Archive for May, 2014


Music Video

May 31, 2014

Amazing song and dance

Australian singer-songwriter Sia paired her song “Chandelier” with young dancer (age 11), Maddie Ziegler for an amazing performance. Maddie wears a platinum wig that resembles Sia’s own hairstyle.


UMA Interactive Theater Project

May 30, 2014

Opportunity for students

Under the direction of Adjunct Theater Professor, Jeri Pitcher, the University of Maine, Augusta Interactive Theater Project is providing opportunities for college students who are turning around and providing learning opportunities for other students. This project involved creating an original piece of theater with five UMA acting students and bringing the theater piece to perform in classrooms at Cony Middle School. For more information on the UMA Interactive Theater Project, contact Jeri Pitcher, at

See the video, created by Zach Greenham, below that demonstrates the project.


Plato on Music

May 29, 2014


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LOVE License Plates

May 29, 2014

New Specialty Plate

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PAY ONLINE for State of the Arts Plate!

PAY BY MAIL: MCA_LOVE_plate_pre-pay_form

The MCA seeks 2000 Mainers, with cars registered in their name, to pre-pay $29 for the specialty plate. Upon reaching that goal the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will release the plate to the 2000 pre-paid registrants and make the plate available for purchase at all Maine BMV’s.

New Maine Specialty Plate: The State of the Arts
The Maine Crafts Association and Maine Arts Commission seek pre-payments to offer a new specialty license plate supporting the arts in Maine.

The Maine Crafts Association, with the Maine Arts Commission as the sponsoring state agency, is proud to offer an exciting new Maine specialty license plate supporting the arts in Maine. The plate design features the artwork “LOVE” of long-time Vinalhaven, Maine resident and internationally recognized artist, Robert Indiana.

The specialty plate will serve as a fundraiser for the Maine Craft Association and will have a direct positive impact on the arts in Maine through the organization’s marketing, business and outreach programming. The Maine Arts Commission will receive a portion of the funds to put toward their statewide arts initiatives.

Robert Indiana
A seminal figure in the Pop Art movement, Robert Indiana designed the iconic LOVE image, featuring stacked letters and a tilted “O” as a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1964. A three dimensional version (sculpture) in COR-TEN steel followed, and received international attention when it was installed in New York City’s Central Park in 1969. The image epitomized the ideals of the 1960s so-called “Love Generation.” The artist never copyrighted his LOVE image, which has become one of the most reproduced and recognizable images in modern history. It was put on an eight-cent stamp by the US Postal Service in 1973, the first of their regular series of LOVE stamps, and holds the record as the best-selling stamp in USPS history (320 million).
Robert Indiana was born Robert Clark in New Castle, Indiana in 1928, and after achieving fame in New York with fellow artists from the Pop Art movement, including Jasper Johns, Robert Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly and Andy Warhol, he moved to Vinalhaven, Maine where he has made his home and studio for the past 45 years. In 2005 he donated a painting titled First State to the Augusta State house in his adopted state. Based upon the template of LOVE, Mr. Indiana designed the HOPE image for President Obamaʼs first campaign, which was unveiled outside Denverʼs Pepsi Center during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. All proceeds from the sale of reproductions of the HOPE image were donated to Obamaʼs presidential campaign, raising in excess of $1 million. A retrospective of the life and work of Mr. Indiana, “Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE”; will open at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York on September 26th through January 5th, 2014.

Maine Crafts Association
The Maine Crafts Association, a non profit founded in 1983, is a Maine based arts organization dedicated to creating opportunities for Maine artists to develop their professional careers through educational and marketing programs, as well as to increase their income through retail and wholesale sales.

For over 25 years, the Maine Crafts Association has served craft artists across the state with educational activities such as workshops and conferences, subsidized marketing opportunities, Haystack Workshop Weekend, Master Craft Awards, exhibition and demonstration opportunities, and access to markets such as wholesale and retail tradeshows and seasonal stores and markets. In a state with a widespread population, MCA programming helps small Maine businesses intersect with Maine’s summer residents, visitors and larger marketplaces in Maine and New England.

The MCA’s most visible program, The Center for Maine Craft in West Gardiner, opened in 2008, and currently represents more than 350 Maine craft artists and small businesses. The Center has a successful year round retail location, proudly contributing over $250,000 annually to the incomes of Mainers.

For MCA or Plate information:
Maine Crafts Association
Sadie Bliss, Executive Director

For Robert Indiana information:
Kathleen Rogers
Artist’s Public Relations Representative
207-667-0733, Ext. 11


Roundtable Music Ed Webinar

May 28, 2014

Review of webinar

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.42.14 PMThe fourth in a series of webinars for the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative was held on Tuesday, May 20, entitled “Maine Music Educators Roundtable”. The webinar was facilitated by Rob Westerberg, choral director at York High School in direct response to concerns from music educators in the field around a broad selection of topics. The hour included participation by Maine’s Visual and Performing Arts Specialist at the Maine Department of Education, Mr. Kevin Facer.

Roundtable guests were: Drew Albert – vocal and instrumental, Maranacook Community High School, Andria Bacon – instrumental/strings & general, RSU #64; Corinth, Bill Buzza – instrumental & general, Edward Little High School, Jen Etter – vocal music, York Middle School, Jen Nash – instrumental/strings & general, Sebasticook Valley Middle School and Ashley Smith – vocal & general at Brunswick High School. After a brief introduction, the roundtable went to work fleshing out thoughts around topics which included:

  • Effect of common core on music programs
  • Proficiency & standards based assessment
  • Music teachers as leaders in your own schools
  • National Standards release and ramifications
  • Teacher evaluation implementation

Additional discussion prompts were also presented:

* “I feel our district is caught between common core, national standards, Maine Learning Results and our own ad lib set of standards created from the consortium of schools we belong to. It’s mind numbing that we have so many versions of what is ‘important’ in a curriculum versus what should be required of Maine students in order to receive a high school diploma.”

*How can we create an effective mentoring system for teachers who are in need of improving their pedagogical skills?

*As we deal with budget issues, our teachings loads are increasing as we are being asked to do more with individual assessments. We cannot administer these assessments without adequate time in our schedules.

Many viewpoints were presented on all of these topics, providing a practical platform for further discussion by music teachers within and between school districts. The archived recording of the session is located at Accordingly, a follow-up meeting plan has been developed to facilitate this discussion, applicable for school district professional days or regional meetings between music educators. The meeting plan is located at

On Wednesday, June 11, 3:30 to 4:30 the MAAI will be holding a webinar hosted by Catherine Ring, featuring the ongoing work of the Resource Bank team for Visual and Performing Arts. Teacher leaders on the Resource Bank team will be our guests. Please plan on joining us for an exciting conversation and a sneak peak of some of the rich resources created by the team on that second Wednesday of June. 


Student Art Display Opportunity

May 27, 2014

Maine Department of Ed Art Display

manikinThe exhibition schedule to display artwork at the Maine Department Education office is now available on a first come-first taken basis to visual arts teachers. The display dates will be:

October 1, 2014 – December 30, 2014
January 1, 2015 – March 31, 2015
April 1, 2015 – June 15, 2015
MLTI will display the summer months

Please read the specifications an requirements below before requesting an exhibit date.

Maine Department of Education Art Display
Specifications and Requirements

(11 are landscape (horizontal); 13 are portrait (vertical)) – Total: 24 pieces of artwork
SIZE (opening) OF DISPLAY HOLDERS:  18” by 24”
ELIGIBILITY:  Pre K-12 student artwork

·         Mount artwork on 18”X24” construction paper (nothing heavier) and ready to be slipped into the artwork holders. Only ONE piece per frame please!
·         2 labels for each piece – one attached to the back of the art and one paper clipped to the piece to be used for the art label (info below)
·         Please include a list of the students with their name, school, and grade in one document
·         Please include a disk with the photographed work for use online or please email the images (be sure and have them labeled with the name and grade of artist). Let me know of your school’s guidelines for posting student work.
·         Please include release forms with permission to post the work online
·          (I can provide a form if you’d like)
·         Deliver artwork to the address below a few days before scheduled exhibit. (Artwork will be returned within a week of exhibit completion).

shapes-of-wonder-emily-hayes-mt-vernon-elementary-school-grade-2-dona-seegersLabel holder size 6.5” by 1.5”
Include on label:
·         Name of artist
·         Title of work (optional)
·         Medium (optional)
·         Age or grade of artist
·         Name of school/teacher

Send work to:
Kevin Facer, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist
Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333

Physical address if the artwork is hand delivered:
111 Sewall Street, Augusta (Cross building, next to the State House)

If you have any questions please call Kevin Facer @ 207-624-6826 or email


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Jenni Null

May 27, 2014

Fine Arts Coordinator, Instrumental and Choral Music Instructor, K-12, SAD #61 

This is the ninth blog post for 2014 and the third phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative of this series sharing arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to learn from and about others. Jenni was a guest on the MAAI webinar from April on Common Core and the Arts. You can see/listen to the archive by going to Jenni is also working on the team of teacher leaders who are developing resources. The webinar scheduled for June will provide the opportunity for you to learn more about the arts ed resource bank.

png;base645078de7cb68c173dJenni Null is the SAD#61 K-12 Fine Arts Coordinator, Instrumental and Choral Music Instructor. She has taught for 36 years, 35 of which have been in my present district of Lake Region. Jenni teaches Grades 4 and 5 instrumental music in three different schools in three different towns (Bridgton, Sebago, and Naples), and has a very healthy chorus (60+ students) in Naples. When I am not in the classroom, I am overseeing the art, music, and dance program for the District, which includes the scheduling of our fine arts events for the year, as well as assisting colleagues in developing and reviewing the arts curriculum and assessments.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

I love seeing the excitement in my beginning instrumental students when they are successful
on their respective instruments for the first time.  Coupled with that, is fast forwarding through the years and attending middle and high school concerts where I hear these same students performing. It’s very rewarding to think I gave them their start or awakened a talent within that they didn’t know they possessed.

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

A successful visual and performing arts education should have:

  1. Passionate arts educators – These are the think-outside-the-box people who don’t let all the obstacles of the daily minutia get them down. They are the problem solvers!
  2. Supportive administrators –  All administrators say they are supportive, but the ones who truly are, find other areas to cut at budget time. The administrators I admire recognize that the square pegs don’t fit in the round holes. They provide QUALITY time so that arts educators can access students in a meaningful way, rather than seeing how many different classes can be stuffed into the day.
  3. A partnership between arts education and the surrounding arts community, where we share our resources, including performance and art display venues. Professional artists share their expertise in the classroom and provide workshops and mentor opportunities. High School students can work in tandem with these arts professionals and hopefully glean a vision of the arts as a vital part of their lives beyond their K-12 education.

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

Assessment has helped me to stay focused on the key elements of my program. It also compels me to reevaluate and adapt in accordance with the needs of my students. A fringe Assessment has helped me to stay focused on the key elements of my program. It also compels me to reevaluate and adapt in accordance with the needs of my students. A fringe benefit of assessment is that students pay attention to the grading rubrics and what is required of them to meet standards. In this regard, I feel that today’s students take the arts classes more seriously than their predecessors.

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

The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative has introduced me to some passionate arts educators statewide. Participating in this initiative has consequently energized me both in and out of the classroom. We must all be continually involved in advocacy, both individually, and collectively. MAAI has taught me that, “One of us is never as strong as all of us,” and that as a cohesive unit, we have been empowered to elevate arts education for the students of Maine!

What are you most proud of in your career?

For five consecutive years, I was able to organize a school-wide Arts Week for grades 4-6, centered around a musical production. Students learned the musical numbers in general music, and thanks to a grant, I was able to bring in professional artists to work with students in multi-age groups. Each day, the multi-age groups rotated through activities related to the play and aligned to the Maine Learning Results: making props, painting the scenery, working on lighting, (including the scientific properties of combining different colors), the cultural and historical background, and of course being entertained by the visiting professional musicians, dancers, and artists. The entire school was involved through the culminating activity, which was the musical production.  The students worked together as a community and learned so much in a meaningful way that was arts based.

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

People without vision who prevent me from pursuing mine!

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

I worked for two summers for The Edinburgh International Film Festival. I had to fly to Edinburgh for an interview and convince my perspective employers that an American could learn the city well enough to organize all levels of accommodation, from student flats to luxury hotels, as well as travel arrangements for festival attendees.

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

  • Don’t let the small stuff get you down!  The endless meetings, paperwork, and duties will not disappear, but in spite of it all; remember you get to do amazing things with students and perhaps transform their lives in a way that others do not.
  • Don’t let boredom set in.  Change it up with a new lesson, new curriculum, or new job!  If you are bored, you can be sure your students are, too.
  • A network is critical for the arts educator to survive, so build one within and outside of your school or district.
  • Advocate for the arts with everyone you meet; administrators, parents, colleagues, and your students.  People need to be reminded why arts education is important.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

If I suddenly had a large sum of money, I would set up an endowment that would provide for students to travel to New York City to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall, and attend a Broadway Show. All students deserve the opportunity to have their senses awakened by such world class artistic experiences.

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

If I were to start again, I would formulate a plan for my professional life.  I never really did that, but rather just let life happen.  I think that teachers entering the profession today are more forward thinking about where they want to be 10 or 20 years from now.


Calling All Teaching Artists!

May 26, 2014

Professional Development Opportunity for Teaching Artists Interested in PK-12


Gretchen Berg, Teaching Artist and Director of Ovations Offstage, presenting a workshop at the Statewide Arts Ed conference

This summer, the New England Summit on Arts Education will take place on the University of Southern Maine Portland campus, July 29-31. The Summit is designed to provide an outstanding collaborative opportunity for educators to dig deep into teaching, learning, and assessment in arts education including student-centered classrooms and proficiency.

The Summit is offered through the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative which was established in 2010 and has been responding to the needs of arts education ever since. The overall focus of the MAAI has been to create an environment in Maine where quality assessment in arts education is an integral part of the work all arts educators do to improve teaching and learning, and student achievement in the arts.

During the past three summers MAAI has offered opportunities to PreK-12 visual and performing arts teachers who make a commitment to take on a leadership role beyond the summer work. This year we are broadening the work to include others who make a commitment to educating young people in the arts. Teaching artists are invited to attend the Summit as part of a team or as an individual.

The Summit offers the following:

  • Scholarships for a limited number of Maine teaching artists to participate in the three-day summit
  • Sessions to build knowledge on arts teaching and learning, including assessment
  • Provide a mentor who will be available beyond the Summit
  • Networking opportunities with other Teaching Artists and school personnel from Maine and beyond
  • Hosting of 5-10 minute showcases for Summit participants
  • Three or four days of professional development (See Teaching Artist Leader Opportunity information below)

For detailed information about the New England Summit on Arts Education click here.

Teaching Artists Scholarships Available

The Maine Arts Commission is offering scholarships for a limited number of Teaching Artists to apply to participate in the New England Summit on Arts Education. The application deadline for scholarships is June 9, 2014.

To be eligible for a New England Summit on Arts Education Teaching Artist Scholarship, an artist cannot be employed by a school district as an arts educator.

As a scholarship recipient, teaching artists are required to:

  • Participate in online conversations using a wiki where the teaching artists will share information, ask questions, learn from each other, and establish an online community.
  • Complete a plan (i.e., a marketing packet) that includes a lesson/unit and description of their work that can be used to promote themselves with administrators, and/or teachers. These plans may be included in the MAAI Resource Bank, an online repository of learning units that will be available to all educators.
  • Attend a one-day professional development day in October to present their ideas and plans to invited “critical friends” for review and feedback.

Once the final plan is submitted and approved the teaching artist will be added to the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster and receive a stipend.

Please click here for the scholarship application located near the bottom of the page.


If you have any questions please email the Maine Arts Commission Director of Arts Education Argy Nestor at or call 207.287.2713.

The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative is guided by the State of Maine Learning Results legislation Chapter 125 for the visual and performing arts which includes these four disciplines: dance, music, theatre, and visual arts.

In 2015, Arts Learning Grant applicants will be encouraged and given extra consideration if partnering with a Teaching Artist who is listed on the Roster.




Artists selected for 2014 Monhegan Residency

May 25, 2014

So proud of  my former middle school student, Scott Minzy, Erskine Academy Art teacher


Artwork by Scott Minzy

Multi-media artist Victoria Statsenko of Portland and Falmouth painter Jan ter Weele have been named the 2014 Monhegan Island artists-in-residence by the Monhegan Artists’ Residency Corporation. Printmaker Scott Minzy, an art instructor at Erskine Academy in South China, has received the artist-teacher residency. Scott will be developing statewide art materials. Scott has a solo show this month at KAHBANG.

The residency program is aimed at emerging visual artists working in painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, or the digital arts. “An important goal of the program,” says board chair Susan Danly, “is to enhance the careers of serious artists who have yet to gain wide recognition.”

Quality of work is the primary criterion for selection. The 2014 jurors were photographer and installation artist Elizabeth Atterbury; photographer Bryan Graf, who teaches at the Maine College of Art; and Monhegan watercolor painter Bruce Kornbluth.

Since its founding in 1989, the organization has sponsored 48 Maine artists, including Marguerite Robichaux, subject of a retrospective at the Pucker Gallery in Boston in 2013; Joe Kievitt and Alina Gallo, whose work was chosen for the 2013 Portland Museum of Art’s Biennial; and Cynthia Davis, whose inventive “map-making” received critical praise in the Portland Press Herald during her solo show at the Coleman Burke Gallery in Brunswick last year.

To help mark the 25th anniversary of the Monhegan Artists’ Residency program, the work of 34 former resident artists will be the focus of a special exhibition at Thos. Moser’s Freeport, Maine, showroom and gallery, June 19 – October 14.

The Monhegan Artists’ Residency Corporation is supported by individual donations and foundation grants. For information, visit





Integrated Teaching Through the Arts

May 24, 2014

Lesley University


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