Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

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Maine’s Poet Laureate

May 17, 2021

Stuart Kestenbaum finishes five-year term

The Maine Arts Commission requests applications to select a new state poet laureate for a five-year term. Stuart Kestenbaum will turn over the reigns. He is no stranger to visual arts teachers who have attended the state art education conference at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. “We are so grateful to Stu for his wonderful work at Poet Laureate,” said Arts Commission Executive Director, David Greenham. Greenham will facilitate the process for selecting Maine’s next poet laureate. “We see this as a wonderful opportunity to recognize another member of Maine’s thriving community of poets,” he added.

Maine’s Poet Laureate position is an appointment designed to promote poetry throughout the state while honoring a Maine poet whose work can inspire an understanding and appreciation of the craft of poetry for the people of our state. 

Current Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum completes his five-year term in 2021. Kestenbaum, a resident of Deer Isle, has used his position to share poetry in many different mediums, including his Poems from Here collaboration with Maine Public, which features a new Maine poem each week. Kestenbaum is the author of five collections of poems, most recently How to Start Over (Deerbrook Editions, 2019). He is also the author of the essay collection The View from Here (Brynmorgen Press, 2012).

The poet laureate position was established by Maine statute in 1995. The specific duties are minimal to ensure incumbents have maximum freedom to work on their own projects during their tenure. While the position does not include a stipend, all expenses are paid for

appearances and programs, which include, an annual lecture and reading of his or her poetry; participation in the Maine Arts Commission’s administration of the national Poetry Out Loud project; as well as appearances and events to broaden appreciation and understanding of, and participation in, poetry in Maine communities. Each poet laureate brings a different emphasis to the position.

To be considered for this appointment, poets must be full-time Maine residents and have a distinguished body of poetic work. Applicants must submit up to five poems, totaling no more than 10 pages, as well as a one-page statement outlining your vision for your public role as poet laureate and a copy of your resume no later than June 1, 2021.

APPLY TO BE THE NEXT MAINE POET LAUREATE

Maine Poet Laureate review committee

Janet Mills, Governor (and poet)

Samaa Abdurraqib, Maine Humanities Council

Susan Minot, Author and Poet

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Maine Writers and Publishers

James Ritter, Maine State Library

Stuart Kestenbaum

To learn the history of Maine’s Poet Laureate CLICK HERE. If you have questions, please contact David Greenham, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission at david.greenham@maine.gov.

Maine’s Poet Laureates

Kate Barnes (1996-1999)

Baron Wormser (2000-2005)

Betsy Sholl (2006-2011)

Wesley McNair (2011 – 2016)

Stuart Kestenbaum (2016 – 2021)

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Mayers Film is a Winner

May 13, 2021

Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life

Vermont PBS Award for Best Documentary Film Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life. “This film is a delight. Mayers is a compelling character, lively, intelligent, and interesting. But what makes it award-worthy is its intelligent and playful stylistic approach, its story arc and pacing, and its avoidance of some of the foibles of bio-pics. Overall an excellent, fun, and relevant documentary.” Congratulations to Maine filmmakers Geoffrey Leighton and Anita Clearfield for their creative work on the film. Thank you Natasha for sharing your story!

See more about the film and how you can view it online at https://natashamayers.org/

Filmmakers Anita Clearfield and Geoffrey Leighton are thrilled to share the news that Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life has won the Vermont PBS Award for Best Documentary at the 2021 Made Here Film Festival, New England’s only competitive festival devoted entirely to films made by filmmakers of the Northern New England states and Québec. The film elicited glowing accolades from the festival judges! A live conversation with the winning filmmakers, moderated by Eric Ford, Director of Programming at Vermont PBS, will take place virtually on May 16 at 7pm. Registration is required for this free virtual event.
Congratulations to Natasha, Anita, and Geoff for this well-earned award!
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Doodle for Google

May 12, 2021

Vote TODAY for Maine!

Scarborough High School senior, Kelly Dodge, is the State of Maine winner in the Doodle for Google Scholarship competition! Congratulations Kelly! The theme this year was inner strength. She titled her doodle “perseverance of passions”. In Kelly’s description, she wrote, “During the pandemic, finding time and energy to do the things I love has been very challenging. This doodle represents me still having the strength to do what I’m passionate about in these tough times.”

Kelly’s artwork now moves on to the National Competition. She is one of 54 finalists in the entire country and now she is competing against all of the other state winners. The top prize is a $30K scholarship for Kelly AND a gift of $50K worth of technology equipment to the school! They are also awarding $5K scholarships to the next four highest vote-getters.

There is a live online voting period from May 10-15 that will determine the winner. Here’s where we need your help! We need to spread the word on this, not only within our school & district, but also throughout the state of Maine. Please share the link with your friends, family, and professional organizations. Let’s get Kelly some votes!

Vote for Winning Doodles until Friday 5/15 at 11:59 pm PT.

VOTE FOR KELLY’S DOODLE

You’ll need to select the “Grades 10-12” button. That will take you to a series of doodles, starting with Alabama. Scroll down to MAINE. Click on Kelly’s doodle.

Congratulations also to Kelly’s art teacher Erin Landry-Fowler, Scarborough High School.

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Narraguagus Jr/Sr High School

May 11, 2021

6th Annual Student Art Exhibit

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Influenced by Art Teacher

May 11, 2021

Letter from US Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona

How wonderful that we have an educator in the position of Secretary of Education at the federal level who was influenced by an art teacher during his elementary education. I urge you to embrace this moment and consider our roles as educators and ask yourself: what can I do to take a leap in moving visual and performing education forward? You have the potential to encourage, challenge and guide learners to wrap their arms around being life long learners of the arts!

I never could predict what might happen in Mr. O’Neil’s art classes; I just knew I couldn’t wait for the next assignment.  Back then I didn’t realize all the ways this dynamic educator, a rare man of color leading our diverse classroom of second graders, was serving as a pioneer and role model for me and my peers in John Barry Elementary School.  But I’ll never forget how his teaching made me feel.  As a second grader, I remember looking up — watching him encourage, challenge and guide us – and thinking: “I want to be like him.”

In the years since embracing that calling and starting my career as a classroom teacher, I’ve kept that sense of purpose and wonder.  And my goal in all the administrative roles I’ve held is to facilitate great teaching and learning: to support and expand the transformative impact that skilled, caring classroom teachers have for students, schools, and communities.

Every day America’s teachers change lives, and every day those lives change the world.

Dr. Miguel A. Cardona US Secretary of Education

Now, this truth can seem to recede as you rush to keep up with the day’s intense pace, and your students’ needs and opportunities. Yet, from the first bell on the first day of the school year, you build a relationship with each of them. You learn their strengths and struggles, laugh with them, cry with them, worry over them, cheer for them – and at the end of the school year, help them transition to their next grade level adventure. You know all those experiences – both the academic and life lessons – have changed both you and them for the better.  You empower them to grow in skill and character — expand their understanding of the world and how to shape it — explore their interests and decide where to make their mark.

Teaching is not a job anyone just falls into. It is mastery of a craft: in fact, the craft that enables all the others. In my experience, great teachers are also quintessential lifelong learners. You use your command of learning science, your insights into your students’ unique needs and aptitudes, as well as the lessons of the past, the realities of the present and the inspiration, innovation and ingenuity of the future to help each new generation become leaders for today and tomorrow. Throughout the year you support your fellow educators, add to your tools through professional development, provide feedback on assignments, sponsor sports, service learning, clubs and other extracurricular activities, collaborate with parents –in addition to everything you pour into your students during class.

Even in this unprecedented year, you rallied, finding new ways to engage with students. In the face of tragedy, you learned new technologies and built virtual classroom communities, all while caring for yourselves and your own families.  As we heal, recover, and rebuild, this pandemic presents a chance to forge opportunity from crisis and reimagine education on every level. We will use this time to address inequities in our education system, and your contributions will be invaluable.  The work won’t be easy, but the impact of your success will be profound, for students and communities. I urge state, local, and elected officials to make sure classroom teachers have a voice in your plans and efforts to reimagine education; second to parents, they know our students best.

I look forward to learning and listening from you in the days ahead.  And, from all of us at the Department of Education: Happy Teacher Appreciation Week. There’s a reason teacher like Mr. O’Neil – and all of you – are memorable.  There’s a reason student in America’s classrooms watch you share your curiosity, energy and passion for ideas and think, “I want to be like them.”

You are embodiments of possibility, champions of your students’ potential and stewards of their success.

Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education.

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Spirit of Reciprocity

May 6, 2021

Global Oneness Project

With a deadline of June 3, 2021 the Global Oneness Project is providing an opportunity for students ages 13 and up in the US and 16 and up globally to submit a photograph or illustration that reflects the spirit of reciprocity and kinship with the living world.

SPIRIT OF RECIPROCITY

You might be wondering, what is meant by the spirit of reciprocity?!

Reciprocity is an act or process of exchange where both parties mutually benefit. The origin of the word reciprocity in Latin, reciprocus, means moving backwards or forwards. The actions of giving and receiving are both included. 

For example, if you look up a diagram documenting the process of photosynthesis and respiration, you’ll see a circular motion. Plants are living and breathing systems.

According to Kimmerer, “Reciprocity is rooted in the understanding that we are not alone, that the Earth is populated by non-human persons, wise and inventive beings deserving of our respect.” As she writes in Braiding Sweetgrass, “We are surrounded by teachers and mentors who come dressed in foliage, fur, and feathers. There is comfort in their presence and guidance in their lessons.” 

The Serviceberry: An Economy of Abundance” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Original illustration by Christelle Enault

GUIDELINES

  1. Contestants must be ages 13 and up in the U.S. and 16 and up globally. Check our Submission Guidelines and Rules and our Terms of Service for more details.
  2. All entries must be related to the contest theme: the spirit of reciprocity. Students will submit one photograph or original illustration which is a response to at least one of the following excerpts from Kimmerer’s writing. How might the excerpt you select help to inform your photography or illustration?
    • “I hope my grandson will always know the other beings as a source of counsel and inspiration, and listen more to butterflies than to bulldozers.”
    • “Birds, bugs, and berries are spoken of with the same respectful grammar as humans are.”
    • “Do we treat the earth as if ki is our relative—as if the earth were animated by being—with reciprocity and reverence, or as stuff that we may treat with or without respect, as we choose?” (As Kimmerer writes, “Ki is a parallel spelling of chi—the word for the inherent life energy that flows through all things.”)
    • “To replenish the possibility of mutual flourishing, for birds and berries and people, we need an economy that shares the gifts of the Earth, following the lead of our oldest teachers, the plants.”
    • “Living beings are referred to as subjects, never as objects, and personhood is extended to all who breathe and some who don’t. I greet the silent boulder people with the same respect as I do the talkative chickadees.”
  3. Photo entries and original illustrations must be accompanied by a short artist’s statement (a minimum of 100 words and a max of 600). Artist’s statements can also be in the form of a poem. The aim of this statement is to tell the story of what is captured in the photograph or illustration. Statements must respond to at least 2 of the following questions:
    • What informed your decision to take your photograph or illustration?
    • In what ways has the COVID-19 pandemic revealed new ways of seeing and being with the living world? Has the pandemic increased your compassion for the living world? If so, how?
    • What story does a plant (or other living element) in your life have to tell? How are you included in that story?
    • What are the names and origins of the plants that are captured in your photograph or illustration?
    • In what ways can we listen to the living world with our whole selves?
  4. Images should help to express students’ human relationship to the living world. Students can include themselves and others in their photographs. Be creative! If your photograph contains a person, you will need to fill out and return the Photo Subject Release Form.
  5. The photograph or illustration submitted must take into consideration the Global Oneness Project’s mission statement: Planting seeds of resilience, empathy, and a sacred relationship to our planet.
  6. Each photograph or illustration and response must be original and previously unpublished. Photographs may also include photo collages, but not be heavily edited (e.g. photoshopped).
  7. Eligible entries will be judged by a qualified panel consisting of professional filmmakers, photographers, and authorized personnel from the Global Oneness Project. Only one entry per contestant.
  8. Prizes. Winners will be awarded $200 USD each and photographs will be published on the Global Oneness Project website. 
  9. All entries must be accompanied by this signed Parental Permission Form

ENTER HERE

RELATED RESOURCES

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National Junior Duck Stamp Art

May 3, 2021

Biddeford 12 year old

Ariah Lowell, 12, of Biddeford, takes top honors in the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest for her painting of a Harlequin Duck. Courtesy photo

A Harlequin Duck painted in oils by a Biddeford 12 year old, Aria Lowell, took third place in the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest. More than 400 Maine students in grades K-12 submitted art work this year. The program is coordinated in state by the Maine Audubon and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Aria received Best in Show in Maine and went on to the national level representing Maine.

This “conservation through the arts” program uses the winning artwork as the basis for the $5 Junior Duck Stamp. Revenue supports environmental education activities for participants. encourages students to explore their natural world, invites them to investigate biology and wildlife management principles, and challenges them to express and share what they have learned with others. Nearly 9,000 students took part in the program nationwide this year. To learn more CLICK HERE.

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The Woman Who Made van Gogh

May 2, 2021

New York Times Magazine

On April 14, 2021 the New York Times Magazine published this audio article authored by Russell Shorto. The story is about the influence of Vincent van Gogh’s sister in law on Vincent’s painting career. I found it very interesting and historically aligned with what I’ve learned about the artists from that time period.

CLICK HERE or below to listen to the story The Woman Who Made Van Gogh.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/14/magazine/jo-van-gogh-bonger.html?referringSource=articleShare

Jo van Gogh-Bonger, age 22
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Documentary Songwriters

April 28, 2021

Teaching Artist Training Program

This summer Documentary Songwriters will be offering a professional development opportunity to learn more about being a Documentary Songwriter Teaching Artist.

TRAINING INVOLVES

First, we teach a collaborative method of songwriting that creates lyrics directly from spoken stories. We harness the power inherent in human speech to create deeply emotional songs.

Second, we are committed to giving you the necessary skills to integrate this songwriting method with your ongoing work. In addition to learning the steps of the Documentary Songwriting Method, you will learn how to create a safe space that invites others to share, you will learn how to plan and follow through with projects, and you will learn valuable self-care and emotional processing tactics to implement when dealing with emotional stories.

Finally, our training rests in experiential education. Each day, participants will be challenged to be open, vulnerable, and in a space of growth. You will have the opportunity to practice every skill that we learn, both musical and interpersonal, in real-world scenarios.

If you are ready to listen deeply and expand your musical offering and teaching techniques, then this course is for you. Join us as we learn to spread the power of high-quality songwriting across the globe.

WHAT IS A DOCUMENTARY SONG?

A documentary song is a song that comes from a person’s spoken words about an actual, lived experience. The song documents the emotions of the experience through music. It is a method of co-writing music that fosters empathy, boosts self-confidence and strengthens community.

Three qualities of a docking:

  • Authenticity: The song arises from the spoken words of an individual’s lived experience.
  • Accessibility: The melody and words can be sung by people without trained voices.
  • Artistry: The song expresses a shared exploration of ideas and suggestions from its Story Source and Teaching Artist.

Learn more at THIS LINK about many of the projects. A collection of songs that have come from the project are at THIS LINK.

The summer teaching artist training program will be an enriching and meaningful professional development opportunity for musicians and educators who would like to broaden their experience telling stories and building connection through music. For more information, contact Nora Willauer at nwillauer@docsong.org

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Social Justice Songwriting

April 27, 2021

SPEAK UP, SING OUT workshop

A two-part social justice songwriting workshop! The Strand Theatre in Rockland is thrilled to host folk music group Ants on a Log for a two-part social justice songwriting workshop — “Speak Up, Sing Out” — on April 29 and May 6 from 5-6:00 p.m. over Zoom. Open to local young people ages 10-14, participants will learn how to use their voices to express themselves through song. Students should plan to attend both sessions. Participation is FREE but availability is extremely limited — please secure your spot by emailing Education Manager Brittany Parker at brittany@rocklandstrand.com. You will receive your Zoom link once your registration is confirmed. 

This project is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts

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