Archive for the ‘Food for thought’ Category

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Another Kind of Blue

February 22, 2017

Britain’s got talent

Dance? Media arts? Theatre? Amazing….

 

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Without Borders

February 21, 2017

Intermedia MFA Program

Silkscreen created by Georgina Grenier

Silkscreen created by Georgina Grenier

Recently, I learned more about the Intermedia MFA program at UMaine, Orono. Dr. Owen Smith is the program director. The philosophy of the program is that one should avoid the well-known paths of art production and invent new ones, or combine old ones to find new, untraveled ways to work. This may mean using new technologies with no element of hand-making at all, but not necessarily so. This program has profoundly changed my ideas about art education, the role of art and the purpose of artists in general. Some students work with sound, light, electronics, biology, socially engaged art, science and art integration, data imaging and more. It is still a fledgling program but has so much potential.

I received an email asking me to participate in her culminating artwork for her program. Information below explains a bit of her project and includes a request from those of you interested and with time to make it happen.

has extended the request to each of you to participate.

Borders that separate art disciplines can sometimes fence us in, and lead us to produce work that may add little to our knowledge, even if we love to paint one more watercolor, make one more clay pot, or sing a much loved song one more time. “Without Borders”  is the culminating exhibit for this year’s graduates from the Intermedia MFA program at the University of Maine, Orono. It is work that fuses disciplines, or even creates new ones without borders. This exhibit and the program it represents are an open secret at Orono, an emerging program that will feature some of the most intriguing artwork in Maine, and I am humbled to be part of it this year. Watch for the final date, yet to be decided in May.

I am asking for help in a collaborative art project which will be a part of  “Without Borders”  in May. I am collecting anecdotes and insights about truth-telling, or lie-propagating, depending how you see it: We have all been lied to, told a lie ( even a little one!) and perhaps been hurt by indifference. We have also had joyful occasions when we heard the news we wanted, or told someone we truly love them.
I would be very grateful if you could  send me a few lines, more if you have a longer tale to tell, about how much truth-telling matters to you, and experiences you have had with the business of honesty. These will be included in a set of fifty handmade books. The first fifty respondents will have one of the books sent to them so that all the collected anecdotes and wisdom can be shared. All information will remain anonymous, and author’s names will NOT be revealed.

My hope is to receive your (truthful) responses by early March. Please e-mail them to Georgina Grenier, gecgrenier@myfairpoint.net

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So Long Dahlov!

February 17, 2017

Maine treasure

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-7-36-30-am“I find it hard to explain my art, but then it doesn’t really need explanation. It may seem mysterious or challenging, but all you need to do is to open your heart to the joy and excitement of a new visual experience, to accept a new vision of a world full of the unusual, a world of the creative imagination.”
~ Dahlov Ipcar

Nov 12, 1917 – Feb 10, 2017 painter, illustrator, author

Maine has lost a treasure! For me, Dahlov epitomized the meaning of, “Love what you do, do what you love” creating every day, even painting on the morning she passed away at age 99. I was fortunate to meet Dahlov Ipcar at a Maine Art Education Association spring conference many years ago. I believe it was held at USM Gorham. Anyone remember attending that conference? Dahlov provided the key note and she was brilliant. I remember feeling like we were having a regular personal conversation, exchanging ideas, and discussing life.

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-7-36-16-amFrom the Portland Press Herald…
In an interview with the Portland Press Herald last fall, Ipcar said she was prepared to die at age 80, but after that milestone she decided she wanted to see the year 2000. Since then, it was “lots of rich cream and milk and butter and eggs and red meat.”
Ipcar had a sharp wit, and was fond of telling people who asked about her age, “I hope I die before I run out of vermilion.”

Take a look at this video that was made when she was 97 years old.

https://vimeo.com/85082665

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Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2017

Recycled hearts

I know that some of you follow Cassie Stephens blog at https://cassiestephens.blogspot.com/. Cassie teaches elementary visual arts in Nashville, Tennessee. She is known for her artsy outfits that she is constantly designing. She definitely stands out in a crowd. Recently, Cassie did a lesson with first graders recycling hearts. You can learn all about it and see more photos of the project by CLICKING HERE.

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Mega Message from Suzanne

February 13, 2017

Teaching as a Craft

Skills, collaboration, support, and innovation –

Quality professional development for educators is characterized by the above areas demonstrating the understanding of introducing, reinforcing and supporting deeper understanding of knowledge and skills. Our profession is a craft.

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Mega-Regional Professional Development opportunities with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, in support with your Maine Arts Leadership Associations, are exponential in value for learning about best practices or expanding your skills to bring back to your school, colleagues, and classroom/studio/stage/rehearsal room.

This is educator to educator professional development – what you need, and when you need it.

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Suzanne Goulet

Yes, the next one is during a weekday – for some an in-service day. Yes, this sometimes means that you will be away from your students artists/performers for one day. And YES, you will be glad you did.  This is the catcher/pitcher conference on the mound – a time to come together, share, and grow. I always leave with gems that impact my students, my practice, my craft, immediately

Please join us, and consider asking someone to join you – for our profession, for your craft.

Looking forward to meeting you at the next Mega-Regional.

Thank you to Suzanne Goulet, MALI teacher leader and visual art teacher at Waterville Senior High School and Maine Art Education Association Teacher of the Year, for writing this blog post!

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Dance Moving

February 12, 2017

Watching dance move forward

During the last three days the blog posts have been about the dance education residency that happened during December 2016 in MSAD #33.  The “Hopes for the Future” funding came about thanks to the Thornton Academy dance program and seven dance programs in southern Maine. Almost $3,000 was awarded to MSAD #33 in Aroostook county where students in K-12 benefited from the expertise of a teaching dance artist. This year over $3,500 was raised by this same group of programs at a performance at Thornton Academy.

Next month another school will be having a performance and contributing the funds to the “Hopes for the Future” to provide dance education grants to other schools/districts. The Maine Arts Commission (MAC)will administer this grant. Please watch for the information on this blog and the weekly MAC arts ed list-serv.

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Photo from the NEFA site. Click on the tag line below for the information.

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The information below is from the New England Foundation for the Arts and is about how dance is moving forward.

In November 2016, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) released a report by Metris Arts Consulting, entitled Moving Dance Forward: NEFA’s National Dance Project at 20 & Critical Field Trends. The report is located at http://www.nefa.org/moving-dance-forward.

The report is a comprehensive evaluation of the National Dance Project, incorporating new research about current needs of the dance field on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the program.

Major findings and trends of significance to the field include:

  • NDP’s intertwined support for creation and touring has provided robust and sustained support in an environment of increasing resource scarcity and rising costs; investing in artists to make work is regarded as the highest priority for the program.
  • Dance presenters credit NDP support with improving their reputation locally, their knowledge of dance, and enabling them to take risks by introducing new artists to their audiences.
  • Data reveals NDP has consistently supported artists of color, but focus group findings speak to continued systemic inequities that exclude some artists and ways NEFA and other grantmakers can further equitable and inclusive grant-making.
  • Artists tour to an average of six communities for each five-year period of NDP’s grantmaking from 1996-2016, revealing that tour subsidies are a high-impact bulwark to a field-wide decline in touring opportunities over the past two decades.
  • Touring is no longer motivated by economic considerations; instead, artists are primarily motivated to tour to connect with new audiences, and organizations cite mission-based commitments and dance’s ability to connect audiences to diverse cultures and ideas.
  • Artists and organizations value community engagement as an important component of touring and foresee deepening this practice over the next five to ten years.

The full report may be found online at www.nefa.org/moving-dance-forward.

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Dance Grant Series 3

February 11, 2017

Dance education funding – “Hopes for the Future”

This is the third of three blog posts included, February 9 – 11, describing the dance education residency that took place in December 2016 from a special grant called the “Hopes for the Future” funding. Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader and dance educator from Thornton Academy Emma Campbell collaborated and planted a seed and it grew into a dance education opportunity for Maine students. Thank you to John Morris, teaching artist and dancer for contributing this post. He describes the work that he did in MSAD #33 with the grant funding. Please note: funding will be available again during 2017. Please watch the blog and the Maine Arts Commission arts education list-serv for information.

A Teaching Artist’s Perspective

John Morris

John Morris

Thanks to a dance grant created by the Thornton Academy Dance Program and the Maine Arts Commission, in December of 2016 I conducted a week-long arts residency for MSAD #33, in Northern Aroostook County. My approach in working with students in dance is creative, student-centered and standards-based. I give students foundational movement tools to invent and explore their own movement, and I guide them through the process of making their own dances.

In collaboration with visual arts teacher Theresa Cerceo, I worked with a group of middle and high school students, and with S.L.A.M.!, the high school arts advocacy group directed by Ms. Cerceo, to create dances based on a theme of identity and community. The dances were shared during an end of week holiday performance put on at Wisdom Middle/High School.

img_4561During the week, I also worked with music classes at the elementary school in the district. Along with music teacher Charles Michaud, we explored connections between the elements of music and dance. In addition, I worked with Ms. Cerceo’s visual arts classes to explore the same theme of identity and community.

It was a full week working with every grade level, from Pre-K through grade six, to explore their class content in movement. The students created dances based on poems and visual art works they had made individually and as a group in the weeks before the residency. Their dances incorporated the elements of dance movement, including use of different shapes, change of speeds, and variation of high, middle and low levels. We worked together to structure their dances with clear beginnings, middles and endings. We also addressed the crucial life skills of collaborating with others, building confidence, and evaluating work – all in one class session.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-1-51-58-pmI encountered students in the elementary school at every age and developmental level who were eager to move, explore, and make connections to other content areas, including music, visual art and language arts. They were curious, inventive, and open to exploring the arts in a structured way to express their thoughts and feelings.

The middle and high school students, having more time together, were able to more deeply explore the dynamics of working collaboratively, the process of making artistic choices, and polishing artistic work for performance.

The week went by in a blur, and before I knew it, the performance (a full house!) was over, and I was making the long drive toward southern Maine. I felt both satisfied and inspired by the students’ work. What made this residency so successful? Three factors, which I believe are important for the success of any arts residency in the schools, stood out.

Planning and prep work in collaboration with the teacher

img_4610 Ms. Cerceo and I were in contact long before the residency began, brainstorming ideas together using a shared Google Doc that allowed us to work around our busy schedules. We arrived at a theme (identity and community) that would be timely for her students to explore in visual art and writing, and that I could work with easily in dance.

As the residency drew closer, we continued to share documents, trade emails, and supplement with a few timely online conference calls. Ms. Cerceo articulated her plan for exploring the theme with her students before my arrival. I shared an outline of how I would approach the theme in movement based on her work and the student samples she posted online. This step was critical, helping me to be ready with a flexible plan for each class, and know what to expect when I walked into each classroom.

Full support of the school administration

img_4641Ms. Cerceo maintained regular contact with her administrators about our plans. As a visiting teaching artist, it was both reassuring and freeing for me to know that I had their support. I felt free to fully engage with the students in the creative process of dance-making.

The administrators introduced themselves and welcomed me to their schools. The superintendent of schools in the district sat down with me early one morning before classes began to talk about the residency. The teachers I met expressed their support for the project, and turned out in force for the performance on Friday night.

 

Classroom culture

img_4570I could tell that the students were used to focusing on the process of structured creative exploration in their classes. Also, because their teachers had prepared them for my visit, they were excited and positive about our working together. One fourth grade student even sent me a video in advance, inviting me to create a dance with her!

This expectant, growth-oriented mindset set the tone for our time together, and was supported by the collaborative planning Ms. Cerceo and I did beforehand. The connections she and I found between our ways of working helped her to guide the students with confidence that my work with them would integrate with their classwork, and deepen their connections to the arts.

Thank you John Morris for providing this blog post and the work that you did before and during the dance education residency in MSAD #33. I am sure that the learning that you provided will be felt for the lifetime of those involved.

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