Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category


Americans Who Tell the Truth

January 11, 2020

New project

Americans Who Tell the Truth will select twenty (20) indigenous, immigrant, and rural middle level and high school youth (two from each of ten schools) to create their self-portraits and write companion narratives about an event, person, and/or belief that helped them become who they are today.  AWTT and Maine artist Robert Shetterly and Maine educator Connie Carter will work with them in a day-long workshop at the Center for Innovation in Education at Thomas College to help them begin their self-portraits and narratives. The workshop date will be between March 10-20, 2020 (exact date to be determined).

The workshop will include the students and accompanying teacher/s (art and other disciplines) from participating schools as well as pre-service teachers from Thomas College.  Students will begin their self-portraits and narratives and teacher participants will learn to coach these students in their creations of art and writing in order to support them when they return to their respective schools.  Hopefully, teachers will coach additional students in their respective schools in order to broaden the dialogues among indigenous, immigrant, and rural youth in Maine.  
Finished portraits will be displayed at the Samantha Smith Challenge Celebration at Thomas College on June 1 and also at the Maine State House in Augusta.  Portrait artists and their teachers will hopefully accompany their portraits to both of these events. Plans for additional exhibits are still to be determined.  
The primary goal of this project is to give a voice to a representative group of indigenous, immigrant, rural and marginalized youth in Maine with the intent of using their work as a way to initiate a dialogue about diverse Maine identities and the power of the arts to help inspire that conversation.  Additionally, we hope to give teachers the tools to use the arts as a valuable interdisciplinary tool to bring explorations of Maine’s history, economics, cultural identity, and landscape to the school curriculum.  
Please direct any questions and concerns you have about this project to Connie Carter at  Because initial participation in this project is limited, please let us know by January 24 if you are interested in being a part of this empowering opportunity by e-mailing  

Student Artwork Opportunity

January 10, 2020

2020 Inclusion Awards

The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) recently put out a call for submissions for its 2020 Inclusion Awards, which celebrate extraordinary high school students who think deeply about issues of inclusion for people living with developmental disabilities. Open to all Maine high school juniors and seniors, the awards have two components: an Essay Contest and a Visual Arts Contest, which allow students to express these ideas as artwork.

Changing the Way We See by Sophia DeSchiffart, Creative Expression 1st Place Winner 2018

This year, students are asked to write essays or create two-dimensional artworks responding to the following prompt: “What does the full inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities mean to you?”

The experience of participating in these contests has been a rewarding one for both teachers and students. “The contest allowed me to have the ability to express myself while standing up for others and hopefully having an impact within the community on how people interact with someone with developmental disabilities,” writes Madison Landry, a participant in 2019. Linda Garcia, an educator at Hodgdon High School says, “By participating in the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council’s Inclusion Awards, my students become advocates for a special segment of communities across Maine and beyond. Through their participation, my students share stories about inspiring individuals who make our world a more beautiful place.?

The deadline for entries is Monday, February 3, 2020, and educational awards range from $250 to $1,000 for individual entries. Teachers and schools will also have an opportunity to win educational grants to support their commitment to educating their students on the value of inclusion.

The MDDC is a partnership of people with disabilities, their families, and agencies that identifies barriers to community inclusion, self-determination, and independence. MDDC is committed to creating a Maine in which all people are valued and respected because the council believes communities are stronger when everyone is included.

For more information, contest rules and entry guidelines, visit, email or call Jessica Gorton at 287.4215.


Art Teachers Exhibit

January 9, 2020


The Maine Art Education Association is holding a member’s only exhibit at the Saco Museum.

It’s Natural: Art By Art Teachers

Registration ends on Wednesday, January 22
Drop off will be Friday, January 24, 2-7:00 pm and Saturday, January 25 from 10am-2pm
Opening: Saturday, February 1,2020  1-3pm
Pick Up Dates: Saturday, March 28 and Monday, March 30
You must be a current member to exhibit.



Bicentennial Grants

January 8, 2020

Maine 200

The purpose of the Maine Bicentennial Grants program is to support the interests, needs, and local creativity of communities as they plan local commemorations of the Bicentennial and to ensure that citizens throughout Maine have the opportunity to participate in Maine’s Bicentennial commemoration. Projects can be on any scale. All funds must be expended no later than March 30, 2021. Complete information is at:

Grant applications should be submitted to the Maine Bicentennial Commission c/o the Maine Arts Commission, which will administer the program applications. Program applications will be reviewed by a panel consisting of representatives from the Maine Cultural Affairs Council (7) and from practicing educators representing the field (2).

There will be two application cycles with deadlines of:

  • February 1, 2020
  • June 1, 2020

The grant application screening committee will make awards based on the priorities listed above, and based upon ensuring a representative distribution of funds across the state. Support for communities that lack existing capacity to raise funds for these purposes will be prioritized.

Notification of awards will be made within 4 weeks of the deadline for each application cycle. Applications not approved for funding in one cycle may be resubmitted for a future cycle.

All funds must be expended by March 30, 2021.

Project Grants (Small) 

Maximum Award: $500. Required Match: None. Award Cycle: September 1, 2019 – March 30, 2021   

Proposed projects should offer context to the Bicentennial Commemoration and could include:

  • Public Programs: Lectures, exhibitions, library series, workshops, discussion groups, etc.
  • Community Events: Parades, fairs, festivals, concerts, performances, reenactments, etc.
  • Preservation Projects: Digitization/processing of collections, publications, oral history initiatives, location-based restoration /interpretation, etc.
  • Curriculum Development: Classroom offerings, student projects, fieldtrips, adult learning, etc.

Learn more–>

Project Grants (Large) 

Maximum Award: $10,000.Required Match: 1 to 1 cash or in-kind match is highly encouraged. Award Cycle: September 1, 2019 – March 30, 2021

Maine’s Bicentennial commemoration offers a unique occasion to draw residents, visitors, public servants, and private businesses together to commemorate 200 years of statehood, celebrate Maine’s present, and inspire a healthy and prosperous future. The Maine Bicentennial Commission exists to plan, administer, and coordinate programs and projects that commemorate Maine’s 200th anniversary of statehood, with three major goals:

  • To explore Maine’s history from the many perspectives of its multiple past and current populations.
  • To celebrate Maine’s present people, places, institutions, and economy.
  • To envision the public and private actions that will enhance Maine’s future prosperity.

Learn more–>

For more information on the grants being administered by the Maine Arts Commission.


Spotlight on Creativity

January 5, 2020

HundrED opportunity

Whenever we are discussing helping schools change, there is one fundamental skill everyone mentions – creativity. Almost everyone seems to agree that we need to be a lot better in teaching this fundamental skill to future generations in all continents. This Spotlight will highlight some of the great education innovations focusing on cultivating this skill around the world.

Creativity is crucial to solving problems, both small and large. Whether personal challenges or those that impacts billions, creative solutions are in high demand. Creativity is also a mindset: being able to adapt no matter what happens. We believe that every child has the ability to be creative, and that ability can be improved as they grow. The question is how.

HundrED and The LEGO Foundation have teamed up to answer that question. Together, over the next 12 months we will shine a Spotlight on education initiatives from around the globe that are fostering creativity. Submit your innovation on creativity to be considered for the Spotlight.  LEARN MORE! 


Circles in Life

January 3, 2020

Taking action

Another holiday has come and gone – the circle between December’s seems to be smaller and smaller. I’m not sure who said “the days are long but the years are short” but I notice that is more true than in the past. I find the holidays energizing, a chance to gather with friends and family and to take time to breath more deeply. I realize that is not true for all adults, let alone young people – the holidays are difficult and even as I write this I know of friends who are struggling for different reasons.

As I watch the sun rise on the second day of the new year I am NOT thinking about resolutions or goals but reflecting on the last year, 10 years and 20 years. A ton of good progress has been made in arts education in our state and the country. I realize that not everyone shares that belief. I’ve been fortunate that my view has been from many places and levels – the classroom as an visual art teacher, as a life-long learner always wanting to experience more, as a state employee, and as an educator who has worked on national initiatives as well as on the international level. Please, take my word – arts education is doing well!

BUT, well isn’t providing access for all learners and is not providing an excellent arts education for all learners, PK-12. Soooooo…. we shouldn’t sit back and wait for someone to tap us on the shoulder.  Nope, we need to continue to be proactive (or start being!) with voices of clarity around the essentialness of an excellent arts education and access to it for ALL learners – no matter how young or old!

This takes leadership and an ongoing commitment. If I’ve learned one thing very well is how dedicated and committed arts educators are to making a difference in the classroom and beyond. This is exhibited in multiple ways – leading from the classroom can be difficult but necessary! Taking on responsibilities in schools and communities is part of the circle. No one needs to take this on alone. When we give we receive in so many ways.

If you’re thinking, ‘I’m only one person, what can I do? Where do I start? How can I make a difference? How do I create a movement, change a direction, move the ball forward? You’re right, no need to do this work alone. Collaborate! I’ve had wise colleagues who believe that ‘none of us is as smart as all of us’. Below is Argy’s list for how to start collaborating more effectively.

  • Invite people to collaborate that are different from each other and ask them to:
    • Be humble and leave your ego at the door
    • Communicate – “a process of transmitting and sharing ideas, opinions, facts, values etc. from one person to another or one organization to another.” Everyone has something to offer.
    • Recognize individual differences, skill sets, and interests and be curious about what others offer
    • Consider what you can do together more effectively then working alone
    • Be willing to take risks and think differently to allow learning to come more rapidly
    • Be kind – with actions and language
  • Start with a common read and respond to what is read through the creation of art work. Share the artifacts so each person can ask questions and learn. Everyone doesn’t process by reading, thinking and talking. I suggest starting with a book or TED Talk on ‘growth mindset’.
  • Identify the challenge the group wishes to take on to build momentum, change a direction and create a movement.
  • Collectively determine goals, steps, and outcomes.
  • Determine the plan in reaching the outcomes for a scalable movement.

Successful collaboration is essential for today and the future and it’s a useful tool for arts educators, artists, community members, and others committed to excellent arts education as they lead the work in schools and communities in our country and world.

It’s time, lean in and make it happen! Be part of the circle that gets stuff done! View this as an opportunity for the learners you work with, no matter what age they are. You won’t regret working with others to raise the bar for arts education! “A year from now you may have wished you started today.” ~Karen Lamb


Ringing of the Bells

December 31, 2019


I think it’s only appropriate that I include for the final blog of holiday posts and the last post of the decade and 2019 – Animal, Beaker and The Swedish Chef’s rendition of “Ringing of the Bells’ for your enjoyment. I hope your holidays have been filled with kindness and as the Muppets always remind me – LAUGHTER!

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