Archive for September, 2017


Glacier Drawings to Raise Awareness

September 30, 2017

Zaria Forman

First of all, Zaria’s art is amazing. Her use of pastels provides a photographic quality that is soft and light. And, the places that her art takes her to is inspirational to anyone wishing to engage in real world learning. Her journey as an artist takes “expeditionary learning” to a new level. In addition, she is documenting so others can see and learn what is happening at a basic level. She spent four weeks on a National Geographic boat exploring amazing areas in Antarctica and Greenland. And she returns to these areas, this time flying overhead with NASA’s Operation IceBridge.

In her words: “I hope my drawings serve as records of landscapes in flux, documenting the transition, and inspiring our global community to take action for the future.”

I am sure once you view her work you’ll want to share with your students!


Daddy-Daughter Valentine’s Ballet Class

September 29, 2017

Philadelphia Dance Center


Sarah Orne Jewett House

September 28, 2017

Art of Dining exhibition

This fall, Julia Einstein, Education Program Coordinator for Historic New England, prepared an educational component, to be on view in the Art of Dining exhibition at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Visitor Center in South Berwick. There are three parts, a participatory family exhibit, a take-away gallery card, and an interactive learning experience for the Education Space in the Sarah Orne Jewett House. The objective is to engage the family audience and to connect the exhibition with a visit to the Sarah Orne Jewett House. In the exhibit, a temporary wall, painted with magnetic paint, invites the family visitor to “Set the Table!” as they mix and match table linens, plates, cups and silver from the collection in the Sarah Orne Jewett House to design a table-scape. And, to take a photo and send it us to be part of our community table on social media.

Oversized exhibit text invites families with kids of all ages to set the table with a lovely passage from Sarah Orne Jewett’s novel for children, Betty Leicester, published in 1889. “To lay the table and step lightly, “she answered, shaking with laughter. And Betty followed her directions until the square dinner table stood in the middle of the floor, covered with a nice homespun linen cloth of which the history had to be told.”  Parents, and children who are able to read, are introduced to the activity with a bit of introduction, “19th century children were expected to obey the same table rules as adults. Table manners were taught as primary lessons to transform boys into young gentleman and girls into ladies. Today, be inspired by history to set your place at the table.”

The take-away gallery card guides family visitors to look for ideas and concepts behind the art on view, and to use on their tour of the Sarah Orne Jewett House. Using the card upon entering The Art of Dining, they are directed to “Look for a Happy Birthday party, a picnic, and take-out food & imagine yourself at the tables. Notice the make-believe in painted, sculpted, and woven objects.” Most fun is when the card travels with families as they cross the lawn and enter the house museum.  In their visit, they are guided to look for tabletops with books, photographs, natural objects, and to wonder how each was collected, and loved by Sarah Orne Jewett.  When one reads the text on the card aloud in the dining room, it instructs to “Imagine a family dinner party in this grand old house and all the table talk that made its way into the stories of Sarah Orne Jewett.”

At the end of their tour of the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum, in the Education Space, an inter-activity table is set for “hands-on” learning and to connect the exhibition with their visit as a set of directions encourage families to “be inspired by the hand painted teacup by artist and poet Celia Thaxter to create your own designs and set the table for tea,” with step by step directions on how to create a set of paper tea cups.

Perhaps the most exciting part—school groups will be able to have this experience included in the elementary school program at the site! The program, Amongst Friends: Sarah Orne Jewett and Her World, focuses on Jewett’s experiences in South Berwick and around the world through her writing and the artistic endeavors of her wide circle of friends.

The Art of Dining is on view at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center in South Berwick through February 17, 2018. This exhibition presents installations by regional artists Suzanne Pretty, Julie K. Gray, Adriane Herman, Jo Hatlevig, Tinka Pritchett, Diane Stradling, Rachel Eastman, John David O’Shaughnessy, and Mickey McGarrity. The educational installation, Set the Table, was funded in part by the Sam L. Cohen Foundation. For more info, call 207 384 2454 x2 or email


Who Are They? Portland Stage – Part 1

September 27, 2017


Portland Stage, located in Portland, Maine, offers vital theater arts education to learners ages 4-18 through our In-Theater and In-School programming. All classes and workshops are taught by professionally trained Teaching Artists and focus on literacy, cultural awareness, collaborative play, and creative thinking. Our teaching philosophy highlights process over product, deepening students’ ability to analyze, synthesize, and think critically while making connections to the thoughts and ideas behind the written word. This is one of a series of 6 blog posts outlining who we are and what we do, brought to you by Hannah Cordes, Education Manager, and Julianne Shea, Education Administrator. These posts will appear September 27 through November 1, 2017, on Wednesday’s.

Hannah Cordes Education Manager & Julianne Shea Education Administrator Photo by Aaron Flacke

Portland Stage Education is a literacy-based program dedicated to empowering imaginative storytelling, playful collaboration, effective communication, and boundless creativity.  From In-Theater to In-School programming, our work is always student-driven and geared towards inspiring students to bring literature and characters alive in new and exciting ways. We offer programming for ages 4-18 throughout the state of Maine.

Education has always been a part of Portland Stage’s mission, but 2010 marks an important moment in our program’s history. Susie Konkel had the vision to create a space and program for young people in Maine to connect them to Portland Stage and, thanks to her generous support, we were able to realize that vision. In 2010, we opened our Theater for Kids space and expanded our education programming to further serve Maine youth through theatrical training, exploration, and creation. Then, in 2012, an anonymous donor established Culture Club-Portland, a consortium with the goal of providing free arts experiences to every child in Portland Public Schools each academic year. Culture Club-Portland includes Portland Stage, the Portland Museum of Art, Portland Ovations, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Out of this innovative program, Portland Stage’s In-School programming was born. We now proudly work with all of the Portland Public Schools and continue to expand our In School programming throughout the state of Maine.

Our In-Theater programs include the Play Me a Story dramatic reading series for ages 4-10, Vacation and Summer Camps, After School Classes, and Training Intensives and Workshops. This year, we are thrilled to be establishing a Shakespeare Teen Company that will put on a production of Macbeth this spring.

Our In-School programs include the PLAY program for elementary school students, Directors Lab touring Shakespeare productions, Student Matinees of our mainstage season, and workshops with students and teachers in their classrooms. Cynthia Loring, Principal at Presumpscot Elementary in Portland, shared that “We have seen the impact of this program in our students. Teachers report that they see a new confidence in students and they are ‘more willing to take chances to perform in front of a group. It’s more natural to them.’ The skills our students learn from these visiting artists translate to the work they do in their classrooms. One teacher noted, ‘I have seen a difference in my student’s fluency and inflection when reading aloud–’”. We are extremely grateful to the teachers and administrators who have partnered with us in the past and look forward to continuing to build relationships with more schools as our program continues to grow.

Interested in learning more about this program? Email or call 207-774-1043 ext. 104 .


Ticket to Ride

September 26, 2017


Many of you are familiar with the Maine Arts Commission Ticket to Ride program. Our funding at the moment has been depleted but the good news is that more funding is on its way.

Down East Magazine will be hosting the 4th annual Art of Giving Gala at the Stroudwater Lodge in Westbrook on October 26, 5-8 p.m. The event is free to attend, but guests must RSVP at The event’s art sale has raised almost $100,000 in the past three years.

We’re excited that part of the funds raised from the Art of Giving program will support the Ticket to Ride program.

An aerialist performed last year at Down East Magazine’s Art of Giving Gala.

“We’ve had fantastic response year after year to our Art of Giving program,” Down East Editor-In-Chief Kathleen Fleury said. “We’re proud to support the Ticket to Ride Program and four talented artists again this year.”

Ticket to Ride is a program of the Maine Arts Commission that helps fund travel for Maine students visiting art venues and events. Money is raised at the event through art sales, with 20 percent going to Ticket to Ride and the rest going to the artists.

Four artists will be chosen by a panel of judges to participate in the gala. According to the press release, the judges will consider the artists’ technique, aesthetics and biography. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30 and artists can apply on the Down East website.

Last year’s event included art by R. Scott Baltz, Therese L. Provenzano, Matthew Russ and Roland Salazar.

Guests at the gala will be served food and drink and there will be live entertainment.


Marshwood Middle School

September 25, 2017

MALI Teacher leader and Teaching Artist Leader collaboration

It’s been a lot of fun planning, and an idea that began as a seed back in snowy February, but Marshwood Middle School Grade Seven and Eight Chorus is embarking on a new curriculum to compose an original work that will be premiered at their June concert with guidance and instruction from two MALI teachers.
Thanks to Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader, Kris Bisson and Teaching Artist Leader, Brian Evans-Jones. Below is the description of this fabulous work!  

Bridging Adolescent Learners – A River Runs Through Us: Composing our Story is a year-long chorus composition unit that will be explored by the Grade Seven and Eight Choruses throughout the 2017-2018 school year. Through weekly classwork, a field experience, and working with a guest poet-in-residence, students will create their own original lyrics, melodies, harmonies, and accompaniment for an original piece to be performed in their June concert.

An important aspect of this project will be the S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) inter-disciplinary explorations students will make throughout the project. Also critical to an authentic learning experience will be the integration of our work with poet, writer, and MALI Artist-TeacherBrian Evans-Jones, a local resident of South Berwick, who will lead the students as Artist-in-Residence in finding their writing, speaking, and singing voice.

An early piece of our project is to bring the entire chorus (seventy students) and Mr. Evans-Jones on a field trip to the bridge on Vine Street in South Berwick, the Great Works Bridge, at Leigh’s Mill Pond and the Great Works River. This trip will take place on SEPTEMBER 19 from 8:15 – 9:50 a.m. Here the students will be able to have a direct experience with the river as well as with the condemned bridge structure in order to create more meaningful and informed writing for their musical composition.

Coincidentally, the existing bridge, closed in 2007 due to deterioration beyond the state of Maine’s repair, is being removed in 2018 and a grassroots effort to construct a footbridge is already successfully raising funds to support the effort through their group, The Great Works Bridge Brigade. The Chorus students will have the opportunity to discuss their work with them and take action to make a difference financially, musically, and ethically in their local community.

Goals of this project include science, mathematic and technological integration; collaborative learning, creative thinking, listening skills, reflective writing, problem solving; exploratory composing techniques, music theory, form and analysis; various recording platforms, and online manuscript technologies.

Students will keep worksheets, reflective journal sheets and videos, and e-journals in Google Classroom to record thoughts, reflections, and developing lyric and melodic ideas.

The opportunity to have an artist-in-residence is a wonderful enhancement to the curriculum being explored. Having an expert help students with their learning is always a beneficial experience for all. Last year was the first time Choral Director and MALI Teacher Leader, Kris Bisson, and her students composed in the choral ensemble and the experience was amazing:

“Through composition in the chorus classroom, students are able to explore their own individual and collective ideas that help them express themselves personally as well as musically. Students elevated and increased their musical knowledge through the composition process and it was such an engaging and advanced learning experience for all. I am very excited to have the students reflect on their sense of place in their community, the history of our rivers and towns, the importance of keeping a bridge to connect our community, and have the opportunity first-hand to directly influence change around them.  At our Spring Concert, June 5, we will be sharing an informance, or interactive performance, where the students will have the opportunity to share their learning and conduct audience participation at our premiere performance.”

A very special recognition of appreciation is extended to the Marshwood Education Foundation for supporting this project.

Updates throughout the year can be found on our website:

Dancing Can Reverse Signs of Aging

September 24, 2017

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

The excerpt from a new study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and dancing has the most profound effect.

“Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing down or even counteracting in mental and physical capacity,” says Dr Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, based at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, Germany. “In this study, we show that two different types of physical (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance.”

You can read the entire article by CLICKING HERE.

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