Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category


Another Student’s Story: Tom Goodwin

August 28, 2015

Tom Goodwin

“Thomas Goodwin grew up in Midcoast Maine. He studied film production at Emerson College and his college thesis film “Hands of the Nocturnal Clock” received accolades at festivals in New England. “Dead of Winter,” his second feature film, is a tribute to the place he grew up. Tom has worked on video and film projects since the age of 11. Growing up with a camera in hand, he captured every story he could. Having returned to his home state and aiding a local museum as they update their digital collection, Tom is excited to be doing what he loves in the place that he holds so close.” “Dead of Winter” Fundraising Campaign on Indiegogo – November 2014

Tom_2In Tom’s own words…
At the age of 11, I wrote a letter to Harrison Ford asking to be his sidekick in the next Indiana Jones film. Sadly, years later, Shia LeBeouf snaked the role from me. Point is, if you asked me at 11 years old what I would do when I grew up, I would have told you I would become a filmmaker. Now 27 years old, my answer hasn’t changed. I have succeeded in some ways, and am still yearning to grow.

I graduated from Medomak Valley High School in 2006, having taken more film classes than the school even offered. I was a accepted to attend Emerson College in Boston, MA for a Bachelor’s degree in Film Production. As part of my schooling, I was fortunate to write, produce, and direct a 20-minute 1920’s gangster film on 35mm film. I found that growing up in Midcoast Maine gave me an edge in securing locations and props in and around my hometown of Warren. As such, most of the film, “Hands of the Nocturnal Clock,” was shot on location around Midcoast Maine. !

HANDS OF THE NOCTURNAL CLOCK – TRAILER (runtime 1 minute, 15 seconds)

I graduated from Emerson College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts. I stayed in Boston for two more years, teaching Media Arts at Young Achievers, K-8 in Mattapan, MA and a “Teen TV” summer program at English High School in Jamaica Plain, MA.

For my next project, a good friend handed me a feature length screenplay and offered me the chance to direct the film. I accepted, and in 2012 I directed “Humble River.” We had 48 speaking roles and 50 locations between Boston, MA and Orland, ME. Sadly, the Executive Producers of the film were unable to secure festival licenses for much of the music that was chosen for the production, so only a limited number of DVDs are in circulation. That said, we were able to finish the film, and I am able to say that at the age of 24, I had directed a feature length film.

HUMBLE RIVER – TRAILER (runtime 1 minute, 30 seconds)

Tom_1I returned to the Midcoast area in late 2012, and have been here ever since. Upon my return, I crafted the screenplay for “Dead of Winter.”  The screenplay was a chance for me to look at the area where I grew up with a fresh set of eyes. To be able to notice the things that set Maine apart. It is certainly a project about a place, and cannot be transferred to any other locale. It wasn’t until I began a job at the Owls Head Transportation Museum as their in-house videographer in June of 2014 that I was able to see that “Dead of Winter” could actually be produced into a film. While at the transportation museum, where I still work, I have access to creative and curious minds, equipment, flexibility, and support in this feature film endeavor. Beyond that, I am learning even more about my chosen craft every day. My mission has been primarily educational and promotional material for the museum, all housed on the museum’s YouTube channel, which I manage. From concept to distribution, these videos are 100% created by me. See below!

Owls Head Transportation Museum’s Youtube Channel

OHTM’S Museum Story (runtime 2 minutes)

“Dead of Winter” has a tried and true plot; what happens when a number of unlikely character’s lives intersect over a bag full of money? It’s a commonly seen anecdote, and has been used time and again to tell the story of a place. The place itself plays a major character in the film’s plot, the trajectory of the players involved, and the outcome of the story. “Dead of Winter” is an examination of a region much like the films “Fargo,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Waking Ned Devine” route themselves deeply in the regions where they take place. Having grown up here and having dedicated my life to the art of storytelling, I am in a unique position to make this dream come true. To create this film in my home state, about my home state, and for my home state. Rather than tell you about it, allow me to tell you about it… in a video!!

DEAD of WINTER FUNDRAISING PROMO (runtime 2 minutes, 23 seconds)

DEAD of WINTER teaser #1 (runtime 1 minute, 28 seconds)

DEAD of WINTER teaser #2 (runtime 30 seconds)

Congratulations to Tom who was recently awarded a Maine Arts Commission grant. Tom was a student in my middle school art class many moons ago. It is great to see what he is doing these days.


Welcome Back!

August 25, 2015

2015-16 School year

Summer 2015 2nd group

MALI Summer Institute, August 3-5, 2015, USM, Portland

It’s back to school time and the air is changing. Whether you are in full swing with teaching or in your classroom preparing for students or perhaps waiting at home for the first day with “kids”, I know that the school year is upon you in some form.

I can sense that it is going to be a great year for visual and performing arts education in Maine! The Maine Arts Commission has been busy all summer supporting the work of Maine Visual and Performing Arts Education. Read below just a few of the ways in which MAC is doing just that:

  • It’s official, on August 3, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative became the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative during the opening at the summer institute. Read about the shift at
  • In addition to the name change MALI sent a representative team to the Teach to Lead Summit in Washington, D.C., July 22-24 sponsored by the US DOE and the National Board. The experience launched us into phase 5 in an amazing way. We found ourselves at the same table with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Read about it at
  • On August 3-5 the MALI summer institute took place at USM, Portland campus. It was a fabulous learning opportunity where 12 new Teacher Leaders created an action plan that is turning into a workshop to be presented during the 2015-16 school year across Maine. This brings the total of Teacher Leaders to 73! You can read about the Teacher Leader work at
  • The veteran Teacher Leaders used a Logic Model to guide their work. Starting with a “problem” they created a plan that they will take action on during the next several months. Pretty amazing work!
  • The biennial fall arts ed conference is happening on Friday, October 9, Point Lookout Conference Center, Arts Education: The Measure of Success. Early bird registration and detailed information is at
  • Fourteen Teaching Artists participated in one day of the MALI summer institute – what a treat to have so many in one location. Read about their participation at
  • The Teaching Artist roster expanded this summer to a total of 40. You can read about the program and check out the roster at Please consider contracting with one (or more) of these artists for your students during this school year. Another call for the roster will go out in the near future. Watch this blog and arts ed list-serv for the invitation.
  • The statewide visual and performing arts education census will be launched this fall and plans are underway to collect data from all 100% of Maine schools. Watch for more information because we will need everyone’s help to make this happen!
  • MALI had an incredible Critical Friend day with 45 educators attending including PK-higher ed teachers and administrators. Read about it at

As you begin a new school year know that the MAC and MALI are here to assist you on your educational journey. More information on all of the MAC education programs can be found at


MALI Critical Friend Day

August 22, 2015

A great day in Portland!

IMG_0233So impressive were the presentations all day on Thursday during the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Critical Friend Day. Forty-five educators convened at Luther Bonney Hall on the USM, Portland campus. Twenty-four educators made presentations, either a workshop or a logic model idea. When not presenting they joined the critical friends who were a collective of teachers, a principal, an assistant principal, curriculum leader, an assistant superintendent, and an Apple employee. In addition, we had three educators join electronically and two actually gave their presentations from Aroostook county during their prep periods (school is underway). Needless to say it was very cool that they could join us from a distance. The entire day was a TERRIFIC learning opportunity for all involved. The presenters received valuable suggestions so they can tweak and expand on their ideas and the critical friends walked away with new information and ideas to apply to their own work. It is a fabulous opportunity for all involved.

Dance and visual arts teacher leader from Lake Region High School Carmel Collins and music teacher leader from Sebasticook Valley Middle School

Dance and Visual Arts Teacher Leader, Lake Region High School Carmel Collins, and Music Teacher Leader, Sebasticook Valley Middle School

The presentations were in direct connection with the three-day MALI institute that was held earlier this month where over 50 visual and performing arts educators and teaching artists came together for a professional learning opportunity. You can read about the institute in several consecutive blog posts starting with August 10. They had a chance to gain more knowledge in teaching, learning, assessment, proficiency-based education, leadership, advocacy, technology, creativity, integration, and several other relevant topics related to the challenges faced in the visual or performing arts classroom. I had a chance to go from one workshop to the next and it was amazing to see the high quality of work that has been formulated.

Visual Art Teacher Leader Mandi Mitchell from Hermon High School

Visual Art Teacher Leader Mandi MItchell, Hermon High School

You might be wondering what a critical friend is or does. Below is how we guided the work of those who graciously took on the role as “critical friend”.

One definition of “critical” is expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature, music, or art. A “friend” is a person who gives assistance. The MALI leadership team asks you to do both in a gentle helpful way. We want the teacher leaders to create the best work possible so please be honest in your feedback.

Rob Westerberg, Nancy Kinkade, Holly Leighton, (hidden) Shari Tarleton, and Virgil Bozeman provide feedback

Rob Westerberg, Nancy Kinkade, Holly Leighton, (hidden) Shari Tarleton, and Virgil Bozeman provide feedback

The workshops will be presented at the local level during the 2015-16 school year. The new teacher leaders ( will be selecting a location and time and all of the information will be posted so you can see what is offered and plan to attend.

Trevor Marcho Music Teacher Leader Mattanawcook Academy

Trevor Marcho Music Teacher Leader Mattanawcook Academy

The veteran teachers selected a problem and created a plan to solve the problem. The logic model is just that – a way to guide those using it to a clear picture of how to influence and create change. You can read a bit about logic model at


Allie Rimkunas, Great Falls Elementary Art Teacher Leader

During the afternoon session we participated in a “messaging” workshop that was facilitated by Kate Smith, music teacher leader from South Berwick. Participants selected a topic that they wanted to refine to be able to communicate clearly and concisely at a moments notice when the opportunity arises.

Art Teacher Leader, Lisa Ingraham, Madison and Critical Friend Hollie Hilton

Art Teacher Leader, Lisa Ingraham, Madison and Critical Friend Hollie Hilton

Needless to say yesterday was a great day for Arts education in Maine. Nothing like being in an environment where everyone is talking, thinking, exchanging about visual and performing arts education – directly connected to all the issues and topics of education in general! If you’d like to read about the teacher leaders and leadership team please go to the Maine Arts Assessment site at  You can be part of the next quality learning opportunity at the Biennial Statewide conference being held on Friday, October 9, Point Lookout Conference Center, Northport, Maine. Information and registration for the great day we have planned is located at If you’d like to learn more about being involved in MALI and the opportunities that the initiative provides please be sure and email me at

Music Teacher Leader Kate Smith, and Critical Friends, AOS 92 Curriculum Leader Mary Boyle and 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year Karen MacDonald

Music Teacher Leader Kate Smith, and Critical Friends, AOS 92 Curriculum Leader Mary Boyle and 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year Karen MacDonald

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. You can read about it at Please email me know if you have any questions at


MALI is Ready!

August 15, 2015

Stuff happening!

Every time I reflect on the work that the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI)* has underway I can’t help but smile. There are now 73 Maine arts educators who have attended the summer institute and taken on the role of Teacher Leader (TL). Fifty Teacher Leaders are taking an active role during the 2015-16 school year.

IMG_0088Their roles will vary depending on where they are in their educational journey. The 12 new MALI TLs will be presenting workshops throughout the state that they have created on a variety of topics. The returning TLs have used the Logic Model to take on a “problem” facing them and will solve that with a strategic plan they have each created.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 2.09.37 PMIn addition to the TL workshops, the biennial arts ed conference Arts Education: The Measure of Success, will take place on October 9,  at the Point Lookout Conference Center, Northport. The format is unique this year to meet the needs of the 21st century. Take a look at the 1-minute videos at that the nine workshop presenters have created so you can see and hear what the sessions are all about. During the morning at the conference the nine will each present for 5 minutes with 5 images to provide further information of what will be an exciting afternoon of 1 hour and 15 minute workshops (you can attend 2). This unique format is designed to provide you with more varied and deeper learning opportunities. Conference early-bird registration is available so I suggest you save yourself a spot. Once the conference is full, we will close down registration so don’t delay! Check out the details and registration at

The MALI Leadership Team continually listens to the Teacher Leaders and those who attend workshops to make available what is needed for addressing the needs of quality arts education for all students. The Maine Arts Education Resource website at managed by Rob Westerberg and is continually updated with new professional learning opportunities.

The new Mission: “MALI is committed to the development of Teacher leaders to ensure deep understanding and meaningful implementation of high quality teaching, learning and assessment in the Arts.”

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. You can read about it at Please email me know if you have any questions at


MALI Leadership Team

August 14, 2015

Those amazing leadership team members

Sooooo…. hours of meetings, zoom sessions for brainstorming, tons of time planning, phone calls for tweaking, emails of questions, google docs of compiling, scheduling and keeping lists. The dedication that the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) leadership team has devoted to planning and implementing the summer institute has been unbelievable. I am humbled by their work and grateful for their enthusiasm and commitment.

Three of the team members have been around since January 2011 when we had the first planning meeting of the initiative’s leadership team. Periodically I reflect on where MALI is and think about how none of this would be possible without the time that the leadership team has devoted. They are funny, creative, problem-solvers with a “never give up” attitude. They are by far top notch professionals who continuously make me a better person! I am sooooo thankful and Maine arts education is fortunate! Each of the following attended zoom meetings almost weekly since January!

  • Catherine Ring – Executive Director, New England Institute for Teacher Education
  • Rob Westerberg – Music Educator, York High School
  • Jeff Beaudry – Associate Professor, Educational Leadership, USM
  • Pam Kinsey – Music Educator, Easton Schools
  • Barb Vinal – Instructional Technology Facilitator, Raleigh, NC and former Maine Music Educator

In addition Nancy Salmon planned the Teaching Artist segment of the institute which received rave reviews! Thank you Nancy!

Since the Teach to Lead Summit in Washington, D.C. July 22-24, two teacher leaders have stepped up and worked with the Leadership Team with the planning of the institute. Without them the 3 days would have been very different.  I want to thank the following for the work each of them have contributed intensely after returning home from the Teach to Lead Summit.

  • Theresa Cerceo – Visual Art Educator, Dr. Levesque Elementary School, Wisdom Middle/High School, MSAD 33, K-12
  • Kate Smith – Music Educator, Central Elementary School, PK-3
Theresa and Kate in D.C.

Theresa and Kate in D.C.

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. You can read about it at Please email me know if you have any questions at


Teacher Leaders

August 13, 2015

Those amazing teachers

What do the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leaders have in common? There are many IMG_0065similarities. If I had to select the top six, they would be:

  1. commitment to teaching
  2. life-long learners and a passion for learning
  3. a desire to go above and beyond
  4. positive attitudes
  5. problem-solvers
  6. collaborators

Sounds like many teachers in Maine and across the country you might say. I couldn’t agree more! A guest (teacher from another content) attended the MALI summer institute August 3-5 at USM, Portland and said what impressed her most about the environment was how positive the MALI Teacher Leaders are. “They weren’t sitting around complaining about what they couldn’t control but focusing on what they could do to move the conversation forward about how essential high quality arts education is for all students.”

At the completion of the three-day institute we asked the Teacher Leaders:”What about this professional IMG_0034development Institute has been useful to you?”  These were some of the remarks from some of the new and veteran Teacher Leaders:

  • The positive energy and the connections have been refreshing and revitalizing!
  • In-person collaboration, feedback from colleagues, upbeat atmosphere, opportunity to see old friends.
  • The extended time to work on our workshop ideas with experts available to de-mystify the whole process.
  • The institute has made me go back and look at the MLRs; what I do now and what goals I have for my teaching in the future.
  • It is the connection with others and networking. It is being able to talk with others about what they are doing, getting inspired, and and now being really pumped for the start of this year.
  • All my questions and doubts about PBE has been answered. I love the feedback that I received from the other teacher leaders, and that is what has been the most useful for me.
  • Connecting with other teachers, learning about becoming a teacher leader and my role within MALI. I learned a lot about assessment, proficiency, and creativity.
  • I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge that I will be able to bring back with me and share!! I cannot begin to describe all of the knowledge, enthusiasm, and collaboration that the past three days have given me!
  • The logic model has been so useful with guiding a plan for making change at the local level. Look forward IMG_0027to a great year of stepping into a new different leadership role. Also thought that the “messaging” session was so helpful.
  • The amazing feedback about my logic plan received by the teacher leaders!
  • There have been so many different aspects about this Institute that have been useful to me. I think that the ability to collaborate with others and like-minded educators really helps to invigorate and inspire me in my work as an educator. I think that it is really important to connect with others and it helps to edify our energy and passion for our field and everything that we do. This also inspired me to make sure to be an advocate for myself and the arts. To continue what I have done and push towards advocacy for my program at my school. To be a resource and make myself present for others in my school building and arts educators.
  • There is so much I don’t even know where to begin! I loved the fact that I was able to develop a logic model that helps me put together something that will help to benefit my program specifically. I also loved having the teaching artists as part of the plan!!!!
  • Receiving feedback from my colleagues with reference to our workshop design. Networking with new and old colleagues. Hearing what everyone is doing i.e. SLO’s, teacher evaluation process, assessments, good practice, arts advocacy. How MAAI has evolved and the shift in direction. I love the new name. It truly reflects our purpose of leadership in the arts.
  • The group work around written philosophies and “elevator speeches” was an amazing exercise in how many voices can blend together to create powerful messages.

Perhaps you’re thinking “wow, I’d like to be part of this type of learning”. Plan ahead and consider applying to IMG_0081be a Teacher Leader in the future. Join the Teacher Leaders as well as educators from across the state and attend the biennial conference, Arts Education: The Measure of Success, being held on Friday, October 9, Point Lookout, Northport. Details and registration located at Please move swiftly and take advantage of the Early-Bird Special and join the positive, energetic environment that the presenters will be all about!


Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. You can read about it at Please let me know if you have any questions.


Teaching Artists

August 12, 2015

TA Opportunities


Teaching Artists Martin Steingesser and Martin Swinger, MALI summer institute, August 2015

The Maine Arts Commission (MAC) is committed to providing learning opportunities for Maine Teaching Artists. On August 3, during the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative summer institute, MAC worked with Teaching Artist Nancy Salmon, to provide an all-day workshop. Dancer and teaching artist/teacher leader John Morris provided a segment on creativity and the Elements of Dance. Teacher Leader MaryEllen Schaper provided a segment on the Maine Learning Results and the visual and performing arts learning standards. Barb Vinal provided a segment on technology tools and how to leverage them as a Teaching Artist. In all, fourteen Teaching Artists participated and received information about arts education teaching and learning standards, technology tools, and discussed their roles as Teaching Artists in 2015.

In answer to the question What about this professional development day has been useful to you? the Teaching Artists response was:

  • Networking
  • Kick started some creativity that has been lacking in my professional life
  • Creating together
  • Exploring arts education verbiage
  • Being able to talk/network with other teaching artists, share challenges, ideas, frustrations, make some work together.
  • Meeting and chatting with other teaching artists what they do and HOW. I enjoyed active workshops.
  • It’s been encouraging and inspiring to share information and experience among my artist and teaching peers—as well as to renew a sense of community among them. One specific area is identifying and re-affirming underlying principles among our different arts disciplines.
    High on the useful list also is networking, meeting teachers and administrators who share like loves, passions and goals who may help connect me with professionally rewarding engagements.
  • The opportunity to come together & meet other TA’s, exploration into marketing and social media, and creative process.
  • ALL of it!  Lively conversations with fellow artists. GREAT information about using technology with Barb. Hints about Pinterest, Password manager, FB, Google Presentation, Personal Learning Network, Klout…
    Inspiring and informative workshop with John about Elements of Dance and the meanings of Creativity….  the tour of all of Argy’s amazing network of information, blog, connection and the new directions for the MAC. Suddenly, I’m excited to be a ‘Maine Teaching Artist’ again!!  THANKS!!

Some of you who are not teaching artists might be wondering what is a Teaching Artist?! MACs definition: Teaching Artists are professional artists who are dedicated to lifelong learning and arts education, have made it an integral part of their professional practice, and who have cultivated skills as educators in concert with their skills as artists.

If you are a PK-12 visual or performing arts teacher or a school administrator, or perhaps a parent/community member please consider hiring a Teaching Artist to enhance your educational program. MAC provides a Teaching Artist roster located at to help you consider who you might want to invite to your school. You will find information including the Teaching Artist contact information so you can communicate with them directly.

If you are a Teaching Artist and are interested in applying to be a member of the roster please email me at For further information please go to

Just a reminder that on August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. You can read about it at Please let me know if you have any questions.


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