Archive for February, 2018


Presidents’ Day

February 19, 2018

President portrait unveiled

On February 12 at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were present for the unveiling of their portraits. In the late 1990s the gallery began commissioning portraits of presidents, beginning with George H.W. Bush. The  gallery is part of the Smithsonian group of museums and has the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of The White House.

Imagine being selected to paint the Obama’s or any presidents portrait? I wonder who the artists art teachers were? I’m guessing that they are both pretty proud!

It was quite and honor for Kehinde Wiley who painted the former president. Wiley is an artist best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African-Americans.

Amy Sherald was the artist who painted the former first lady. Amy is from Baltimore and is known for her unique styles, and her portraits tend to underscore themes of social justice.  Both artists developed relationships with the former president and first lady.  Sherald’s work is less about realism in composition and more about shape and color. Sherald and Wiley are the first African-American artists to create Smithsonian-commissioned portraits of a former president and first lady.


Theatre Professional Development

February 18, 2018

UMaine Orono

You’re invited to the second annual Theatre Professional Development Day hosted by the Department of Theatre, University of Maine, Orono, on April 25, 2018.  Visit the WEBSITE for more information about our feature performance, “Ripple of Hope”, a one-woman show performance by Karen Sklaire, a NYC performer and teacher, and our six workshops by professional teaching artists:
  • Nick Turner, Executive Director, The Grand, Ellsworth
  • Hannah Cordes, Education Manager, Portland Stage
  • Amy Roeder, Director of Education, Penobscot Theatre Company
  • Rebecca Wright, Ellsworth High School
  • Hilary Martin, Vassalboro Schools
  • Rick Osann, Bonny Eagle High School
The $25 registration fee includes lunch.  Six Contact hours will be provided. To REGISTER or for more information, visit our WEBSITE, or as always, drop a note with any questions.  We hope to see you there!
If you have any questions please contact Rick Osann at Bonny Eagle High School at

Ukulele Tutorials

February 17, 2018

Jeffrey Weinberger

You can access tutorials for the ukulele that Jeffrey Weinberger has created on his YouTube channel.

His latest one is below for you to check out, The 59th St. Bridge Song, the Simon and Garfunkle classic. Also known as Feeling Groovy from 1966.


Winter Break

February 16, 2018

What to do?

I understand historically that winter break was scheduled to help break the spread of germs and the flu. Makes sense to me! I’m sure that it is still needed for that reason with the number of flu cases in Maine still on the rise. If you’re one of the people suffering from the flu please take care of yourself and get well during winter break.

If you’re not sure what your going to do during the next 9 days here are some suggestions. I hope that you’ll take the time to relax, revive, and reflect! And, of course play music, sing, dance, and create in whatever way you choose to. You deserve a break – know that I appreciate what you do each and every day! Thank you teachers!


If you have a wood stove or fire place you know how good it can feel to snuggle up with a book and read by the warmth they provide. I’m always in the middle of a handful of books – depending on what I need at the moment!

  • My professional pile includes the following: Lifelong Kindergarten by Michael Resnick and Creative Schools by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica
  • For fun I’ve been reading: My Love Affair with the State of Maine by Scotty Mackenzie with Ruth Goode
  • And for my personal health I’ve been reading: The Little Book of Hygge – Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking


The sun is getting stronger and the days a little longer. I know how good both of those feel. Spending time in the fresh air can have a positive impact on our health. Even a short walk can make a difference. But if you want to challenge yourself and have never cross country skied or snow shoed the weather is in your favor with the temperatures on the rise.

If you really want to challenge yourself the ice is pretty good for ice climbing and in some places where the sun has melted the ice and snow, rock climbing is happening. My older son guides those interested in this type of challenge with his business Equinox Guiding Service. He takes   people out so they can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and have a blast. He provides all of the equipment, instruction, and encouragement. You can have little or no knowledge and be successful. I certainly recommend guide Noah Kleiner! Tell Noah I sent you and perhaps you’ll get a discount.


For folks who want to watch the cold weather from the comfort of the couch in front of the television or computer, check out the Olympics. So cool to watch athletes from around the world come together. Just like the ancient Greeks came together so do modern day athletes – to create a space where the whole world can come together to participate in sport, in peace and togetherness. My younger son Nicholas is in PyeongChang, South Korea and is having a memorable experience. He saw the women’s giant slalom and American Mikaela Shiffrin win gold!

Whatever you do during winter break have fun and laugh as much as you can so you can come back to school ready and excited about the next steps of teaching!


MAC Teaching Artist Roster

February 15, 2018

7 new artists

Seven Maine Artists Added to Arts Commission’s Teaching Roster

Maine Arts Commission’s roster provides additional resources for teachers and schools

AUGUSTA, ME, February 8, 2018—The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to announce the addition of seven new artists to its online Teaching Artist Roster.  Selected by the Arts Commission through an application process, teaching artists provide greater access for teachers, schools, and community groups to area artists who are trained and knowledgeable in classroom requirements throughout Maine. The following teaching artists have been recently listed on the roster:

  • Nicole Cardano

    Nicole Cardano, an actress who teaches elementary and middle school improvisational skills as well as theatre productions and show choir. She lives in Seal Cove.

  • Emilia Dahlin, a musician who teaches students to explore literary devices in songwriting to create powerful imagery and foster a strong sense of authorship. Emilia resides in Gorham.
  • Rob Duquette, a musician and songwriter whose lessons teach themes of resilience, compassion, kindness, gratitude, and a sense of purpose. Rob is from York.
  • Emilia Dahlin

    Kal Elmore, a printmaker who collaborates with teachers to develop lessons that help students experience a new media, a new technique, and/or a different way of thinking about visual art. She is from Old Town.

  • Russell Kaback, a musician and a storyteller who writes songs that tell the story of his grandfather’s life as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor.  Through lyrics and song, students make a lasting connection with the experience of a concentration camp survivor from the Nazi era to the present. Russell resides in South Portland.
  • Dana Legawiec, an actress whose recent teachings involve grade 3-5 students in mask, improvisational, physical theatre, and yoga. She is from Bowdoinham.
  • Rob Duquette

    Tom Luther, a musician who teaches piano and multimedia art. Tom applies traditional composition, improvisation, generative, and interactive techniques in his teaching, drawing freely from his experiences in numerous musical forms.  Tom is from Union.

“We are really proud of the learning opportunities that each artist on the roster provides to our schools and communities in Maine,” said Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at the Arts Commission.

In addition to overseeing the teaching artist roster along with many other arts education programs and services offered by the Arts

Kal Elmore

Commission, Argy organizes the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Mega-Regional Conferences. Maine educators from PK-higher education are invited to participate in this year’s professional development opportunity at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Friday, March 23 at 8:30 – 3:15 p.m.  The workshop facilitators are Maine arts educators who will have dynamic ideas to share.

Since 2011, MALI has provided opportunities for hundreds of educators with inspirational workshops, presentations, and webinars at the school, district, regional, state, and national level. More information and event registration for the 2018 MALI Mega Regional is available here.

Russell Kaback

The Maine Arts Commission currently administers the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative as part of one of its five priorities, fostering PK-12 lifelong arts education programs, in its five-year cultural plan, Fortifying Maine’s Creativity & Culture. To learn more about any of the Maine Arts Commission’s arts education funding opportunities or programs, please contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at or 207/287-2713.

Dana Legaweic

Tom Luther

The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, art organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more than 50 years the Commission has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; has worked to expand the state’s cultural resources; and encouraged and assisted freedom of artistic expression for the well-being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state. Additional information is available at



Each Kindness

February 14, 2018

Jacqueline Woodson

For Valentine’s Day the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jacqueline Woodson, reading from her book, Each Kindness. Please be kind today to those who need it most.


Congressional Art Awards

February 13, 2018

Students selected

Congratulations to all the Maine students who submitted a work of art and to their teachers who worked with them.

The following Maine students are recognized for their submissions and their work will be shown in the State House, April 2 – May 14, 2018


Winner – Galen Gaze, 12th grade, Toucanana, Brunswick High School Teacher: Colleen Kearney-Graffam


1st runner up – Benjamin Folsom, 12th grade, Disperse, Falmouth High School, Teacher: Susan Morse


2nd runner up – Rachel Walton, 11th grade, Narcissus, Yarmouth High School, Teacher: Holly Houston



Honorable Mention- Chelsea Zhao, 12th grade, Lost in Thought, Falmouth High School, Teacher: Susan Morse



Honorable Mention – Galen Gaze, 12th grade, Innocence is Bliss, Brunswick High School, Teacher: Collen Kearney-Graffam


Honorable Mention – Corilie Green, 11th grade, The Greeter, Freeport High School, Teacher: Kimberly Medsker-Mehalic



Winner – Isobel Straub, 12th grade, Wait, Rangeley Lakes Regional High School, Teacher: Maryam Emami


1st runner up – Pauline Han, 10th grade, Pale Light, Hebron Academy, Teacher: Celeste LaForme


2nd runner– Lizzie Dunn, 11th grade, Sense of Chaos, Houlton Jr Sr High School, Teacher: Cindy Mooers


Honorable Mention- Cara Hu, 11th grade, Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, Hebron Academy, Teacher: Michael Tholen


Honorable Mention – Jasmine Weiang Li, 11th grade, The Chief’s Wife, Hebron Academy, Teacher: Sara Wilmont


Honorable Mention – Yuqing Mao, 11th grade, Inheritance of Life, Gould Academy Teacher: Lauren Head




Summer Learning Opportunities

February 12, 2018

Burnt Island Light Station

The Maine Department of Marine Resources is offering three, accredited professional development opportunities for teachers this summer at the Burnt Island Light Station.


  • Mindfulness through Nature Journaling
  • Lobster Maineiah – An Interdisciplinary Approach
  • Watercolors Across the Curriculum

The syllabi is located at

All activities are aligned with the Common Core, Maine Learning Results, and the Next Generation Science Standards. Two of the workshops were designed with the needs of art teachers in mind.


Global Teacher Prize

February 11, 2018

Inspiring stories

In 2015 the first Global Teacher Prize was awarded and the recipient was a Maine educator, Nancie Atwell, the founder of The Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb. Nancie is the author of In the Middle, now in its third edition and several other books. The award is presented to a teacher and “serves to underline the importance of educators.”

The Global Teacher award is $1m, provided by the Varkey Foundation. The finalists (10 each year) are very inspiring – I suggest that you listen to them, especially if you’re looking for a lift to start off February! and you can listen to their fabulous stories.



Bangor Symphony Orchestra

February 10, 2018

Young people’s concert

The Bangor Symphony Orchestra invites students in grades 3 through 8 to attend this year’s Young People’s Concerts at the Collins Center for the Arts: Monday, May 21, 2018 at 9:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Lucas Richman, Music Director and Conductor for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, has made it his mission to instill in young children the awareness of music as an integral part of their lives. This year’s concert theme is “Musical Poetry”. The repertoire will highlight the powerful link between music and poetry while exposing and acquainting students with the instruments of the orchestra.

Claude Debussy Le Roi Lear

Henry Purcell Rondeau from The Fairy Queen

Felix Mendelssohn Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Edward Taylor Paull Paul Revere’s Ride

TBA Winner of the Maine High School Concerto Competition

Lucas Richman  Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant

The hour-long education and music program is supplemented with an instructional packet for students and teachers providing information about the orchestra and the selections that will be featured. Concerts are open to public, private, and homeschooled children.

Tickets are $3 each for students and teachers. We will fulfill orders on a first come, first serve basis. Reservations should be requested by Friday, March 30, 2018, and can be made by phone, fax, or mail.

Box Office
5746 Collins Center for the Arts
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5746
Phone: 207.581.1755 Toll free: 800.622.8499 Fax: 207.581.4690

To obtain a reservation form email Bangor Symphony Education and Community Programs Manager Katie Hardy.

Young People’s Concert and the Maine Learning Results

Content Area: Visual and Performing Arts


A. Disciplinary Literacy- Music: Students show literacy in the discipline by understanding and demonstrating concepts, skills, terminology, and processes.

A1. Music Difficulty

A2. Notation and Terminology

A3. Listening and Describing

D. Aesthetics and Criticism: Students describe analyze, interpret, and evaluate art (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts).

E. Visual and Performing Arts Connections: Students understand the relationship among the arts, history and world culture; and they make connections among the arts and to other disciplines, to goal-setting, and to interpersonal interaction.

E1. The Arts and History and World Cultures

E4. Impact of the Arts on Lifestyle and Career

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