Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category


Bob Dylan

October 19, 2016

2016 Nobel Prize in Literature

I graduated from high school in 1972. Many of you are aware of the following information, perhaps first hand, since you were growing up during that time as well. It was a period filled with challenges and turbulence. The Vietnam War started in 1955, escalated in the 60’s in response to military clashes. Even though the military fighting involvement ended in 1973 the war officially ended in 1975. The following year North and South Vietnam were reunified.

Bruce Aydelotte, my high school art teacher demonstrating pen and ink drawing with me wearing my Mondrian dress. You can read the post that includes this photo from March 2009 at

Bruce Aydelotte, my high school art teacher demonstrating pen and ink drawing with me wearing my Mondrian dress. You can read the post that includes this photo from March 2009 at

Bell bottom jeans, beads, headbands, fringe, tie-dyed t-shirts, leather sandals, Dr. Scholl’s wood-bottom sandals, and leather Earth shoes were popular attire. French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent created “The Mondrian Collection” as a homage to the work of several modernistic artists.

The Woodstock Festival was held in 1969 at a 600-acre cattle farm in the Catskills (NY) with an audience of more than 400,000 people. I have a brother who was at Woodstock for the pivotal moment in popular music history. Many of the songs performed at Woodstock by the 32 acts were protest songs.

Some of the musicians and artists of that time period were The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Claes Oldenburg. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin as well (both died from drug related deaths).

Dylan did not perform at Woodstock but his song The Times They Are a-Changin’ documents the early-’60s turbulence and became an anthem for change. Most interesting, Dylan never claimed to be a protest singer.

What does Dylan and The Times Are a-Changin’ have to do with me and my high school graduation? My class sang the song at graduation – it was our small way of recognizing (and for some of us supporting) what was going on, even though we were at the tail end of it. My older brothers were in the thick of it so I was very aware at a family level of what was happening.

Consequently, I was gleeful to hear the recent news that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. So wonderful to know that he is the first musician to be recognized with this award makes it even more special!

If you’re around my age you may have a personal Dylan connection yourself. If you’re younger you may have (or will have) a personal connection to music or an artist from your past. Hopefully the memory will be as sweet as this is for me. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without sharing my Dylan story. Enjoy Bob Dylan singing The Times They Are A-Changin in this Youtube video.

 Below is the article that came out on the AP by CBS on October 13, 2016.

STOCKHOLM — American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award on a musician.

The Swedish Academy cited Dylan for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

Reporters and others gathered for the announcement at the academy’s headquarters in Stockholm’s Old Town reacted with a loud cheer as his name was read out.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Dylan, who turned 75 in May, had been mentioned in the Nobel speculation for years, but few experts expected the academy to extend the prestigious award to a genre such as popular music.

The academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, said that while Dylan performs his poetry in the form of songs, that’s no different from the ancient Greeks, whose works were often performed to music.

“Bob Dylan writes poetry for the ear,” she said. “But it’s perfectly fine to read his works as poetry.”

Dylan was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. He grew up in a Jewish middle-class family. He’s the first American winner of the Nobel literature prize since Toni Morrison in 1992.

By his early 20s, he had taken the folk music world by storm. “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin” became anthems for the anti-war and civil rights movements of the 1960s. Dylan was also awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his contributions to music and American culture.

The literature award was the last of this year’s Nobel Prizes to be announced. The six awards will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

Earlier this year, renowned photographer Ken Regan released a limited edition book capturing rare, intimate images of Dylan on tour.


Sculpture Symposium

October 16, 2016

Viles Arboretum Sculpture Symposium

camille-close-upViles Arboretum held another successful sculpture symposium. Sculptor Anne Alexander worked with classes of students throughout the symposium. The other participating sculptors answered viewers questions as they worked away at their individual creations.

Maranacook Community High School art teacher Jeremy Smith remarked about the opportunity: “This experience was extremely valuable. We are so thankful for opportunities like these where students can really see the creative process from beginning to end and also share with professionals their excitement!”

Viles Arboretum Sculpture Symposium is partially funded by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission through the Arts Learning grant.





Franklin County Fiddlers

October 14, 2016

Mt. Blue High School, Farmington

The Franklin County Fiddlers from Mt. Blue High School, Farmington, under the direction of music educator Steve Muise,  performed at the Maine International Conference on the Arts provided by the Maine Arts Commission on Thursday, October 6, at the Franco Center, in Lewiston. They were one of several pop-up performers that wowed the audience during the MICA conference! Below is a small clip of their pop-up performance.


MICA Conference

September 28, 2016

Registration still open

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-9-08-12-amLooking for some creative inspiration? How about learning about how we can create cultural equity for all Mainers, or leading from a place of making? These are just two samples of the many inspiring keynotes and sessions you’ll get at the Maine Arts Commission Maine International Conference on the Arts (MICA) October 6-7 in Lewiston/Auburn. Poet and advocate Crystal Williams will speak on “Practical Approaches to Creating Impact: Getting to Cultural Equity” Thursday night at 5:30 p.m., and Friday lunch keynote is “Stop Asking for Permission! Leading from a Place of Making (Things Happen)” by Sherry Wagner-Henry. Advance Registration closes September 30: go to to learn more and to register today!


Following the arts education conference on Thursday afternoon, October 6, the MICA officially opens at 4:00 pm with a reception at 4:30 pm, Franco Center, Lewiston. Following the reception Pam Breaux, CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) will provide a brief “State of the States”. Crystal Williams will be the opening keynote at 5:30 pm. Poet, essayist, and Bates College VP and Chief Diversity Officer Crystal’s keynote. Following the keynote in downtown Lewiston: cultural offerings including Downtown Lewiston Gallery Crawl, showcases at The Community Little Theater in Auburn, Franco-Fest at Bates College, Poetry Reading at the Lewiston Library, and more.


MICA opens on Friday morning with an Idea Lab – 5 artists presenting in a Pecha Kucha format. Included in the Idea Lab is Nancy Frolich who established an arts and literacy with a program she created called LEAPS of Imagination. During the day participants have choices between 20 sessions – 5 different strands with 4 sessions under each of these topics: Leveraging Investment, Visibility of the Arts & Culture Sector, Arts Education, Cultural Tourism, and Building Capacity. A general schedule is located at THIS LINK. A pdf and more schedule info is located at THIS LINK.

I hope to see you in Lewiston! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me at


MacArthur Fellow

September 26, 2016

Anne Basting – TimeSlips

The Maine Arts Commission has offered training in TimeSlips as part of the Creative Aging program. Anne Basting, theater artist and educator created the program and has recently been named a MacArthur Fellow!

Anne Basting, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, Milwaukee/Wisconsin, 9-6-2016.

Anne Basting, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Anne Basting is a theater artist and educator demonstrating the potential of storytelling and creative expression to improve the lives of elders experiencing cognitive impairment. Across a variety of formats and platforms—theater, memoir, narrative, collaborative public performance, and academic research—Basting has developed an alternative concept of aging, one that focuses on its possibilities as well as its challenges and views sustained emotional connections as critical to our well-being as we age.

Her breakthrough project, TimeSlips, is an improvisational storytelling method in which older adults with cognitive impairment imagine stories and poems in response to inspiring cues. Basting used a collection of poems by the residents of Luther Manor Home in Wisconsin to create and stage a theater piece with the residents in 2000. She then refined and transformed TimeSlips into a formal therapy protocol guided by her fundamental insight that the creation of new stories can be an enriching substitute for lost memories. Basting has since created several theater pieces with elder collaborators around specific themes or community issues. The most ambitious of these, The Penelope Project (2010), grew out of a series of writing, visual arts, and music and movement exercises that imagines the life of Penelope as she awaits the return of Odysseus in Homer’s tale. Other projects, such as Islands of Milwaukee (2012) and The Crossings (2014), have encouraged community engagement, promoted intergenerational interactions, and raised awareness around elder safety.

Basting’s perspective on aging and the power of stories is changing the perceptions of caregivers, family members, and policy makers around the artistic and creative capabilities of older adults, regardless of age or cognitive status. Her nonprofit, TimeSlips Creative Storytelling, offers online and in-person training programs and has helped long-term care facilities and caregivers around the world implement TimeSlips. Through performances and scholarship about the development and efficacy of her approach and theater projects, Basting is widening the reach of her artistic advocacy and ensuring that all citizens age with vital human connection.

Anne Basting received a B.A. from Colorado College (1987), an M.A. (1990) from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. (1995) from the University of Minnesota. She is currently a professor of theater in the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee (UWM), founder (in 1998) and president of TimeSlips Creative Storytelling, and founder and coordinator of Creative Trust Milwaukee. She is the author of Forget Memory: Creating Better Lives for People with Dementia (2009), The Stages of Age: Performing Age in Contemporary American Culture (1998), and The Penelope Project: An Arts-Based Odyssey to Change Elder Care (2016) in addition to numerous articles, plays, and public performances.


STEAM in Poland

September 22, 2016


img_4192xThank you to Poland Community School art educator, Jonathan Graffius who shared the following information on the summer “STREAM camp” that took place in RSU16. As you will read it was a fabulous opportunity for elementary school student to dive deep into the connections between science, technology, reading, engineering, the arts, and math. During February break 2016 Jonathan designed a STEAM camp so this next step was built on what he learned from that first experience. A meartsed blog post on the STEAM camp is at THIS LINK.

For the STREAM camp, Jonathan designed the concept and the art projects, as well as, making the contacts at the Maine Wildlife park, but there was a team approach to providing the instruction and assessments related to reading, writing and math.  The funding came from a grant that was written by the RSU16 assistant superintendent who also assembled the entire instructional team. Since Jonathan states up front that his expertise is not in reading and writing, therefore he sees the benefits of bringing the staff together who specialize  in literacy and its related classroom instruction. The team worked extremely well together and developed a “center” approach to the STREAM camp instruction that brought individualized literacy instruction to the project. 

RSU 16 SUMMER SCHOOL EXPERIENCE  – In Jonathan’s own words…img_3586

This summer, RSU 16 received a grant allowing Title I students entering grades 3 and 4 to participate in a unique and engaging 4 week STEAM experience. Our goal was to maintain spring reading scores, while providing an engaging program that focused on researching, reading, writing, and creating art based on the animals who live at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine. Throughout this program, students positively responded to literacy instruction, participated in a variety of engineering projects, received small group instruction, went on field trips to gather information to influence their work, and were given individualized instructional time with teachers from multiple backgrounds. The staff consisted of classroom teachers, literacy specialists, general education and special education ed techs. Together the team brought their expertise and experience to deliver instruction through center rotations and three highly engaging field trips to the Maine Wildlife Park.

img_3705Each morning students were greeted with a written building challenge. Students were allowed to work individually or in small groups. Students primarily used wooden blocks and craft sticks to solve the daily building challenges, which involved architectural concepts like column, post, beam, cantilever, arch, and span. Building challenges included specific criteria that allowed for a personal aesthetic and individualized problem-solving. These engaging challenges also required students to apply math skills, primarily through the measuring and recording of data, such as height, number of blocks, span distances, and carrying weight, in their science journals. All of the finished products were photographed.

We gathered every morning after our building challenge to conduct a morning meeting. Following components from the responsive classroom model, morning meeting was an important part of every day because it allowed us to become comfortable and familiar with one another, make connections, share information on a personal level, and build our classroom community. During morning meeting, each student was greeted by name and often had the opportunity to share information about themselves to the whole group. Before our meeting ended, the group collectively reviewed the expectations that were drafted by the students on the first day of meeting each other. Students and teachers signed their name in agreement of the expectations, holding everyone accountable for their actions and words. This familiar routine of welcoming and accepting one another each morning helped set a comfortable, safe, and productive tone for the rest of the day.

img_4088After morning meeting, students broke off into four different groups (which were determined by reading performance data) to rotate among four different centers. Our centers included guided reading groups, phonics focus groups, writing workshop, and art. Through small group center rotations, students were able to receive more focused instruction to meet their academic needs.

At writing workshop, students used iPads and laptops to research information about the animal they had chosen to study from the Wildlife Park. Students wrote poems, riddles, and informational pieces about their animal’s habitat. Students used graphic organizers, wrote drafts in their science notebooks, revised and edited their work with support from their teachers, and all ended up having three pieces of writing published in our final, collaborative anthology of the animals we studied at Maine Wildlife Park.

img_4251When students went to the guided reading group center, they were able to receive direct reading instruction at their level while reading a variety of nonfiction texts. Students were supported by reviewing and practicing reading strategies, listening to each other read, and by writing facts about what they learned from their reading in their individual reading notebooks. Students also had the opportunity to use iPads as a technology resource to read or listen to stories and to take comprehension quizzes about the books they were reading right on their device. Using the guided reading model gave the students the opportunity to recall and reinforce skills learned throughout the school year. Our data showed that students had regressed from the end of the school year to the beginning of the summer program. Our work together helped students get back to where they had ended the school year.

img_3922During the phonics focus group, students participated in a variety of vocabulary and word work activities that related to the animal research they were doing for their writing. Students learned visual and oral cues to match all the vowel teams to bump their sounding out skills to the next level. Practice reviewing phonemic sounds and patterns influenced their reading decoding and performance. Students also read silly animal rhyming poems to recognize and read spelling patterns, as well as talk about their animals and what they were learning through their research.

During the visual arts center, students had the opportunity to be creative in a multitude of ways using a large variety of mediums. Students created works of art that related to their chosen animal and its habitat. Student-led inquiry and research provided a solid foundation for realistic and objective representation in their works of art. All students completed representational drawings, “painted-paper” collages, hand-built clay sculptures, and folded paper trioramas of their animal’s habitat. Many students also used digital cameras, iPads and other portable electronic devices to visually record their observations and experiences from their perspective.

img_3676We also were able to utilize our reading specialist during our center rotations as a resource for our most at-risk students. She was able to pull students for 1:1 reading to help them maintain their spring reading scores.

All students contributed research, writing and art work on a chosen animal at the Maine Wildlife Park that was published in their collaborative book Maine Animals–Their Stories. Learning extended beyond the school walls as students had the opportunity to take three field trips to Maine Wildlife Park and observe their animals firsthand. Students filled the role of field researchers at the park, receiving guided tours with volunteer park guides who answered students’ questions about their chosen animal. At the Park, students also photographed their animals in their habitats and took notes in their science journal. Through expeditionary primary research, students gained an authentic purpose to their research, writing and art.

img_4022The grant that was allocated to RSU 16 stated that 90% of our students would maintain their Fountas and Pinnell reading level at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. Students were able to meet this goal through the use of our STEAM model.

Jonathan will be on the STEAM panel at the Maine International Conference on the Arts, sponsored by the Maine Arts Commission on Friday, October 7, at the Bates Mill, Lewiston. The STEAM panel is one of 4 sessions in the education strand being held that day. There are 3 other arts strands along with other opportunities taking place that day and the pre MICA conference for arts educators on Thursday, October 6. To learn more and to register please CLICK HERE or contact me at


Pecha Kucha in Waterville

September 21, 2016

October 1


Held in collaboration with Maine Craft Weekend at the Waterville Opera House on October 1st.

PechaKucha Night Waterville (PK WTVL) Volume 22 promises to be the craftiest PechaKucha Night yet! Held in collaboration with Maine Craft Weekend, all PK WTVL V22 presentations will feature a wide variety of craft stories — including a presentation focused on the history of the Hathaway shirt factory presented by a former Hathaway employee. This will be a night to remember, not a night to miss! PechaKucha Night Waterville is scheduled for Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Waterville Opera House with presentations starting at 7:20 PM. This event is free and open to the public.

The PK WTVL Volume 22 presenters are Lisa Eaton, Lee Folsom, Laurie LaBar, Johanna Moore, Jennifer Olsen, Nicholas Rossi, Claire Unsinn, and Geoffrey Warner. The event will feature a wide variety of craft stories including hand forged knives, furniture design, historical frame making, Franco-American history in quilted portraits, bow tie making, history of the Hathaway shirt factory and more. Waterville Creates! board President Larry Sterrs will be the emcee. PechaKucha Night Waterville volume 22 will be a fantastic night of merriment, community, storytelling, creativity, and celebration!

PK WTVL is Waterville’s connection to a global storytelling network of creative people sharing their creative muse in 20×20 (20 images showing for 20 seconds each). For more than six years, PK WTVL has brought thousands of area residents together in celebration of passions and creativity. A free opening reception will take place from 5p-7p in the Common Street Arts gallery located at 93 Main Street, Waterville, ME. Light refreshments will be provided in conjunction with the gallery’s mud. works in clay by maine artists exhibition opening. All are invited to this free event!

About PechaKucha Night Waterville
PK WTVL is presented by a volunteer Team PK, Waterville Creates!, and the Waterville Public Library. Four events are held per year. The Colby Center for the Arts and Humanities is the PK WTVL 2016-2017 season sponsor. PK WTVL V22 event is a collaboration with Maine Craft Weekend, Ticonic Tales, Common Street Arts, and the Waterville Opera House. PechaKucha Night was created in 2003 by Klein Dytham Architecture in Tokyo and has become an international phenomenon with events happening in more than 900 cities around the world. The 20×20 format makes presentations concise, keeps the evening moving at a rapid pace, and allows for plenty of discussion among participants and attendees.

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