This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant. Please consider ways in which you can collaborate to provide excellent arts education for all learners.
This is the second blog post of the series highlighting the work of Schoodic Arts for All located in Hammond Hall, 427 Main Street in Winter Harbor. This area is called Downeast Maine and Schoodic Arts for All is at the intersection of Hancock and Washington Counties. Schoodic Arts for All is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering interest and involvement in the arts for all who wish to participate.
This past winter the staff at Schoodic Arts for All had an idea. Members of the Painting group brainstormed ideas to get ourselves and our neighbors out of our homes, out of the dreary winter rut, to engage in socially and creatively enriching activities. The Museum Field Trip was born: the plan was to provide transportation and museum fees for folks to travel to a new museum each month!
The response to the first trip to the Farnsworth Art Museum, was overwhelmingly positive. Schoodic Arts for All is committed to building on the popularity of this new winter program to create a truly unique and engaging experience for our participants.
“Winter days are short. This trip was a brilliant idea. It recharged creative minds on many levels and was a good day long social event.” -Ann Dederer
“This kind of trip fulfills part of the mission of SAFA by enabling people who enjoy art an affordable way to engage with it.” -Anonymous
We all know that Maine has a significant number of “aging” residents. Our field trips are aimed at gathering folks together who would not, on their own, consider taking a 12-hour day trip. After all, many wouldn’t feel comfortable driving 2 or 3 hours to visit a museum ALONE, stopping to have lunch ALONE, and driving all the way home, often in the dark, ALONE. By providing the transportation, in groups of 6 passengers, participants were engaged in a variety of conversations and community building happened during the ride. Friendships are made, and information about the area is shared between people who otherwise may never have met.
As another participant stated: “Community lives when people come together to share, laugh and explore.” -Anonymous
The monthly “Field Trips” to area art museums kicked off in January 2015 with an overwhelmingly positive response, drawing three times the anticipated attendance! The museums were selected based on the current exhibits and interests of our participants. For example, in January, the Farnsworth Art Museum with the Shaker Exhibit was the first museum trip. Participants enjoyed the docent lead tour of the Shakers exhibit which included a documentary film by Ken Burns.
Winter Field trips included:
- Farnsworth Art Museum
- Portland Museum of Art
- Colby College Museum of Art
- University of Maine Museum of Art and the IMRC (Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center)
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (still upcoming as of the publish date of this post)
A Survey/Written Evaluation follows each trip which provides insights into how the experience. Strengths and weaknesses are included which provides direction for improvements for future Field Trips. These trips are a valuable resource for many who would not ordinarily experience the arts in this way. The goal is to make these trips enriching, comfortable and affordable for all.