Archive for March, 2017


What a Month!

March 31, 2017

So Long Arts Education Month

Visiting LEAPS of Imagination program

Happy last day of March and good-bye to Arts Education month. During the last month I have been fortunate to travel to many parts of the state and visit amazing programs and people doing great things in ARTS EDUCATION! Yes, I am shouting that word – I am so proud of what is going on in arts education! YOU are doing amazing work for young learners across the entire state!

Below are some of the highlights of the month – certainly not all of them. But there is only so many hours in a day, so many days in a month and only so much time to blog!!! Thank you to those who invited me to visit.

  • March 4: THANK YOU to the Dancers Making a Difference performance, Noble High School. Amazing gathering of dancers from schools and community studios which raised $6730.00 that will be combined with the funds that were raised at a performance in November at Thornton Academy $3575.00 for a total of $10,305.00. In the next week the grant will be announced. Watch for the information on the blog and consider applying. Watch a clip of the performance.
  • March 8: Arts Advocacy Day, State House, Augusta. Marshwood High School student Mikayla Smith spoke passionately about the importance of arts education. (Yes, she is the daughter of Central School (South Berwick) music educator and the 2014 York County Teacher of the Year Kate Smith!). The Hall of Flags was filled with learners of all ages.
  • March 11: MALI Winter Retreat, Thomas College, Waterville – Teacher Leaders met to review phase 6 and plan ahead to phase 7. What a great day everyone had – many ideas were generated. If you are interested in applying to be a MALI Teacher Leader this year watch for the blog post in the near future.
  • March 11: Youth Art Month opening, Portland Museum of Art, a collaboration with the Maine Art Education Association.
  • March 13: Poetry Out Loud State Finals, Waterville Opera House. See and hear Gardiner Area High School senior Gabrielle Cooper, Maine’s Champ and the 10 finalists at THIS LINK.
  • March 14: Nancy Harris Frohlich founded LEAPS of Imagination and she says: “We believe that all children are imaginative thinkers, and that if we give them the opportunity to use their imaginations in school by making art, they will thrive”. To learn more about the work Nancy does with teaching artists in classrooms please CLICK HERE.
  • March 17: Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Mega Conference held at Hebron Station School, Oxford Hills School district. The day was filled with learning – MALI Teacher Leaders provided sessions on many topics. After lunch we worked collaboratively in groups to create dancers thanks to the instruction of John Morris. Below you can view one of those dances. Thanks to MALI Teacher Leader Samantha Armstrong and Curriculum Leader Heather Manchester for hosting the mega. I understand that the other teachers in the district were having a workshop day as well. They used MALI’s model for scheduling the day! 
  • March 21: Christina Warren teaches art at Jordan Small Middle School in Raymond. There is great work (and play) going on inside and outside of Christina’s classroom. She  showed me all of the wonderful George Mason artwork that has been there since the school was built in 1988.

    Christina Warren

  • March 21: Visited Portland Stage with Julianne Shea and Hannah Cordes and what a hoot these two are. Looking for great programming in theatre? Contact either of these energized educators.
  • March 22: Teaching artist and MALI Teaching Artist Leader Tim Christensen was at Prescott School for several days working with the K-6 students and their staff where they created clay pieces that make up a large Panda – the school mascot. They’re already talking about bringing Tim back in the fall.
  • March 25: Helped with the presentation awards for the Junior Duck Stamp program held at LL Beans in Portland. Freeport High School Art teacher, Kim Medsker was so proud of her student who took topic honors.

    Kim Medsker-Mehalic with her student Min Wu who took the top honors.

  • March 29: Met with Senator Angus King’s staffers to discuss educational topics so he can be better informed. Such thoughtful colleagues that we have in our state and such a wonderful opportunity to share information and ideas. And, great to hear arts educators as well as other educators address the importance of the arts educators.

I love learning about what you and your students are accomplishing!

Junior Duck Stamp program, presentations held at LL Bean


MAEA Spring Conference

March 30, 2017

Register for this professional development opportunity

The Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) is holding their spring conference

‘The Story of Us” on Saturday, April 8, 2017, Westbrook Middle School, 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM.


8:00am Check in/Art making

8:45am Welcome/Keynote –

10:30 FIRST Power Session  (Begin Double Sessions)

11:35 Lunch(provided)/Announcements/Elections

12:30 MID-DAY Power Session – Mini and Full Sessions

1:40pm FINAL Power Session   (2nd Half of Double Sessions)

3:15 USM Museum of Art visit (on your own)

Pre-conference Event – Friday, April 7th Westbrook MS

To register CLICK HERE.

SESSIONS (more info on the sessions/schedule CLICK HERE)

GT or NOT here I come! What I’ve learned during my first two years as a Gifted and Talented Consultant – Lisa Ingraham (Madison Elementary School, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader, Secretary for MAEA)

Chapter 104… Steering Committees… ID Processes… CogATs… SLPs… and the wonderfully weird and creative students who make all this work meaningful. During this workshop we will look at some of the basics every art teacher needs to know about Gifted and Talented programming, and explore some of the successes and pitfalls I’ve encountered during my first two years as a Gifted and Talented

Something From Nothing – or Costuming on a Budget and Tapping into the Creative Process with Students – Jean Phillips (English/Drama Educator, Wiscasset Middle School/High School, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader)

Hot glue, curtains, table cloths, children’s sleds, and ribbon – what do they all have in common? They can be ingeniously used to create authentic costumes for all plays. Armed with this knowledge, you can devise a lesson in the designing of costumes for the stage for your students. If time permits, participants can brainstorm possible resources and ways to include students.

Forum for Photography Teachers – Jodi Thomas (Thornton Academy, Saco and MAEA Board Member)

Join our group and share your resources in a Google folder. We meet once a year at the Spring Conference. This open discussion will focus on sharing teaching methods, lesson ideas, the merging of film and darkroom with the digital evolution, and the challenges and successes in the contemporary instruction of a unique fine art medium. Please bring a topic for discussion and one assignment handout to share (10 copies).

Student’s Reflective Voice: Using the Artist Statement – Melanie Crowe (Marshwood Middle School, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader)

In this workshop, participants will explore the ways in which student voice and understanding within visual art creation can be expanded upon with the use of reflective writing using an Artist Statement. Grades 7-12

Arts and Science Integration – Margaret Maxwell (Fine Arts Educator/Integrator, Bonny Eagle High School, Standish)

Teachers will learn the process of science integration into the curriculum using the resources in their buildings. The process of collaboration will be discussed and the proper avenues to pursue in order to facilitate a successful experience for the students. Hands on workshop using journal making as their container of ideas for the units. Weather, botany, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, chemistry and other units of sciences will be reviewed as possible integration topics. A brief discussion about the importance of integration with sciences as a motivator will be part of the workshop.

Note: There is a $5 materials fee for this workshop, payable to the presenter at the workshop.

Art All Around: Connecting Artists, Schools and Community through Collaborative Art Making in the Streets – Montserrat Torras/Craig Collins (Director, Maine Center for Creativity)

The summer of 2016, Maine Center for Creativity launched with Westbrook city stakeholders a community-driven outdoor art initiative called Art All Around to boost civic engagement, pride and connection in the community, highlight and develop creative skills, empower diverse groups and youth, and spark economic development.

With Art All Around in its second year, the facilitators behind the initiative will speak to the elements that have made the program a success and a model for other towns across Maine to leverage creativity and art making for more inclusive and culturally vibrant communities, economic vitality and quality of life.

Scholastics: Overview and Best Practices – Liam Sullivan (Maine Region Scholastics Coordinator, Maine College of Art)

The presentation offers best practices for participating in the Maine Region Scholastic Art Award Competition. It will include discussions about submitting individual work and portfolios, fee waivers, problem solving techniques and there will be plenty of time for questions and answers. Also included in the visual presentation are plenty of images of the recognized works; Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention.

Looking in the Mirror: The Importance of Self-Reflection for both Student and Teacher – Mandi Mitchell (Hermon High School, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader and MAEA Board Candidate)

Self-assessment is a crucial part in the cycle of learning for both student and teacher. With regular self-assessment integrated in your classroom, students will become more aware, dig deeper, and take ownership of their learning. This applies to us as teachers. We will also discuss the importance of documentation and strategies of reflection upon our own teaching. Information gathered about student growth, understanding, and feedback on units/lessons will not only be beneficial for the growth of a curriculum, but also in providing evidence for teacher evaluations.

Teachers working side x side: A book making project across content areas – Mia Bogyo and Sally Mitchell (Side X Side, Portland)

This presentation shares an innovative elementary art and science curriculum that merges teaching artists, research, and 1st grade classroom teachers through the medium of the handmade book. The first half of the session will outline how 1st grade students at Ocean Avenue Elementary School became experts on animals through bookmaking. By integrating research on animals with visual art, students were challenged in content knowledge and motivated to engage in art- making. This curriculum is a part of a larger arts integration program happening across Portland public schools. During the second half of the workshop we will explore simple bookmaking exercises using paste paper, illustration and collage. These strategies will help you jump start your visual arts integration in the general education curriculum.

The Performance Based Learning (PBL) Process in a Student Centered classroom – Amy Cousins (Gorham Middle School, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader)

This presentation is for teachers who would like to learn what the Proficiency Based Process looks like from criteria to creation to evaluation. We will focus on how to guide our students through PBL while still allowing for student choice and making a manageable system for tracking student progress. We will cover: * Aligning Graduating Standards with student friendly indicators. * Criteria that reflects the PI’s and student choice. * Common self-assessments that allow students: * several opportunities to achieve proficiency, * a choice in how to report out on their knowledge and * to demonstrates understanding of Graduating Standards/Performance Indicators. There will be time at the end for Q and A and group sharing.

Visual Art in Early Childhood – Beth Lambert (Arts Specialist, MDOE)

During the 2016-17 school year the Maine DOE has sponsored professional development with teams of art teachers and early childhood teachers to build collaborative partnerships to ensure that preschool students receive an art-filled learning experience. In this session you will hear from the teams about what they learned, their successes and challenges, and developmentally appropriate pedagogical approaches to teaching art to our youngest learners.

Clay Whistles – Mary Pennington (Gray-New Gloucester High School, MAEA Board Member)

Want to build a working clay whistle? This workshop will show you how. Will cover basic construction of whistle based on pinch pot method, troubleshooting making the whistle actually sound, and embellishments to make them unique.

Arts Integration – Theresa Cerceo (Dr Levesque Elementary School and Wisdom Middle/High School, Saint Agatha, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader)

Arts Integration teaches the whole child, increases student engagement and lowers the barriers between content areas. In this workshop will discuss what arts integration is, why it benefits students, Proficiency Based Education, assessment and the role of the art educator in the Arts Integration model.

Making Waves – A Conversation about Leadership – Heidi O’Donnell (Belfast High School and Past-President of MAEA)

Leadership is a journey with multiple paths. Attend a discussion about leadership – big and small – in your class, in your schools, in your community, in your state, and beyond. Come listen to and share ways you can make an impact.

Refine Your Tiles, Refine Your Curriculum – Holly Houston (Yarmouth High School and Director of Member Services, MAEA)

Join me in making this beginning-of- the-semester Ceramics I project that sets the tone for quality work in my classroom. We’ll look at project purpose, criteria, and assessment. Following glaze test tile-making, we’ll look at a carefully scaffolded Ceramics I curriculum that combines handbuilding, ceramic history, assessments, and technology use through student portfolios. Appropriate for educators of all grade levels.

Needle Felted Animal Sculptures – Debra Arter (Damariscotta Adult ED)

Each participant may make a bird or a four legged friend — sheep, cat or dog for example. I will bring foam & needles. I have small supply of narrow ribbon which may work for decoration as well. It is quite sculptural and forgiving. High school students would like to do it in classroom as well. The needles are sharp so if people bring a thimble it might provide some protection. Wire cutters and small pliers are also useful to bring to work on these projects. It is a great relaxing process.

Yes You Can! Acrylics in the Classroom – Debra Bickford (Westbrook High School, President of MAEA)

There are many valid reasons that some people are hesitant to use acrylics in the classroom. The top two reasons seem to be that they do not come out of brushes or clothes and, not knowing what all the mediums are for. This workshop will demystify “all that stuff” that goes along with acrylics, provide tips for using acrylics in the classroom and provide participants with a hands on experience with the materials.

Make a Nicho and Learn – Rachel Somerville (Art Director, Westbrook)

The implementation of culturally responsive curriculum in the art room facilitates connections between students lives, their learning, and the global world in which they live. In this hands-on workshop you will gain a greater understanding of how to integrate or enhance culturally responsive instruction into your curriculum, and where this work fits into a proficiency based model. In this workshop participants will create a ‘nicho’,or ‘retablo’, a mixed media sculpture and folk art tradition from both Central and South America. This project is appropriate for upper elementary through high school.

Friday, April 7, 4:00pm MAEA Awards and Recognition Event – Westbrook Middle School


Maine Art Educator of the Year – Debra Bickford

Secondary Art Educator of the Year – Mandi Mitchell

Elementary Art Educator of the Year – Laura Devin

Museum Art Educator of the Year – Anthony Shostak

Outstanding Service Through the Profession – Jody Dube

Distinguished Art Educator Award – Pat Higgins

Retired Art Educator of the Year – Frank Chin

Please feel free to join us in continuing the celebration after the event by joining us downtown Portland for First Friday (gallery and studio events)


Creative Youth Development

March 29, 2017

2017 webinar series

Announcing the 2017 Creative Youth Development Webinar Series
The Creative Youth Development National Partnership is producing a year-long webinar series designed to increase understanding of creative youth development (CYD) practice, build capacity, and advance the field.

The first three webinars are focused on CYD fundamentals. In the months ahead, we’ll be adding to this exciting line-up with deeper dives into the five imperatives of the CYD national policy agenda, including webinars on cross-sector collaboration, documenting and communicating impact, promoting youth leadership, and more.

Creative Youth Development: What’s in a Name?
Wednesday, April 5, 1 – 2:30pm ET
Register for this free webinar presented by the National Guild for Community Arts Education

Creative Youth Development (CYD) intentionally integrates learning in the arts, humanities, and sciences with youth development principles. In CYD programs, young people create work and apply their creative skills to solve problems, shape their lives and build the world in which they want to live. The 2014 National Summit for CYD generated new focus and energy in CYD, catalyzing collective action (e.g., CYD National Partnership, Alliance for Creative Youth Development). Through case study examples, discussion, and student work, we’ll explore what it means to create and sustain programs for youth through this framework.


Nicole Amri, Program Director, Say Si, San Antonio, TX
Karen LaShelle, Executive Director, Creative Action, Austin, TX
Denise Montgomery, Director, Creative Youth Development National Initiative
Youth Artists from Creative Action and Say Si

Five Effective Models of Creative Youth Development Practice
Monday, April 24, 1 – 2:30pm ET
Register for this free webinar presented by the National Guild for Community Arts Education

In this dynamic “TED Talk-style” webinar, representatives of five exemplary creative youth development organizations will share how their programs are sparking young people’s creativity and building critical learning and life skills that carry into adulthood. Through short-form, energetic presentations by A Reason to Survive, Community MusicWorks, DAVA, Destiny Arts Center, and Harmony Project, you’ll learn about several, interrelated CYD practices including:

Integrating youth voice and leadership into core organizational structures and programs
Creating opportunities for young people to create a more just and equitable society
Establishing young people as key leaders in community development efforts
Preparing young people for transitions into college and careers
Supporting young people holistically
This showcase will send provide you and your team with inspiration and new ideas for how to create, develop, and advocate for successful creative youth development programs.


Matt D’Arrigo, Founder & CEO, A Reason to Survive (ARTS), National City, CA
Jon Hinojosa, Artistic & Executive Director, Say Si, San Antonio, TX
Susan Jenson, Executive Director, DAVA, Aurora, CO
Chloe Kline, Education Director, Community MusicWorks, Providence, RI
Myka Miller, Executive Director, Harmony Project, Los Angeles, CA
Rashidi Omari, Teaching Artist & Co-Director of Destiny Youth Performance Company, Destiny Arts Center, Oakland, CA
Program Alumni

Youth Development in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities
Thursday, April 27, 4 – 5:30pm ET
Register for this free webinar presented by Massachusetts Cultural Council

This webinar is designed to increase the knowledge of a youth development approach as it applies to quality arts learning using examples, theory, and frameworks for integrating youth development practice into arts programs. The webinar will provide a definition of positive youth outcomes and the youth development approach in addition to examining levels of youth participation in arts, science, and humanities based programs. Finally, the webinar will provide an introduction to the Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project framework for designing, evaluating, and reflecting on youth development as an essential component of high quality creative youth development programming.


Eryn Johnson, Executive Director, Community Art Center, Cambridge, MA
Laurie Jo Wallace, Director of Training and Capacity Building, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Charles Michaud

March 28, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the fifth blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader stories. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work each Maine visual or performing arts teacher or artist is doing.  CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 81 Teacher Leaders plus 4 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. There have been 75 posted to date. Thank you Charles for sharing your story!

Charles Michaud is the Pre-K – 12 music teacher at MSAD#33 in Frenchville and St. Agatha, MSAD#33 has a little less than 200 students and is located on the northern border of the state.  Charles teaches general music for grades Pre-K – 6, and offers band for students from grades 4 – 6.  This is his third year teaching at Wisdom Middle/High School and Dr. Levesque Elementary School.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

In my opinion, the best part of being a music educator are the moments when learners surprise themselves by playing or singing something impressive. They light up and gain a whole new confidence in themselves.

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

  1. Accessibility: Learners need opportunities to access the arts. While this seems like common sense from an outsider’s perspective, we all know the challenges of fitting in the schedule.
  2. Customization: A program that adapts to the abilities of the students requires customizing lessons and materials to meet the learning styles and speeds of the learners. I think that the best way to draw students into the arts is to make the arts theirs.
  3. Appropriateness: Every arts program exists within the context of the community. Make sure the goals of the program not only provides access to the broader arts world, but also has deep roots in the musical culture of the area. Many programs try to adapt the local culture to fit their music, but I think a successful program draws the community in by drawing the local musical culture into the program.

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

Assessment is a big cog in the learning machine. Assessment is communication about learning, and plays an essential role in my classroom.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

MALI has given me access to a community of arts educators on the cutting edge of their disciplines. Our collaborations and conversations have pushed me to innovate as an arts educator, which has been all to the benefit of my students.

What are you most proud of in your career?

The strength of community in my band is what has made me the most proud in my short career.  In the end, I find that what keeps students coming back year after year is that band is their home away from home.

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

My biggest barrier to becoming a better teacher is a lack of time for developing all of the cool new lessons and methods that I would like to try. Imagine what a few solid weeks of straight lesson planning could do for a teacher!

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

Increasing the numbers in the music program has been my challenge since year one. I have been very successful in this regard, but it could easily be attributed to the great students that we have in our district.

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

Work hard and be innovative, because proficiency based education can present some very unique opportunities for the arts.

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

If my program received 500k, I would create a position that bridges the gap from arts in school and arts in the community. This would connect my students with authentic learning experiences, and give them a model context for their role in the local arts scene.

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

I have a long road to travel before I hit 94, so I will almost inevitably regret something. For now, however, I am very content with the choices that I have made. Fingers crossed!


Learning by Making and Doing

March 27, 2017

MLTI Student Conference

The MLTI Student Conference Committee is still in need of a few more proposals for the 14th Annual MLTI Student Conference, to be held on Thursday May 25, 2017 at UMaine.

This year’s emphasis is on music and sound, allowing the MLTI Student Conference to continue its focus on “Learning by Making and Doing.”

Attending participants will learn how they can use their MLTI devices to create in ways that make learning happen — and tell the stories of their accomplishments. With music and sound as a focus (focus, not a limit!), the MLTI Student Conference planning team would like to consider workshops around music, spoken word recording, coding, video production, art, writing and publishing your collection of short stories, or one of any other endless possibilities!

The MLTI Student Conference supports all MLTI Devices regardless of platform (HP or Apple). Each platform provides for a variety of environments that can be used for making and doing.

You can learn more about the Conference on our website at

Submit a proposal online at

For simplicity and management, sessions may be designed for just one or two of the MLTI platforms, but “platform agnostic” sessions are encouraged.

We are looking for both adult presenters as well as student/teacher team presentations!

Spread the word – if you know of someone doing fantastic work involving technology with making, doing, or storytelling please encourage them to submit a proposal!

If you have any questions please contact Juanita at



March 27, 2017

Opportunity to provide feedback

During the next few days you have the opportunity to provide feedback on Maine’s Every Student Succeeds Act Consolidated Plan that the Maine Department of Education has submitted to the US Department of Education. The deadline for public comment is March 30, your feedback should be submitted to

You may be wondering why this is different than No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the legislation that ESSA is replacing. ESSA requires that states choose at least one measure of school quality or success besides math and English Language proficiency, graduation rates, and English language learning.  Measures or indicators of school quality are extremely important as they are the basis for school accountability systems, which drive district priorities around funding, program choices and course offerings.

If you’d like more information on the topic and/or to learn what other state proposals are including on the arts, read THIS ARTICLE from Education Week written by Jackie Zubrzycki on March 7 called States Introduce New Measure of Accountability: Arts Education. Additional information on ESSA is at the federal site

Educators, parents, students, teaching artists, arts organizations, and members of the community who believe in arts education are welcome to provide feedback. Public comment is welcome by all. This is an opportunity for you to provide your opinion. The deadline for submitting feedback is Thursday, March 30 to


Summer Workshop

March 26, 2017

Science and Art


Introducing Phil Edelman

March 25, 2017

UMaine Assistant Professor of Music Education

I am currently an assistant professor of music education at the University of Maine School of Performing arts where I started in the fall of 2016. My teaching responsibilities include courses in music education and conducting, and he directs the UMaine Concert Band. I have earned degrees from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance (Ph.D.), Kansas State University (MM), and the University of New Hampshire (BME). Prior to my appointment at the University of Maine, I taught courses in music education methods, field experiences, and music technology as part of my doctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.   While in Kansas City, I served as the conductor of the Roeland Park New Horizons Band – an ensemble dedicated to collaborative music making among adults over the age of 50.

For seven years prior to my doctoral study, I was a director of instrumental music in the Goddard, Kansas school district (a suburb of Wichita), teaching in all areas of the instrumental music program (band, orchestra, jazz band, marching band, and chamber music). My research areas include lifelong music learning, undergraduate music education preparation, conductor decision-making, and the music student teaching experience. I am a tuba player, and occasionally still get to play around Bangor, although most of the time that I am making music nowadays, I am conducting or playing piano.

Why did you want to move to Maine?

I had finished my doctoral work and this job seemed perfect for me. I haven’t regretted moving to Maine for a second. My husband is a veterinarian in the greater Bangor area, and we have been made to feel very welcome here. Between the incredible students, supportive colleagues, and welcoming community, what could be better?

What did you think of our snowy Maine winter?

It was great for the first few inches. After that, it seemed like Mother Nature was just showing off.

Describe your responsibilities as Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of Maine School of Performing Arts.

I have the best job in the world! I get to teach future teachers, and I get to direct the University of Maine Concert Band. We have about 100 students in the band this year and they are playing wonderfully!

What are your professional goals and what do you hope to achieve in your position?

I’d like to learn much more about how we as college educators can better prepare our students for the “real world.” This is one of the foci of my research. Further, I am working on a recorder program with a colleague in the clinical psychology department examining the effect of recorder group lessons on the cognitive abilities of older adults. Once we have a feasibility study completed (this summer, we hope!), we hope to expand our program beyond the Bangor area and offer recorder group programs in many senior adult living communities. Finally, I’d like to see us break down the hidden walls between public school music educators and collegiate music educators. We are all on the same team, and have much to learn from each other.

If you were given $500,000 to do whatever you please, what would it be?

I would buy the biggest snow-blower that money could buy so I could always be comfortable in Maine! AND… I would love to provide instruments to schools who are currently dealing with budget cuts due to administrative or political challenges.



Maine State Poetry Out Loud

March 24, 2017

Hot off the screen – POL video

The Maine Arts Commission Marketing Director Ryan Leighton created this video that documents the recent state Poetry Out Loud event. It is so great to hear what the students have to say about what POL means to them. If you’d like to learn more about the program in Maine please CLICK HERE.


Dance Grant Funds

March 23, 2017

Another great opportunity to dance

On a chilly Saturday in March I traveled south to the beautiful Noble High School for the Fifth Annual Benefit Performance for Dancers Making a Difference, “Dancing To Make A Difference 2017”  Benefit.

Dancers Making A Difference was formed to allow studios and their performers the opportunity to come together and share their passion and talent in a non-competitive environment while working for the good of a local non-profit whose mission they support. In the last 4 years Dancers Making A Difference have raised almost $15,000. Proceeds raised have gone toward helping the following organizations. End 68 Hours of Hunger, Camp Kita, Friends In Action, and youth in the Maine Foster Care system. Initiatives for Maine Foster Care included Josh’s College Care Packages, Rose Mary’s Sacks of LOVE, and H.O.M.E. (Having Opportunities Means Everything).

Dancers Making A Difference is an official 501c, and this year the proceeds from the performance in early March are designated to the Maine Arts Commission’s Dance Education Grant Fund. The money raised was a little more than $5,000 and will be combined with the $3,500 raised in November at a dance performance held at Thornton Academy by a combined group of dance studios and school dance programs.  The grant will be announced in the near future and is earmarked for PK-12 school programs where no dance education is available to students.  

Last year the students in St. Agatha, MSAD #33 benefited from the first funding awarded and had dance educator/teaching artist John Morris spend a week in December at their two schools meeting with every student in grades K-12. You can read about the residencies in three blog posts dated

A great big thank you to the board of Dancers Making a Difference for their commitment to providing dance opportunities to learners of all ages. Through their hard work and supportive families and community members they have raised $6730 that will go towards the dance education grant administered by the Maine Arts Commission. Watch future blog posts with information on how your school/district can apply. You can check out their facebook page “Dancers Making a Difference, or email them at for more information.

Nicolette Wilford, Barbra Childress, Argy Nestor, Tricia Bates, Cheryl Arnold – board members of Dancers Making a Difference


This is the Senior Repetory Company from Brixham Danceworks, host of the Dancers Making a Difference benefit performance. Pictured are (back) Grace Wirling, Kianna Lynch, Alyssa Saltz, choreographer Cheryl Arnold, Emma Dodier, Sammi Pooler, Mikayla King, Gracie Lodge-McIntyre (front) Hannah Sparks, Maggie Childress, Holly Proulx, Sarina Arnold, Leah Sobotka and Maddie Letellier (lying down)




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