Archive for February, 2019

h1

Young Artists’ Gallery Takeover

February 28, 2019

Waterfall Arts – Belfast

Years of fabulous quality arts programming for learners of all ages and now for the fourth year in a row about 200 pieces of artwork will be on display. Visit Waterfall Arts in Belfast for the opening: Friday, March 1, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

h1

Arts Engage ME

February 27, 2019

Cultural Sector Network Meeting

Folks traveled from all parts of Maine for the Cultural Sector Network Meeting earlier this week. Maine Arts Commission Executive Director Julie Richard provided a presentation on the state budget which included how the Arts Commission is funded.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Traveling from DC for the meeting was the Executive Director of the Americans for the Arts Arts Action Fund, Nina Ozlu Tunnel provided an update on the federal budget.

Special guest Congresswoman Chellie Pingree was present to provide the Congressional outlook. Those attending joined in celebrating the congresswoman’s role as the Co-Chair of the House Congressional Arts Caucus.

Also in attendance and speaking were staff from Senator Collins and Senator King’s offices.

Everyone is looking forward to Arts & Culture Day planned for the State House on April 22. If you’re interested in participating please contact the Maine Arts Commission.

 

h1

MALI Teacher Leader Story: Anthony Lufkin

February 26, 2019

Art Educator

This is one of six blog posts in 2019 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 8 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 96 Teacher Leaders and 11 Teaching Artist Leaders. CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. Thank you Anthony for sharing your story!

Anthony Lufkin

Anthony Lufkin currently teaches art in RSU #40, at three small schools, including Friendship Village School, Prescott Memorial School, and Union Elementary School. In addition, Anthony teaches a weekly class at Rivers Alternative Middle School which is on the same premises as Union Elementary. This is Anthony’s 12thyear teaching; 4 years at Sedomocha Elementary in Dover-Foxcroft, 4 years at Appleton Village School in Appleton, and the rest in his current position. Presently, he has about 300 students that he sees once a week for about 40 minutes.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

I like to create, whether for aesthetics or function, it is a gratifying experience for me to use my hands, to think visually, and experiment with ideas. The collaboration of ideas that comes with teaching and learning is as exciting for me as the creation process. Teaching art in my opinion, is visually capturing what already exists in students. It is harnessing the innate characteristics of art that drive creativity, expression, innovation, investigation, and the ability to develop fine motor skills.  It is a powerful tool, and a great opportunity. It is being immersed in the subject, refining skills, pushing creative boundaries, sharing ideas, and celebrating successes. While the logistics of the educational field may have its difficulties, I find the interaction with students, the development of ideas, and the growth in understanding and skill development in both students and myself, very rewarding.

One other thing I appreciate most about art education, is that I can help students respond to ideas through artistic mediums by developing their skills, knowledge, and understanding of the materials and therefore begin to understand the potential for communication. When students are able to make connections, transfer and apply their learning outside of the art room, it is both a fulfilling and motivating experience. Knowing what I am teaching them has application and seeing them utilizing it not only justifies what I do, but inspires me to develop more thought provoking, interconnected, and inspiring teaching practices

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

Three important components to a successful VPA program in my opinion, are resources, flexibility, and support.

Having access to quality resources will help define how students perceive art. This does not necessarily mean having the cake made for you, but having the materials and tools to make it.  There is a distinct difference in feeling if you are working in a shared space versus having a designated studio space. The same applies to materials. We don’t need to give oil paints to kindergarteners, but we need to use materials the same way we project high expectations on students if we expect them to value the experience.

One of the nice things about teaching art is that it is more expansive than linear, allowing for more flexibility in curriculum than most subjects. It does not mean just doing whatever, but rather having the ability to experiment, to find new ways to connect with students, and to try new methods and materials. Making progressive and relevant changes is important in education and requires at least some experimentation to implement. This flexibility also allows room for educators to connect more with their students interests, making the information relevant and creating applicable associations for students. I firmly believe there is still a linear progression to art education, however, there are many pathways to getting there. Having the ability to customize it to a specific audience, will create a more relatable and impactful experience.

Similar to resources, perception of the art program is important to student engagement. Having the support of administration, colleagues, parents and community members, not only makes our job easier, it also creates a positive assumption in students that there is value in what we do. When parents and teachers are engaged with what is happening, students naturally develop a stronger sense of importance. What a community values can easily be seen in its children. If we are to have a successful VPA program, we need to build and foster support.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

I have found informal assessment to be an invaluable tool in developing student growth both in skills, and conceptual understanding. Being able to respond to students throughout the process allows me to interject when students are struggling, and to provide support to help them understand the components of techniques and expression of ideas. With the limited amount of time I have with students, I have found verbal formative assessments to be the most beneficial and productive to students’ growth. I also include some critiquing components such as visual thinking skills when looking artwork to help students analyze and create meaning. Helping them create meaning is as important as helping them create.

MALI Critical Friend Day, November 2018

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

I joined MALI this year after talking to several other VPA educators that recommended it. I was aware of its existence but not really sure about its application. Becoming involved with MALI has been motivational, providing a platform for creating improvements. Through the collaborative exercises, the processes of feedback, and the access to resources, it has helped me begin a pathway to creating improvement I would have otherwise thought incapable of happening. There is always room for improvement. Using MALI as a platform has already helped foster more impact on making some of those improvements a reality. There is a lot of work to do within my logic model, but I feel confident through this process that I will be able to influence the necessary stakeholders to move in a positive direction.

What are you most proud of in your career?

As I continue in the teaching profession, there are a few things that really motivate me, and keep invested in my work. Visual culture is such a huge and underrated component of society so creating awareness has always been a driving factor for me. To create awareness, I have sought to create opportunities for students to see how art is integrated throughout life experiences and give them the tools to actively participate in communication through visual literacy. I am proud of the integrated, collaborative, and extracurricular opportunities I have been able to provide students.

As students develop, there is a gradual shift from the creativity and skill development of traditional art mediums to a more social awareness that tends to start a gradual decline in participation and eventually interest in art. I know most students enjoy creating, but it becomes a balance of time, a self-conscious view of abilities and self, and drive towards financial stability that stifles their continued growth.  Creating opportunities that make connections for students, has helped to keep them engaged, and helped them see the relevance and possibilities that art can have on their lifestyle and career. Not everyone will make a career out of art, but everyone can and should appreciate it for what is, as a reflection of humanity.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Currently, one of my biggest obstacles is the logistics of my position. Being an itinerant teacher, and only seeing students once a week makes it very difficult to create any continuity. Just working in separate spaces, toting materials between schools, working in a gymnasium for the majority of my classes are a few of the difficulties of the position.

Another difficult component to teaching art in my position are the natural interruptions that cause missed classes. There have been times that I have not seen students over the course of a month due to snow days, field trips, sick days, etc. It is very hard to maintain sequential learning without continuity and to teach transferable concepts, when students don’t have enough time and access to the material.

And, of course time.

Anthony at the Gala celebrating the Maine Teacher of the Year educators. Anthony is the 2018 Knox County Teacher of the Year.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

Something I have spent a lot of time on is the development of curriculum and lesson plans that are both relevant and engaging. The more times I teach something, the more connections I can make, and the more clearly I see the effectiveness. My “curriculum” is as it should be, is in constant flux.  There are some tried and true lessons I do not change much, but most are adapted regularly and I am constantly on the lookout for better ways to build skills and convey concepts. I am sure it looks like any other art class to most, but there are many details and research I have put into my process.  Understanding developmental levels, how to have high but reasonable standards, how to structure building blocks of learning both over the course of a year and over several years, are all important aspects that may not be noticed but I believe make a huge difference in how effective and art education can be.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Teaching is a social service. It is not a lucrative job and success is not based on a financial scale. It is though, one of the most rewarding occupations one can have. You are given the opportunity to influence the future more than anyone else. It is a powerful and humbling experience.

There is the saying that there are two types of people, those that work to live, and those that live to work. There should be a balance though, being self-aware and allowing time to step back, is crucial to the longevity of a successful teaching career. It is also important to work in a field you enjoy. However, to truly appreciate something, you need to be able to see it from other perspectives as well so it is important to take a step back every once in a while. There is the quote by Marc Anthony, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. True to some degree, though I would argue that all success requires hard work. Being able to see the big picture and being passionate about it, gives a sense of accomplishment and gratitude to the work that is being done. I like the quote by Dr. J a little better: “Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them”.

Some other advice, be passionate. If you’re not excited about it, neither will your students. Even if it’s not your favorite thing to teach, teach it with enthusiasm. Being passionate is projected and will create interest.

Finally, have a plan, and a back-up plan, and maybe even plan C. There can be many difficulties to teaching whether it is specific students, administration, parents, access to materials or resources, etc. If you are not prepared for these, they can derail you. If you are though, you can take them in stride, and not let them cripple your perspective on teaching. You’ll also look good doing it.

MALI Summer Institute, August 2018, USM

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I feel like the most fiscally responsible thing to do with such a large amount of money would be to invest it. Using the interest, I would think I would be able to create a system of sustainable growth contributing to the enhancements of the art programs and facilities in my district and community first, then possibly expand to other areas of the state.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I do and would regret opportunities I was not able to take advantage of. We only have one life to live so I think it is important to make the most of it. However, if we are always trying to take advantage of opportunities, it is easy to get burnt out and lose focus on what matters. It is important to see and appreciate the little things that make life so great. One of the benefits of having a job directly focused in art, is that it encourages me to take time to look closely at things, to identify and appreciate the subtleties that make life so interesting.

So, my regrets don’t mean I am disappointed with the direction my life has and will go. The events in my life have shaped who I am. The path I have taken has sculpted the way I think, interact, and of course teach. Therefore, it is the destiny I have put forth. Plus, I teach art for a living. I think that’s hard to beat.

h1

POL State Finals

February 25, 2019

Please join us, Waterville Opera House, March 11

Thirty two high schools including 4,300 students from across Maine participated in the Poetry Out Loud program this year.  This year’s regional contests were hosted at Hampden Academy and Westbrook Performing Arts Centers. The Maine Arts Commission, which produces and administers the statewide contests is excited about the upcoming state finals at the Waterville Opera House on March 11 at 3 p.m. where ten high school students will perform. The event is free and open to the public.

The doors at the State Finals will open at 2:30 p.m. and at 2:45 p.m. the Messalonskee High School jazz band, under the direction of music educator Andy Forster, will perform. Later in the program they will perform for a second time.

In addition, Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum will read from his poems. The event will be hosted by local television personality, Bill Green.

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

Congratulations to the following finalists, their teachers and schools:

Northern Maine Regional Champions (in order alphabetically by school):

  • Shapnah McKenzie, Bangor High School
  • Magnolia Vandiver, George Stevens Academy
  • Hannah Lavenson, Messalonskee High School
  • Emma Jacot-Descombes, Rangeley Lakes Regional Schools
  • Emily Campbell, Waterville High School

Southern Maine Regional Champions (in order alphabetically by school):

  • Southern Regional Finalists Wyatt Bates, Delaney Zeigman, Aaliyah Biamby, Allan Monga, and Joao Victor

    Allan Monga, Deering High School

  • Aaliyah Biamby, Gorham High School
  • Joao Victor, Lewiston High School
  • Delaney Ziegman, Thornton Academy
  • Wyatt Bates, Yarmouth High School

There will be three rounds of recitations. Each student will recite two poems from memory. The scores will be tallied and five students will go to the final round reciting one more of their favorite poems. One state finalist will be named the overall state champion and advance to the national competition, where they will compete for a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends, as well as a $20,000 scholarship.

The event will also be broadcast and live streamed on the Maine Arts Commission’s Facebook page in collaboration with Boothbay Region Television and other local access TV stations.

For more information about the state and national finals, please visit the Maine Arts Commission: Poetry Out Loud webpage or contact me, Argy Nestor at argy.nestor@maine.gov or 207-287-2713.

Poetry Out Loud is organized nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission.

h1

Gone Viral

February 24, 2019

Spreading goodness

A painting of a painting of a painting of a painting all started thanks to a son posted a painting his mother did to encourage/support her to keep painting. This is amazing – please CHECK IT OUT HERE and think about how to apply to your teaching and learning.

h1

Grant Funding

February 23, 2019

NEA announces grants

National Endowment for the Arts Announces More than $27 Million in Grants Reaching All 50 States, DC, and Puerto Rico

Washington, DC— With today’s announcement of more than $27 million in grants, the National Endowment for the Arts is continuing its efforts to provide all Americans with the opportunity to participate in and experience the arts. These fiscal year 2019 grants will reach all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. This is the first of two major grant announcements in fiscal year 2019 and includes three of the agency’s funding categories: Art Works and Challenge America to support projects by nonprofit organizations, and Creative Writing Fellowships. Through these grants, the National Endowment for the Arts supports local economies and preserves American heritage while embracing new forms of creative expression.

“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Click here for a list of all the recommended grants in this announcement sorted by city and state.

  • Click here for a list of recommended grants separated by category: Art Works (sorted by artistic discipline/field), Challenge America, and Creative Writing Fellowships in poetry.
  • Click here to use the online Grant Search to find additional project details for National Endowment for the Arts grants.
  • Click here for the lists of the panelists who reviewed the applications for funding.

Art Works

Art Works is the National Endowment for the Arts’ principal grantmaking program. The Arts Endowment convened panels to review 1,605 eligible applications for funding and the agency will award 972 grants ranging from $10,000-$100,000 totaling more than $25 million. Projects include:

  • An arts education grant of $10,000 to Mauro, Inc. in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to support therapeutic arts programs including in- and after-school dance and theater residencies for children affected by Hurricane Maria.
  • A theater grant of $30,000 to Theatre Squared in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to support the Arkansas New Play Festival. The festival will serve as a laboratory for new play development and present the work of emerging playwrights to audiences in Bentonville and Fayetteville.
  • A folk and traditional arts grant of $30,000 to Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission in Olympia to support a series of presentations to showcase cultural and occupational communities in the state, increasing participation in the parks, while also strengthening cultural identities and fostering cross-cultural respect between the various ethnic communities.
  • A design grant of $45,000 to Design Museum Boston to support the publication Bespoke Bodies: The Design and Craft of Prosthetics, which will include a 500-year history of prosthetics, case studies of how prosthetics design changes the lives of people with limb loss, and guest essays addressing global impact, athletic performance, and bionics.

Challenge America

The Challenge America category primarily supports small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

For fiscal year 2019, expert readers reviewed 221 eligible applications and the agency will award 138 grants of $10,000 each for a total of $1.38 million. Projects include:

  • A grant to Josephine Sculpture Park Inc. in Frankfort, Kentucky, to support a multidisciplinary arts festival featuring outdoor sculptures and associated outreach events. A guest artist will be in residence before the festival to create and install a new sculptural work with the help of local students.
  • A grant to Maplewood Housing for the Visually Impaired in Chicago, Illinois, to support a collaboration between a sound artist and blind weavers to create a woven art piece for exhibition. The guest artist will help incorporate technology and sound elements into the artwork.
  • A grant to Eastport Arts Center in Eastport, Maine, to support a community-based musical theater work produced in partnership with the Passamaquoddy Tribe. The development of performing arts programming intended to serve residents of the Pleasant Point Reservation is in alignment with tribal strategies to combat poverty, unemployment, and opioid use.

Creative Writing Fellowships

In fiscal year 2019, the National Endowment for the Arts will award 35 Creative Writing Fellowships in poetry. Each fellowship is $25,000 for a total of $875,000. Nearly 1,700 eligible applications were received and reviewed anonymously by a panel, resulting in a group of recipients from across the country, diverse in ethnicity and background. None of the 2019 recipients have previously received an NEA fellowship.

Visit the Arts Endowment’s Literature Fellowships webpage to read excerpts by and features on past Creative Writing Fellows and recipients of Literature Fellowships for translation projects.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

Contact: Liz Auclair, auclaire@arts.gov, 202-682-5744

h1

Musical Theater

February 22, 2019

Songwriting challenge #IWriteMuscials

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts is supporting the next generation of American songwriters. For the second year and in collaboration with the American Theatre Wing, the Arts Endowment is calling for applications from high school students to the agency’s Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. This national program is for students with a passion for writing songs that could be part of a musical theater production and the wide range of musical styles represented in contemporary musical theater including hip-hop, rock, R&B, country, jazz, and more.

Application is simple and can be completed online beginning today, February 12 with a deadline of April 30, 2019 at midnight ET. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #IWriteMusicals.

This year’s competition follows a successful inaugural year in 2018 that featured finalists from across the country. For this second year, the Songwriting Challenge will again pair six finalist songwriters (either single songwriters or duos) with professional musical theater artists to develop the students’ original song into a Broadway-stage-ready composition. The Arts Endowment and the Wing welcome back Disney Theatrical Productions and Samuel French, Inc., a Concord Theatricals company, as Songwriting Challenge partners.

Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge National Champions: Angel Rodriguez, 2016 (Photo by NEA Staff) and David Volpini, 2018 (Photo by Natalie Powers).

“The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge is part of the Arts Endowment’s commitment to nurture the creative talents of our nation’s young people,” said Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “By assisting these student songwriters, the Songwriting Challenge contributes to the ongoing vitality of the American art form of musical theater.”

“Cultivating young talent is crucial for our industry and for our world,” said Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing. “I am thrilled to once again be partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts, Disney Theatrical Productions, and Samuel French on the Songwriting Challenge, which furthers our commitment to the next generation.”

After the application deadline of April 30, 2019, the Arts Endowment and the Wing will convene panels in different regions of the country to review all of the applications. Per last year, each panel will consist of experienced songwriters and musicians who will select one finalist or finalist duo from its region. Those finalists will be announced at the end of June 2019.

Each finalist will be paired with a musical theater mentor and music director to form a coaching team that will work directly with the student to hone all parts of their song. Initially, each coaching team will work with their finalist remotely using Skype/video conferencing software. This will be followed by an in-person coaching weekend when the mentor and music director travel to the finalists’ home community to work together. This extended coaching period allows for a deeper experience for the student finalists.

After the mentorship weekend, each finalist’s song will be transcribed, performed by Broadway singers and musicians, and recorded. Students will be able to watch rehearsals either via Skype/video conferencing or in person, depending on their schedules. As in 2018, Samuel French has generously agreed to publish a songbook containing each of the finalists’ song in their transcribed form.

There are also plans to convene a video conference for the finalists, mentors, and music directors to meet each other and discuss their unique songs and the perspectives they’ve gained by participating in the program.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more about NEA.

About the American Theatre Wing
The American Theatre Wing champions bravery, with a focus on developing the next generation of brave artists. We envision an American Theatre that is as vital, multi-faceted, and diverse as the American people. The Wing’s programs span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American theatre.

We provide theatre education opportunities for underserved students through the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, develop the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC, Theatre Intern Network, and SwingSeats programs, incubate innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, support emerging musical theatre songwriters through the Jonathan Larson® Grants in addition to the Songwriting Challenge, and illuminate the creative process through the Emmy-nominated “Working in the Theatre” documentary series. In addition to founding the Tony Awards®, which are co-presented with The Broadway League, the American Theatre Wing co-presents the Obie Awards®, Off Broadway’s Highest Honor, with The Village Voice. AmericanTheatreWing.org

%d bloggers like this: