Archive for May, 2019


Rock of Ages

May 31, 2019

Spruce Mountain High School

Each school year at this time of year music educator at Spruce Mountain and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Dianne Fenlason provides the opportunity for her students to perform rock music through the ages starting with Rock Around the Clock Tonight! Tonight on the 207 program, Rob Nesbit will be including a segment on the Rock of Ages performance.

2019 Spruce Rock of Ages Concert

Please note: the music starts about 20 minutes in

This is the 10 Year Spruce Rock of Ages Reunion Concert which took place on the second night of performances recently.

Please note: the music starts about 17 minutes in


Music on the Medomak

May 30, 2019


Once again Sophie and Josie Davis and friends Colin Wheatley and JY Lee will provide a summer concert that feature photos and artwork of the Midcoast area. This one, called “Music on the Medomak” will celebrate the Medomak River’s working waterfront – we hope it will capture the resilience and beauty of the river alongside it’s utilitarianism and the work it provides for so many people in the Waldoboro area. That concert will be at 7:00 p.m., June 22 at the Broad Bay Church in Waldoboro. More details about this concert on their newly created website!


Visual Literacy Through Gouache

May 29, 2019

Burnt Island

Two opportunities for professional development taking place this summer on Burnt Island, read the details below. If you have questions please contact FMI contact Elaine Jones at


State Teachers of the Year

May 28, 2019

57 Teaches Recognized

National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson

On April 29th, the White House and the U.S. Department of Education welcomed the State Teachers of the Year at the annual National Teacher of the Year Ceremony. National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson is a social studies and history teacher at a juvenile detention center in Richmond, Virginia. Robinson was inspired to teach by his mother, who went to a segregated school and couldn’t afford to complete her education. This event, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), celebrates 57 teachers from the continental United States as well as its territories.

The CCSSO said of Robinson in a statement:

“He creates a positive school culture by empowering his students — many of whom have experienced trauma — to become civically minded social advocates who use their skills and voices to affect physical and policy changes at their school and in their communities.”

The 2019 Maine Teacher of the Year was among those educators being honored as well. Joseph Hennessey who teaches English at Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford represents Maine this year and kindly provided the following description of his experience in D.C. In addition Joe provided the photographs that are embedded.

“From April 28th through May 3rd, I was fortunate to attend the Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) Washington Week. During the five day program, I, along with the other 56 members of the Teacher of the Year cohort, was able to meet with Congressional representatives on Capitol Hill, participate in educational policy focus groups and professional development, attend formal receptions at the White House and Vice President’s Residence, and tour a number of the landmarks scattered throughout the city. It was a week of firsts for me as I had never been to our nation’s capital before. My initial impression, sure to be one of many as I continue to ponder, is a reflection upon the enormous ideological and political scale assigned by time and circumstance to a medium sized, coastal American city.
The governmental institutions and their physical structures were awe-inspiring, and the reality is that many of our fellow citizens and neighbors will not have an opportunity to visit them, let alone be formally received. Thus, I felt it my duty to appreciate the enormity of it all. The pillars, pedestals, pediments, and windows are intended to overwhelm the senses– as if the ideas which the buildings house transcend the individual’s intellectual repertoire, skill set, or influence. What is more, those who designed these buildings– in effect, temples to democracy, to capitalism, to individualism– did so with an eye supposedly averse to the imperial aesthetic. And yet, from the giant obelisk at the center of the political complex, to the colossi which populate the monuments, it is clear that there is great homage being paid to Greece, Rome, and monarchical/imperial Europe. I found these buildings and places to be interesting counterpoints as we educators were in town to contemplate the various pathways which we had already walked in the interest of identity, equity, and pluralism staunchly opposed to such trappings of the “Old World.” As I share my experiences with colleagues and students, I am eager to see how my perspective will evolve on this front.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Also during our week in the center of America’s political sphere, I was by turns inspired and humbled to visit the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). In addition to viewing keystones of their art and cultural collections, I was fortunate enough to attend lectures by several prominent figures from throughout the Smithsonian Institution who gave me context for what I was able to glean. These structures and their collections were massive like the United States Supreme Court and United States Capitol Building, but their scale represented an even more crucial component of the complicated historical discourse which America continues to have with its various cultures. These

United States Supreme Court

museums are intellectual achievements which seek to further educate our population about our tremendous, invaluable diversity; as a person of comparative privilege, it was important for me to listen attentively to what was being said and to internalize what I was being shown. It also, subsequently, reaffirmed the role of the educator to me– which is to bring the interconnected world into the frame of reference of all young people, not to the exclusion,  subversion, or exception of academic skills. Education is indeed the path to self betterment and community betterment– when I use the materials and resources which the Smithsonian provides at no charge to all Americans, it will be with a new gravity which I was unfamiliar with before despite having used the resources in years past.

United States Capitol Building

In sum, my time in Washington was spent celebrating education, reflecting upon our roles as individual people and as part of interconnected cultures, and reaffirming the greater socioeconomic imperative of public education– to provide the essential public service. Each of the structures and institutions which I encountered was staffed by Americans from far and wide, including Maine, who were both adamant in their beliefs and fallible as we all are. So, while we must appreciate the scale and grandeur of what America has accomplished thus far in art, architecture, and philosophy, and politics, we must also be vigilant as public servants and individual citizens to continue to support our institutions, structures, and neighbors at the individual, interpersonal level.

What a wonderful, important week that it was…”

The Waldo

May 27, 2019

Waldoboro, Maine

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teaching Artist Leader Joe Cough and his wife Lindsay will be performing at The Waldo in Waldoboro in June. Check this out…

On the second Saturday of the month from June through October, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. galleries, studios, and creative businesses located in the heart of the historic Waldoboro village will be celebrating the Midcoast’s vibrant arts community.  As part of the series, The Waldo will offer tours of the theatre, freshly popped popcorn, and a rotation of established and up-and-coming performing artists. We’re happy to welcome back local Waldoboro musicians Joe and Lindsay Cough as the “opening act” of our 2019 series, sponsored by The Bangor Savings Bank.

The couple offers a range of eclectic and synergistic talent.  Joe is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, conductor, and educator who specializes in French melodies and uses his “spinto tenor” vocal technique across many musical genres. Lindsay is an accomplished singer and Norwegian hardanger fiddler. She is also a member of the Professional Doll Makers Art Guild, and creates in one-of-a-kind handmade polymer clay dolls. Her work is on Facebook at Wind’s Knees Art Dolls.

The Waldo hopes to highlight the hidden talent of the Midcoast throughout the summer. If you are interested in sharing your musical, literary, or performance prowess at an ArtWalk, please email and mention “ArtWalk” in the subject line to see how you can get involved!


The Clothespin Project

May 26, 2019

Western Foothills Land Trust

The Western Foothills Land Trust (WFLT) announces The Clothesline Project, a series of outdoor art exhibitions and poetry readings, to be hung at Shepard’s Farm Preserve in Norway, Maine. The Preserve is located at 121 Crockett Ridge Road and is part of a larger 272- acre conservation area that wraps around Witt Swamp.  The Clothesline Project is funded in part through a grant from the Onion Foundation to honor the history of the Penley Clothespin Company formerly of West Paris. Through this project, the Trust hopes to reinforce our community’s memory of a once huge local industry (wooden clothespins) while inspiring resource conservation and art in our everyday lives.

Last fall the Trust built a half-mile universally accessible trail at Shepard’s Farm with funding from The Davis Family Foundation, The Stephens Healthcare Foundation, Norway Savings Bank, and the Maine Art’s Commission. The trail provides a pleasurable wander through a former agricultural landscape and provides access to six Bernard Langlais sculptures. Eventually the Trust would like to add to the permanent outdoor collection at the preserve. This project, more temporary in scale, will provide an introduction to new artists, new materials, and new concepts of visual art at the preserve.

The project is being administered by Diana Arcadipone of the Folk Arts Studio @Fiber&Vine. Four artists will be selected for a one-person exhibition to be installed outdoors for 3 weeks between September 2019 and December 2019. Selected artists will be paid an honorarium and will participate in a preview opening on August 15th (showing a taste of what’s to come), and will install or hang their work on the 15’ clothesline. Special attention will be paid to innovative albeit temporal works that will sustain the weather during their three-week exhibition. All mediums and concepts will be considered. Artists must live in Western Maine  permanently or seasonally. Deadline to apply is June 25. For information on applying:

Questions? Contact Lee Dassler, Western Foothills Land Trust at or call 739.2124.


Egyptian Studies

May 25, 2019

Technology and images

Tutankhamun took over the throne in Egypt as a 9 or 10 year old after his father King Akhenaten died. If you are an elementary teacher or perhaps have a child of that age, can you imagine them ruling a country?

The Egyptian pharaoh ruled during the 18th dynasty, the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom. He is popularly referred to as King Tut – his full name is Tutankhaten. He ruled only until he was about 18 years old and it is still a mystery as to why he died at such a young age. Scientists do agree that he was not a healthy young man.

Having visited Egypt back in 1973 with my sister I was most interested in what the technology provided. The 7 minute video embedded below will provide a quick history lesson. In 1922 his King Tut’s tomb was discovered. It wasn’t until 2006 that 2000 CAT scans were taken of his mummy and an image has been produced along with putting together other information about the young king.


Careers in Art Series for Kids

May 24, 2019

Architecture and Design

The fifth children’s workshop in the Careers in Art Series for Kids, Exploring Architecture and Design: Lessons in Seeing and Creating the World Around You will be led by Judith Schneider at The Folk Art Studio at Fiber and Vine, 402 Main Street in Norway on Saturday, June 8th.  This workshop series is designed to expose children to the myriad of processes and professions for visual artists and 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. For this workshop, please register by June 2nd for the workshop on June 8th.


Workshop Description                     

Students will discover the relationship between their bodies and their surroundings and gain an understanding of how design ideas turn into built environments. We will look at ways in which architectural proportions are geared to human scale: doors are to walk through, windows are to see through and stairs are to climb. Why are they the same? When are they different? Students will learn a practical way to understand units of measurement; What is a Smoot? Why are horses measured in hands? Learn how to measure spaces and make a scaled drawing.

Judy Schneider is a painter, a printmaker and a designer. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA for interior architecture. Her MFA in studio art is from Maine College of Art in Portland, ME. Judy maintains both her art and design practice. She is a member of the Peregrine Press and has a studio in her home on Pennesseewassee Lake in Norway.

The Western Maine Art Group, 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 registration, call 207-739-2664 or contact

For more information, contact Diana Arcadipone, 617-780-9629


Leaning In

May 23, 2019

Mary Billiter writes

I included information about Mary Billiter, from Wyoming, in my blog post yesterday. Award-winning author Mary wrote the following and I’m re-printing it with her permission. Mary has a new book being released in July titled “A Divided Mind.” You can reach Mary directly at

Mary presenting at the conference

Recently, I stood at the front of a room full of women as a conference presenter. Before I began the session, I glanced at my mentor, who sat in the front row. There wasn’t time for a quick pep talk and that was okay. After spending the week with her I knew her message was simple, yet effective: Lean in.

It was her go-to whenever I voiced concerns about a week filled with firsts: facilitating my first grants panel meeting, presenting at my first women’s conference, and attending two college commencement ceremonies for my first-born twin sons – lean in, she said, lean in.

“Lean in” was in reference to researcher and New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown, who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy.

The concept is simple: Instead of numbing ourselves in difficult situations, “lean” into vulnerability and fragility. The practice of leaning into vulnerability to get to courage isn’t always easy. Brown encourages those attempting this practice to “embrace the suck.”

By leaning into the suck we can model a way forward for ourselves and others to love and see ourselves for who we are.

The more I learned about “leaning in,” I realized the practice was modeled by my sons long before I knew that was what they were doing.

This May I have three children graduating – my twin sons, Austin and Kyle, from college and my daughter from high school. And my sixth-grader is quick to remind me that he is graduating from elementary school to junior high.

There is much to celebrate in May including mental health awareness month.

Watching Austin and then Kyle graduate brought up different feelings at each event.

As my oldest child, if even by a minute, Austin set the bar high: double major, magna cum laude, rugby player and president of his college’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. He killed it. There wasn’t anything Austin didn’t accomplish in his four years of college including studying abroad and starting his college career at the University of Wyoming so he could be with his twin brother for the first two years.

I don’t know many siblings that would postpone their out-of-state college plans to attend Wyoming’s only four-year university with their brother.

But Austin did. During their senior year in high school, Kyle was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Austin knew the battle Kyle faced with his mental health and didn’t want him to go it alone. Austin leaned in. And so did Kyle.

By leaning into the unknown, they thrived. Neither of them allowed the stigma of mental illness to affect what they did. They roomed together their freshman year, pledged the same fraternity and were there for each other that fall when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

They also argued over the car they shared, laundry, and cleaning duties. They locked each other out of their dorm room, ate the other’s food, and collectively pointed the finger at the other when their carpet was stained with jungle juice.

In short, they were 18-year-olds adjusting to college life.

They treated Kyle’s mental health no differently than they would any other illness that required medication and maintenance.

And in turn, they created an environment where shame, fear and silence had no place to survive, which allowed Kyle to thrive. They leaned into mental health the same way they leaned into the new experience of college.

Stigma is toxic to those with mental health issues because it creates an environment where shame, fear and silence prevents many people from seeking help and treatment.

By collectively leaning in, they broke the perception and stigma associated with mental illness.

Austin spent the spring semester of his sophomore year abroad while Kyle stayed the course in Laramie. Austin finished his college education in Ohio and Kyle finished his degree in Wyoming. Four years later they are both college graduates.

Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May, reaching millions.

This cause is important to me on many levels: One in five Americans is affected by mental health conditions. As the mom of a young adult with a mental health condition, raising awareness about mental health and eliminating the stigma is important.

I understand all too well about breaking the stigma. My son’s diagnosis caused me to check my assumptions about mental illness.

The myths about people with mental health problems are great. A leading myth is that people with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

Not true. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicebreaks down myths with facts. And the facts are that the vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don’t even realize it, because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.

Mental illness does not discriminate- mental health disorders affect men and women of all ages, races and social classes.

The more we lean into the mental health, the greater a chance we have to break the stigma.

You can learn more about Mary at THIS LINKThis story is also posted at THRIVE GLOBAL. Her upcoming release, “A Divided Mind,” offers a compelling look into how far a mother will go to protect her child and how far a divided mind will go to protect itself.


In Today’s News

May 22, 2019

Making new history

Joao Victor reciting at the National Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington D.C.

The City Council in Lewiston has created a new position – “Youth Poet Laureate” of the city and presented it to the state’s 2019 Poetry Out Loud Champion.

And, the purpose you might wonder? To encourage youth involvement in the arts. If you ask me – that is PRETTY WONDERFUL! Congratulations Victor!

Read the ENTIRE ARTICLE in the Sun Journal, written by Andrew Rice.

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