Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

h1

Arts Education Month

March 2, 2021

YAHOOOOO and Happy Arts Education Month!

I know this March is a bit different than other years but we as visual and performing arts educators still have important work to do – celebrating and raising up the voices of our students in the arts. The creative minds of arts educators are serving you well, as you plan and implement a way to recognize the accomplishments of your students in the arts. CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU to all the educators who provide an excellent arts education and access to it for learners of all ages. I know that you are proud of your students and I encourage you to take advantage of this month designated to celebrate arts education. Whether you do it in a small or large way, please let me know about the work you are doing so I can include your story on this blog. Your good ideas should be shared so others can learn from you! I appreciate your ongoing commitment to providing THE BEST visual and performing arts education!

Take advantage of Arts Education Month to engage others in the conversation of why a quality arts education is essential for all students. Use the Commissioner of Education Pender Makin’s message, posted on this blog yesterday, to help others understand what we know to be important.

If you’re looking for resources each of the national professional organizations below have a plethora of information on their websites. Check them out and consider becoming members to support their good work.

NAEA

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-7-40-12-pm

The National Art Education Association has been celebrating Youth Art Month since the 1960’s. Check out what NAEA has to offer on the topic. The purpose of YAM is to emphasize the value to children from participating in visual art education. 

CFAE

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-7-56-21-pm

The Council for Art Education provides tons of resources to help you plan. They have ideas on their site that teachers and students are engaged in across the country. The ideas range from school based to community, both large and small. You can sign up for their free newsletter and receive information on a regular basis.

NAfME

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-7-54-48-pm

The National Association for Music Education has been recognizing Music in Our Schools Month since 1985. The idea started in 1973. You can learn what NAfME has to offer on MIOSM by CLICKING HEREThe purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that schools is where all children should have access to music.

EDTA

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-8-04-06-pm

The Educational Theatre Association and the International Thespian Society and the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) all provide resources for theater educators. Their resources are directed towards Thespians, schools, and educators. The purpose is to raise public awareness of the impact of theatre education and draw attention to the need for more access to quality programs for all students.

NDEO

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-8-27-36-pm

The National Dance Education Organization celebrates the artistic and academic achievements of exceptional students through the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NAHSDA) by teaming up with the US Department of Education during March. Learn more about their advocacy work by CLICKING HERE.

As you’re contemplating your March celebration checking out a blog post from the past with more resources. CLICK HERE

AFTA

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-3-03-58-pm

Americans for the Arts envisions a country where everyone has access to—and takes part in—high quality and lifelong learning experiences in the arts, both in school and in the community. Their arts education council represents a cross section of the country so all voices are represented. The Americans for the Arts website has a plethora of resources on arts education. Check them out by CLICKING HERE.

ARTS ADVOCACY DAY

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-9-06-48-pm

We know that arts-rich schools benefit everyone. It is our responsibility to help others who may not understand this statement. Arts Education month provides that opportunity and in the near future the Maine Alliance for Arts Education will be sharing a video of Arts Education Advocacy Day that took place on February 17, 2021.

h1

Happy Arts Education Month

March 1, 2021

Celebrate!

On Wednesday, February 17 Arts Education Advocacy Day was celebrated during a zoom a plenary session provided by the Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC) and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) working with the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission. All of Maine’s professional arts education organizations leaders are members of ABC and presented along with amazing student voices. I’m sure many of the Maine Arts Education blog readers attended.

Commissioner of Education, Pender Makin, participated in the event and I think her message is a great place to start March – Arts Education Month. I encourage you to share her message with your colleagues (visual and performing arts educators and all others), with parents, school board members and your community members. The archive of the plenary session will be available and provided by MAAE in the very near future.

COMMISSIONER PENDER MAKIN’S MESSAGE

We (MDOE) value the arts in education extremely highly and perhaps above everything else and here’s why: it’s more than the pragmatic use of the arts to build the architecture, the neural pathways within brains that their engagement in the arts definitely develops, allowing them to better learn and more deeply learn all of their other content. That’s important but it’s not that, it goes beyond the creativity, the self-expression. Even goes beyond the social emotional pieces. It goes beyond the power of the arts which is so critically important at this time above all other times to heal a broken society, to find and create unity in divisiveness. It goes beyond that even. And here’s what I think it is. Arts in education, especially in public education, where every child is supposed to have their very best shot provided for them is critical because it ultimately makes life worth living. The arts make all the other business we do worth doing. It is critical now and always has been but we really need to move forward that we provide equity of opportunity, equity of access, and make sure that all of our arts opportunities are widely available and represent the demographics in the surrounding community.”

h1

Office of the Secretary of State

February 28, 2021

Shenna Bellows

Many people believe that we shouldn’t dedicate one day or one month to something as important as Black History. That may be true but I also note that there are a lot of educators and organizations that take the time to recognize, learn and celebrate the history of black people during February each year. The month sheds light on the importance of what black people have done throughout history. The events of the past year have moved us to a different place and hopefully we are making progress in learning, understanding, and truth and will continue to do so every month. I’m not in the position to measure and nor is it our jobs as educators to do so but it is our responsibility to recognize where we are and incorporate an understanding into our curricula.

Painting of Frederick Douglass by Rob Shetterly, Americans Who Tell the Truth

Shenna Bellows was elected in December by the Maine Legislature to be the 50th Secretary of State. Shenna is the first woman to hold the position and she brings to it a wealth of experience and understanding. Earlier in February Shenna was the guest on a webinar sponsored by Midcoast Women. They provide opportunities for women in the midcoast to find and strengthen their individual and collective voices. Shenna said that when she was a young girl she started carrying a copy of the US Constitution in her pocket, she was so enthralled with it.

Shenna contacted Maine painter Rob Shetterly and invited him to display some of his Amercans Who Tell the Truth AWTT paintings in her Augusta office in recognition of Black History Month. If you’re not familiar with Rob’s paintings he has created over 250 paintings of Americans who are “Truth Tellers”. The portraits and narratives highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness. AWTT offers resources to inspire a new generation of engaged Americans who will act for the common good, our communities, and the Earth.

Painting of John Lewis by Rob Shetterly, Americans to Tell the Truth

Message from Rob

The exhibit in the Office of the Secretary of State is about the people and the art and the history of the United States. The intent of the portraits is several fold: by painting historical figures as vividly as I would a contemporary person, I’m trying to convey that each one is in a sense as alive right now as they were in their era. The issues of racism and  Constitutional values are still urgent, what they had to say is as relevant now as it was then. And the importance of a good portrait is that it can honor the person as  words sometimes fail to do. Partly that’s because of the time necessary, the commitment, to create a living person. That is, if I say the name Frederick Douglass to you it elicits a different response than if I show you a portrait which conveys his character and courage. I think this year because of Black Live Matter and Covid, we are realizing how deeply entwined racism is in our history and culture. The portraits are of people who need now as much as ever to be our teachers. It’s important to choose teachers who tell us the most truth. The office of the Secretary of State are where laws are meant to be enforced equitably. The portraits acknowledge the struggle of the past and the present to rout out racist law.

Painting of Frances Perkins by Rob Shetterly, Americans Who Tell the Truth

Shenna has the portraits of Frederick Douglass, John Lewis, Frances Perkins and Sojourner Truth in her office. You might be wondering why Shenna wanted these paintings in her office. Shenna was kind enough to share her reasons along with answering several questions that provide the Maine Arts Education blog readers Shenna’s thoughts on ‘truth tellers’ and the messages that the paintings portray.

What inspired you to want to hang AWTT portraits in your  office?

When I served in the Maine Senate, I sat at a desk with a portrait of President Lincoln behind  me. That portrait inspired my work in the Maine Senate, but I was also mindful that in the Legislature, we were surrounded by portraits of white men, and I thought that sent the wrong message about who can lead, especially to children who came to tour the State House. When  it came time to decorate the office of Secretary of State, I wanted portraits of those great heroes who have shaped social justice and especially voting rights. As the first female Secretary of State, I wanted to be sure women were included.

What message do you want to communicate with the AWTT paintings in your office?

The Office of Secretary of State is committed to racial and social justice, and we’re taking the lessons learned from some of the great heroes of civil rights to carry their work forward. I also want to send a message that some of the greatest heroes in advancing justice in our country have been women and African Americans.

Painting of Sojourner Truth by Rob Shetterly, Americans Who Tell the Truth

Why did you choose the ones she did? Are there any personal stories that connect you specifically to these portraits?

The portraits I chose are my some of my own heroes. When I was a kid growing up in Hancock, I had a copy of the Bill of Rights on my bedroom wall. I was committed to the ideals laid out in that document, but it’s taken me a lifetime to continue to learn some of our country’s hard history. In 2003, I went to work for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Washington, DC, and I was assigned to work on building a national campaign to engage activists in calling for reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act.  That was the beginning of my professional work to advance voting rights, and it also marked the beginning of my deeper learning and inquiry into the work of heroes like Hon. John Lewis, Frederick Douglas and Sojourner Truth. In 2009, when I was at the ACLU of Maine where I was Executive Director, the Frances Perkins Center gave me an award as a future woman leader. I received a glass hat modeled in the shape of the one Frances Perkins wore and a copy of her biography. Her work inspired me when I went on to chair the Labor and Housing Committee in the Legislature.

What inspires you to take action?

My parents inspired me first. We were poor. I grew up without electricity or running water until the fifth grade. But my mom ran for the planning board to save a bald eagle’s nest and won. My dad protested the nuclear arms race and helped create our town’s recycling center. My parents demonstrated the importance of acting upon one’s values to make a difference. People who choose justice and truth sometimes at great personal cost inspire me to act.

What gives you  courage?

Love and friendship give me courage. When I’m embarking on something that is very difficult, I look to the people I love and respect and the hard choices they have sometimes made to advance justice, and that gives me courage.

If you were to choose a “truth-teller” for an AWTT portrait, who would it be?

Chief Clarissa Sabattis, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians. I met her through the Holocaust and Human Rights Center where we collaborated on a project to lift up Maine’s black and brown heroes. I then watched her present to the Maine State Legislature on amendments to the Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. She is an amazing leader.

How does being Maine’s Secretary of State enable you to advance the cause of justice?

The Maine Secretary of State oversees Maine State Archives, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions. With Maine State Archives, we can lift up the history of traditionally marginalized communities and restore access to archival documents to Maine’s Wabanaki tribes. With the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, we can reform the laws surrounding license suspension to ensure we’re not criminalizing poverty. We can also advance credentialing and licensing at the BMV to ensure equal access, especially for immigrant and refugee communities, people experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable communities. At the Division of Elections, we can work to reform our voting laws to make voting as convenient, accessible and secure as possible for all Mainers. At every level of the Department, as Secretary of State, I can promote representation in hiring and appointments and inclusion and equity in our policies and service to the public.

This is one of two blog posts about the AWTT paintings on display at this time in the Capitol Complex.

h1

Ya Gotta See This

February 26, 2021

Natasha Mayers Story

Over the last four years filmmakers Anita Clearfield and Geoffrey Leighton captured the story of Whitefield artist Natasha Mayers beautifully. Last evening almost 150 people, from all over Maine and way beyond, gathered online for the premiere of Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life. After viewing the 34 minute film folks joined Natasha, Anita and Geoffrey on zoom for the opportunity to celebrate and ask questions with the three of them! The film is delightful and so was the gathering! Kudos to all involved in organizing the happening.

It is always fun to see who participates in online events and especially wonderful to see among the attendees a few old friends – Nancy Salmon, Corliss Chastain, Christine Higgins, Elizabeth Watson, Deb Fahy, Rob Shetterly, and Catherine Ring. Educational and community tools are being developed to accompany the film by Kal Elmore, Nancy Harris Frohlich, Catherine Ring and myself. Natasha Mayers and Rob Shetterly will be providing the keynote at the spring Maine Art Education Association conference on April 3. More information will be provided in the future about this annual event, this year being held online.

CHAT BOX COMMENTS

Below are just some of the comments from the Zoom chat box. They provide an idea of how much participants enjoyed and appreciated the work that Anita and Geoffrey did, how well Natasha’s story is captured and how important her story is to the state of Maine.

  • Wicked awesome! Natasha and filmmakers fantastic job for a Maine Artist Icon!
  • Natasha, Geoff and Anita well done on all levels! There were so many great parts to think about. Loved the idea of incorporating war symbols with Maine symbols. Was moved by the story and the art around the buoys. The filmmaking was outstanding!
  • Great Film! Natasha you’re  inspiring. You have such great way of encouraging non-artists, I enjoyed seeing that. Important work!
  • Natasha, you are so beautiful and bring joy and pride to your Whitefield peeps!  Kudos to the filmmakers for the insights, the humor and fantastic graphics!
  • The amazing thing to me was how many more examples of Natasha’s work could have been included. It must have been very challenging to decide what to leave out.
  • I am so happy to be here and to have seen this amazing film about you!  I love it, I love you! Keep the faith and we will meet one of these days.
  • That was a beautiful film all! You are amazing Natasha! I loved all your work and sharing art with so many.
  • Bravo Natasha! Your work is an accessible voice of love and passion!
  • The visual effects are incredible…how did you do them? Too big a question, I know…but Bravo…perfect for the subject and artiste extraordinaire! The film work beautifully matched Natasha’s amazing work! 
  • Bravo for one of the most joyful films I’ve seen about one of the greatest most fun activist artists I’ve ever had the  pleasure to know. Great going Geoff and Anita!!
  • Courage Forward – you are it, Natasha.

Humor. Anger. Love. Outrage. Grief. Hear Natasha’s inspirational call to activism! The good news is that if you weren’t able to attend the premiere last evening you can access it at THIS LINK on Vimeo for FREE until Sunday evening. This film is so honest, thought provoking, creative, and humorous! It provides so much food for thought and it lands at just the right moment when we’re trying to make sense of the world. After March 25 the film will be available once again at no cost. I encourage you to make some popcorn tonight after your week at school, curl up on the couch, watch the film, and consider how you might use this in your classroom.

Now, more than ever, people want to see truthful, creative role models like Natasha Mayers, who Maine Senator George Mitchell called a “state treasure.” Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life presents an artist who has remained true to her passion for over 50 years, following Natasha as she takes on social, economic, and environmental justice issues with humor, irreverence, and a keen aesthetic that enlightens while it entertains. Using a non-traditional approach, the film’s animation and special effects reflect Mayers’ own art-style.

I’ll provide updates in future blog posts about the ongoing opportunities that will take place across the state. If you’re interested in learning more please email me at meartsed@gmail.com.

h1

Arts Education Advocacy Day

February 16, 2021

Don’t miss it!

REGISTER HERE TO PARTICIPATE

h1

Congrats David Greenham

February 15, 2021

Maine Arts Commission appoints David Greenham as Interim Executive Director


AUGUSTA, MAINE–At its meeting on January 26, the Maine Arts Commission voted to appoint David Greenham of Gardiner as the interim Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission for a term of at least two years. 

Greenham, 60, replaces Julie Richard, who served as Executive Director for eight years before accepting a new position in Arizona in December. 

“I’m honored and surprised at this turn of events,” said Greenham, who had served two years as the Commission’s chair. “I know the Maine Arts Commission well and am excited to work with the wonderful staff at the Commission and with the field of so many creative individuals and organizations.” 

David Greenham

Greenham has spent the past decade working for the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, and for the past two years as the Associate Director. He led the HHRC’s award-winning educational programs, and also created numerous exhibits and events. Since 2009 Greenham has also been a lecturer in Drama at the University of Maine at Augusta. Prior to his work for the HHRC, Greenham led The Theater At Monmouth for 14 years and has been active in the arts community of Maine since coming to the state in 1985.

“For the past two years, David has led with a commitment to process, transparency and inclusion,” said Cynthia Orcutt, the Vice Chair of the Maine Arts Commission.  “His love for the arts, for artists, creatives and makers throughout the state of Maine drives his passion. The Board is thrilled David will now focus his efforts on directing the work of Commission staff and partners as they strengthen and support arts, artisans and culture.” 

Greenham assumes the leadership role as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit arts organizations and individual artists particularly hard. Arts venues were among the first to shutter last March and will likely be among the last to open in the aftermath of the public health crisis. During the leadership transition, Julie Horn, the Arts Commission’s Director of Visual Arts, was appointed to serve as the Assistant Director of the agency. 

“We are elated that David will play a major role in our agency’s development over the next two years,” Horn said. “His commitment to the arts in Maine is unquestionable, and as Chair he always inspired us to find imaginative ways to meet the needs of the arts and culture community.”

The Maine Arts Commission staff will first focus on COVID relief and helping the field recover for this long and challenging pandemic. While the loss of life and the loss of livelihood have been the central detriment, Greenham said he still finds hope in the way that so many artists and organizations have found creative ways to share their work. “I know we’ll use these experiences to emerge with new strength and determination to celebrate,” Greenham said. “The arts will lead the emotional recovery from COVID.”

h1

Super Bowl

February 9, 2021

One of us!

Each year the Super Bowl includes the arts at some level with music, movement, and creativity at its best and oh, those commercials! I sometimes wonder how many individuals who work on creating the commercials were “ARTS” kids in school? This year many of the commercials communicated much more about where we are as a country and how much work and thought and change needs to happen in order to grow. My favorite commercial by far was the Jeep one with Bruce Springsteen. It wasn’t the promoting of Jeep that struck me but the message was so well communicated. The photography, the emotion, transitions, images, movement, color, and more – all of it grabbed me. If you didn’t see it, embedded below.

I grew up in a football family but I’m not crazy about the game this point in my life. However, I do watch for the ‘entertainment’ value which, as you know, sometimes it means sifting through ‘not so good stuff’ to get to the outstanding content. I was moved by the three individuals who were called Honorary Captains – veteran James Martin, educator Trimaine Davis and nurse manager Suzie Dorner. Suzie tossed the official on-field coin toss ceremony before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs faced off.

I was so proud to watch as one of us, a teacher, represented all of the amazing work that teachers are doing this year during the pandemic. Trimaine Davis said this about his role: “I’m really excited about this opportunity just to showcase that all three of us, myself, James and Suzie, share this common bond of service and stewardship,” Davis said. “The fact that we’re able to highlight the importance of this, that it comes from everyday folk who are in the position to do this work to inspire others, I think is incredible, and I’m so honored to have that opportunity.”

My favorite new poet, Amanda Gorman, recited the poem she wrote specifically to honor the three Honorary Captains. Amanda included these words describing Trimaine and below is the entire poem.

Trimaine is an educator who works nonstop. 

Providing his community with hotspots

Laptops and tech workshops

So his students have all the tools

They need to succeed in life and in school.

h1

Assessment in Maine

February 3, 2021

Maine Department of Education release

As the nation  explores the future of education and embraces opportunities for new and innovative approaches to student instruction and assessment, the Maine Department Of Education (DOE) is excited to develop a more meaningful approach to assessment.  

The federally-mandated State summative assessment is an essential component of an equitable instructional cycle. The assessment serves multiple purposes for educators, students, parents, policy makers, and community members, all with the shared goal of supporting student growth for lifelong learning. 

The COVID-19 global pandemic has afforded educators the opportunity to meaningfully reflect on instructional practice, outcomes and student learning. As educators continue to explore opportunities for authentic learning, we are observing an increase in  interdisciplinary/integrated instruction and the ability of students to apply their learning in a real-world context. With this in mind, and to ensure we are assessing student learning in a similar and authentic manner, the redesign of state assessment is underway.  

The Maine DOE is seeking individuals interested in being involved in role specific assessment redesign focus groups. These focus groups will serve as collaborative thought partners as Maine’s approach to assessment and accountability is redefined, reframed and redesigned. 

From these role alike focus groups, an ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will be established. The ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will represent the geographic and demographic diversity across the state and will be responsible for assisting the Department in synthesizing focus group feedback, suggestions, and best practice approaches to develop a cohesive assessment and accountability plan that addresses and supports the needs of Maine students while assisting Maine in meeting ESEA Federal assessment and accountability requirements 

In the coming months, role specific focus groups will meet for a half day on a bi-monthly basis. Additionally, those nominated from within focus groups to serve on the  ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will meet for ninety (90) minutes once per month for an extended period of time.  If you are interested in being a part of this work, please complete the intent to participate form by February 26.  

h1

Maine Arts Education Advocacy Day

January 26, 2021

Sponsored by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education and the Arts are Basic Coalition, and supported by the Maine Department of Education, this 90-minute plenary session, featuring reports by Governor Janet T. Mills, Education Commissioner Pender Makin, and state arts education association leaders, will report on the impact of this year’s pandemic on arts education. The plenary will kick-off a week of meetings between high school arts advocacy student teams and their state legislators.

REGISTER NOW BY CLICKING HERE

h1

In Today’s News

December 23, 2020

News Center Maine

Maine Music Educators Association president Sandra Barry and president elect Andy Forster speak to News Center Maine about the work they are doing encouraging the rules to change around singing with students in schools across the state.

You can view the News Center Maine coverage at THIS LINK.

%d bloggers like this: