Archive for the ‘Food for thought’ Category

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Kinetic Sculptures

May 20, 2018

A new form of life on the beaches

Artist Theo Jansen demonstrates the amazingly lifelike kinetic sculptures he builds from plastic tubes and lemonade bottles. His creatures are designed to move — and even survive — on their own.

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Topiary Cat

May 19, 2018

Richard Saunders Surrealist

The Topiary Cat and how it all began.

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Puppet Making to Music

May 18, 2018

Ainslie Henderson

One artist approach to making puppets and how they come alive using stop motion photography.  “Improvising like making music and see where it leads you. Suddenly what is just stuff becomes this character staring back at you. They’re like little actors who only get to play one role. Everything that they do is their swan song.”  ~Ainslie Henderson

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Make History: Community as Classroom

May 17, 2018

Historic New England Collaboration

Thank you to Julia Einstein, Education Program Coordinator for Historic New England in Maine for providing this blog post called Make History Redux.

Mikala Smith’s embroidered homage to the grand window in the Sarah Orne Jewett House.

The 2nd annual exhibition of “Make History,” once again celebrates collaboration!  Year two of a project is always filled with a certain amount of anticipation mixed in with lots of excitement.  We all were ready for surprises and inspired by the endless possibilities. Historic New England and Marshwood High School brought together students to create personal meanings and visual interpretations from the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum in South Berwick. Myself, and Marilyn Keith Daley, were proud to partner this year with art teachers Jeff Vinciguerra, and Rebecca Poliquin, in the department headed by Patricia Sevigny Higgins, recipient of the 2018 Maine Art Education Association’s Distinguished Educator Award.

Joni Mitchell once said to an audience (recorded on her 1974 live album) “…nobody ever said to Van Gogh, ‘Paint a Starry Night again, man!’ You know? He painted it and that was it.” For us, we counted on our community saying, “teach Make History again!” That is the joy of creating a learning experience, and the art of being a teacher. There’s always a repeat performance to look forward to.  New students, when added to a different context, generates change.

The teachers and students, just as in 1891 when Jewett invited artist friends Marcia Oakes and

Sarah Orne Jewett as superhero in a mixed media collage by Megan Zachau

Charles Woodbury to work in her home, immersed themselves in the writer’s surroundings to develop ideas for their art. The Woodburys’ drawings became illustrations for Sarah Orne Jewett’s novel, Deephaven.”  The teachers’ study resulted in classroom lessons and the student work became a public exhibition. Unique to our program was a visit from Peter and Chris Woodbury—the grandsons of Marcia Oakes and Charles Woodbury.

I like being witness to creativity at the moment of inspiration. In the house, the students explored rooms and collections, including art by the Woodbury’s as well as Sarah Wyman Whitman, and Celia Thaxter, and investigated the influence of Jewett’s surroundings on her work.  The visit took the form of a “classroom in the museum,” as students selected a space in the house to study, sketch, or write.  I enjoyed sharing the spot of the famous author’s writing desk, where Jewett had tacked up a piece of paper on which she had

Ceramic work on view in the Make History exhibition.

written, “Écrire la vie ordinaire comme on écrit l’histoire,” her inspiration from the work of the early 19th century French writer, Gustave Flaubert which translates, “the artist’s job is to write ordinary life as if writing history.”

When the collaboration was first proposed to Jeff Vinciguerra, he recalls, “Everything about this project fits perfectly with my own philosophies as an educator. This process has been a great way to shake up my routine and make meaningful connections between my classroom, the community, and local history.” His ceramic students worked out ideas using the concept of a blueprint, where everything from decorative details to structure and shape are worked out on paper before the clay is brought into the studio.  Rebecca Poliquin was inspired to use this project as a model in her current studies for

Marshwood High School students used the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum as their classroom.

a Master of Art Teaching degree. She says, “This collaboration with the Sarah Orne Jewett house has proven to be an effective and exciting way to motivate high school students to create authentic artwork.  My Mixed Media class developed themes or big ideas that were inspired by their visit to the Sarah Orne Jewett House; Themes included history, nature, time, and place.”

And so, the students became interpreters of history. A ceramic fountain, a birdbath and garden painting references Jewett’s writing on the subject of the natural world. Several student artists invite you to notice details in everyday objects, wallpaper, fixtures—to show what they themselves noticed. Writing itself is a subject. The author’s famous

The exhibition reception was lively as each student artist engaged in gallery talk

signature —is highlighted into the design of vase much like “SOJ” was etched by Jewett into a pane of her bedroom window over 125 years ago. A contemporary portrait presents Sarah Orne Jewett transformed –into a superhero. Of course, any translation of Colonial Revival Period décor would not be complete without a bust of George Washington—and we have one—in cobalt blue.

All are invited to Make History: Community as Classroom, and then visit the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum with a new perspective. The exhibition is currently on view for one more weekend at the gallery in the Sarah Orne Jewett Visitor Center through Saturday, May 19. Hours are from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 207-384-2454, or check the WEBSITE.

Sketchbooks show us the act of “being there” in the student’s visual document.

Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center is one of 36 house museums owned and operated by Historic New England, the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the country.   Historic New England is devoted to education, making connections in the communities, and offering unique opportunities to experience the lives and stories of New Englanders through their homes and possessions.

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Call for MALI Teaching Artist Leaders

May 16, 2018

Application available – Deadline Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, Year 8

Visual and Performing Arts Teaching Artist Leader Application

Teaching Artist Leaders, MALI Summer Institute, August 2017

Join us for a GREAT opportunity! The Maine Arts Commission invites you to be a part of    the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Now in its eighth year, MALI offers a unique opportunity to learn and network with teaching artists and PK through grade 12 visual and performing arts educators from across the state. MALI is looking for teaching artists interested in leading and in taking a close look at effective teaching and learning in the arts. This is an opportunity for you to participate in professional development and networking, as well as to have a voice in the direction of arts education in the state of Maine.

APPLICATION

Deadline: Wednesday, June 13, 2018

If you are selected, you will be required to attend our summer institute, July 31, August 1 and 2, 2018. We will provide sessions to help you develop your ideas and support your work. We will then ask that you take what you’ve learned and share it with other teaching artists, educators and community members in your region and beyond.

Selected Teacher Artist Leader responsibilities for the 2018-19 school year include:

  • Full participation in the 3-day summer institute, July 31, August 1 and 2, 2018
  • Communicate in a timely fashion by email and in a MALI phase 8 google site
  • Be prepared for summer institute by completing pre-readings and responding to prompts with the MALI community
  • Critical Friends Day – follow-up to the summer institute, fall 2018
  • Participate in 2 meetings electronically with teaching artist leaders during 2018-19 school year
  • Contribute your teaching artist leader story for the Maine Arts Education blog
  • Attend a retreat to reflect on the phase 8 MALI work and plan next steps, winter 2019

Application requirements

  •    Current resume
  •    Letter of support
  •    Paragraph of interest

MALI BACKGROUND

Teaching Artist Leaders, MALI summer institute, August 2017

Since 2011 the initiative has been building capacity by training arts educators on the “what” and “how” of teaching and learning in the arts so they can provide the leadership in Maine through professional development opportunities. Teaching artists have been included in MALI for the past four years, and the goal of training Teaching Artist Leaders is now in its third year. As the initiative enters Phase 8, MALI has grown to include 101 leaders.

MALI’s OVERALL OBJECTIVES

  • Create and implement a statewide plan for teacher leadership in arts education. This includes professional development opportunities, locally, regionally and statewide, which will expand on the knowledge and skills of teachers and teaching artists to better prepare them to teach in a student-centered and proficiency-based learning environment.
  • Develop and implement standards-based high quality teaching and learning statewide for Visual and Performing Arts
  • Continue to build on expanding the team of arts educators and teaching artists representing all regions of Maine
  • Provide workshops and other professional development opportunities for educators

APPLICATION

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Poetry Resources

May 14, 2018

Wes McNair

During Poetry Month, former Maine’s Poet Laureate, Wes McNair launched a new poetry website for teachers and learners called The Lyric Moose.  If you’re looking for a resource that will help you teach or learn about free verse poetry and how to write about it, check out this compendium of six programs, with a wide range of interactive instruction, including videos, craft exercises, teaching assignments, author interviews and poem lists.

While visiting the site I found the resource 20 Maine Poets Read and Discuss Their Work compelling. The resource includes 20 short videos in which a diverse group of contemporary Maine poets read two poems apiece and explain their beginnings as poets, their influences, and their themes. Gibson Fay LeBlanc and Megan Grumbling are two of the 20 poets featured. For several years they have both provided workshops for the Commission’s Poetry Out Loud program.

 

“The website includes links to poetry projects for teachers that I’ve developed with Colby College Special Collections and Information Technology Services. There are six links in all, and three of them were sponsored in one way or another by the Maine Arts Commission.”

It is wonderful to see the impact that Wes continues to make on education in Maine and beyond. THANK YOU Wes for your contributions!

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Best Gift Ever?

May 12, 2018

PBS asked teachers

To finish out Teacher Appreciation Week I just had to share this piece that PBS Education published. They asked teachers: What is the best gift you’ve ever received? The list brought smiles to my face and I’m guessing it may to yours as well. Not to mention the memories about the many students I taught during my 30 years in art classrooms.

During part of my career I packed up my middle school classroom in the middle of the school year (the end of January) and moved to the other middle school in the school district where I was teaching. Just the act of teaching until Friday at 3:00, putting the last box in the overstuffed truck filled with everything in the room (equipment, materials, boxes and boxes of supplies), driving to the other school, unpacking and setting up the classroom in time to teach on Monday morning was enormous. On top of that, the sadness of leaving the students that I had connected with for 18 weeks was the most difficult part. I was always surprised with the send off from students and colleagues and equally surprised with the welcome at the other school. At the time (over 15 years) I had no idea what that experience provided for me. The gifts of relationships and so much more! I still communicate with several of those students and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to teach for so long.

As another Teacher Appreciation Week comes to an end I hope that you’re flying high about your decision to be a teacher and impact the future! Check out the list of “gifts” that these teachers shared at the PBS Education blog.

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