Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

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On Hiatus

July 1, 2020


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Young Artist’s in Quarantine

June 30, 2020

Student’s share their stories

This is part of a series highlighting the stories of young artists in quarantine. The period of free time that many people are experiencing has led to a sense of freedom in creating– when not held back by the standards expected by society and in much of art education (or needing to prove talent/fill resumes) it’s incredible what can be done. Alone in your room with just a paintbrush or guitar has led many students to find a new independence in art when they have the ability to create just for themselves. We’re hoping that by telling these stories, a change will occur in the way we approach arts education, to focus on the growth of the individual, even after quarantine comes to an end. Thank you Robyn Walker-Spencer, 2020 graduate, Camden Hills Regional High School, for launching this series of young artists in quarantine.

Kate Kemper just graduated from Camden Hills Regional High School. Below is her pandemic story.

I have always been an artist, I think. I have a grandparent on each side of my family who were extremely gifted in the arts, and my parents always say the “artist gene” skipped a generation. Over my life, I’ve expanded my mediums. I work in many forms of fine art; I am a painter, singer, poet, ceramist, and beginning mural artist.

What really sparked my love of art and helped me develop good foundations was my education at Ashwood Waldorf School. As a part of the core curriculum, I painted wet-on-wet in painting class and made a crayon drawing for every academic lesson over eight years.

In my senior year of high school, I took an advanced art portfolio class which pushed my artistic abilities even further. I learned about putting meaning into art and the different ways to make a statement about the world through the lens of creation. I now feel empowered to express my voice through a piece and do art much more frequently.

Separate, 2020, 14” x 17,” Mixed Media

There are a few common ways to make a statement about the world. Protesting, voting, speaking out, and art. You cannot have a successful social movement without art to move people. It can unite by interpreting a message into a visual format that makes it easier to understand. The repetition of an idea through many artworks grows a movement and can make real change in the mind of the audience.

But ultimately, art is what you want it to be. For me, among many others, it is a reaction.

I paint absent-minded abstractions when I need to relax, I express my frustrations when I’m angry, and I admire beauty when I’m joyful. I use it as a tool, a way to process emotion. This has come in especially handy during recent months. Amidst a global pandemic, one can expect many emotions. I went through a whirlwind of life events simultaneously, good and bad, so it is no surprise that I made a lot of art. The most defining piece of this era was one called “separate.” It was a paper cut representation of the idea of social distancing. It will join the large body of work that I am sure will arise worldwide in reaction to this pandemic.

Fruit Salad part 1, 2020, 24”x 24,” acrylic on canvas

Two Shrooms, 2020, 8” x 5,” ink pen on paper

Flank Study, 2019, India ink on paper

Blind, 2019, 6”x 12,” pen and paper

Sea Tea, 2019, 6” x 6” x 4,” ceramic and ceramic glaze

Skull and Books, 2019, 18” x 24,” conté on paper

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Rangoli Designs

June 28, 2020

Pretty amazing and calming

A Rangoli is a colourful design made on the floor using coloured rice powder. It is often used by Hindus throughout Diwali. … In math, Rangoli patterns are a creative way to discover symmetry, reflection and tessellation.

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ABC Student Leadership

June 26, 2020

Representatives from across the state

The 12 arts students from high schools around the state who make up the first Student Leadership Group of the Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC) gathered in Augusta in the fall. The students were all selected for their commitment to the arts by the four Maine professional associations that make up the ABC: the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA), the Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA), the Maine Educational Theatre Association (MEdTA) and the Maine Dance Educators. Below are photos and short bios of all the students.

Madi Baker (Visual Art) is a senior at Hampden Academy, studying AP art and design. She is also doing an independent study in art education, and is a member of Hampden Academy’s Voices Unlimited choral group. Madi feels a strong commitment to arts education and a mission to promote creativity in all forms.

 

Maille Baker (Theatre) is a senior at Nokomis Regional High. Over her years at Nokomis she has been involved in a number of groups including drama club, jazz band, combo, and ensemble, jazz chorus, and show chorus. She is also an award-winning dancer and back country skier. Maille is Vice President of her school’s chapter of National Honor Society, and is an active member of Key Club and FBLA. She was student of the year her freshman year, and received the Dartmouth Book Award this past school year.

Colette Carrillo (Music) is a sophomore from Waterville High School. She is an active member of the school’s choral program and has participated in the Kennebec Valley Music Festival Chorus for three years. She participates in the Waterville High School’s annual musical productions. Colette also composes her own music.

 

Michaela Carrow (Theatre) is a sophomore from Hermon High School. She is a member of Thespian Troupe 8263 and participates both on the stage and behind the scenes in plays, one-acts, and show choir. She has also sung in the District V Festival chorus and is very active in her school’s Art Club. She is currently working towards her Honors Diploma.

 

Alexis Grant (Dance) is a senior at Maine Arts Academy in Sidney. As a member of MEAA’s Spotlight Dance Team as well as TNT Dance Studio’s Competitive Edge Team, her days are filled with learning choreography and working in dance technique classes. She has also performed, volunteered, and created choreography for Lakewood Theater’s Teen Tech and Tour group, with her favorite role being Jan in the production of Grease. Alexis has recently attended the Dean College Summer Arts Institute and the AMDA High School Summer Conservatory as a dance major.

Delia Harms (Music) is a sophomore from Massabesic HS in Waterboro. Her main musical interest is playing the bassoon in her school band as well as in the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. Delia has also performed in the Maine Music Educators District One Honors Festival and All-State Band and in her high school chorus.

 

Ethan Hayes (Visual Art) is a freshman Visual Art student at Wisdom Middle / High School in Aroostook County. He is a member of S.L.A.M.! (Student Leadership in the Arts!), Wisdom’s Arts Advocacy and Student Leadership group. Ethan is inspired by science fiction, fantasy and animals like reptiles and sea creatures. He likes to create conceptual drawings for video games and animation projects.

Alison Jones (Theatre) is a junior from Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, currently entering her third year of High School Theatre. She is on the BEHS Theatre student leadership board as the membership chair. An active member of Bonny Eagle’s Thespian Troupe 211 for two years, Alison is performing in and assistant-directing the fall production. She has also received an award for her performance in Humbletown at the state level of the Maine Drama Festival. Last year Alison achieved 3-star Thespian status, as well as recognition as a Vice President’s List Scholar. Her other interests include writing, for which she has received two Scholastic Keys, and was a participant of the Maine Playwright’s Festival workshop last spring.

Tyler Lucca (Music) is a sophomore from Yarmouth High School, where he plays trombone in the honors level Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band and sings in the honors level Chamber Choir. Tyler is currently playing Uncle Fester in the Addams Family fall musical. He also plays banjo in a youth bluegrass ensemble called Flight 317. This well-known and respected band based out of 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth has a rotating cast of high-schoolers and performs frequently in many venues ranging from seasonal festivals to restaurants.

Sophie Patenaude (Music) is a junior from Poland Regional High School in Poland. She is a classical pianist who also plays tenor saxophone in her school’s concert band. Sophie sings with her school’s chorus, chamber choir, a cappella choir and jazz band and her own acoustic duo, Meraki, as well as being a backup singer for The Masterstroke Queen Experience. She has attended several Maine Music Educators Association District II and All State Honors Choral festivals and will be attending her first NAfME All National Honors Choral festival in November. Sophie also performs frequently in musical theater and theater productions as a musician, actor, and dancer.

McKenna Shoberg (Dance) is a junior from Lake Region High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has been dancing for 14 years. She took master classes with Carlos Garland from So You Think You Can Dance and has starred in The Wizard of Oz for Lake Region Community Theater. She also attended drama classes at Venice Little Theater in Venice, Florida. McKenna has choreographed dances and received an award for leadership in dance. Last year she won a laker pride award which recognizes being a positive role model, consistently helpful, and selfless.

Gabriella Thompson (Dance) is a senior at Thornton Academy in Saco. She has taken dance curricularly for the past four years in Thornton’s dance program. Gabriella is a co-leader of the Thornton Academy Dance Company. She has participated in TA’s musicals and is a member of the Interact Club and National Honors Society. After graduating, Gabriella plans on going to a University to study business and communications. She wants to continue dancing throughout college because of her passion and love for it!

The Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC), led by the MAAE, is an advocacy partnership made up of representatives of Maine’s professional teachers’ associations in art, music, theater and dance (see individual members and contact information below). ABC’s mission is “to advocate with a common strong voice for the visual and performing arts for all students in Maine.” ABC was created when the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education in the summer of 2000 convened a large group of Maine arts education organizations and supporters to investigate ways in which we could collaborate for the cause of “arts every day for every child.” Out of that meeting grew ABC.

Until recently ABC limited its advocacy to state legislation, successfully advocating to keep the arts in the Maine Learning Results, restore the Visual and Performing Arts staff position at the Department of Education, and ensure a one-credit arts requirement for high school graduation. Last spring ABC expanded the scope of its work to include advocating to stakeholders in schools and communities around the state. Each of the partnering organizations also designated a special advocacy delegate to represent that organization in ABC’s expanded work. (See the names and contact info below.) ABC showed off its new logo at Arts and Culture Day at the capitol in April and will be playing a larger role in organizing MAAE’s semi-annual Arts Education Advocacy Day at the Statehouse. A critical part of ABC’s expansion has been its creation of a new ABC Student Leadership Group. For all the news and information about the group see News on the left.

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In Today’s News

June 24, 2020

Maine DOE begins work of creating ME Learning Platform

Created by Maine educators for Maine educators and students, the Department of Education is proud to announce that the work of creating the Maine Learning Platform has begun.  To provide anytime, anywhere learning options and resources for educators, students and their families, the Maine Department of Education, in collaboration with curriculum coordinators, Maine educational community organizations, museums, learning centers, and Maine educators, is creating a library of asynchronous learning modules that are aligned to Maine’s Learning Results.

Developed by the over 400 Maine educators who have answered the call to create innovative lessons, these modules will be integrated to ensure that learning is synthesized across subject areas, and are project-based to encourage learning that is active and engaging.

The Department is developing a custom web-based platform to house these modules. The platform will provide educators and families with a bank of resources, with which they can provide students robust learning opportunities.  These modules could be utilized for enhancing lessons, remediation, enrichment, credit recovery, or for use during remote learning – whenever a student cannot access classroom instruction.

Each module will be designed around the essential question, “How do I Interact with and Impact My World?” The format will organize modules by grade level in grades pk-5, and by grade span for grades 6-8 and 9-12.

The essential elements of each of the modules include:

  • A project-based format
  • Best practices in asynchronous lesson design
  • Embedded formative assessments and opportunities for students to check for understanding
  • Standards in two or more content areas, three preferred
  • Opportunities to demonstrate growth in one or more of the Guiding Principles
  • Content that is inclusive of the experiences and multi-cultural backgrounds of  students.
  • Considerations in accommodations for special education and English Learners
  • Embedded elements of social/emotional/behavioral learning and trauma-informed practices

During the first planning meeting that was held on June 15, 2020 the elements, format, and timeline were reviewed with the dynamic group of teachers, and the brainstorming and collaboration began for creating modules for a quarter of a school year.

The platform will be launched at the beginning of September, and feedback on the modules will inform the continued development process throughout the 2020-2021 school year. We are excited by the professional collaboration and creativity that the platform will ignite with Maine educators, and by the development of organic, Maine-based learning resources and opportunities.

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Tracy’s COVID Teaching Story +

June 24, 2020

Music teacher extraordinaire

Tracy Williamson

My musical career started in 4th grade when I picked up the flute in the beginning band at Metcalf Middle School in Exeter-West Greenwich, RI. My middle school music teacher, Joe Smith, was an inspiration to me and all my classmates. He was quirky, fun, and taught us interesting and different music.  It was truly an amazing middle school music experience. I would definitely say that he inspired me to be the kind of teacher I am today. 

I went to Boston University for my Bachelors degree in Flute Performance and to Boston Conservatory after that for my Masters degree in Flute Performance and Music Education. I then moved up to Maine and finished my certification requirements through USM while playing in the Southern Maine Community Orchestra and continuing to seek out performance opportunities in the area.

My first teaching job was at Marion T. Morse Elementary School in Lisbon Falls teaching K-5 General Music and beginning band. I was hired at Gorham Middle School (GMS) in 2003 when the school was built and I was tasked with developing a brand new middle school music program that had not previously existed. Currently I teach General Music to all 6th & 7th grade students, Chorus for middle school and Steel Band to middle and high school students. My amazing colleague, Rose Skillling, also teaches GMS General Music as well as the Band and Jazz Band program.

I have always been a huge proponent of educational technology and the positive impact it can have on music education particularly in schedules where we see students so infrequently. dHaving Apple devices, a large portion of my curriculum has been based in Garage Band for many years. So when our technology director announced that the entire 6th grade would be moving to Chromebooks a few years ago I had a panic attack thinking I was going to completely lose the amazing possibilities I had opened up for the students. I did some research and I found a couple of apps that would work on the Chromebooks in a similar way and thankfully administration was super supportive and on board with purchasing Soundtrap and WeVideo for every student in the 6th grade.  Unbeknownst to me, this was about to open up a whole new avenue of connections across the world for me and the students.

At the time, Soundtrap, a small company based in Sweden, was still only a few years old and not that well known. But there happened to be a Maine educator who had connected with them and taken a position as an educational consultant. I quickly connected with her, and we teamed up to present Soundtrap at the student MLTI conference the same year I introduced the software to my curriculum. From there, the opportunities for sharing student work, lessons, ideas, connecting with music educators, blog posts, and articles just kept coming. Soundtrap has since been acquired by Spotify and is being widely used by educators and musicians. In January of 2020, through Soundtrap, I connected with the Society for Online Music Education and was invited to direct a Virtual Choir project for the International Music Education Summit to be premiered in mid-March. There were a couple of other Virtual Choir projects out there that I knew about but this was to be a new vision, one that included collaboration amongst participants, making Soundtrap the ideal software to use. We had a handful of teachers signed up for the pilot project. Things were going calmly and smoothly, and then COVID-19 hit us.

With the swift move to on-line learning, every music educator in the world immediately started to seek out virtual ensembles for students to participate in. Our project was quickly populated with hundreds of teachers and students and my director position got a lot more complicated! I asked two Maine colleagues, Rachel Scala-Bolduc and Patrick Volker, to help create vocal practice tracks to support the diverse group of new participants. Another music educator who teaches full-time at a virtual school suggested I try a Zoom rehearsal for participants to help them learn the parts. She hosted a how-to-run-a-virtual-rehearsal webinar that I participated in which ended up being an invaluable resource. The edit of the recordings took many, many hours of organizing, communicating, editing, and figuring out how to make the best quality audio. At one point I was playing the tracks for my husband and he suggested just dipping the volume at a certain point and it made a huge difference! During another moment of frustration, I listened to one of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choirs to get some inspiration and realized that reverb was a key component to blending the voices that I had yet to try. I am so thankful for this learning opportunity because it gave me a head start for what was to come with the extension of distance learning to the end of the year.

As soon as our school announced the closure in March, I set up Zoom virtual rehearsals with the Chorus classes right away. We continued rehearsing just the same as we had in school. The only difference being, I couldn’t hear them as a group and they couldn’t hear each other. We experimented together, recorded during Zooms, recorded after Zooms, talked about other apps that might accommodate multiple singers, but we just kept on our path of our end-of-year performance goals and figured out everything together along the way. The students continued learning music we had started in school and also learned new music purely through our virtual rehearsals. In the end, they have recorded six pieces of music during our time home due to COVID-19, all of which I am turning into virtual choir videos to serve as our “spring performance”. While this is certainly not an ideal scenario for ensembles to rehearse, it is temporary and it can be successful!  

Unfortunately, because the steel pans are housed at school, and the steel band program is extracurricular, that is now in a bit of a holding pattern until we know the future of getting back into the school this Fall.  I have been researching apps that could provide some type of virtual pan experience to get the students by in the meantime and I have been in communication with our facilities department about potentially holding outdoor  parking lot rehearsals for steel band next year.

General Music Class was another whole challenge when we moved to distance learning! At GMS, students have 7-9 week rotations of Allied Arts. Both the 6th & 7th Grade Music Classes were about halfway through the rotation when we moved to online classes so we had established relationships and structures ahead of time. However, the student rotation change to a new Allied Arts class was scheduled for right after April break. This meant students and teachers connecting with and getting to know each other for the first time in a new content area, virtually.  As an Allied Arts team we worked together to help our current classes connect with the next teacher through Google Classroom. In Music Class, we introduced a Tabata composition project that combined physical activity and Music to help make the Music to PE transition smoother. The last rotation has been a challenge. It has been difficult to connect with kids with the asynchronous model that our district adopted due to many class meetings happening simultaneously. I have learned a lot about what I need to change in order to effectively teach new music concepts to individuals in an online format as opposed to a full group in person where we utilize a lot of repetition and group collaboration to help support learning. Although there are plenty of other variables in a new grouping of students, there was a marked difference in the performance of the General Music students who started before distance learning and those who started purely in the online format. This summer, my colleague and I plan to meet to talk about some of these challenges and make plans for how we can better teach General Music class should we remain in distance learning this Fall.

There have been a lot of worries circulating amongst Music teachers with research studies outlining the risks of the high transmission rate of COVID-19 through singing and instrument playing in conjunction with news of music educators being laid off in districts around the country.  The best thing we can do right now is to show our communities and administrators that, despite temporary limitations, music can and should still continue in our schools regardless of whether we are in the building or learning remotely. Think of solutions that will work and suggest them to colleagues and administrators before something is suggested for you! That also requires creativity, experimenting and out of the box thinking from all music educators. During the last few months, I had an overall participation rate of about 80% in my chorus students with a couple of overwhelmed students asking to drop and a couple of students asking to join because their schedule was suddenly free to do so. I had students completing Music Class work first thing in the morning saying they liked to do “the fun stuff” first. I had parents emailing about how much fun they had helping their child compose music or how amazing it was to hear the final virtual choir recording after hearing their child singing their part alone at home. The more success stories we share, the more everyone will continue to see the value in continued music and arts education whether we are teaching in the comfort of our classrooms or through the virtual world.  

Here are the various end-products I’ve worked on with the GMS Virtual Chorus:

“I See Colors” – May 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, video collected in Flipgrid, edited in iMovie, collage and effects in WeVideo:

 

“Home” – April 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, slideshow videos of staff messages collected in Flipgrid, compiled in iMovie:

 

“Between the Bells” – March 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, stock images from pexels.com, lyrics added in Adobe After Effects:

 

“The Tiger” – May 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, video recorded in a Zoom session, compiled and lyrics & effects added in WeVideo:

 

“The Never Ending Story” – June 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, pictures from the Gorham MIddle School Facebook page, compiled in iMovie:

 

6th Grade General Music:

“Tabata Soundtrack Project”  

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Fellowship

June 22, 2020

Maine connecting  with India

Sweet Tree Arts is thrilled to announce their Fellowship Program in partnership with SLAM Out Loud. Sweet Tree Arts and the Sweetland School are located in Hope, Maine. SLAM Out Loud is an organization in India. The Fellowship is open to artists and educators and begins in August 2020. The Fellowship offers experiences in arts based, learner centered approaches with trailblazing educators and learners in Maine and India. Learn the details by clicking on the flyer (below) to make it larger. The application available at THIS LINK.

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Letter from ABC

June 21, 2020

5 organizations send letter

ABC’s Mission and History

The Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC), led by the MAAE, is an advocacy partnership made up of representatives of Maine’s professional teachers’ associations in art, music, theater and dance (see individual members and contact information below). ABC’s mission is “to advocate with a common strong voice for the visual and performing arts for all students in Maine.” ABC was created when the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education in the summer of 2000 convened a large group of Maine arts education organizations and supporters to investigate ways in which we could collaborate for the cause of “arts every day for every child.” Out of that meeting grew ABC.

To: ​Maine School Superintendents, Principals, and School Board Chairs
From:​The Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC): Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE), Maine Art Education Association (MAEA), Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA), Maine Educational Theatre Association (MEdTA) and Maine Dance Educators.

As the leaders of the five Maine organizations that collectively represent the Visual and Performing Arts in Maine schools, we are writing to let you know that in this time of anticipated changes in schools and heightened concern about school funding reductions we are putting our creative and collaborative skills to work to respond to the artistic and social needs of our students and using our advocacy experience to help preserve state funding levels in Maine schools.

Advocacy has long been a strong suit of Maine arts education leadership. For more than 20 years our five statewide professional organizations have been united in the Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC) for federal and statewide advocacy. Led by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education, our coalition’s members, from all around the state, go beyond arts educators and include parents, students, community arts organizations and individual arts supporters – all eager to send a message about the importance of arts education and education in general.

Last fall our coalition created a new ABC Student Leadership Group that was inducted at the Blaine House, with the Governor as signatory. This group of 11 exemplary arts students from around the state is eager to add their advocacy voice and to create a wider network of student advocates. The current threat to school funding is putting all of us to the test, and we have already joined with our state partners, the Maine Education Association, to advocate for additional federal aid that will offset anticipated state and local budget reductions.

Maine arts educators are also developing innovative ideas to adjust their work to the new school safety guidelines. These include ideas that draw on the ways that the arts connect to social and emotional learning, such as giving students more opportunities to express the experiences they are living through and to connect meaningfully to others. They also draw on the arts’ connection to community economic development, giving arts students the tools to contribute to the creative economy of their communities, and involving them in initiatives that develop the potential of their community’s natural resources.

Education is the lifeblood of our young people’s and our state’s future. We as arts educators are excited about the ways that we can offer our positive energy and creative problem solving to Maine schools in this challenging time, and share ideas that can give us all hope. We look forward to staying in contact with you as we go into the summer months, and to continuing to work with you in the fall. You can reach us by contacting Susan Potters at s​potters@maineartsed.org​or 207 439-3169. Thank you!

Susan Potters,​​MAAE​

Benjamin Potvin, Victoria Cherry,​​MMEA

Lisa Ingraham,​​Theresa Cerceo,​​MAEA​

Rick Osann,​​MaineEdTA

Emma Campbell,​Maine Dance Educators

Delia Harms, ABC Student Leadership Group

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Indigo Arts Alliance

June 19, 2020

Releases every Friday

Indigo Arts Alliance  is a proud partner with I’m Your Neighbor Books and Diverse Book Finder bringing this important program for young children and families everywhere.

Starting today and every #FestivalFriday through August 31, Indigo will release a new reading video on the Beautiful Blackbird website that highlights a different book, as well as its Black author and illustrator.  Browse the book titles here and stay tuned for the live recordings, performances, arts and crafts activities weekly this Summer!

Stay connected to Indigo Arts Alliance on Facebook, and Instagram for updates.

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Young Artist’s in Quarantine

June 16, 2020

Student’s share their stories

This is part of a series highlighting the stories of young artists in quarantine. The period of free time that many people are experiencing has led to a sense of freedom in creating– when not held back by the standards expected by society and in much of art education (or needing to prove talent/fill resumes) it’s incredible what can be done. Alone in your room with just a paintbrush or guitar has led many students to find a new independence in art when they have the ability to create just for themselves. We’re hoping that by telling these stories, a change will occur in the way we approach arts education, to focus on the growth of the individual, even after quarantine comes to an end. Thank you Robyn Walker-Spencer, 2020 graduate, Camden Hills Regional High School, for launching this series of young artists in quarantine.

This post is written by Amy Kunzinger who just graduated from Camden Hills Regional High School.

Art has been a big part of my life ever since I was a kid. Since I can remember I have been picking up a camera and snapping shots of loved ones at family parties, or bees buzzing in the garden. I got my first camera when I was about eight and have only grown my interest in photography since then.

My art, however, is not only limited to photography. I have always loved painting, drawing and clay, and my middle school after school art club helped me explore all of my interests at a young age. Art has always been a part of my academic education, but after school art is what helped me grow my interest in clay and photography. I went to a very small school in Appleton, and we only had one wheel to throw on, so my art teacher started an after-school club for kids that wanted more time to do things that we didn’t have the time, or resources for in class. I started throwing on the wheel and absolutely loved it. This interest spilled over into high school and I have been fiddling with clay ever since.

I can also remember the first time someone showed interest in my photography. It was again in middle school and my art teacher told me there was a photography show happening at the library in town. My ears perked up immediately. I got together a collection of my favorite photos and printed them all out. A lady took interest in one of my photos of a lightbulb and bought it. She wrote me a letter telling me to never stop creating, and I haven’t. Her letter gave me the confidence I needed to continue my journey in the arts.

Art for me is an outlet from the stresses of everyday life. In my photography I like to explore the unexpected, and the forgotten perspectives of everyday life. When I am out with my friends for a shoot, all the worries in the world are forgotten, and the world is my canvas to shape for the perfect photo. I also use paining and drawing as a way to forget everyday life, but those creations are more a private exploration I use for my own benefit— photography is what I let the world see.

Quarantine for me let me have more time to explore the arts in a more private sense for my own folly. I was creating clay masks and rubber prints almost every day to just try to forget the madness happening in the world. I also decided to start a project the first day of remote schooling where I would take a picture of myself every day, until remote schooling was over. It didn’t end until school did, so I ended up with weeks’ worth of photos, some where I was extremely happy, and other I looked just plain miserable.

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