixed Media

There are a few common ways to make a statement about the world. Protesting, voting, speaking out, and art. You cannot have a successful social movement without art to move people. It can unite by interpreting a message into a visual format that makes it easier to understand. The repetition of an idea through many artworks grows a movement and can make real change in the mind of the audience.

But ultimately, art is what you want it to be. For me, among many others, it is a reaction.

I paint absent-minded abstractions when I need to relax, I express my frustrations when I’m angry, and I admire beauty when I’m joyful. I use it as a tool, a way to process emotion. This has come in especially handy during recent months. Amidst a global pandemic, one can expect many emotions. I went through a whirlwind of life events simultaneously, good and bad, so it is no surprise that I made a lot of art. The most defining piece of this era was one called “separate.” It was a paper cut representation of the idea of social distancing. It will join the large body of work that I am sure will arise worldwide in reaction to this pandemic.

Fruit Salad part 1, 2020, 24”x 24,” acrylic on canvas

Two Shrooms, 2020, 8” x 5,” ink pen on paper

Flank Study, 2019, India ink on paper

Blind, 2019, 6”x 12,” pen and paper

Sea Tea, 2019, 6” x 6” x 4,” ceramic and ceramic glaze

Skull and Books, 2019, 18” x 24,” conté on paper

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Congratulations Dennie Palmer Wolf

June 29, 2020

YAHOOOO for Dennie!

Association of Teaching Artists congratulates Nam-Ni Chen, Kwame Scruggs, and Dennie Palmer Wolf on their recognitions!

Dennie was the consultant during the first Maine arts education census. Out of that work came a comprehensive look at arts education in Maine and the Imagination Intensive Communities project. Seven school districts including their greater communities were highlighted with the amazing arts educational opportunities they provide for learners of all ages. It was a pleasure to work with Dennie and her knowledge and experience were immeasurable. I’m thrilled to learn that a true friend of Maine is being recognized at the national level.

The Distinguished Service to the Field Award will be given to Nai-Ni Chen, the Innovation in Teaching Artistry Award will be given to Kwame Scruggs, and the Teaching Artist Ally Award will be given to Dennie Palmer Wolf. Read the full press release here.

  • The Distinguished Service to the Field Award, given to a long-tenured artist educator is awarded to Nai-Ni Chen whose 20-plus years of dance teaching artistry in the Tri-State area has impacted  more than 100 schools with both in-school residencies and assembly performances, in particular their partnership with the A. Harry Moore Laboratory School for students with disabilities.
  • The Innovation in Teaching Artistry Award given to a Teaching Artist demonstrating innovation and excellence in the field, is awarded to Kwame Scruggs founder and director of Alchemy in Akron, OH where he has developed a program to engage adolescent males through the telling, discussion, and interpretation of mythological stories and fairy tales told to the beat of an African drum.
  • The Teaching Artist Ally Award given to a professional or organization integral to the work of teaching artists, but not a teaching artist themselves is awarded to Dennie Palmer Wolf of WolfBrown whose research has been cited by arts education organizations nationally. Wolf’s recent article “Teaching Artists as Essential Workers: Respect, Collaboration and Heft” named teaching artists as the most vulnerable population in the arts education field and called for economic support during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Awards of Recognition given to teaching artists or organizations in acknowledgment of their contributions to the field of teaching artistry is given to Tim Lord and Jason Duchan at DreamYard in the Bronx, NY, Nicole Bond of the SMART Museum in Chicago, IL, Margie Reese of Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture in Wichita, TX, and Mandi Jackson from Music Haven in New Haven, CT.

The Awards Ceremony will be streamed on Thursday, July 23rd 7:00PM – 8:00PM EDT at as part of Lincoln Center “Activate” professional development series for Teaching Artists.

Established in 2002, the ATA Awards were the first in the nation to recognize artist educators. The ATA Awards seek to raise the visibility of Teaching Artists within the arts in education and community arts fields and in the organizations and institutions for which they work as well as honor innovation in teaching artistry.

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Rangoli Designs

June 28, 2020

Pretty amazing and calming

A Rangoli is a colourful design made on the floor using coloured rice powder. It is often used by Hindus throughout Diwali. … In math, Rangoli patterns are a creative way to discover symmetry, reflection and tessellation.

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MMEA Statement

June 27, 2020

Black Lives Matter

Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA) unequivocally affirms that Black Lives Matter and that the horror of systemic racism and violence perpetrated against Black people must end.
The mission of the Maine Music Educators Association is to promote and advance music education for all students. Affirming that Black Lives Matter everywhere—in our classrooms and communities—is fundamental to our mission as an organization. MMEA has not done enough to address systemic racism and to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
Our practices and curricula must elevate the lives, voices, experiences, cultures, and histories of Black and other marginalized people. We must begin by addressing gaps in our knowledge. We are called to fundamentally transform the school experiences of our students, shifting from non-racist to true anti-racist teaching. This requires continuous and deliberate reflection and change within MMEA, as well as at an individual, school, and district level.
Effecting change is going to be long term, challenging and sometimes uncomfortable, but it is necessary. MMEA is committed to supporting music educators, students, performing artists, and community members as we begin this work.
We must listen to and amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We must do it together. In the coming weeks, the MMEA will provide resources while preliminary actionable steps are developed. We invite you to join us with this important work.
Black Lives Matter
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ABC Student Leadership

June 26, 2020

Representatives from across the state

The 12 arts students from high schools around the state who make up the first Student Leadership Group of the Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC) gathered in Augusta in the fall. The students were all selected for their commitment to the arts by the four Maine professional associations that make up the ABC: the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA), the Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA), the Maine Educational Theatre Association (MEdTA) and the Maine Dance Educators. Below are photos and short bios of all the students.

Madi Baker (Visual Art) is a senior at Hampden Academy, studying AP art and design. She is also doing an independent study in art education, and is a member of Hampden Academy’s Voices Unlimited choral group. Madi feels a strong commitment to arts education and a mission to promote creativity in all forms.

 

Maille Baker (Theatre) is a senior at Nokomis Regional High. Over her years at Nokomis she has been involved in a number of groups including drama club, jazz band, combo, and ensemble, jazz chorus, and show chorus. She is also an award-winning dancer and back country skier. Maille is Vice President of her school’s chapter of National Honor Society, and is an active member of Key Club and FBLA. She was student of the year her freshman year, and received the Dartmouth Book Award this past school year.

Colette Carrillo (Music) is a sophomore from Waterville High School. She is an active member of the school’s choral program and has participated in the Kennebec Valley Music Festival Chorus for three years. She participates in the Waterville High School’s annual musical productions. Colette also composes her own music.

 

Michaela Carrow (Theatre) is a sophomore from Hermon High School. She is a member of Thespian Troupe 8263 and participates both on the stage and behind the scenes in plays, one-acts, and show choir. She has also sung in the District V Festival chorus and is very active in her school’s Art Club. She is currently working towards her Honors Diploma.

 

Alexis Grant (Dance) is a senior at Maine Arts Academy in Sidney. As a member of MEAA’s Spotlight Dance Team as well as TNT Dance Studio’s Competitive Edge Team, her days are filled with learning choreography and working in dance technique classes. She has also performed, volunteered, and created choreography for Lakewood Theater’s Teen Tech and Tour group, with her favorite role being Jan in the production of Grease. Alexis has recently attended the Dean College Summer Arts Institute and the AMDA High School Summer Conservatory as a dance major.

Delia Harms (Music) is a sophomore from Massabesic HS in Waterboro. Her main musical interest is playing the bassoon in her school band as well as in the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. Delia has also performed in the Maine Music Educators District One Honors Festival and All-State Band and in her high school chorus.

 

Ethan Hayes (Visual Art) is a freshman Visual Art student at Wisdom Middle / High School in Aroostook County. He is a member of S.L.A.M.! (Student Leadership in the Arts!), Wisdom’s Arts Advocacy and Student Leadership group. Ethan is inspired by science fiction, fantasy and animals like reptiles and sea creatures. He likes to create conceptual drawings for video games and animation projects.

Alison Jones (Theatre) is a junior from Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, currently entering her third year of High School Theatre. She is on the BEHS Theatre student leadership board as the membership chair. An active member of Bonny Eagle’s Thespian Troupe 211 for two years, Alison is performing in and assistant-directing the fall production. She has also received an award for her performance in Humbletown at the state level of the Maine Drama Festival. Last year Alison achieved 3-star Thespian status, as well as recognition as a Vice President’s List Scholar. Her other interests include writing, for which she has received two Scholastic Keys, and was a participant of the Maine Playwright’s Festival workshop last spring.

Tyler Lucca (Music) is a sophomore from Yarmouth High School, where he plays trombone in the honors level Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band and sings in the honors level Chamber Choir. Tyler is currently playing Uncle Fester in the Addams Family fall musical. He also plays banjo in a youth bluegrass ensemble called Flight 317. This well-known and respected band based out of 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth has a rotating cast of high-schoolers and performs frequently in many venues ranging from seasonal festivals to restaurants.

Sophie Patenaude (Music) is a junior from Poland Regional High School in Poland. She is a classical pianist who also plays tenor saxophone in her school’s concert band. Sophie sings with her school’s chorus, chamber choir, a cappella choir and jazz band and her own acoustic duo, Meraki, as well as being a backup singer for The Masterstroke Queen Experience. She has attended several Maine Music Educators Association District II and All State Honors Choral festivals and will be attending her first NAfME All National Honors Choral festival in November. Sophie also performs frequently in musical theater and theater productions as a musician, actor, and dancer.

McKenna Shoberg (Dance) is a junior from Lake Region High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has been dancing for 14 years. She took master classes with Carlos Garland from So You Think You Can Dance and has starred in The Wizard of Oz for Lake Region Community Theater. She also attended drama classes at Venice Little Theater in Venice, Florida. McKenna has choreographed dances and received an award for leadership in dance. Last year she won a laker pride award which recognizes being a positive role model, consistently helpful, and selfless.

Gabriella Thompson (Dance) is a senior at Thornton Academy in Saco. She has taken dance curricularly for the past four years in Thornton’s dance program. Gabriella is a co-leader of the Thornton Academy Dance Company. She has participated in TA’s musicals and is a member of the Interact Club and National Honors Society. After graduating, Gabriella plans on going to a University to study business and communications. She wants to continue dancing throughout college because of her passion and love for it!

The Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC), led by the MAAE, is an advocacy partnership made up of representatives of Maine’s professional teachers’ associations in art, music, theater and dance (see individual members and contact information below). ABC’s mission is “to advocate with a common strong voice for the visual and performing arts for all students in Maine.” ABC was created when the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education in the summer of 2000 convened a large group of Maine arts education organizations and supporters to investigate ways in which we could collaborate for the cause of “arts every day for every child.” Out of that meeting grew ABC.

Until recently ABC limited its advocacy to state legislation, successfully advocating to keep the arts in the Maine Learning Results, restore the Visual and Performing Arts staff position at the Department of Education, and ensure a one-credit arts requirement for high school graduation. Last spring ABC expanded the scope of its work to include advocating to stakeholders in schools and communities around the state. Each of the partnering organizations also designated a special advocacy delegate to represent that organization in ABC’s expanded work. (See the names and contact info below.) ABC showed off its new logo at Arts and Culture Day at the capitol in April and will be playing a larger role in organizing MAAE’s semi-annual Arts Education Advocacy Day at the Statehouse. A critical part of ABC’s expansion has been its creation of a new ABC Student Leadership Group. For all the news and information about the group see News on the left.

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