Archive for January, 2021


Rural Arts Education Strategies

January 31, 2021

Finding Your Own Yellow Brick Road in Challenging Times

Mark your calendars for February 5, 2021
12:30-2:30 p.m. EST


Join a national conversation and gain greater understanding of the rural context by engaging with national experts, Dr. Lisa DonovanMassachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Clayton W. Lord, Americans for the Arts. Also presenting is Peggy BurtMindful StrategiesErica BarretoMassachusetts College of Liberal Arts; and Hector MarquezPulse Arts, Inc

Participants will

  • Gain greater understanding of the rural context by engaging in a national conversation;
  • Learn a strategic mapping process created by Americans for the Arts;
  • Engage in interactive processes and network with other leaders from across the country;
  • Consider perspectives from next generation leaders; and
  • Walk away with a map for shaping strategies.

This event is co-sponsored by the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association and the California Alliance for Arts Education.


The Prayer

January 30, 2021

This beautiful version of The Prayer came across my email recently and included that the singers are from Columbia. Included on YouTube was that the singers names are unknown. Obviously they enjoy singing and at least one of them wanted to share. They look like they may be in a small cafe. Enjoy!


Moving Beyond the Moment

January 29, 2021

Fostering Authentic Transformation for Sustainable Outcomes

The Maine Department of Education is sponsoring a workshop by Amber Coleman-Mortley, Moving Beyond the Movement: Fostering Authentic Transformation for Sustainable Outcomes. Amber Coleman-Mortley brings a diverse voice into civic education, manages a large network of education influencers, and has built a successful youth fellowship of students fighting for equity in civic education. Amber’s advocacy and expertise have been featured in the New York Times on several occasions.


Module 1 – Now is the Time: Using the past to inform the present
How do we apply anti-racism, anti-bias, and equity to civics and history classrooms?

Module 2 – Be bold. Be brave. Be inclusive: Engaging your stakeholders
How do we facilitate community engagement around anti-bias work?

Module 3 – Culturally relevant pedagogy for all
How can we leverage culturally relevant pedagogy to support all learners in our school community?

Module 4 – Practical applications and continued strategies for continued allyship
What small, and large, changes are required to ensure that our practices and policies are investments, not investigations?

Every Wednesday in February

February 3, 2021; 7:00-9:00 PM
February 10, 2021; 7:00-8:30 PM
February 17, 2021; 7:00-9:00 PM
February 24,  2021; 7:00-8:30 PM


This workshop series will require participants to maintain a reflection journal. Participants should come motivated to create change and should be prepared to participate in group discussions based on readings and resources shared prior to the session.

Engaging in this cohort provides an opportunity for participants to earn credit hours. To receive credit, participants must attend all four sessions.

For more information contact Danielle Despins; a volunteer member of Maine DOE’s internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) sub-committee at (207) 592-1448.

For more information CLICK HERE.


Maine Arts Commission Funding

January 28, 2021

Deadlines for grant applications

The Maine Arts Commission has a variety of funding opportunities for educators and artists. Below are the dates that you may be interested in so please check out the information at THIS LINK to see all the grant descriptions or click on one of the grant titles below. You will need to establish an account if you don’t already have one in order to view the application and detailed information. The required match for all grants in the FY22 grant cycle is waived.



60th Anniversary

January 27, 2021

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School

This is a special year for us here at Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School with offices and studios in Camden. 2020 marked the 60th Anniversary of our organization while this coming spring ushers in 10 years for our Music School. We could not have anticipated that both of these milestones would be celebrated in the face of a global pandemic but it has made us ever more mindful of the important role music plays in our lives. At Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School our mission is to enrich the lives of people in our community through high-quality concert programs, music education and community engagement. Through both our performing arts series which introduces a wealth of diverse and varied musicians to the Midcoast and our music school, which offers high quality private and group instruction, we strive to make classical and new music accessible to all. 

To say this year has presented us all with challenges would perhaps be an understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic, which first impacted our lives in March has continued to limit our daily comings and goings, our travel plans, and holiday gatherings. Without the option to host live events, our summer and fall have been notably quiet. While this has in many ways been difficult, it has also offered us a unique opportunity for reflection. We are continually inspired by the energy, enthusiasm, and commitment that our Music School has showcased. In the face of a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, the desire to hear, create, learn and listen has triumphed.

When we first closed our doors in March it was with deep sadness and anxiety, and yet through the efforts of our staff, faculty, and Music School families the shift to virtual lessons, while certainly not without its hiccups, was a smooth one. Now, as fall shifts into winter we are proud to be offering both limited in person and virtual lessons to more than 70 students. To have our offices filled with music again is a delight! A lesson we have learned in the face of these challenges is that there is immense strength and beauty in our community as we all look to find new and inventive ways to continue to forge connection and nurture joy. From our students who Skype in sonatas, and Face-time arias, to our faculty who have worked so tireless to juggle schedules, accommodate needs, and be sure that each lesson is held safely, we are so grateful for the flexibility and patience we have seen in the past months. There is immense solace and joy to be had in music and we are honored to be a part of our student’s continued journeys. 

In the face of rapid change, it has been astounding to see the ingenuity that surrounds us. This month we will be screening our student recitals, filmed at home or with an instructor, on the wall of the Shepherd Building in Rockport Village and inviting parents and students to join us outside for a socially distanced viewing. Finding ways to continue to come together, safely and joyously, is vital in this moment and we are grateful for the support we have received from the community in helping us facilitate learning, sustain growth and continue to offer our programming even in the midst of so much uncertainty.

Spring Registration is now open! We will be offering virtual and limited in-person private lessons, Chamber Groups and Ensembles beginning February 1st, 2021. Bay Chamber Music School welcomes students of all ages and musical backgrounds. We are committed to making music education affordable and accessible to all. Scholarship assistance is available to those who qualify. 


Maine Arts Education Advocacy Day

January 26, 2021

Sponsored by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education and the Arts are Basic Coalition, and supported by the Maine Department of Education, this 90-minute plenary session, featuring reports by Governor Janet T. Mills, Education Commissioner Pender Makin, and state arts education association leaders, will report on the impact of this year’s pandemic on arts education. The plenary will kick-off a week of meetings between high school arts advocacy student teams and their state legislators.



Happpppy 2021

January 25, 2021

Over the last month during the time that I wasn’t blogging 3 deer came to my backyard almost every night munching on the acorns that have piled up under our Oak trees. The time I may have spent blogging, which I often do late or early in the morning, I spent watching the deer. While the moon was bright and we had snow on the ground they stood out quite well and I could watch from one of two windows. They didn’t notice me when I stood perfectly still.

Considering we’re barely one month into the new year we certainly have experienced many BIG events. I’ve received many resources to help us navigate this world as teachers. Instead of going back and including them ‘after the fact’ I will try my best to incorporate them into blog posts moving forward.

I have to say as an art teacher I have enjoyed the enormous amount of very clever memes of Bernie in his mittens made by an elementary school teacher from Vermont. I loved reading an interview where she mentioned how surprised she was by the attention she was receiving because of the mittens she made for Bernie and the teachers at her daughters pre-school. She had sewn them and gifted them in 2017 in her craft room on a machine that her mother gave her when she was 12 years old. She also mentioned that she had no desire to leave teaching to make mittens full time. She has received hundreds of requests for mittens. My heart warmed when I read that sweatshirts with the photo were being sold for $45 on Bernie’s website with all the proceeds going to VT Meals on Wheels. Creativity benefitting a good cause!

I was so impressed with so many of the components of Inauguration Day, especially the performers. This includes the hopeful words of Yo Yo Ma and his cello performance of “Amazing Grace” delivered to President Biden at the Lincoln Memorial. “Throughout the pandemic, Ma has been delivering cello offerings on Twitter, bringing peace through music in a time of pain for many.” (from Lady Gaga’s rendition of the National Anthem was stunning and her outfit spoke volumes in its representation of traditions. The gold colored dove that she wore was a dove carrying an olive branch symbolizing her wish: “May we all make peace with each other.” She went on to say “My intention is to acknowledge our past, be healing for our present, and passionate for a future where we work together lovingly. I will sing to the hearts of all people who live on this land. Respectfully and kindly, Lady Gaga”. I read comments from some of my Maine music colleagues that this was the first time I was brought to tears listening to “The Stars Spangled Banner” brought me

Outstanding performances by Garth Brooks, Demi Lovato, Jeff Bradshaw, Jennifer Lopez, New Radicals, Earth, Wind & Fire, John Legend, and Tom Hanks hosting the TV special.

By far, for me, the highlight of the day was Amanda Gorman’s performance of her poem “The Hill We Climb”. Perhaps it is because I was responsible for the Maine Poetry Out Loud program for the six years I worked at the Maine Arts Commission. I loved and admired the high schoolers who participate in the program. Amanda had all of the components of amazing poetry and by far her performance was truly remarkable. Amanda is 22 years old and the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, suggested by Dr. Jill Biden to recite. She is an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where she studied Sociology. Amanda is the first National Youth Poet Laureate. I love hearing her goal is to become President. I’m sure whatever pathway she is on she’ll continue to inspire and make a difference in this world.

The Hill We Climb

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast,
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
and the norms and notions
of what just is
isn’t always just-ice.
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken,
but simply unfinished.
We the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes we are far from polished.
Far from pristine.
But that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge a union with purpose,
to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us,
but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,
that even as we grieved, we grew,
that even as we hurt, we hoped,
that even as we tired, we tried,
that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat,
but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time,
then victory won’t lie in the blade.
But in all the bridges we’ve made,
that is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb.
If only we dare.
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth,
in this faith we trust.
For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption
we feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter.
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert,
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was,
but move to what shall be.
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free.
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation,
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain,
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy,
and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with.
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast,
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful.
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

I am hopeful for 2021 and the future as the artists mentioned above and so many more are given opportunities to let their voices be heard. Another reason why excellent PreK through 12 Arts Education should be afforded to all children no matter their zip code.


On Hiatus

January 4, 2021

The Maine Arts Education Blog is on hiatus!



January 1, 2021

Ahhhh… using our hearts while making art, teaching, and decision making. Remember that you’re part of a community of caring and incredible individuals. Thank you for being YOU!

My heart is sending love and warm wishes for a wonderful 2021!

Thanks to a blog reader who shared this very lovely rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” sung by the Scottish folk singer, Dougie MacLean.

PS The Maine Arts Education Blog is on hiatus!

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