Archive for the ‘Opportunity’ Category

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Kindness Program

July 19, 2018

Teaching Artist

Rob Duquette is a member of the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster. On July 21 he will be returning to One Longfellow Square in Portland with his full band for two performances. One for kids at 4:00 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m. Rob’s Kindness program has been in several Maine schools. Learn more about Rob’s music at HIS WEBSITE. Order tickets for the performance at THIS LINK.

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Arts Learning Grant Recipient

July 18, 2018

Union Elementary

Over a two month period this spring art teacher Anthony Lufkin and teaching artist Randy Fein collaborated to provide an outstanding learning opportunity for all the preK-6  students at Union Elementary School. The residency was funded by an Arts Learning grant funded by the Maine Arts Commission.

Union School has a long history of providing learning opportunities in visual art that go above and beyond the curriculum. When the school was built in 1987 George Mason provided two relief murals as part of the Percent for Art program. He followed that work with a month long residency with middle school students and created a relief tile mural based on Greek Mythology, an interdisciplinary unit. Over the years there have been several residencies with artists and large scale integrated projects that involved all of the elementary students and when the D.R. Gaul Middle School was housed upstairs, grade 7 and 8 students participated.

It was a pleasure to watch this project unfold and develop, the steps involved are too many to count, the commitment from all staff to help with the success, the student learning observed and so much more. It is easy to forget during the day to day details of “school” that these type of large projects hold meaning and learning way beyond the actual project. I suggest you consider taking on something like this, if you haven’t done so in the past.

The theme of the ceramic relief mural is “Our Town Union” and had been planned for almost 2 years before its completion in June. The mural celebrates the community of Union, including the history, environment and architecture and how students interact and connect with these components. The completed work will continue to educate future learners, young and older, about their community.

Hopefully you can get a sense of what it involved from the description and the photos embedded in the blog post. Please don’t hesitate to contact me (argy.nestor@maine.gov) about the MAC Arts Learning grants. Or contact teaching artist Randy Fein, her information is on the MAC teaching artist roster. Or contact art teacher Anthony Lufkin, who is the 2018 Knox County Teacher of the Year.

This project was funded by an Arts Learning grant from the Maine Arts Commission ($2,300), the Perloff Foundation Fund ($2,000), and from the Maine Space Grant Consortium ($1,000).

Thank you to Anthony, Randy, and the school principal, Christina Wotton for the information in this blog and for working together with other staff to make this project so successful!

Describe the overall goals/plans that you’ve carried out with this learning opportunity for Union School students.

The overall goals for this project were two-fold. First and foremost, it is an art project with instruction and experience focusing on the medium of clay, but also with emphasis on communication through the medium. Throughout the process students have had to quantify their image development, making sure they are utilizing the medium to make their message clear, whether it’s a specific icon of Union historical significance, or the recognition the unique and identifiable features of native species. As a collaborative installation, it has become an experience that will be solidified in time and place.  

The second component, was to help foster connections with other subject areas and connect students with the local ecosystems and history of the community. Classroom teachers have been very helpful introducing the topics through multiple lenses.  Students have had to research their subjects, and then use that research to educate their image development. Members from the Union Historical Society came in and presented to students in grades 4-6, giving them first-hand information about some of the past events that helped shape the town into what it is today. As students images developed through sketching and then sculpting, their understanding of the subject grew.  They also learned much more about working with clay as a medium, and some of the logistics of putting together an installation like this. 

What do you see/know are the greatest benefits to students in having an artist in residency? What does Randy bring that supports/enhances your curriculum Anthony? 

Having an artist come in through a residency like this does several important things.  First, it is a “new” experience for students, having someone different offering new perspective and something of a “revitalizing” of the art concepts being taught. It also tends to change the structure of instruction giving students a chance for more in depth work and a closer look at some of the components of creating artwork in professional practice. Students have been able to really analyze the subject of their imagery and were committed to making a clear representation. It creates more instructional opportunity as well. With two art instructors working in relatively small groups, students receive more individualized instruction.  

What do you hope that students will remember or will be saying in the near or far off future about the opportunity to learn this way?

We hope that students have created a connection to this project whether through working with Randy, working on something of this scale, or with the subject matter they helped to generate. The emphasis of the project, both to make it happen, and to create the cross-curricular connections have transformed the normal schedule and so that alone may also have had an effect on student perception. Hopefully, students will recall the information learned through this process by being a part of it and by seeing it regularly throughout their elementary experience. With the nature of being an installation piece, it will hopefully remind students of the experience, give them a sense of pride in the work they were able to accomplish, and help scaffold future learning and understanding about art and the connections to community and environment. I think that students will become more aware of the opportunity this project has been as we get back into a more routine schedule again. I think that they will begin to recognize the hard work and time it takes to create something like this. I anticipate them to say in the next few years, “I did that,…its represents…”.   

Hopefully, they will appreciate the opportunities they have had to work on something for extended periods of time with direct instruction from both Randy and myself.  Hopefully, they will appreciate and help advocate for these opportunities in the future. 

Stories

There were many interesting conversations early on with students especially around the topics of community and local development. Many students related to the community components based on where they live and how the natural and man-made resources have structured community as it is now.  hey were able to identify features in the landscape or structures and were able to contribute to the conversation based on their experiences. Some were able to describe the lasting imprints on the landscape from Native Americans, the railroad, and several of the many mills. One student described the arrow heads his family had found along the St. George River. Another talked about the dam at Morgan’s Mills. Many younger students also connected with their organisms whether from personal experience or from experiences by family members. I was surprised at how many had seen a bear! They definitely like to elaborate but there are clearly past events that could be the basis for some good folk lore.

ARTICLE from Village Soup about the residency.

 

Randy, Anthony, and Christina

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MALI Phase 8 Educators

July 17, 2018

Congratulations

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), now in year 8, announces three new teacher leaders and three new teaching artist leaders. These incredible educators bring the total number of MALI leaders to 107.  CONGRATULATIONS to the following educators.

Teaching Artist Leaders

  • Kerry Constantino – Dance
  • Joe Cough – Music
  • Shawna Barnes – Visual Art

 PK-12 Teacher Leaders

  • Shalimar Chasse – Visual Art, grades 7-12, Wiscasset Middle High Schools
  • Anthony Lufkin – Visual Art, grades K-8, Friendship Village, Prescott Memorial, Union Elementary, and Rivers Alternative Middle Schools (RSU#40)
  • Catherine Newell – Music

Each of these leaders brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to MALI. We’re excited about their involvement. During the next year you’ll have a chance to learn more about the phase 8 MALI work and about each of the new leaders on this blog.

Learn more about MALI at THIS LINK and access resources at THIS LINK.

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Art Exhibits

July 16, 2018

Visit Maine museums this summer

Maine is fortunate to have several amazing art museums and other venues to view art work by outstanding artists. Some of my favorite artists and art work are on display throughout the summer and into the fall. I hope that you take time to visit one or more of the following and consider taking your students to the shows. Check them out. Please note: these are not the only shows at these locations nor are they the only locations and shows taking place this summer. Support your local art venue!

  • Bates College Museum of Art (Lewiston) – Amazing Maine artist Dahlov Ipcar created art until she passed earlier this year. “Dahlov Ipcar: Blue Moons & Menageries” includes a wide variety of her art work. Read the story of how she impacted a Maine child who now as an adult curated the show. June 1 – October 6
  • Center for Maine Contemporary Art (Rockland) – Brunswick artist John Bisbee is an inspiration to all, especially those who are dyslexic. In his first solo show “John Bisbee: American Steel” in 10 years, he forges and welds nails in amazing ways. It is a powerful show. In a recent article from the Portland Press Herald John tells about his present work – stretching himself in many ways and even including text. June 30 – October 14
  • Monhegan Museum of Art & History – Celebrating the museums 50th birthday with 80 of the artists who came to the island to create and were awed and inspired by its indescribably light and rugged beauty. July 1 – September 30
  • Portland Museum of Art  – “Painter and Poet”. At a young age, Ashley Bryan noticed the lack of children’s books with African American characters. Through his work as an artist, author, and educator, he has committed himself to filling that void in black representation by creating books about the African and African American experiences. The show includes drawings, paintings and puppets. Consider taking your students to see Ashley’s amazing art work, sure to inspire. Ashley is a kind and gentle giant who lights up a room when he walks into it. At age 95 he continues creating. August 3 – November 25
  • Farnsworth Art Museum“Stories of the Land and Its People”  includes artwork created by 162 students in grades 4 and 7 from Appleton, Lincolnville, and Hope Schools. A wide variety of work that is based on the study a variety of subjects including Maine studies, science, environment, poetry, and geography. May 20 – September 9
  • Colby College Museum of Art (Waterville) – John Marin exhibit “Modern Wonder” includes a wide breath of Marin’s work. He looked at towering skyscrapers and bustling streets of Manhattan and rollicking waters and windy coast of Maine and saw great forces at work. June 5 – August 19
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Blues Festival

July 14, 2018

Rockland

If you love the Blues I’m sure you’re aware that the annual North Atlantic Blues Festival is happening this weekend at the public landing in Rockland, July 14 and 15. Amazing performers will be there to delight the audiences and all of Rockland will be providing music and food offerings in the spirit of the festival. Performers include: Kat Riggins, Vanessa Collier, Bobby Rush, Tab Benoit, Lil Ed and the Blue Emperors, Wee Willie Walker and the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter Connection, Lurrie Bell, Ilana Katz Katz, Slam Allen, and Mud Morganfield.

Opening the festival are students from the Midcoast Music Academy. After a week of music camp where they’ve had the chance to broaden their music abilities they’ll open on both days on the main stage.

They were featured on WABI 5 television which will give you an idea of the amazing opportunity that they’ve had this week. Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teaching Artist Leader, Tom Luther, is seen in the footage working with students. His bright smile says it all! And, the students say it best! CHECK OUT the LINK.

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Inside Dance Conversation with Rennie Harris Puremovement

July 13, 2018

Celebration Barn – Bates Dance Festival

In the days leading up to their performances at the Bates Dance Festival, choreographers and performers will fan out across Lewiston-Auburn and as far away as Portland to reveal the secrets and stories behind their work in a series of free Inside Dance Community Conversations.

Celebration Barn is proud to partner with Bates Dance Festival to present one of these conversations with Rennie Harris Puremovement on Monday, July 16 at 7:00 PM. The event is free. Box Office: 207-743-8452

Rennie Harris has taken hip-hop dance from inner-city streets to a mainstream audience. In so doing he has transformed both art form and audience, and has proven that hip-hop can transcend boundaries of race, religion, gender and economic status. With his company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, this North Philadelphia native is internationally known for such works as the spiritually driven “Facing Mekka” and the critically acclaimed “Rome and Jewels,” a hip-hop opera that transports “Romeo and Juliet” into the world of rival B-boys and street gangs which premiered at the Bates Dance Festival in 1999.

“There’s the option to buy a ticket and sit in the theater to watch beautiful, dynamic contemporary dance,” explains Bates Dance Festival director Shoshana Currier, “but with our new program, there’s now the option to meet a dance artist at the public library or the YWCA and chat about their work. So the festival can be meaningful in different ways to different people.”

Additional conversations will also take place July 2 to August 1 in Lewiston, Auburn, and Portland.

For the full schedule of free Bates Dance Festival events, visit batesdancefestival.org/performances/more-events.

For mainstage performances, visit batesdancefestival.org/performances/. Information about Concerts on the Quad appears at bates.edu/conference/summer-lakeside-concert-series.

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Creative Aging

July 12, 2018

Grant recipient

Figures of Speech Theatre was the recipient of a Creative Aging grant this year from the Maine Arts Commission. The project took place at The Park Danforth, an assisted senior living and retirement home located in Portland. Ian Bannon is the Director of Education for Figures of Speech Theatre. And he is a member of the two Maine Arts Commission teaching artist rosters – creative aging and PK-12.  Ian shared this video that was created during the project at The Park Danforth. The Maine Arts Commission provided the opportunity a workshop for the TimeSlips program. TimeSlips is a creative storytelling methodology that is addresses the needs of people with cognitive challenges. If you’re not familiar with TimeSlips please take 4 minutes and watch the video. It provides an overview of the program and the magic that Ian Bannon brings to the program.

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