Archive for February, 2016


POL Today

February 29, 2016

Northern Regional Finals – Hampden Academy

The Poetry Out Loud (POL) Northern Regional Finals will be held today starting at 3:00 PM at Hampden Academy. The Maine Arts Commission (MAC) invites you to attend this exciting event – no cost and open to the public. Nineteen students will be competing for one of 5 spots in the State Finals. The following students have already competed at the school level and will proudly represent them:

  • Lydia Caron – Bangor High School
  • Amanda O’Brien – Calais High School
  • Kara Robak – Camden Hills Regional High School
  • Morgan Steward – Carrabec High School
  • Abigail Corson – Gardiner Area High School
  • Phoebe Zildjian – George Stevens Academy
  • Emily Albert – Hall-Dale High School
  • Danielle Barrett – Hampden Academy
  • Katherine McKee – Kents Hill School
  • Dianna Nicholas – Lee Academy
  • Hannah Orr – Maine Central Institute
  • Antyna Gould – Medomak Valley High School
  • Tara Seymour – Messalonskee High School
  • Emmeline Willey – Monmouth Academy
  • Michaela Dube – Presque Isle High School
  • Owen Sinclair – Rangeley Lakes Regional School
  • Stefanie Johansen – Richmond High School
  • Anna Bucklin – Searsport District High School
  • Lauren Brown – Waterville Senior High School

We are happy to include in today’s program the Hampden Academy R&B Project, under the direction of music teacher Patrick Michaud. They are one of four jazz groups at Hampden Academy. They perform a wide variety of styles ranging from Frank Sinatra to Ray Lamontange. The group was created to give students an opportunity to perform in an ensemble that will allow them to perform in the music industry beyond high school.

Poetry Out Loud is organized nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the MAC. POL encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Since it began, millions of students at more than 7,300 schools nationwide have participated. This great program also gives students an opportunity to master public-speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Recently students had the opportunity to work with two award winning Maine poets, Megan Grumbling and Gibson Fay-LeBlanc during an online workshop. It was a outstanding learning session where students had a chance to practice and receive feedback on their recitations.

Online POL workshop

Online POL workshop

The Maine State Finals for POL will be held on March 15, Waterville Opera House, 3 PM TODAY – open to the public, no cost! Jennifer Rooks, Public Affairs Host and Producer at Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN), will serve as the event’s emcee.

For more information about Maine’s POL program, please visit or contact Argy Nestor, Maine Arts Commission Director of Arts Education at or 207-287-2713.


Duck Stamp Celebration

February 28, 2016

Art and Science

The 22nd Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest and associated celebration on March 26th. The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is a dynamic art- and science-based curriculum that teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school.

Students K-12 submit artwork of native ducks, geese, and swans. The winning artwork from a national art contest serves as the design for the Junior Duck Stamp, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service produces annually. This $5 stamp has become a much sought after collector’s item. One hundred percent of the revenue from the sale of Junior Duck stamps goes to support recognition and environmental education activities for students who participate in the program. The deadline to submit artwork is March 15, 2016.

The 2016 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest Celebration will take place on Saturday, March 26th at the LL Bean flagship store in Freeport, ME. The event will be from 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM.

Keynote speakers include Scott Johnston (USFWS Migratory Birds), who will speak about the Centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty, and Jane Kim (Ink Dwell Studio), who will speak about her experience using art to promote conservation. Kim is based in San Francisco, has an extensive career as an artist and science illustrator, and recently finished painting the Wall of Birds mural at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

In the afternoon, winning contestants will be recognized and given awards. Non-profit partners will have booths in the adjacent room to share their research and conservation projects throughout the day.

If you have any questions about this event please contact Serena Doose at



In Today’s News

February 27, 2016

Building guitars

Student gain STEM skills by building guitars. Read about the program in the Bangor Daily News, February 23, at Cobscook Community Learning Center’s high school program at



Maine Art Education YAM Exhibits

February 26, 2016

Two shows – two locations

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Rose Davis, Grade 8, Mt. Ararat Middle School

Portland: For more than 20 years, the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) has collaborated with the Maine Art Education Association to celebrate student artwork with the Youth Art Month exhibit. This annual observance emphasizes the value of art education and encourages support for quality school art programs. At the PMA, this annual event comes with a reception and an exhibition that showcases artwork in a variety of media by K-12 students throughout the state.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 8.23.07 PMThis year marks the 22nd annual exhibition and features artwork by more than 100 students. The opening is scheduled for Saturday, March 5, 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the PMA. There is no cost to attend. It is always a treat to see the student work displayed in the museum.


Presentation of Certificates:
4:30 p.m.: grades K, 1, 2, 3 certificates
5:30 p.m.: grades 4, 5, 6, 7 certificates
6:30 p.m.: grades 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 certificates

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 8.22.58 PMAugusta: The Maine Education Association and Maine Art Education Association are once again partnering to celebrate Youth Art Month. Thirty pieces of artwork will be on display. The opening of the show will be on Sunday, March 6, 1:00 to 2:30.

Presentations will be at 1:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.



Universal Design

February 26, 2016

Professional Development

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Higher Forms of Art

February 25, 2016

10th Annual High School Art Exhibition presented by KVAA & UMA

What: Higher Forms of Art, an exhibition of artwork by students from area Maine high schools
Where: UMA’s Richmond Gallery, Handley Hall, 331 Water St, Augusta
Exhibition on view: March 4 – April 2, 2016
Gallery Hours: Wednesdays & Fridays 12-5pm and Saturdays 10am-1pm
Opening reception: Saturday, March 19, 5-7pm, with UMA art & architecture studios open house
Contact: Allison McKeen, KVAA/Harlow Gallery PR & Documentation,, 207-622-3813

“Imagination” by Katie Sprague, Grade 11, Kents Hill School

“Imagination” by Katie Sprague, Grade 11, Kents Hill School

In celebration of Youth Art Month the Kennebec Valley Art Association is presenting Higher Forms of Art, an exhibition of artwork by students from area high schools for the 10th consecutive year. Higher Forms of Art is being presented in partnership with the University of Maine at Augusta at the Richmond Gallery, in UMA’s Handley Hall at 331 Water Street in downtown Augusta from March 4th to April 2nd. Gallery hours are Wednesdays & Fridays 12-5pm, and Saturdays 10am-1pm. The public is invited to join students and faculty at the opening reception on Saturday, March 19, 5-7pm. The reception is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served. UMA’s art and architecture programs are hosting an open house during the opening.

Higher Forms of Art gives emerging artists the opportunity to show their art in a professional gallery space, and to experience organizing and installing a major art exhibition.  Students participate in hanging the exhibition and help with planning and organizing the shows opening event. For the 3rd year in a row, Higher Forms of Art is being presented in partnership with the University of Maine at Augusta, in the spirit of connecting and celebrating art, artists and community.

Participating Schools, by town (and listing art teachers) are:

Cony High School, Augusta, Kelly Stottler

Hall-Dale High School, Farmingdale, Jennifer Paisley

Gardiner Regional High School, Gardiner, Meghann Gipson

Kents Hill School, Kents Hill, Babette Wheeldon

Monmouth Academy, Monmouth, Laura Damon

Maranacook Community High School, Readfield, Linda Nichols & Jeremy Smith

Richmond High School, Richmond, Jeff Orth

Higher Forms of Art is supported this year by a grant from the Oak Grove School Foundation and by our generous sponsors Eaton Peabody Attorneys at Law, Kents Hill School, and Rosemary Presnar.

Higher Forms of Art is a project of the Kennebec Valley Art Association (KVAA) in partnership with the art and architecture departments of the University of Maine at Augusta. The KVAA is a 501(c)3 membership-based non-profit founded in Augusta in 1958. The KVAA opened the Harlow Gallery at its current location at 160 Water Street in downtown historic Hallowell in 1963, where they have been supporting and celebrating art, artists and community for more than five decades now.


Teaching Artist at Work

February 24, 2016

Cornville Regional Charter School

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 7.19.39 PMEach Wednesday Teaching Artist Shirleyanne Ratajczak has been teaching Clay Art to the students at Cornville Regional Charter School. Justin Belanger, President of the school, found Shirleyanne from the PK-12 Teaching Artist Roster on the Maine Arts Commission website. The roster was created for those seeking the expertise of a Teaching Artist. To date there are 47 artists on the roster. (The next call for Teaching Artist will go out this Spring).

Shirleyanne decided to work with the students at Cornville because they could dig clay from a local area called Belanger Pit. This intrigued Shirleyanne and she thought that it would be an excellent learning opportunity for the students.

Shirleyanne Ratajczak

Shirleyanne Ratajczak

The students took the raw clay harvested from the pit and processed it. They made several different objects culminating with the creation of a bowl. Some students started a Clay Club where they made bowls out of the Belanger Pit Clay for the Harvest Dinner/Concert which they sold as a fund raiser. The soup at the dinner was also made by the students using vegetables that they harvested.

This Spring, the Clay Club is planning to make flower pots out of the Belanger Pit Clay and sell them for a fund raiser at the Science Fair. They are also planning to start a plant in the pot, one Clay Club member suggested using Maple Syrup to stimulate the roots and make the plant grow bigger. Shirleyanne’s experience and knowledge as a potter is expanding the learning opportunities for students in an engaging way.


Statewide Arts Ed Census

February 23, 2016

WOW – closer to the goal

The Statewide Arts Education Census is moving along at a great pace! Yesterday more surveys were submitted in one day than since the collection started in December. As you may recall, the goal is 100% participation from every Maine school. Principals are asked to submit one survey from their school but they may need assistance from their visual and performing arts teachers to answer all of the questions.

As of yesterday, we are at 59% which represents 340 schools. Last week the Teacher Leader Ambassadors stepped in to assist with the collection. You may have heard from one of them who asked for your assistance. If you helped out, THANK YOU SO MUCH! We met with the Teacher Leader Ambassadors yesterday on a Zoom meeting. You can see them below. A great big THANKS to all of them!

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At this time, Washington county is in the lead with 69%, Aroostook is at 66% and Cumberland with 64%. Below shows you the chart with the breakdown by all of the superintendent regions.Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 11.18.38 PMIf you are wondering if your principal has submitted your school information please go to and you can see the lists by superintendent regions.



We ask that the school principal complete the survey so there is only one survey per school submitted. However, you can certainly help by taking a look at the .PDF and offer the principal your assistance to complete the survey.


The Maine Arts Commission is working on the census with the following organizations: Maine Department of Education, Maine Principals’ Association, Maine Alliance for Arts Education, Maine Art Education Association, Maine Music Educators Association, and The New England Institute for Teacher Education.

If you have questions please don’t hesitate to email me at


Maine Art Education Association Exhibit

February 22, 2016

Saco Museum

WHERE: Saco Museum, 371 Main St.
WHEN: On view through March 18; noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; noon to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
ADMISSION: $5 adults, $3 seniors, $2 students and children ages 7 to 18; free 6 and younger. Free for all after 4 p.m. Friday
INFO: 283-3861, Saco Museum


Deb Bickford

The art of Maine’s art teachers is on view this month at the Saco Museum.

About three dozen teachers are showing work they created for themselves, on their own time and for their own creative pleasure. Teachers are challenged to find time to make work, said Jodi Thomas, who lives in Portland and teaches visual arts at Thornton Academy in Saco.

“My time to devote to the art-making process is in the summer,” said Thomas, who expresses her ideas mostly through photography. “The opportunity to exhibit my work makes me whole. Art is who I am and what I do.”

Diane Noble

Diane Noble

The show, “Four Elements & Five Senses,” is organized by the Maine Art Educators Association. The advocacy organization promotes arts education for children and encourages innovation among teachers through the exchange of ideas.

This exhibition, on view through March 18, is part of the exchange of ideas among teachers, Thomas said. It offers the chances for educators across Maine to see the work of their peers and think about their own art-making practice and how they teach.

Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas

Thomas said her inspiration comes from an annual weekend retreat she makes to Haystack Mountain of School of Crafts in Deer Isle. She took the photograph for the Saco show at Haystack, standing on the water’s edge. She frames her composition with two decaying scrub trees that are barely hanging on, with islands on the distant horizon. The black-and-white photo is stark and stoic, and also inspiring.

Thomas likes to sit at this spot whenever she’s at Haystack, to center herself, focus her thoughts and think about her place on earth. She calls these trees her “sister trees,” and she returns to this spot each fall to see how they are faring.

“I’ve lived in Maine a long time, and I’m connected to nature and to water especially,” she said. “Going to Haystack is a way for me to slow down and reflect on who I am as a person and as a professional.”

Raegan Russell

Raegan Russell

Haystack pushes people to experiment and try new materials and techniques. Thomas said those skills are invaluable in the classroom, where students are always interested in new ideas.

This exhibition is particularly gratifying for her, because it is an exhibition of art made by peers. “I respect my colleagues so much,” Thomas said. “Many of them are my friends, and I think of them as my comrades. We hold each other up in so many ways.”


The Arts and Economic Growth

February 21, 2016

NEA report

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 7.50.28 PMThe National Endowment for the Arts released a data report on the impact of the arts on economic growth since 1998. You will find solid information that you may want to use when communicating with the decision makers.


Read the entire report by CLICKING HERE.

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