Archive for January, 2019


POL Northern Regional Finals

January 31, 2019

Amazing High School Students

Five Northern Maine Finalists: Shaphnah McKenzie, Emma Jacot-Descombes, Magnolia Vandiver, Hanna Lavenson, Emily Campbell

At Hampden Academy earlier this week students, teachers and families traveled from different parts of Maine to recite poetry. The Maine Arts Commission held the Poetry Out Loud (POL) Northern Maine Regional Finals in conjunction with the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Students have been practicing and reciting poems in schools across the state and country since early in fall. For the event they had prepared three recitations and wowed the audience with their amazing performances.

We’re so proud of the following students who participated. The names with stars are the five students moving onto the state finals on March 11 at the Waterville Opera House, 3:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome!

  • Hanna Lavenson, Messalonskee High School **
  • Emily Campbell, Waterville High School **
  • Emma Damboise, Hampden Academy
  • Kate Kemper, Camden Hills Regional High School
  • Maria Dottie, Winthrop High School
  • DiamondRose Dunfee-Platt, Searsport High School
  • Rebecca Collins, Presque Isle High School
  • Emma Jacot-Descombes, Rangeley Lakes Regional High School **
  • Magnolia Vandiver, George Stevens Academy **
  • Shaphnah McKenzie, Bangor High School **
  • Elias Miller, Medomak Valley High School
  • Neily Raymond, Hermon High School
  • Kaitlyn Bilodeau, Leavitt Area High School
  • Kaitlyn Carreira, John Bapst Memorial High School
  • Shelby Skipper, Gardiner Area High School

The Southern Regional Finals will take place on Monday, February 11, 3:00, Westbrook Middle School Performing Arts Center. For more information about the Poetry Out Loud program please go the POL pages at the Maine Arts Commission website.




2019 MALI Mega Conference

January 30, 2019

Friday, March 15

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) will provide a Mega-regional conference at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Maine on Friday, March 15, 8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. All educators, PK-higher education are invited to participate in this professional development opportunity in arts education. Workshop facilitators are Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) teacher leaders and teaching artist leaders from all eight phases of MALI. These educators are providing dynamic work that they’ve been engaged with themselves, some for many years.

Below are the descriptions for the workshops being offered. You will have the opportunity to register for three of these workshops.

  Register for the 2018 Mega-Regional Workshop

Date and Location

Friday, March 15, 2019, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, South Paris


  • 8:30 a.m. Registration begins
  • 9:00 a.m. Opening
  • 9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Breakout Session I
  • 10:30 a.m. – 10:40 a.m. Break
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Breakout Session II
  • 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch, participants on their own
  • 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Artist Showcase
  • 1:50 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Breakout Session III
  • 3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Closing

Contact hours

5.5 contact hours will be provided to those participating in the full day of the MALI Mega-regional conference at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.


What does “arts accessibility” mean? Presented by Shawna Barnes

PreK-12 All content


Shawna will share the five key definitions of arts accessibility and what they may look like in the classroom/studio. Participants will learn how to break through these barriers to access, with a few creative solutions.

Sandbox Composing Presented by Joe Cough

Grade 6-Adult Music

Joe will demonstrate how easy it can be to compose music. With participation from the group, we will create a new piece of music with numbers (and talk about other ways to write music too). Risk taking and mistakes will be the driving force of this workshop.

Arts and Community Outreach: “The Stories We’ve Been Told – Preserving the Histories of our Elders” Presented by Kris Bisson

Middle School Chorus, applicable to multi-disciplines and all levels

Reaching beyond the walls of the classroom to explore learning provides many valuable opportunities for both the students and those they collaborate with. Kris will share her students’ current project, monthly visits to a retirement home where the students interview residents to capture their stories, games, pastimes, and events that shaped their lives. Students take these stories and create a multi-movement choral composition to be performed in our Spring 2019 concert.

Students will experience cross-curricular collaboration that moves the arts to the heart of curriculum. Interconnected learning provides students of all learning styles an opportunity to demonstrate and share understanding and knowledge learning using the creative process.

We will compose in the workshop and share ideas that can be used directly in your area of study.

The Possibilities of Full Choice Presented by Shalimar Poulin Chassé

Grade 6-12 Visual Art

A story of a developing full choice approach to art making, hard copy and link-based resources (including student project proposal form, course expectation student guide, self direction management aid, rubrics, do’s and don’t’s, examples of student works, and access to slide presentation) to assist the wild-spirited, brave, and trusting (or crazy) to dive in feet first or the perhaps wiser ginny-pig with an appetite for a savory taste. All wild-spirits and ginny-pigs welcome!

Music & Math Presented by Lindsay Pinchbeck & Tom Luther

Grades 1-12 Music

Lindsay and Tom will share their experiences teaching music and math as a single domain. Using simple, open ended tasks, they will show how to help students make connections between these two normally specialized subjects, and how other “rabbit holes” can be discovered along the way.

Adding Choice to Art History Presented by Cindi Kugell

Middle/High School Visual Art (ele welcome)

Choice-Based Art classrooms are working studios where students learn through authentic art making. Control shifts from teacher to learner as students explore ideas and interests in art media of their choice. This concept supports multiple modes of learning to meet the diverse needs of our students. We’ll chat about how to add choice to a studio art history course (without offering centers) and through the hands-on creation of artist trading cards.

Zines Presented by Samantha Armstrong

Elementary Visual Art

Informational Zines or mini magazines are a great way to bring writing into the art room. In this workshop we will look at combining informational writing with drawing techniques and tools to create unique zines. We will look at student examples, strategies and tools for teaching an arts/literacy integrated unit and have time to create a zine. Once complete zines are easy to photocopy and are always fun to share with classmates and the school community.

Theater as a Life Skill Presented by Nicole Cardano

PreK-12 All content

Play lets us shake off anything unwanted and connect with those that we are with.  Foundational practices of improvisational theater: Listening, Eye Contact, Respect, Support, YesAnd as well as Embracing Mistakes will be discussed and exercised.  Sharing observations and experiences as a student, teacher and general human.

Students Reflective Response & the Digital Process-Folio Presented by Melanie Crowe

Grade 6-High School Visual Art – applicable to all beyond art room

The use of reflective practice allows students the opportunities to gauge their understanding along the process of creating. As students regularly document their experiences throughout process of art making it provides opportunities for discussion and conversation between student & self, student & peers, and student & teacher. These conversations provide checkpoints for reflective practice and growth.

Pre-Assessment: Misconceptions & Building Stronger Student Achievement Presented by Iva Damon

PreK-12 All content

Let’s dive into the misconceptions surrounding pre-assessment and look at easy ways to implement strategies into the classroom that work for both teacher and student.

Practical Self-Care for Teachers – Beyond Bubble Baths and Barre Class Presented by Elise Row

PreK-12 All content

This workshop was born out of necessity. Elise will share her personal experience of confronting the topic of self-care as an elementary visual arts teacher. This ever evolving workshop will provide teachers, artists, and busy people in general tools, resources, insight, and reminders to support their growth and practice of self-care.

Photos from the 2018 MALI Mega at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.


Dance Education Funding

January 29, 2019

Schools/districts apply by January 31, 2019

AUGUSTA-January 23, 2019—The power of dance is alive in Maine schools thanks to a Dance Education Grant offered by the Maine Arts Commission that is available to PK-12 schools and teaching artists until January 31, 2019. Applicants can apply for awards up to $2,500 to fund a dance residency in their school district.

Teaching Artist Nancy Salmon with students at Freeport High School

Dance education makes a difference in children’s lives and creativity. Yet only five percent of all schools in Maine offer opportunities in this artistic discipline, according to the Arts Education Census study conducted in 2016 by the Maine Arts Commission.

The Dance Education Grant emphasizes high quality learning experiences for students and educators through a series of residencies that are administrated by teaching artists from the Arts Commission’s Teaching Artist Roster. Each residency is designed to teach the art of movement, performance, creative expression, and teamwork.

Freeport High School students rehearsing their dance

During this past school year, the dance education grant funded residencies at Freeport High School and Maranacook Middle School. Nancy Salmon, a teaching artist listed on the Arts Commission’s teaching artist roster, provided the instruction.

“The students know that dance is more than memorized steps,” Salmon said, reflecting on her residency program at Freeport High School that collaborated with the theater program. “They know how dance movement can enhance meaning of words in a script and how all dance and movement have elements in common. I believe all of us, teacher, students and visiting artist, have honed our adaptation, flexibility, and focus skills.”

Freeport High School students rehearsing their dance

Applying what they learned in the dance residency program, the Freeport theater class wrote a play based on three thematic stories, and then performed the piece as an interactive workshop for all second graders in the Freeport school district.

“The dance education grant is intended as seed money to grow a dance program,” said Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission. “This funding provides a unique opportunity, one that I hope all schools without dance ed curriculum in place will take advantage and apply.”

Collaborators – Teaching Artist Nancy Salmon and Freeport High School Theater teacher Natalie Safely

Funding for the grant is made possible through an annual dance performance presented by two schools and ten dance studios in collaboration with Thornton Academy dance educator and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Emma Arenstam Campbell.

Dance Education Grant guidelines application criterion is listed at Applications will be accepted until Thursday, January 31, 2019.The Commission encourages PK-12 educators or teaching artists to review the guidelines prior to applying. The funding cycle for the grant must take place September 1, 2019 through March 30, 2020.

For more information visit the grants and the teaching artist roster webpages at

For questions regarding the grants or current teaching roster, contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at 207-287-2713 or email at


The Circus Returns!

January 28, 2019

The Way We Move

The Way We Move social circus brings the circus arts back to Portland. Mechanics Hall in Portland will host a special fundraiser for a new Portland-based nonprofit on March 27th. The Way We Move is a social circus program working to bring the circus arts to children, adults, and kids of all ages who may otherwise not have access to circus arts. The fundraiser on March 27th from 6-9 p.m. will be the official debut of the organization as a nonprofit after obtaining their 501c3 status in the fall of 2018.

Scheduled performers for March 27th include: The Hadacol Bouncers, Michael Trautman, and Amelia Aglow, plus stilt walkers and other circus performers will entertain the crowd. The event will include appetizers, drinks, and a silent auction with all proceeds helping to provide low-cost and sliding fee circus programs. Tickets are $60 per person and can be purchased in advanced on the WayWeMove website


Make A One-Page Book!

January 27, 2019

Saturday, February 9, 2019, Norway

Make A One-Page Book! with Sarah Keener

Careers in Art Series for Kids

10am – Noon for ages 6 – 8

1 pm – 3 pm for ages 9 and Up

Winter in Maine is long, but there’s a lot to love! Celebrate the five senses of the season by creating a one-page folded book of poetry. This workshop will include playful poetry writing prompts and a hands-on exploration of some basic bookmaking techniques, including cutting, gluing and folding paper, suminagashi paper marbling, and stencil “printing.”

Sarah Keener taught language arts for several years and has worked with children of all ages in the areas of literacy and art. A lifelong lover of books and of arts and crafts, she believes language and the arts are a natural fit and draws from a variety of digital and print resources to implement effective and engaging activities. Sarah seeks to create opportunities for kids to explore these disciplines in a positive and playful environment, which helps them grow more confident and excited about expressing themselves in words and a variety of mediums. 

Workshops cost $35 each or $10 for scholarship recipients. Workshops are currently presented for two age groups: 10 am – Noon for children ages 6 – 8 and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm for children ages 9 and Up.

For information, scholarship requests and registrations, contact or call 207-739-2664. All workshops are held at The Folk Art Studio@Fiber & Vine, 401 Main Street, Norway, Maine, 04268.

More information about the program:

This workshop series is designed to expose children to the myriad of processes and professions for visual artists (illustration, design, fiber arts, literacy and making books, visualizing nature and science, architecture, etc.) The series aims to open pathways for kids to consider making as a worthwhile activity and even imagine a dream that becomes a viable profession one day.  It has been evidenced that activity in all of the arts fosters creativity and increases a childs’ learning capacity for all subjects.

The Western Maine Art Group (WMAG), The Folk Art Studio and Fiber & Vine have partnered to bring this workshop series to the Oxford Hills. Through a generous grant from The Norway Savings Bank, Oxford Credit Union and the Rotary Club, scholarships are offered for those with financial need.

Workshops cost $35 each or $10 for scholarship recipients. Workshops are currently presented for two age groups: 10 am – Noon for children ages 6 – 8 and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm for children ages 9 and Up.

For information, scholarship requests and registrations, contact or call 207-739-2664. All workshops are held at The Folk Art Studio@Fiber & Vine, 401 Main Street, Norway, Maine, 04268.


Performing and Media Arts Position

January 25, 2019

Maine Arts Commission is hiring

Development Program Officer – Performing and Media Arts Director
CLASS CODE 0566 PAY GRADE 26 – $45,094.40 – $ 61,235.20/annually
OPEN: January 18, 2019
CLOSED: February 15, 2019

The Performing and Media Arts Director will be responsible for providing leadership and oversight in planning, development and implementation of media and performance arts programs and projects; regularly surveying and meeting with leaders and artists in the media and performing arts field.

• Identify, document, communicate and respond to current needs for each sector.
• Provide regular updates of the workflow and production in the monthly work report;
• Direct, organize and curate ongoing programming to benefit the Media and Performing Arts fields, including but not limited, to cultural tourism initiatives such as the Maine-New Brunswick Partnership.
• Developing and initiating programs and projects to benefit the media and performing arts field and meeting the goals outlined in the cultural plan.
• Acting as an information resource, both internally and externally, which requires consistent monitoring of the national trends.
• Managing the media and performing arts grants reviews
• Curate, organize and direct ongoing agency programs.
• Direct and manage logistics for bi-annual Maine International Conference on the Arts, in addition to other events and forums.
• Assist with the implementation of ArtsEngageME as needed and as directed.


• Knowledge of principles and practices of public administration and financial management.
• Knowledge of state and federal grant management laws, rules, and regulations.
• Knowledge of theories and practices of community, business, and/or resource development planning and program implementation.
• Knowledge of government mechanisms, capabilities, and constraints.
• Ability to communicate effectively.
• Ability to write clearly and effectively.
• Ability to deal effectively with a variety of people representing a diversity of interests.
• Ability to direct and oversee professional and clerical staff.


A six (6) year combination of experience, education, and training of a progressively responsible nature in financial, public, business, and/or resource management to include supervisory experience.

Preference will be given to applicants who possess a BA in Performing Arts, Arts Administration or related field, in addition to having a minimum of 5 years work experience.

Please visit where you will find the posting for this position. Click “apply now” and upload both your resume’ and cover letter.

Mindy Hansen, HR Generalist
207-624-7430 (T)


The value of State’s share of Employee’s Retirement: 15.37% of salary for BU positions. The value of State-paid Dental Insurance: $13.13 biweekly. The value* of State-paid Health Insurance:

• Level 1: 100% State Contribution (employee pays nothing): $444.68 biweekly
• Level 2: 95% State Contribution (employee pays 5%): $422.45 biweekly
• Level 3: 90% State Contribution (employee pays 10%): $400.21 biweekly
• Level 4: 85% State Contribution (employee pays 15%): $377.98 biweekly

*The level of the actual value of state paid Health Insurance will be based on the employee’s wage rate and status regarding the health credit premium program.


Lights Camera Action

January 24, 2019

Statewide Arts Day at Nokomis High School

Parent energy and initiative often bring teaching artists to schools to conduct workshops that supplement and support school arts programs. When invitations to those workshops extend to the community as well, an interesting community/school arts link can be created. When the number of workshops reaches a grand scale and the invitation outreach is statewide, something truly newsworthy takes place.

Nokomis Lights Camera Action Grades 4-12, 2018

Lights, Camera, Action (LCA) has taken place during the last two years at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport. Parent, Gretchen Gehrke, was inspired by a program at MIT and by the commitment of Nokomis theater teacher Lisa Neal.  “Nokomis – Lights, Camera, Action!” was created in partnership with the school’s theater program.

This program is designed for students in grades K-12.


Actors, Artists, Authors, Athletes, Chefs and Musicians, share a full day of workshops, rehearsals, and performance.

Students K-12 are welcomed and taught by qualified and enthusiastic instructors on a wide variety of fun topics. 2018 included over 50 workshop choices. Workshops are offered for students in K-3 and the cost is $25. Workshops for students in grades 4-12 with a cost of $50. The cost includes all activities, a t-shirt, costume and meals. Scholarships are available.



A full day of workshops on Thursday, February 21, Nokomis Regional High School. The culminating program will take place during the evening starting at 6:30: “Closing Act” demonstrating some of the days accomplishments.



  • “I learn skills that can help me with my everyday life with building things and every day communication working as a team.” Maine Central Institute Student
  • “Thank you very much. We cannot believe that a program of this caliber exists in Central, Maine.”  Parent from Brownfield, Maine
  • “It was such a full day with so many choices. My daughter can’t wait until next year.”  Parent from Pittsfield, Maine 
  • They’re here having fun but what they really don’t know is that they are here learning. They are problem solving and they are thinking on their feet.”  Lisa Neal, drama teacher at Nokomis Regional High School”


Workshop information is located at Register at Questions, email


Watershed Workshops

January 23, 2019

Ceramic workshops for educators

Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts located in Newcastle, ME is excited to offer two workshops for k-12 ceramic art educators in 2019. Both opportunities have grant support for teachers to participate at a significant discount. Follow the links below to info on the workshops.
Funding to support participation in either workshop is available for any Maine k-12 art educator who teaches ceramics at an accredited school. Space is limited in both workshops, so sign up soon to reserve your spot. There are three scholarship spots for the May workshop and fifteen scholarship spots for teachers in the July workshop.

MMEA District 2

January 22, 2019

Honors Instrumental Music Festival

On January 12, Maine Music Educators’ Assn District 2 held the Honors Instrumental Music Festival at Oxford Hills High School. The amazing High school band performance, under the direction of Grammy Award winning music educator, Jared Cassedy, is linked below.

Jared, music educator at Windham High School, Windham, NH was interviewed on CBS and you can read the ARTICLE HEREI have also included a link to Jared’s CBS interview. The performance was outstanding!

If your district concerts are videotaped and you’d like to see them on this blog please send me the information at Thanks!


Doodle 4 Google

January 21, 2019

Opportunity for learners, K-12

Use your imagination to create a Google Doodle based on what inspires you. The 2019 Doodle for Google contest is open and this year’s theme is

When I grow up, I hope…  

Students in the U.S. in grades K-12 are eligible to create a design, using any materials, and submit it to the Doodle for Google Competition. For eligibility, requirements, and rules CLICK HERE

DEADLINE: MARCH 18, 2019, 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time 

Each design must be accompanied by an ENTRY FORM


  1. Artistic merit:
    Based on artistic skill
  2. Creativity:
    Representation of the contest theme, use of the letters in the Google logo, and the unique approach to the doodle
  3. Theme communication:
    How well the contest theme is expressed in both the artwork and the written statement

Submissions will be divided into 5 grade level clusters for judging:

  1. Grades K-3
  2. Grades 4-5
  3. Grades 6-7
  4. Grades 8-9
  5. Grades 10-12

Jimmy Fallon and Kermit the Frog announcing the Doodle 4 Google on the Tonight Show!

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