Archive for March, 2021


Belfast Flying Shoes

March 31, 2021


How about a Social Break? Here’s a Friday night opportunity…

Belfast Flying Shoes has a vision: Bring folks together for a bit of music and dancing, some community connection, a wee skosh of silliness, and more.

April 2, at 7:00 pm and hosted by Raelin Callahan, Chrissy Fowler, and Glen Loper. Tunes by Bethany Waickman and Glen Loper: The Old Favorite (G jig) / Liza Jane (A reel) and Sheebeg Sheemore (D walz)



Jonathan Freedner (BFS dancer and volunteer) is putting together this month’s BFS RadioHour, Fri, April 2.  BFS Radio Hour at 6:00 pm each first Friday at 100.9 FM or via the WBFY website – or


Malaga Island

March 30, 2021

Resources available

The Maine State Museum is a wealth of information for teachers of all content and grade levels. One topic that they have excellent resources on is Malaga Island. The story of the island and the people who lived there have been of interest to me for some time.

If you’re not familiar with Malaga it is a 41 acre island located near Phippsburg at the mouth of the New Meadows River in Casco Bay. It was the site of an interracial community from the Civil War until 1911, when the residents were forced to leave their homes.

From the Maine State Museum webpage

By July 1, 1912, the community on Maine’s Malaga Island ceased to exist. The State of Maine had evicted the mixed-race community of fisherman and laborers in order to clear the small coastal island of “It’s Shiftless Population of Half-Breed Blacks and Whites”, as one 1911 newspaper article described it. The mixed-race community was controversial in the state; many people saw the island as an ugly mark on the pristine beauty of Maine’s coast. After years of well-publicized legal battles, the state succeeded in removing the community of around forty people, committing eight to the Maine School for the Feeble Minded. By the end of 1912, all visible traces of the community disappeared – houses were moved and the cemetery was exhumed.

Not long ago the museum had a comprehensive exhibit on the community and they’ve been able to include many of the resources online (links below) so we can continue to learn from them.

The museum has also archived 5 lessons which include background info, teaching resources, and photographs from the island settlement. Lessons are located at THIS LINK.

If you have any questions about the museum’s resources please contact Joanna Torow, Chief Educator at the museum at

In addition to the above resources Kate McBrien, Maine State Archivist, presented at the Southwest Harbor Public Library and that recorded presentation is below. At some point there was a shift in the attitude towards Malaga Island. In 2010 Governor John Baldacci visited the island and apologized for the wrong that had been done on the island and to its residents. One of the descendants accepted the apology and communicated how grateful the state of Maine acknowledges the history. You can hear the recording from the ceremony and other stories documented at THIS LINK.


The Arts and Cognitive Skills

March 29, 2021

Recent research published

Some of the latest brain research supports the notion that the arts impact the neural pathways including cognitive and social skills. T. Christina Zhao and Patricia Kuhl have been studying the impact of music on babies brains. Kuhl explains in a TED Talk that music is positively impacting Executive Functions. In a video, embedded below, which was found on the Edutopia website, the research is highlighted. For school age children a study in Texas that followed 10,000 students researchers learned that students who participated in arts programs not only scored higher on writing tests but were also more engaged in school and had more compassion for fellow students, among other points. Another study showed that drawing had a positive impact on memory among other points. These reports and other research can be found in an Edutopia article at THIS LINK


Looking for Leaders

March 28, 2021


The Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) is seeking members that are interested in playing a vital role in our association. All members interested in joining the MAEA Board should provide written communication to with your declaration of candidacy for the position you are seeking to fill.  

The MAEA currently has declared candidates for all positions except for the position of Treasurer.  If you wish to have more information concerning the role of MAEA Treasurer prior to submitting a Letter of Intent, please contact Matt at

All positions have two year terms. The President-Elect serves for two years prior to moving into the President’s role for two years and onto the Past President role for an additional two years. 

Thank you for considering how you can assist deserving art educators across the State of Maine in a more formal manner.  We hope you will join us!

The MAEA is seeking candidates for

  • President-Elect 
  • Treasurer                 
  • Secretary                 
  • Member Services

Maine Endangered Species Day

March 27, 2021

May 21

Art contest for students in K-12. Entries Deadline: Friday, April 23
Teachers: Celebrate Endangered Species Day (May 21) by having your classroom participate in the 2021 Marine Endangered Species Art Contest! Endangered and threatened species need our help. Students’ artwork will showcase their knowledge and commitment to protecting these animals. Schools from anywhere in the U.S. and beyond are invited to submit entries. Artwork should highlight one or more marine endangered or threatened species from the New England/Mid-Atlantic region. Text highlighting why the animals are important and what people can do to protect them may also be included. Younger students, in grades K-2, who may not understand the threats to endangered species (i.e., pollution, fishing, etc.) are encouraged to portray the animals in their natural habitat instead.

Grades K-2: sculpture and 2-D
Grades 3-5: sculpture and 2-D
Grades 6-8: sculpture and 2-D
Grades 9-12: sculpture and 2-D

Entry Requirements
In addition to school entries, home school, and individual entries are welcome.
Artwork may be in the form of a painting, drawing, or sculpture (clay, recycled trash, etc.). Painting/drawing may be multi-color, black and white, or a single color; it may be rendered in ink, paint, pastel, crayon, or pencil. Chalk and pastel entries should be sprayed with a fixative to safeguard artwork.
Two-dimensional artwork may be matted, but might be cropped electronically by NOAA Fisheries staff. The physical size of submitted artwork itself must be 8 1/2” x 11” and less than 1/8” thick (not including matting). Three-dimensional artwork must be no bigger than 24” x 24” x 24”. Please make sure the artwork is dry and secure.
Image must be of a native marine endangered or threatened species in the New England/Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Entries depicting other species will be disqualified from the contest.

For more details on entry requirements, entry submissions, prizes, and more.
Sponsored by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries.
Questions?Contact Edith Carson-Supino, Regional Office, 978-282-8490


Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts

March 26, 2021

2021 Residency: Open Studio Sessions

This year, Watershed is pleased to offer two residency sessions for artists interested in spending time in a small creative community. Each Open Studio Session is three weeks in length, offering ample time to make work in their new studio.

  • Session I: July 26 to August 13, 2021
  • Session II: August 23 to September 10, 2021

The sessions will provide a retreat-like atmosphere where artists can connect and create. Any artist who is comfortable working independently in a clay studio is welcome to participate. In a departure from Watershed’s usual Summer Residency, the 2021 Open Studio Sessions do not have themes. Artists will have the opportunity to pursue an independent path of inquiry in the company of other makers.

Scholarships are available. These include Zenobia Awards for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists, along with Kiln God Awards, which are open to all. Apply for financial support by April 15!

2019 AIR Caroline Ennis


MECA Courses

March 25, 2021

May Online Term

Maine College of Art’s (MECA) Office of Continuing and Professional Studies in collaboration with the college’s Master of Arts in Teaching program are pleased to offer two fully online courses for this May term. These Graduate-level courses offer 3 credits each at a discounted, non-matriculated rate. The two art education classes are certification requirements for folks seeking a Visual Art teaching endorsement. If you know any community artists or educational technicians that may be interested in becoming an art teacher, this would be a perfect opportunity for them to move closer to that endorsement. 

To learn more go to MECAs Continuing Studies webpage with the class listings.

May Term at MECA is five weeks, from May 15 to June 20. May Term 2021 offers: MAT 806: Teaching Exceptionality in the Art Classroom with Heather Nunez-Olmstead. MAT 815: Methods of Teaching Art in the K-12 Classroom with MAT Program Chair, Dr. Rachel Somerville, Ed.D.

Below is a video that provides information on the two courses being offered.

If you have questions please contact Rachel E. Somerville, Ed.D. Interim Chair & Director of Art Education Outreach at For more information about May Term classes, visit:​ or call us at 207.699.5061.   


Vaccinations for Teachers

March 24, 2021

Eligibility of Educators, School Staff, and Child Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccination March 4, 2021

On March 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a Secretarial Directive ordering COVID-19 vaccine providers to make eligible and administer vaccines to “workers at pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, including teachers, staff, and bus drivers and those who work as or for licensed child care providers, including center-based and family care providers.” Nationwide, this eligibility is effective immediately. Maine has aligned its vaccination plan with this new requirement.

All organizations with provider agreements with the Maine Immunization Program must add this eligibility group to the current two eligibility groups: (1) Maine residents in “Phase 1a” (patient and public facing health care and public safety personnel, long-term care residents and staff, and COVID-19 critical infrastructure personnel) and (2) age-eligible Maine residents: individuals age 60 and older at this time. Providers should not prioritize vaccinating educators, school staff, and child care providers over other eligible individuals with one exception: the Federal government requires “all enrolled retail pharmacy providers to set aside all currently un-booked vaccination slots for the exclusive use of teachers, school staff, and child care workers through March 31, 2021. Slots that remain un-booked 48 hours prior to the appointment may be released to others.” In Maine, those pharmacies include certain Hannaford, Walgreens, and Walmart / Sam’s Clublocations. These pharmacies receive vaccine directly from the Federal government over and above what Maine receives for distribution. Aside from these retail pharmacies, Maine vaccination sites should incorporate educators, school staff, and child care workers into their workflow when scheduling appointments for COVID-19 vaccination.

DHHS and the Maine CDC are proceeding with existing plans to provide one-time school vaccination clinics for teachers and school staff who are aged 60 and older. Organizations that have offered their time and resources for this effort should continue to plan for these clinics, most of which will be held on March 12th through March 14th. These clinics are limited to PK-12 teachers and school staff who are 60 years of age and older. Providers will ask for proof of age as well as employment and residency at registration.

In light of Maine’s limited allotment, Maine will not allocate additional doses to vaccination sites for educators, school staff and child care workers. The expectation is that weekly allocations will be used to vaccinate individuals that are age eligible, eligible under Phase 1a, or in this new eligibility group equally. Special clinics limited to this eligibility group may be organized by the retail pharmacy providers but not by other sites except for the age-limited clinics for school staff over 60 years described earlier. Organizations can begin to vaccinate any individual in this newly broadened eligible group immediately.

Vaccine recipients should bring proof of both State of Maine residency and eligibility for vaccination. Proof of state residency includes, for example, a Maine-issued driver’s license or state identification card; a bill or other piece of mail that includes the person’s name and Maine address; an EBT, MaineCare, or shelter ID card; other document that can confirm name, age and address; or, in the case of individuals entering the state for a job, a letter or statement from their employer verifying their employment in Maine. Proof of employment for PK-12 school educators and staff can include an employee ID card, a paystub, or a letter from the employer. For licensed child care providers, proof of employment will be a certificate from the child care registry system. Specific information regarding the verification of employment for licensed child care will be made available to those providers directly. Maine has aligned the state’s vaccination plan with President Biden’s recent policy to prioritize pre-K-12 school staff and childcare providers, regardless of age; therefore, age verification, except for at the special clinics described earlier, is not required for educators, school staff, and child care workers.


Un-Still Life Resources

March 23, 2021

Coming soon!

In one day in the middle of February I received two emails about a project to create lesson plans that would accompany the film Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life. After a phone call with filmmakers Anita Clearfield and Geoffrey Leighton the project sounded so fun I couldn’t say no. The film is fabulous and has messages for every grade level.

During the last month I’ve been working with retired art teacher Kal Elmore and educator Nancy Frohlich-Harris on 3 lessons – one each for elementary, middle and high school. They are aligned with the Maine Learning Results and the National Arts Standards. Also included in the resources are a glossary, lists of artists, websites and books.

The goal is to have all of the work completed and online by April 3 so those attending the virtual Maine Art Education Association conference can get the first look at them. During two workshops on that day participants will view all of the materials that we’re creating and have grade level conversations about the possibilities for teaching and learning.

Conference Registration Link Found Here!!!!

In addition to the two workshops, during the morning artists Natasha Mayers and Rob Shetterly will be providing the keynote. Natasha Mayers has been called “the heart and soul of activist art in Maine.” She is widely known for her work supervising more than 600 school and community murals from Maine to Nicaragua. Natasha has been a Touring Artist with the Maine Arts Commission Artist-in-Residency Program since 1975. She has taught students from nursery school to college and in diverse populations: immigrants, refugees, prisoners, the homeless, and the “psychiatrically labeled,” with whom she has worked since 1974, and has organized many exhibits of their artwork.

Natasha’s portrait was painted by Robert Shetterly as part of his Americans Who Tell the Truth series, featuring her words: “We need artists to help explain what is happening in this country, to tell the truth and reveal the lies, to be willing to say the emperor has no clothes, to create moral indignation, to envision alternatives, to reinvent language. We need artists to help us come together and share our voices and build community around powerful issues concerning our roles in the world and our planet’s survival. Compassion must be translated into action.”

Rob has been painted over 250 people who stand for the truth. Robert Shetterly’s American’s Who Tell The Truth series should be included in every art teacher’s curriculum. The voices of young people are strongly represented in the paintings and in this day and age we know how important it is to elevate our student voices and provide role models for inspiration. Rob is a Maine treasure.

Rob and Natasha have been friends for many years and in the film you hear and see Rob sharing his feedback to Natasha about recent art she has created. The film will be available for conference goers and is recommended you view it before April 3. It will be available until 48 hours after the conference.

They have made it available to conference goers and recommend that you view it before the conference on April 3. It will be available u


The conference will be held virtually using zoom on Saturday, April 3, 9:00 am – 2:30 pm.

The cost is only $20.00

Conference Registration will Close April 1! 

Questions – contact Iva Damon at

Conference Registration Link Found Here!!!!

Joseph Cough – Midcoast Music Academy
Cory Bucknam – Brunswick Junior High
Lori Spruce & Holly Houston – Brewer High School & Yarmouth High School
Samara Yandell – Biddeford Middle School
Hope Lord – Maranacook Middle School
Argy Nestor – Sweetland Middle School


Arts Ed Advocacy Day

March 22, 2021

Documentation of the day – February 17

If you were able to attend the virtual plenary sessions on February 17 in recognition of Arts Education Advocacy Day you are aware of the outstanding opportunity the 2 hour session provided. If you were not there, you’re in luck. All of the sessions were recorded and embedded below. The day was organized by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) in collaboration with the leaders of the ABC – Arts Are Basic Coalition.

The first one below actually took place during the last part of Arts Education Advocacy Day, the ABC Student Advocacy Initiatives. We know at the heart of providing quality arts education programs and access to it are students! I salute all the Maine students who care deeply for the arts and are afforded an excellent curriculum. And, to all the arts educators striving to provide access to these programs, thank you!

ABC Student Advocacy Initiative

Governor Janet T. Mills Arts Ed Advocacy Message

Remarks from Maine Arts Commission Arts Education Director Martha Piscuskas

Conversation with Maine Art Education Association President Lynda Leonas and Argy Nestor

Visual Art Advocacy Video Maine Minds

Conversation with Maine Educational Theatre Association leader Kailey Smith and Beth Lambert

Maine Department of Education – Kellie Bailey, Social/Emotional Learning and Trauma-Informed Practices Specialist, Commissioner Pender Makin, and Jason Anderson, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist

Conversation with Maine Dance Educator representative Thornton Academy Dance Educator Emma Campbell and MaryEllen Schaper

Conversation with Maine Music Educators Association President Sandra Barry and Kaitlin Young

Music Advocacy Video

Thank you to Susan Potters, Executive Director of MAAE and Melissa Birkhold MAAE Advocacy Coordinator for the plenary session for Maine Arts Ed Advocacy Day and making these individual videos available. The videos are also available on the MAAE website at THIS LINK.

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