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MAEA Spring Conference

April 6, 2021

A HUGE SUCCESS

Congratulations to the Maine Art Education Association for a successful virtual conference held this past Saturday. Iva Damon was the chair who waited an entire year to complete her task. Last year the conference was canceled thanks to the pandemic. Every aspect of the conference entitled Perceptions 2021 went really well. If you’re working on the planning of a virtual conference or workshop I suggest you reach out to Iva who is an art teacher at Leavitt Area High School. Conference planner Extraordinaire!

The conference opened with a keynote provided by Natasha Mayers and Rob Shetterly. She often explores themes of peace and social justice. Recently the film on Natasha’s life as an artist was released called Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life. Natasha founded ARRT! (the Artists’ Rapid Response Team) in 2012, an artists’ collective that meets monthly, creating over 400 banners, props and yard signs for most of the progressive organizations in Maine. She co-founded and is editor-in-chief of The Maine Arts Journal: Union of Maine Visual Artists Quarterly. Learn more about how Natasha has contributed to so many meaningful projects and made a difference in Maine practicing her art in a collaborative way. You can read about her contributions since 1976 at THIS LINK. Conference participants had a chance to view the film before the conference.

“…an engaging and lively portrait of an engaged and lively artist who uses her talents in the service of truth and justice, rather than fortune”
— Edgar Allen Beem
Natasha Mayers

Artist Rob Shetterly founded Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) and has painted over 250 portraits of ‘truth tellers’. The Samantha Smith Project is part of the AWTT work where middle and high school students use art to build a bridge between the classroom and the world to create curious, courageous, and engaged citizens. SSC projects teach students that, no matter what age, they can be part of solving the challenges and problems they see around them.

One of the portraits that Rob has created is of Natasha so it was a delight to have them both share their stories and inspire art educators to make a difference in their classrooms.

Participants had a chance to attend three workshops throughout the day and meet with colleagues informally. The workshops were:

  • Evaluating Creativity with music educator Joe Cough
  • Update your Advocacy: New Ways of Promoting and Expanding Your Impact Beyond the Art Room with Brunswick Middle School teacher Cory Bucknam
  • Neurographic Art with Maranacook Community School art teacher Hope Lord
  • Teaching and Learning with Natasha Mayers: An Un-Still Life with Argy Nestor, Sweetland Middle School
  • AP Art and Design Network Discussion with high school art teachers Lori Spruce and Holly Houston
  • Hand-Build a Tour Up & Stamped Mug with Bioddeford Middle School art teacher Samara Yandell

The day ended with a gathering and door prizes presented. It was very clear that teachers missed seeing colleagues from other parts of the state and making art together. Comments around the challenges of the year and that the value of the art classroom became more clear to educators. Participants said what a great conference it was. More people attended the spring conference than has been the case in the last several years. The comment that placed clarity on our important roles as art educators this year was stated by Rangeley Lakes Regional School Art Teacher Sonja Johnson:

“The Art classroom is a place of awakening this year”.

2 comments

  1. Hey, Argy!

    Can I steal this write up for our newsletter and post it using your name and blog info??????????? It is fabulous and you are a phenomenal person that brings out the best in us all! Thank you!

    Let me know! lynda g. leonas Auburn Public Schools . K-6 Visual Arts Educator Maine Arts Education Association . President Elect 2019-2021 . http://www.aeforme.org Maine Arts Leadership Initiative . Phase 5 Teacher Leader / Teach to Lead Member . http://www.mainearts.maine.gov


  2. Absolutely Lynda!



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