Archive for June, 2017


In Today’s News

June 30, 2017

Botanical Gardens connection

Every so often I am fortunate to learn about programs and educators that seem to be a well kept secret. This week I met Chip Schwehm while attending the Thomas College Center for Innovation in Education. I was glad to reach out to him after learning that he works at Boothbay Region High School with a colleague of mine, Barb Greenstone. I attended a session he was facilitating called STEAM Power – Why it works, How it looks and it was fabulous. We made instruments using bottles and water and iPads and learned about the fabulous courses he has created over the years. He is never bored nor, most importantly, are his students. They are engaged in authentic learning and many times it is connected with the community. In today’s Boothbay Register the article found at THIS LINK provides details about the work that students completed for the Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.


Teach to Lead

June 30, 2017

Austin Teach to Lead Summit

In July of 2015 a team from the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (at the time, know as the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) participated in the Teach to Lead Summit in Washington, D.C. We learned a great deal and it changed the course of the initiative as part of the continuous growth to address the needs of teaching and learning in Maine arts education. We met Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education at the time, and had the opportunity to communicate about the important work going on in Maine arts education. Since that time the Teach to Lead organization has grown and MALI has continued to build on the original idea. This post includes an invitation for you to consider submitting an idea, as part of a team, to attend the next summit being held on September 22-24 in Austin, Texas. Being a leader sometimes takes being bold! It all starts with an IDEA (possibly a dream that you have) and you never know where it might lead you!! Deadline for applications is August 9. If you have any questions please contact me at

MALI team with Arne Duncan, Teach to Lead Summit, July 2105, Washington, D.C.

Calling all educators!  Submit an idea for our next Teacher Leadership Summit!

We are pleased to announce that Teach to Lead will host our 14th Teacher Leadership Summit in Austin, TX on September 22-24, 2017. The Austin Teach to Lead Summit is open for applications, deadline August 9, 2017.

Teach to Lead works to support teachers as valued experts in instruction and their students’ needs. This summit provides teachers and their supporters with time to collaborate, as well as skills and professional consultation, to incubate innovative ideas that can make a positive impact for students in their schools, communities, districts and states.

How do participants benefit from the Summit?

  • Develop a local idea into a complete plan for moving forward
  • Obtain the support of a dedicated “critical friend” from a supporting organization to advance your work
  • Build relationships with ASCD, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, United States Department of Education and many other supporting organizations
  • Be provided with:

○        Free registration

○        Hotel accommodations for two nights or parking*

○        Some meals during the Summit

*Hotel will be provided free of charge for teams traveling more than 50 miles; parking will be provided for teams traveling 50 miles or fewer to the summit.

Who may submit an idea application?

  • Any educator with an actionable idea is encouraged to submit an application here.
  • Teams must have 2-5 members and must include at least one active teacher. Other key stakeholders (e.g. parent, student, community members, school and government officials) are encouraged.

What kind of idea submissions will be successful?

All submitted ideas must:

  • Allow teachers to lead from the classroom.
  • Identify an area of need for school improvement or target a specific problem.
  • Develop and implement approaches that address the need or solve the problem.
  • Utilize teachers’ professional experiences and expertise.
  • Seek to create or strengthen systemic supports for teacher leadership.
  • Promote collaborative work among multiple stakeholders.
  • Be viable in the local context and sustainable over time.
  • Be able to show measurable progress over time.

Submitted ideas may:

  • Focus on any level of change – the school, district, or state.
  • Be functioning at any stage of development – an emerging idea requiring input and buy-in from stakeholders; something currently being developed in collaboration with recruited stakeholders; or something that has been implemented which is ripe for improvement or expansion.

Click here (or cut and paste into your browser) to submit your teacher leadership idea by 11:59pm ET on August 9, 2017!

The Teach to Lead team will notify you if your idea is accepted for attendance by August 28, 2017.

Please contact any of our Austin Teach to Lead Summit planning team with additional questions:


New Moon Ensemble

June 30, 2017

Upcoming performance

Three Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artists are performing as part of the New Moon Ensemble!

Catch their next show in Portland, on Thursday, July 13th at Mayo St. Arts!

Marita Kennedy-Castro and Namory Keita

In 2015 master village drummer and performer Namory Keita, from Sangbarela, Guinea joined forces with dancer/choreographer Marita Kennedy-Castro in Portland, ME. Together the two developed the drum and dance troupe formerly performing since 2005 as Blue Moon Tribe, into New Moon Ensemble. The Ensemble includes multi-talented musician Annegret Baier, from Germany, as well as a handful of other musicians and dancers.

Coming together from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, New Moon Ensemble members share a love for West African dance and drumming, the accompanying traditions, and the gift of cross-cultural exchange. Together they build community and inspire international study through the healing power of music and dance.

Honoring the tradition of performance as ritual, New Moon Ensemble’s performances offer the intoxicating rhythms and energetic dances into the world as prayers for peace and well-being for all.

For show information and links to purchasing tickets please go to



Harlow Gallery

June 30, 2017

Pop-up show

HALLOWELL, MAINE — The Harlow Gallery is hosting a pop-up show and sale of art and craft by the artists of SpinOff Studios. The SpinOff pop-up shop is open at 160 Water Street in Hallowell from Wednesday to Saturday, July 12-15. Gallery hours the week of Old Hallowell Day are 12-6pm Wednesday – Friday, with expanded hours on Old Hallowell Day, 10am -6pm.

SpinOff Studio, a “spin off” of Spindleworks of Brunswick, started out in Hallowell in 2012 before relocating to Gardiner. Both SpinOff and Spindleworks are nonprofit art centers for adults with disabilities. Their mission is to help people with disabilities achieve full and inclusive lives in their chosen community. Stop in and welcome them back to Hallowell.

The SpinOff pop-up shop offers a vibrant selection of original art and craft, all handmade locally. Buy local and support both the artists of SpinOff Studios as well as the Harlow Gallery.

The Harlow Gallery located in downtown historic Hallowell is home to the Kennebec Valley Art Association, a membership based 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to connecting and celebrating art, artists and community in central Maine since 1963. Exhibitions are always free and open to the public.

Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Friday 12-6pm, Saturday 10am-6pm

Contact: Allison McKeen, Marketing Manager, 207-622-2813,,


CIE Summer Institute

June 30, 2017

Superb learning opportunity

I just returned from Thomas College where Catherine Ring and I worked as a team to create a resource for STEAM at the Center for Innovation in Education Summer Institute. The conversation on STEAM appears to be happening across the state in a small way but after three days of talking STEAM, proficiency-based education and digital learning I am sensing that we are at the edge of a giant leap forward. The most interesting part is that the conversations were not just with visual and performing arts teachers but with teachers of all grade levels and content representing all regions of the state.

From a participant: STEAM is important because it engages the whole brain in learning.

Tim McNamara

The summer institute opening keynote was provided by Tim McNamara, director of High Tech High School in Chula Vista, California. He works in a true student-centered environment where students are not only surviving but flourishing, as they find and explore and learn through their passions. His stories were so inspiring!

The inspiration continued throughout the three days with a very moving performance by Brook Haycock. Her docudramas encourage questioning and thinking.

The final engaging activity was facilitated by Explo. Yes, they brought 35 moose into the room. Teams collaborated to create anything you can imagine for the moose to transport all kinds of goods.

In between participants chose from a variety of workshops. Some of them: Innovative Learning Experiences, Interdisciplinary Unit and Course Design, STEAM Power – Why it Works, How it Looks, Flipping’ Fake News, and A=Arts. All teAms cAn steAm with Music.

Hope Lord “playing” a note on a bottle.

In between attending workshops each team continued work on their project. Catherine and I will continue our STEAM resource work and provide it for you in the future when it is ready to be launched. It will be a living document so if you have any STEAM resources that you’d be kind enough to share please email the link or the resource at

Providing feedback to each other on plans.

From a participant: The arts breathe life into everything that they touch – STEM is no different. The A in STEAM makes practical solutions beautiful – a chair becomes a sculpture, sound becomes music. When the arts are in the mix, it elevates the process and the product. A deeper, almost emotional connection seems to be made – kids get excited, I get excited. ~Chip Schwehm, Boothbay Region High School


Arts Ed Partnership

June 29, 2017

Annual convening – September 6-7

The Arts Education Partnership (AEP), a center within Education Commission of the States, is pleased to announce that registration is now open for our 2017 AEP Annual Convening: The Arts Leading the Way to Student Success to be held on September 6-7 at the Washington, D.C.’s historic Mayflower Hotel.

The AEP Annual Convening – our signature eventbrings together arts and education leaders from across the nation to share their work supporting the role and contribution of the arts in preparing all students for success in school, work and life and provides a valuable platform for examining research, education policy and effective practices for improved student outcomes.

The 2017 AEP Annual Convening explores arts-centered solutions aimed at ensuring America’s students have access to a high-quality education in and through the arts by addressing the priority areas outlined in AEP’s 2020 Action Agenda.

The priority areas are:

  • Priority Area 1: Raise Student Achievement and Success.
  • Priority Area 2: Support Effective Educators and School Leaders.
  • Priority Area 3: Transform the Teaching and Learning Environment.
  • Priority Area 4: Build Leadership Capacity and Knowledge.

Space is limited and a limited number of hotel rooms are available at the discounted conference rate, so please register today!

What: 2017 AEP Annual Convening: The Arts Leading the Way to Student Success

When: September 6-7.

Where: The Mayflower Hotel Washington, D.C.


“Coffee in the Dark”

June 28, 2017

Album release, July 22

On Sunday while listening to public radio they played “Coffee in the Dark” by Maine musician, Rob Duquette. I remembered visiting the artist, while he was presenting a music program on “kindness” at a Maine elementary school. (For blog post from December 2015, CLICK HERE). I followed up with an email to Rob congratulating him on the song and the upcoming release of his album.

I’ve been aware that Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leaders Jake Sturtevant and Rob’s wife, Andrea Wollstadt join in Rob’s endeavors as well. I saw Andrea on Monday and she confirmed that she and Jake are both on the record. Below is the press release on the upcoming album. Pretty exciting for everyone involved! FMI on the album, CLICK HERE.

Some local musicians spend their entire careers as sidemen, backing up and sitting in as needed for band leaders and assorted singers. Saco resident Rob Duquette has made his career since the mid-1990s as a well respected and in-demand sideman, most notably as a member of Jonathan Edwards’  touring band. He has also regularly played with other notables like Jack Sonni (Dire Straits) and the legendary composer David Amram over the last 15 years.  He gained national attention as part of the jazz-folk-pop group “Cactus Highway” in the early 2000s, who the Boston Herald called “a duo of true sophistication,” and the Village Voice called, “amazing”.

But it wasn’t until the release of duquette’s first album “This Time” in 2014 that he finally stepped out of the shadows. With the release of duquette’s new 2017 album “Trust the Night”, he further comes into his own as both a writer and bandleader, forging an indie-folk, singer-songwriter sound while mixing in touches of his extensive jazz and world music background, “Trust The Night” showcases Duquette’s many musical talents in a way that he has not revealed before.

The new album features the multi-instrumentalist Duquette as well as a stellar backing band anchored by John Kumnick (Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie) on bass and Duquette’s high school bandmate Nick Luca (Iron and Wine, Sheryl Crow) on guitar and synths. Jonathan Edwards plays harmonica on several songs, and sings on “Coffee in the Dark”, a tale about a strong woman who leaves her privileged upbringing to forge her own way as a fish monger. Rob elaborates on one the new songs saying “the album features original stories of the human condition, taken from my daily observations…..most notably on ‘Perfect Stranger’ a song about the author’s teenage experience of sitting next to a random person on a plane trip, and discovering the kindness of strangers.”

Interestingly, Rob’s day job is bringing his original children’s music to schools, festivals and libraries across the northeast, spreading lessons of love and kindness. With this new album release, he hopes to turn the attention to leading his own four piece band and headlining club and theater gigs throughout New England.

“Trust The Night” will have an official CD release event on July 22 at One Longfellow Square in Portland Maine featuring the full band and special guests. It will be available exclusively at Bull Moose stores throughout Maine beginning on June 4.

“Rob is an amazing multi-instrumentalist, on percussion, guitar, vocals and whatever else he can fit in the van!”

-Jonathan Edwards

“Rob Duquette really knocked me out!”

-Legendary drummer Joe Porcaro

For fans of: Dawes, David Gray, Jackson Browne

For more info contact: Cornmeal Artist Management, Charlie Gaylord, 23 Canterbury Circle, Kennebunk ME 04043  – 207-967-3996 office – 207-294-1575 cell


PD All Around

June 27, 2017

Look Up!

There’s all kinds of professional development happening this summer in Maine on arts education. I’ve thought a great deal of PD over the years as a teacher who attended hundreds of learning opportunities and as a provider of PD. I found THIS ARTICLE recently that talks about what teachers wish to get out of PD. I believe that most importantly educators seeking quality arts education professional development need to be reminded to look up! I’m exploring what that means for me personally and professionally.

Participants at Hannaford Hall on the USM, Portland campus listen intently.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit two wonderful learning opportunities underway. One was held at the USM, Portland campus, sponsored by the Maine Department of Education. Jeff Poulin, arts education manager from the Americans for the Arts kicked off the day with a lively presentation on the history of federal mandates including today’s work on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). With his mom and sister in the audience Jeff provided a clear picture and included his own story of how he started and continues in the arts and the value of advocacy on many levels. He included a photo of himself at a very young age as a tap dancer and he delighted those in attendance with a tap dance at the conclusion of his presentation.

Participants broke into three groups: music, visual arts, and theatre/dance to continue work around assessment. The questions discussed included: Why do you assess? What do you assess? What is powerful about those thing that you access? I suggest that you take a minute and answer these questions. They could prompt a conversation with a colleague. Participants from all over Maine will continue their work tomorrow.

Laurie Downy and Molly Brown go over the details before sending participants on their way to select an artwork to respond to at the Portland Art Museum.

I spent part of the afternoon at the Portland Museum of Art with Side X Side. They had seven workshops happening simultaneously in different locations in the city with Portland teachers.   Laurie Downy and Molly Brown were facilitating a lesson. They sent the teachers out into the museum to observe and document something that they found interesting. Asking them to journal and selecting from multiple techniques from drawing to writing to journaling to mapping. Most inspiring was this quote by Shaun McNift from Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go. “People find that there most inspired creations come when they are “present” and responsive to what emerges naturally from the process. Creation requires attention and complete focus. But most of all it demands that we take the plunge into new territory without knowing what will appear.”

If you choose to engage in professional development this summer, whether independently or with a group, I do hope that you it ignites your creativity!


MAMMs Summer Concerts

June 26, 2017

The Kids are Alright

This summer is going to be rocking!  The Maine Academy of Modern Music (MAMM) is excited to announce that its popular The Kids Are Alright (TKAA) family friendly, local music series will take place every Friday in July, 10:30 – 11:30 am at the Deering Oaks Park bandstand.  The events are FREE and open to the public!

The series is presented by MAMM in partnership with Friends of Deering Oaks and the Portland Public Library with sponsorship from Aura, Maine Life Real Estate Co, and Maine Red Claws.

TKAA aims to present a wide variety of genres and styles of local music with accessible programming to the community.  For the past year, the series has been running for free at the Portland Public Library with big turnouts and has hosted some of Portland’s favorite local acts, like Samuel James and Maine Marimba Ensemble.  The Friends of Deering Oaks provided the opportunity to move the series outside for the summer.

In addition to live performances by some of the area’s top talent, each event will feature an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and learn what it’s like to be a musician in Maine.


Each featured act will be followed by Maine Academy of Modern Music student ensembles.

“We’ve seen that The Kids Are Alright really serves a need for quality, diverse music programming for families and young children in the area by the response to these concerts” says Emilia Dahlin, host and coordinator of the series (and mother of a toddler).

The Kids Are Alright aims to encourage children’s involvement in the musical arts.


Bay Chamber Summer Events

June 25, 2017

Free opportunities for all ages

Bay Chamber is excited to present several free offerings this summer to spread the joy and wondrous sounds of music to everyone in Midcoast Maine. I attended the Music on the Water event last year and it was a blast. Got a boat? Grab it and join me on Megunticook Lake in Camden!

Tuesday 25 July – 9:30AM – Zoot Coffee 



Much-loved musician Christopher Costanza performs in this bustling and inviting café on Elm Street – FREE!

Saturday 5 August – 6PM – Megunticook Lake 


A follow up to our hugely successful lake concert last year; join us for a musical happening featuring New York City band BROWN RICE FAMILY on Megunticook Lake – FREE!

Wednesday 9 August – 5PM – Union Hall


Josie and Sophie Davis, Anna and Maya French, Nate Martin and Colin Wheatley present an intimate evening of music for strings. The program includes seldom performed duos and trios Dvorak and Gliére, and a group performance of traditional Celtic music. Come relish in this FREE, pre-dinner concert.

Wednesday 16 August – 11AM – Union Hall


Palaver Strings will present a family-friendly yoga class, complete with live music. Yoga teachers, Missy Hatch and Rachel Nixon will choreograph the movements to the music. All welcome!

Friday 11 August – 4PM – Union Hall 


Envision is an intense, weeklong workshop, offering young musicians the opportunity to study chamber music under the direction of professional musicians. Students will receive coaching from Sophieand Josie Davis, Maya French, Nate Martin, Christina Spurling and Colin Wheatley, with additional art activities and workshops.

Please join us to hear the musicians of tomorrow in this FREEculminating performance of Bay Chamber’s Envision program, supporting youth-focused music making and studies.

Sunday 13 August – 5:00PM – Rockport Marine Park 


FREE outdoor jazz performance on picturesque Rockport Harbor. A prestigious ensemble of artists from around the world come together to play for the Creative Ensemble Collective, a nonprofit organization fostering exceptional and diverse music. The concert this year will explore the development of jazz in the 20th century. This unique musical journey will reveal the music’s unwavering loyalty to its roots in blues and dance, as well as its restless spirit of innovation and change.

Thursday 17 August – 1PM – Camden Village Green 


This adventurous trio plays a free concert on the Camden Village Green. Bring a picnic and join these exceptional musicians for a fun interactive outdoor concert.

Friday 18 August – 1PM – Camden Village Green 


Our much loved resident string ensemble plays outdoors on the Camden Village Green; join us for a free lunchtime concert.

Programs and artists may be subject to change 

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