Archive for October, 2013


Jean Butler on the Conference!

October 31, 2013

Director, Arts are Essential!

Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 7.41.09 AMWow, Maine is COOL!
I attended two Maine Arts Conferences this week: Arts Education: Leading the Way and the Maine International Conference on the Arts, both at the University of ME in Orono.

I thoroughly enjoyed both conferences, learned new things, saw many talented artists perform, connected with some old friends and made some new ones. What stands out the strongest in my memories is how committed Maine’s arts advocates and the Maine Arts Commission are to providing educators, artists and arts educators with professional development, support and arts tools to achieve excellence in your students’ education and meet LD 1422 High School Graduation Requirements.

My favorite workshops for artists were the back to back combination: ‘Performing in and for Rural Areas’ and the ‘International Block Booking’ sessions. My favorite workshops for artist educators and arts educators were Argy Nestor and Karen Montenaro ‘Teaching artists and artist teachers’ and Judy Fricke’s ‘It’s hard to pick your nose when you are clapping your hands – the Importance of Music in Early Childhood.’

Lastly, the culminating Keynote Speech by Mike Daisey was a call to arms to artists, art educators, artist educators and arts advocates that we cannot afford to wait, we need to step up our advocacy for the arts and our children. (it’s from the 60’s, but still apt) “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.”

Compliments to all the workshop leaders! They were absolutely awesome. Very nice balance of arts educator and artist educator support!

The above was emailed to me from Jean Butler, Director of Arts are Essential, Inc. Jean attended both conferences and I had the opportunity to spend some time with her during the MICA conference. Jean can be reached at She has been doing “arts education work” for nearly 30 years. You can learn more about Arts are Essential at

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Conference Participants Say it Best!

October 30, 2013

Comments from the field

IMG_3675The following are comments from teachers about their experiences at the Arts Education: Leading the Way conference and the Maine International Conference on the Arts held last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at UMaine, Orono. Please provide your reflections at the bottom of this blog post by clicking on “Leave a Comment” or email them directly to me at

So excited to be a part of and see my colleagues and friends leading the way in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. The conference offered a multitude of opportunities to gain knowledge into the challenges we face teaching and assessing the arts in 21st century learning.

It’s a breath of fresh air to be in an atmosphere where you can network with colleagues and share a rich diversity of ideas from such a knowledgeable group. The pacing of the whole event was fantastic and kept us all engaged throughout the day.
~ Jimi Neel, York Middle School Music Educator

A first of its’ kind for me (24 yr educator)….. bringing arts educators, artists educators and teaching artists together.
Left with many tools to implement – gallery connections with Amanda in Moncton NB, Liam with Maine College of Art, experiences with 3D printers and digital laser cutters and fellowship. A rural state/region with much talent to share – MICA brought us together to applaud, share, adapt and laugh.                                                                                                                                                                                                               ~ Suzanne Goulet, Waterville Senior High School Visual Arts Educator

Lynn Tuttle’s presentation of the upcoming national arts standards was awesome!  She has a remarkable ability to explain incredibly complex issues in a simple, direct and entirely comprehensible manner that takes away all the fear of change.  The keynote presentation and workshop that followed showed how classroom-friendly the new standards intend to be and encouraged all of us in attendance to look at these with a serious eye to how they can improve what we do in the classroom.

The remainder of my day was spent exploring student-centered classroom in two workshops led by Sasha Bladen and Jeff Orth.  Both workshops presented concrete ideas, with lots of helping hints and handouts, of how to put more learning control into the hands of our students without giving up the core need to have them accomplish meaningful tasks and meet the standards without getting lost in the chaos.  I was guilty of having half my mind listening and the other half jotting down notes of how to use this in my classroom Monday morning!

It was great just to be in the same room with so many peers facing the same questions and challenges and sharing ideas and support.  I met some helpful colleagues who may become important contacts in the coming months.  Thank you Maine Arts Commission, DOE and Argy, for putting together this terrific weekend!                                                                                                     ~ Rick Osann Bonny Eagle High School Theatre

As usual, art teachers are just awesome! When they come together, they soak up news and information and help to create enormous energy. All participants were there to learn and grow and take advantage of the opportunity to make more sense of assessment and standards based education. The art teachers who participated are dedicated, motivated, and ready to take on this challenge.                                                                                                                                                                   ~ Kal Elmore, Bangor High School Visual Arts Educator

Words will never do justice in describing a day with my peers working, learning, and reflecting on best practice and assessment strategies. The work our peers have pored into these presentations is reflected in their thoughtful, informative, and enthusiastic sharing. The state of Maine holds a wealth of knowledge ready to be offered to anyone who wants to grow in their profession. I urge everyone to consider attending one of the upcoming Mega-regional workshops!                                                                            ~ Heidi O’Donnell, President Maine Art Education Association, Art Educator, Belfast High School


What a Conference!

October 28, 2013

Arts Education: Leading the Way conference

Another statewide conference is history and from all the reports it was a SUCCESS! If you were able to join us THANK YOU! A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the Leadership Team and the Teacher Leaders who worked long hours to plan and provide AMAZING workshops. If you were there and didn’t provide feedback at the end of each session and again at the end of the day please be sure and do so! It is not too late! We really appreciate you to taking the time to provide the feedback to help us build on the needs of arts education. Below you can see photos from the conference, thanks to Heidi O’Donnell for taking and sharing pictures!


Justin Zang sang the National Anthem


Greetings from the University from Jeff Hecker, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost


Opening Session included a presentation on the draft of the National Core Arts Standards


Lynn Tuttle, from Arizona, presents the information on the draft of the National Core Arts Standards


Students at the center!


Janie Snider, art teacher leader, from RSU24 presenting her workshop called Empowering Students Through Assessment Techniques and Strategies.


Bronwyn Sale accepting the Carol Trimble award for her commitment, collaborative spirit, and contributions to the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.


Collaborative artwork contributed to by the conference participants. Thanks to Charlie Johnson, Lisa Marin, and Leah Olson for helping!


Closing session – the University Singers under the Direction of Dennis Cox with Laura Artesani on the piano


Amazing Teacher Leaders

October 27, 2013

Maine is the winner!

We are so fortunate in Maine to have amazing teacher leaders in the Arts who have stepped up to offer workshops they’ve created based on their learning in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. On Thursday, October 24, the biennial statewide conference was held: Maine Arts Education: Leading the Way. We had 223 arts educators attend and the MAAI teacher leaders did a fantastic job offering over 35 workshops. You can probably tell from this photo taken at the end of the day that it was a SUCCESS! More info on the conference in other blog posts coming up. If you were one of those who attended, THANKS for coming!



The Writer Automation

October 26, 2013

The Writer Automation

Check out this doll that is over 240 years old who can write – you might find the idea and imagination fascinating. The creator, Pierre Jaquet-Droz was a Swiss watchmaker and included clockwork parts. You can see it at


21st Century Skills

October 26, 2013

Skills map for the arts in the 21st century

I’ve written about the Partnership for 21st century skills but at this time when teachers are searching to create courses for students to meet the proficiency requirement according to LD 1422, this site bears repeating. It has 21st century skills maps for each content including the arts. If you go to this link you can download the map. And the home page of the Partnership is located at

Check out this YouTube to provide you ‘food for thought’.


Portfolio Day

October 24, 2013

Portfolio Day at Southern Maine Community College.Friday, November 1st, 2013, 10:30 – 2:30pm.

If you are a high school or college student interested in a degree program for studio art, art history, art education, graphic design, or new media studies, this is your chance to have your portfolio reviewed by admissions representatives from colleges and universities from all around the US.

Participating Schools:

  • Lesley University College of Art & Design (Boston, MA)
  • Monserrat College of Art (Beverley, MA)
  • Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI)
  • Pratt MWP College of Art & Design (New York, NY)
  • Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts (Old Lyme, CT)
  • Maine College of Art (Portland, ME)
  • St. Josephs’s College of Maine (Standish, ME)
  • Southern Maine Community College (South Portland, ME)

Tables will be open to prospective students and transfers from 10:30am to 2:30pm in the Art Studio (49 Lighthouse Circle) on the South Portland Campus. No appointments are necessary. The event is free and open to the public. For questions or further information, please contact Fine Arts Department Chair Jeff Badger at 207 776 3298 or

A printable PDF can be found here:


SupportMusic Coalition

October 23, 2013

Videos available

During the last month SupportMusic Coalition created and archived 4 webcasts in collaboration with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. The 4 webcasts can be viewed on YouTube by clicking below. The webcasts are about the importance of music and arts education with communities and education leaders in 5 cities.


Getting Ready-Leading the Way

October 22, 2013

Just around the corner!


Visual Arts Director Julie Horn and Chris Higgins Administrative Assistant work on preparing name tags

Preparing for a conference is time consuming and takes several months but the last week before the event is pretty intense! This week is no exception. Yesterday was spent on many details including copying, creating nametags, individual schedules, checking numbers, names, stuffing folders, etc. The more I rush to complete the tasks the ‘to do’ list seems to grow longer.

I think back to the first statewide arts education conference that I helped plan in 2007 and I realize how much I’ve learned over the years. Carol Trimble who was the Executive Director of Maine Alliance for Arts Education and I periodically chat about that conference which was held at The Samoset in Rockport with almost 300 attendees. We turned away several teachers since there wasn’t enough space. Scott Shuler gave the keynote, Karen Montanaro and Camden Hills singers performed at the Farnsworth reception and we had over 25 workshops. The next one was held in 2009 at Point Lookout with the 2007 National Teacher of the Year, music teacher Andrea Peterson provided the keynote and First Lady Karen Baldacci danced with us at the opening evening reception. In 2011 the biennial conference was held at USM and was focused on the first teacher leader group of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. It was a fabulous success – teachers teaching teachers created a huge learning environment for all attendees. Each conference was unique and provided fabulous learning opportunities.

I am really looking forward to the conference this Thursday, October 24, Arts Education: Leading the Way. You can still register, there is still space in some workshops. Lynn Tuttle will provide an update on the National Core Arts Standards during the opening session. I am guessing it won’t just be educational but also fun! The door prizes will be given during the closing (I need to remember a hat and funny glasses) along with a performance by the University Singers. We are thrilled to be having music students from UMaine attending and providing assistance! Thank you to Laura Artesani for her help with the details and arrangements!

Work details are also happening for the Maine International Conference on the Arts being held in the same location on Friday and Saturday. If you are interested in attending either conference please go to for information and for a link to registration.

I need to get back to the details…. I know I will see at least 185 (last count from registration) of you on Thursday – YAHOOOOOOOO!


Stacking Wood

October 21, 2013

What’s it Like?

IMG_3654This weekend at my home we cut, split, and stacked our fire wood for the winter. It is an activity that I really enjoy, especially when the weather is just right. You might just ask so what is “just right” for wood stacking? Not too cold, not too hot, blue sky, and just the right amount of sunshine. We had it all this weekend. Stacking the wood is an activity that brings back fond memories of when my children were small and they would contribute and feel so useful as they carried their one stick of wood at a time to the wood shed. And, use their plastic chain saws to pretend they were cutting the wood. It brings a smile to my face as does their participation as ‘adults’. Instead of us inviting our friends to join us for a day of wood cutting and sharing a spaghetti feed at the end of the day, they bring their friends. What fun!

IMG_3665Cutting the wood gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Early in the process all the wood is sitting there staring me in the face and I wonder, will we get this done in the time planned? And the end of the day comes, I am feeling exhilarated that the task is accomplished!

It is not unlike the work of professional development planning for Maine arts educators. Teachers have to be in the right place with the right temperature to participate. This week is a big one for Maine arts teachers. And, all of you are invited to join in on the FUN! On the calendar this week:

  • Today, Monday, October 21 is the last day to contribute your feedback on the National Core Arts Standards high school draft that were released for public comment on September 30.  Download the draft and connect to the survey at Thank you for contributing your opinion on the DRAFT.
  • Lynn Tuttle, Director Arts Education at the Arizona Department of Education, will be traveling to Maine to share information on the NCAS. This is a unique opportunity for Maine Arts Education.
  • The statewide conference Arts Education: Leading the Way will be held on Thursday, October 24 at UMaine, Collins Center for the Arts. It is not to late to register. The over 30 workshops topics are just what arts teachers are looking for. How do we know? Because the workshops are being presented by your colleagues from across Maine. Who knows better than your colleagues about your needs? It is not too late to register. Please (quick) go to for all the details.

I hope to learn that Maine’s contribution to the NCAS feedback has been plentiful and to see you at this Arts Education: Leading the Way conference! And, if you see me, please do tell me your “wood” stories!

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