Archive for March 23rd, 2018


In Today’s News

March 23, 2018

Waterville High School at Heritage Music Festival

Music students travel to New York City and sweep festival awards! Five gold awards. READ about it in today’s Central Maine newspaper. CONGRATULATIONS students and Sue Barre, Ciara Hargrove and Graybert Beacham! Watch for a blog post coming soon on the topic!



Snow Shoe Art

March 23, 2018

Got snow?

Lisa and some of her students

Art has always been a passion for me. Art is magical, ephemeral and life changing. But those reading this who are arts educators, you already know that. Trying to find the words is not easy to describe the experience my students and I had with snow shoe artist, Jason Cote. The whole experience was serendipitous. Teaching art for 20 years, I was thinking of new ways to engage my students. Looking to breathe new life into my lessons I started to see more and more about snow shoe art. Then as the universe would have it Jason Cote was interviewed by Bill Green’s Maine. He was close to my school! I contacted him through social media and he immediately responded and wanted to work with my students.

Working with a local community organization, Winthrop Plays Outside, run by Margy Burns-Knight, we were able to be the first to commission Jason as an artist. Jason Cote came to the middle school in February for a half an hour assembly. Students were shown his work and were able to ask him questions. Now we had to wait for the snow….

March delivered great snow. We got 12 inches of fresh snow on March 8 and 9 and the magic happened. Jason arrived at school at sunrise and sketched the design in snow. He laid down the initial circles and paths for students to follow. We kept the groups small, we had 12 pairs of snow shoes. Students were given directions to follow the path and follow Jason’s directions. Students could watch if they did not want to participate. For many students this was the first time on snow shoes. However, when the first drone pictures came out, more students wanted to participate. About 150 students in grades 6, 7 and 8 created the work of art with Jason.

Watching from the sidelines, directing students, helping get snow shoes on and off, I was nervous. The kids were incredibly well behaved but from my view it looked like fun chaos, but chaos never the less!! Then the school’s tech teacher took a few drone pictures and the magic began to appear. Jason hires a professional drone photographer to take the final photographs and video. The pictures were amazing. The artwork was clear, the middle school staff and I were all in pure awe. Students have expressed their gratitude for several days.

It’s hard express how grateful I am for this experience. The art was temporary, but the memories will last forever. When I got home and had time to reflect I thought of Christo and Jean-Claude. Their work is tough for many to understand; it’s temporary, environmental, conceptual. Whatever you want to call it, art work, art happening, snow shoe art, I as an artist got to feel like Christo and Jean-Claude for the day. The experience transcended all expectations.

WATCH THE VIDEO to get a full sense of this project. The still photo doesn’t tell the story well. It is HUGE! To learn more watch the Bill Green’s Maine segment with Jason Cote. Amazing! And, an article from the Portland paper, March 2017, on Jason’s work. Thank you to art educator from Winthrop schools, Lisa Gilman for providing this blog post!

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