Archive for the ‘Opportunity’ Category

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DEADLINE December 1

November 29, 2020

UMaine Scholarship

A message from Phil Edelman. If you have questions please email him at Philip.Edelman@maine.edu.

At UMaine, we currently have a few Visual and Performing Arts scholarships that we can still award for students entering next year. The only requirement for these awardees is that they perform in a large ensemble each semester (they do not need to be a music major).

We do have a hard deadline of December 1 for these scholarships. With that in mind, you can imagine the demand is high. We used to be able to award an unlimited amount of these $12,000 scholarships ($1,500.00 per semester for four years), but we can currently only award 20 of them. I am not 100% sure how many we have left at this point.

If your student is interested in UMaine and performing with our large ensembles (regardless of major), please let me know! If there is anything that our faculty can do to help you as we all navigate this pandemic together, consider us “on call!” My cell is 207-745-0125. Please reach out anytime. 

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Celebrating Indigenous Song

November 29, 2020

Global Oneness Project

Global Oneness Project is providing incredible resources which you will find below and linked.

We are part of an old story, and involved in it are migrations of winds, of ocean currents, of seeds, and songs of generations of nations. 

—Joy Harjo, member of the Mvskoke Nation and first Native American Poet of the United States

Songs often reflect cultural values, ethics, and beliefs. In Indigenous cultures, songs are passed down from generation to generation and contain stories that honor ancestors and the living world: rivers, the earth, and animals. Many Indigenous songs do not translate directly into another language, a reflection of how the messages are unique and specific to people and place. 

In partnership with Google Earth’s Voyager story, Celebrating Indigenous Languages, we produced an in-depth discussion guide, Exploring Indigenous Language Vitality, which provides ways for students to explore the linguistic diversity and vitality of Indigenous languages from speakers around the world. Students discover how Indigenous languages are interconnected through identity, cultural heritage, traditional ecological knowledge, and how Indigenous peoples and communities are a vital part of the fabric and story of humanity.


Use the following four question sheets we developed to further explore the Google Earth Voyager story, which contains eighty-four Indigenous peoples who share their favorite phrases and songs. Students are encouraged to make their own observations and connections. 

Margaret Noodin—American poet, linguist, and Anishinaabemowin language teacher—briefly joined us during our recent webinar, “Enhancing Our Understanding: Learning and Teaching About Indigenous Cultures,” with Christine McRae from Native Land Digital. She said that one of the things she learned from her father and paternal grandmother was “the ability to listen to the world singing” around her. And, with that, she said, “there is a desire to sing back to it.” Listen to Noodin sing a beautiful poem, “Chickadee Song” (at the 1:09:55 mark) in her Native language, Anishinaabemowin. There is so much joy in this song.  

If you use any of these resources in your classes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director of the Global Oneness Project would love to hear from you by emailing info@globalonenessproject.org.

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Steel Pans

November 24, 2020

Such a sound they make!!

This blog post is an interview with John Kollman, music teacher in the Hermon School District. John’s passion for steel pans is alive and enthusiastic! His students in Hermon are fortunate to have him as a teacher!

John grew up in Bar Harbor and played drums and sang all through school.  He got my music performance degree from U Maine and music education credits from USM. He went into music because I really have never been interested in anything else. John has have taught at all three schools in Hermon at various times for the past 14 years including General Music k-5, Choral Music 5-12, and Guitar and Steel Pans 9-12. He currently teaches guitar, choir, and five sections of steel pans at Hermon High School. John lives in Bangor with his wife and four children.

How did you get started with steel pans and providing a program at the schools in Hermon?

It all started when my wife and I were attending the Robinson Ballet’s spring show in Bangor in 2005.  The high school-aged steel pan band from Blue Hill “Planet Pan” was providing accompaniment for a few of the dance numbers plus playing a few on their own.  When I heard the band playing this music I felt a musical joy that I had not yet experienced in my life.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  The music was so exciting and new to me.  I was floored.  I instantly knew that I had to be a part of it.  A few weeks later we attended a street-dance featuring “Flash in the Pans”, the community steel band also based in Blue Hill.  We danced all night and had an amazing time.  Later that summer, I contacted the director of “Flash in the Pans”, Carl Chase, and he pointed me toward an adult beginner class happening at George Stevens Academy.  Playing the music was even more fun!  I purchased my own set of pans and joined “Flash in the Pans” the following spring. Playing in a big steel pan band with hundreds of people dancing in front of you is like no other musical experience that I have ever had. And 15 years later I can say, it never gets old!  The power and raw sound of a steel band is unmatched. Needless to say, I really wanted to start a steel pan program where I taught music in Hermon so that these musical feelings could be spread far and wide. So I pitched the idea to our newly formed arts boosters organization and we quickly got working on it and put together a proposal. I’ll give some strategies on how to do this a little later.

Tell the blog readers about the steel pan program you’ve established.

We were lucky enough to start our program in 2009 with 14 sets of pans.  It started as an after-school program for four levels, 3rd and 4th grade, middle school, high school, and adult.  The following year we were able to offer it as a regular high school class for a fine arts credit.  Since then we have been able to add instruments (all from after-school lesson fees and gig donations) and we can accommodate 25 players.  The first high school class started with one class of eight players and has since grown to five sections with around 125 students involved each year.  The after-school programs continue to thrive as well (temporarily on-hold for obvious reasons).  Our community band, PanStorm, plays parades, festivals and dances throughout the greater Bangor area.

What are the benefits of providing the program?

       Steel pan music is the only form of music that I have ever seen small children, teenagers (always a hard group to please), and adults of every age dancing together and having a wonderful time. The music seems to speak to everyone from all kinds of different backgrounds. Another key element is the accessible nature of the instruments. You can take a group of people that have never played an instrument or sang in a choir before and have them playing something that sounds pretty good in about an hour. People have a good time and gain confidence quickly. Especially at the high school level, I have seen lots of students who never got involved in the traditional ensembles (which I also love, don’t get me wrong) having a lot of success in a pan ensemble. On the flip side of that, I have been able to get students into my chamber choir from the pan program who normally would have never thought of it before.  Steel pans reach some of the students who were not reached by the traditional paths which equals more kids involved in music.

John Kollman on the left in this photo next to his son

Describe a moment or opportunity when the value of the program was made clear.

Early on in the program, our elementary groups performed at the regular elementary school concert.  Afterwards, I was approached by an audience member who said he was amazed that students that young could actually play music at such a high level.  He was bracing himself beforehand and then couldn’t believe how good they sounded. The value of the program is clear when you look on the faces of the players and the audience members and see pure joy.

Are there connections to be made beyond the school for students?

       A lot of students that started playing in school are now in the community band playing at festivals and parades. Pans also have a rich history coming from the island of Trinidad deep in the Caribbean that can be explored. Steel pan bands are emerging all over the world. It is a fast-growing art form.

What are your suggestions for others who are considering starting a program?

First I would say, you definitely should!  What we did in Hermon was:             

  1. Have a steel band perform for the school, a concert and a workshop (nowadays, a video presentation might be the only option).             
  2. Circulate a petition and have students who might be interested in playing sign it (with no firm commitment, you get a lot of signatures).             
  3. Put together a proposal using video and signatures.  I pitched it as financially self-supporting due to after school lesson fees and gig donations after the initial cost (and this has turned out to be very true).

What are the costs to start a program?

The initial cost can be a little daunting because all pans are hand-made by a highly skilled craftsperson and the cost reflects that.  You can find pans for $800 to $1500 depending on the kind and quality.  You can start with just a few sets and get it rolling that way.  People love to play them and love the sound.  They sell themselves if you can set it up right.  If anyone is interested in starting a program and needs help or ideas, please feel free to email John Kollman at john.kollman@schools.hermon.net.  Below is a video of the PanStorm community steel band performing in the July 4th parade, 2019.    

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Samantha Smith Challenge

November 19, 2020

Guidelines available

The guidelines for Americans Who Tell the Truth‘s (AWTT) Samantha Smith Challenge are posted on the website (www.americanswhotellthetruth.org). Connie Carter, Education Director, from AWTT hopes that you and your students will take this opportunity to engage in this challenge as we work collectively to find creative and powerful ways to make our society stronger.

MISSION

The Samantha Smith Challenge (SSC) is a dynamic educational program for Maine middle and high school students that uses art to to build a bridge between the classroom and the world to create curious, courageous, and engaged citizens. SSC projects teach students that, no matter what age, they can be part of solving the challenges and problems they see around them.  

Maine student, Peace Activist, 1972-1985

SSC 2020-2021: Show US Who You Are

As Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) reflects on the past year and looks forward to the months ahead, we are asking students this year to focus on one of three critical themes – racial equity, climate change, and health care. The SSC asks students to use their voices on one of these topics, take action, and Show US Who You Are. AWTT portrait subjects model how the beliefs, voices, and actions of youth can influence important social justice issues. Check out: 

Kelsey Juliana
Zyahna Bryant
Claudette Colvin
Becci Ingram
Rachel Corrie
Barbara Johns
LeAlan Jones
Nicole and Jonas Maines
Chloe Maxmin
and, of course, Samantha Smith

There is no deadline for registering unless you want to have a virtual visit Robert Shetterly and Connie. Please contact Connie Carter at connie@americanswhotellthetruth.org with question or if you’d like to connect with any of the living portrait subjects about your projects.  

A warm message from Connie: “Thank you all for being phenomenal educators in a time that demands so much.  Your students are very fortunate to have you!

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Teaching and Learning Outside

November 17, 2020

You in or out or ?

During the last few months we’ve been hearing about moving the classroom outside since it is safer than being inside during the pandemic. Many teachers patched together how to teach online in the spring, the summer studying how to teach online and simultaneously with students in person. Many are holding their breath that the pandemic doesn’t worsen so they are forced to go full time online once again and I see in the news this morning that is happening in some schools across the state of Maine.

In the Maine Sunday Telegram this past weekend an article was included written by Rachel Ohm about what many Maine school districts and teachers are doing to move learning outdoors. The benefit to students learning visual arts outside are numerous. Close observation for drawing, painting, sculpting and actual experiences with a variety of textures are just two examples that make the curriculum more authentic and engage learners at a deeper level.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Katie West teaches an outdoor art class to third graders in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

LYSETH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

The article includes how art teacher Katie West is using an outdoor classroom at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland. As long as her students are safe she plans to continue teaching outside. Her classroom includes a tarp with waterproof cushions and stumps for students to stay appropriately space. I’m sure some of you are wondering about the winter elements and learners being prepared with the clothing to keep them warm. Fortunately the school district is using some of their relief funds to purchase clothing for students; 500 hats and 1,000 pairs of gloves have been distributed to students. Six-hundred pairs of snow pants are expected to arrive after Thanksgiving. An order of fleece will be cut up into blankets and neck warmers. Katie has received a $1,000 grant to start a gear exchange for the students at Lyseth.

MORE PROGRAMS

South Portland Schools have created over 90 outdoor learning spaces across eight schools for outdoor instruction to take place. The grades K-5 students in Freeport have the option for remote learning with the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment. In Alna the the PK-grade 5 Juniper Hill School has been teaching and learning outside since it was established in 2011 with the school’s focus on nature. At Sweetland School in Hope (where I teach) over the summer a gazebo was built so teaching and learning can take place in a location protected from the elements. Along with the gazebo they have a greenhouse complete with a wood stove that is used for another outdoor learning space.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Third grader Gianna Meas works on her painting of a tree during an outdoor art class in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

KATE EHRENFELD GARDOQUI

About a year ago Kate Ehrenfeld Gardoqui wrote an article that was published in Education Week called The Irrefutable Case for Taking Class Outside. She told a story about being at a Teacher of the Year event when someone made this comment to her: “Oh, you do the nature stuff, right? That sounds so fun!” As visual and performing arts educators we can relate to that type of comment, right? Kate works with the Great Schools Partnership and is the cofounder of White Pine Programs, a nature-connection organization in southern Maine. She was a finalist for the 2011 Maine State Teacher of the Year. Needless to say Kate is no slouch when it comes to teaching and learning. She included in her article that teachers who simply don’t know what is taught and learned in outdoor education can’t possibly understand the potential of the curriculum. Her story drives the point home about how we not only have to education children but adults as well.

I heard from Kate yesterday and she said how inspiring the work that Maine schools are doing opening the door to incorporating outdoor learning throughout the school day. She shared information about three schools.

  • Kingfield Elementary, where teacher Selina Green Warren has spearheaded a vibrant gardening program, and principal Johanna Prince has supported many teachers in exploring the possibilities of outdoor learning. LEARN MORE. Selina’s work was started before the pandemic; when teachers at her school started searching for ways to bring learning outside, they realized what an amazing asset Selina’s garden was.
  • Great Works School in South Berwick has also been doing some amazing work on building year-round environments for outdoor learning. Here is an article about LEARN MORE.
  • Kate recently published a blog on the Great Schools Partnership page about some other programs that have been inspiring her. LEARN MORE.

KATE’S WISH

” On the whole, my deepest wish is that one legacy of this pandemic is that more teachers will recognize the incredible value of learning experiences that don’t happen inside classrooms. There’s been so much loss, but I’m hoping that this might be one silver lining.

There’s plenty of resources available for those considering ‘taking your classroom outside’ I certainly agree with Kate and in addition I know that quality education programs in the Arts are not only providing deep meaningful learning but holding the hope in our hearts and minds that we will get through this pandemic and be better people for it!

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Congressional Art Awards

November 5, 2020

Opportunity for high school students

The Congressional Art Awards has taken place each spring since 1982. This is a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent across the country and in each congressional district. Since its inception more than 700,000 high school students have participated.

2020 District One Winner
Gus by Alek Gideon
Grade 10, Freeport High School
Art Teacher: Kimberly Medsker-Mehalic

This opportunity is open to all high school students. The overall winner of each participating congressional district will have the opportunity to have their work displayed in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol for the entire year, beginning in June. In addition, students will be flown to Washington, D.C. for the official opening of the show in June.

The Maine Arts Commission partners with the Maine College of Art (MECA) and the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards to select the artwork. Artwork that MECA has invited to exhibit for the annual Maine Regional Scholastic Art Awards are automatically submitted to be juried for the Congressional Art Competition.

2020 District Two Winner
Noor Aden by Carolyn Adams
Grade 12, Lewiston High School 
Art Teacher: Sarah Stocker

For more information please visit the Maine Arts Commission’s website or the Federal Congressional Art Competition website or email Pamela Moulton at pmoulton@meca.edu.


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Scholastic Art & Writing

November 4, 2020

Adapting during the pandemic

Thanks to Maine College of Art (MECA) who will be hosting the Scholastic Art & Writing awards this year in-state. Pamela Moulton provided the following information with more to come in the near future!

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: DECEMBER 15

During the Pandemic we have all become virtual inventors, creators of content, and even actors. We’ve had to re-learn how to teach art, adapting to this year’s unique school platform. Maine College of Art applauds your efforts and energy to teach differently in hybrid learning situations. We are all making history together. 

Just as you have, Scholastics is adapting to respect our state’s protocol and will plan accordingly, hosting a virtual exhibition and ceremony to celebrate Maine’s budding artists. The silver lining is that students will not be required to frame or mat works of art as we can accomplish this digitally. This should simplify the process for everyone. Students will need to photograph and document their works of art professionally so the jury can fairly judge their work. This also means many more people will be able to view and celebrate student’s works of art from across the state and beyond! 

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth, and provided opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated. Each year, increasing numbers of teens participate in the program, and become a part of our community—young artists and writers, filmmakers and photographers, poets and sculptors, video game artists and science fiction writers—along with countless educators who support and encourage their creative process.

If you have any questions about the program this year please contact Pamela Moulton at pmoulton@meca.edu.

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Freeport High School Theatre

November 3, 2020

Antigone Now

At the end of October Freeport High School theatre program created something pretty special! Everyone felt the success and benefits from students and staff to administration and the community.

I met Natalie Safely about 3 years ago when she and dancer Nancy Salmon worked together after receiving a dance grant from the Maine Arts Commission. Natalie is the theatre teacher at Freeport High School. I had a chance to chat with Nancy last week and she mentioned the work that Natalie did this fall. I was impressed!

At our first meeting in the spring of 2019 I visited Freeport High School to learn more about the dance residency and the teaching and learning underway. I immediately noticed Natalie was an outstanding collaborator! This fall Natalie worked with Nate Menifield, Zoe Konstantino, and Ben Potvin and Freeport students and in five weeks they put together and performed the play Antigone Now. It is a GREAT example of the amazing work that takes place when we collaborate and focus on the pathway and possibilities! Looking at the file of photos taken by parent Ingrid van Duivenbode illustrates the magic of the performance. It was performed outside practicing appropriate pandemic safety abiding by the CDC guidelines.

 Photo by Freeport High School parent Ingrid van Duivenbode

Antigone Now, by Melissa Cooper was performed by Freeport High School’s Theatre Arts program on October 23, 24, 25. Nancy Salmon was fortunate to attend and she said: “My husband and I saw the 2nd night of Antigone Now at Freeport High School, tucked into a U-shaped alcove outdoors. We were SO impressed by and proud of the students (on “stage” and tech), the directing staff and the administration who made this COVID-safe, live performance of quality, resonating theater a welcome relief from Zoom.

They had to keep the cast and crew under 50 in order to be able to rehearse indoors.

 Photo by Freeport High School parent Ingrid van Duivenbode

I am grateful to Natalie that she took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions.

How did you come up with the idea to perform outside?

When schools closed last March, we were working on two different productions. As the days became weeks, and the weeks became months, we soon realized that our stage, like thousands of others, would remain dark. We didn’t know when we would be able to perform again. During a socially distanced walk with a friend, I was explaining how we couldn’t do a musical, how we can’t dance, and on and on. She said, “Natalie, why don’t you do a play with masks?” I was too close to the situation. I was focused on all of the things we couldn’t do instead of focusing on the things we could do! Sometimes, we get in our own way. When we are able to look outside ourselves: other perspectives, other options, other interpretations, the impossible becomes possible. With perseverance and flexibility we were able to create a live piece of theatre that six months ago seemed impossible.

 Photo by Freeport High School parent Ingrid van Duivenbode

What did it involve taking the performance out of doors?

In two words: Ben Potvin…It was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. The first challenge was agreeing where on campus we could put up a set that had access to power, where cars would not drive by and where we would not be competing with sporting events and practices. When we finally agreed on a location, then came the logistics of building a moveable set. Once we got into tech week the lighting and sound had to be set up and taken down each night. We set up the soundboard in a classroom that acted like a booth where the stage manager called the cues, sound board op and spot operator ran their cues from there, however we had to set the light board up in a different location because we couldn’t keep social distancing with four students in the area we were using as a booth.  The sound was our biggest challenge. There were so many outdoor factors that came into play: airplanes flying over, sound from the traffic on I-95, masks and mic placement, sound signals cutting in and out for a variety of reasons. When I approached my principal, I said, “No problem, we can do it outside!” It took a knowledgeable tech director (Ben Potvin) to work through a lot of logistical challenges.

 Photo by Freeport High School parent Ingrid van Duivenbode

How did you keep the students safe while practicing, creating set, and performing?

Everyone had to use hand sanitizer before entering the space and throughout rehearsal. Longer rehearsals everyone was reminded to take a moment to wash their hands. Masks were worn by all inside and out.To keep the actors safe during rehearsal we put tape marks on the floor indicating 6 feet distancing, no actors shared props–we did have one prop that needed to be brought on by one actor and then used by another–as a cast we figured out that he could wear rubber gloves to bring it on stage. The actors did not wear makeup, they executed their own hair design, put on their own microphones and did not have any costume changes. During tech calls, all tools were sanitized before and after each use. Techs wore masks when working inside and outside as well as maintaining social distancing.

 Photo by Freeport High School parent Ingrid van Duivenbode

Tell a bit about the support and from who to make it happen

Our principal, Jen Gulko, is incredibly supportive of our program. After explaining to her how we would adhere to all guidelines she approved our pursuit of producing a fall play. 

We have an amazing artistic team: Ben Potvin (Technical Director), Nate Menifield (Music Director) and Zoe Konstantio ( Choreographer) and myself as Director and Producer.  These positions were in place for the fall musical, however we quickly transitioned our roles to put on a play in 5 weeks.  It took each member of the team to make this happen! Nate focused on the text analysis and vocal performance, Zoe and I focused on staging and movement, and Ben focused on the tech. With each one of us able to focus on one area, the students were more focused and remained on task.

I hope that this blog post provides you with inspiration to figure out how you also can perform with your students. I’ve included the Press Release below so you can get the full impact and hopefully take away some ideas that you can adapt for your own work this year.

Antigone Now, FALL PLAY, PRESS RELEASE

A battle for honor takes place in Freeport High School’s upcoming production of Antigone Now, a modern adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone, written by Melissa Cooper.

Contact: Natalie Safley, 207-865-4706 ext. 801, safleyn@rsu5.org

October 12, 2019

Freeport, ME– “Theatre artists have been wearing masks since 400BC, so why can’t we?”  said Natalie Safley, Theatre Arts Director at Freeport High School, when discussing their upcoming fall play performance. When schools shut down last March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of theaters also went dark, cancelling shows across the country. Once Safley learned that RSU 5 was going to return to school this fall under a hybrid plan (where students attend in person part of the time), she immediately reached out to FHS Principal, Jen Gulko, to discuss doing a fall production.  Maine CDC guidelines prevent musical performances at this time, and currently limit outdoor gatherings to 100. Safley and Gulko determined that a small-cast fall play – produced outside and in accordance with all current safety guidelines – could take place. Safley rushed to choose a script, gather her artistic team, and conduct auditions.  Of the experience, she notes, “Putting together a show in 5 weeks instead of 10 is an unbelievable undertaking, but FHS accepted the challenge!”  

Playscripts, Inc. describes this adaptation as a “…contemporary response to the myth of Antigone…” Antigone (played by FHS junior, Ella Vertenten) strives to bury her brother, Polyneices, with honor, defying a decree from the king (who also happens to be her uncle) that, “No one may bury him, no one may touch him. It’s against the law.” Drama ensues as the characters fight to preserve the laws of the city while keeping the family intact.  

All performances will be held outdoors, Friday-Sunday, October 23-25, at 7PM, adjacent to the entrance to the Joan Benoit Samuelson Stadium (30 Holbrook St., Freeport, Maine). Tickets must be purchased in advance; no tickets will be sold at the door. All patrons must wear a mask, practice social distancing, and should bring a blanket or chair to sit on. 

Purchase tickets to live performances here:http://bit.ly/FHSAntigone

Direction: Natalie Safley, Nate Menifield, Zoe Konstantino

Technical Direction: Ben Potvin

* Patrons must bring their own chair or blanket to sit on

*Masks and Social Distancing in place 

Contact Natalie Safley, safleyn@rsu5.org

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Farnsworth Art Museum

October 22, 2020

Seeking Teaching Artists for online learning

Interested in teaching online with the Farnsworth Art Museum? The Education Department is seeking teaching artists and lecturers in the fields of visual art and traditional arts, literary arts, theater, dance, music and multidisciplinary / interdisciplinary fields, and art history. Let us know a bit about yourself, your discipline and teaching experience in the form link below. At this time, all programming is offered online via Zoom. 

Visit the Farnsworth Art Museum to learn more about offerings. Submit your proposal at this link. Questions? Email Jude Valentine at jvalentine@farnsworthmuseum.org

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Virtual Theatre Game Night

October 21, 2020

Maine high school students are invited to participate in a virtual theater game night. The Maine Thespians officers will lead participants in an interactive workshop at no cost. Mark your calendars and join teens from across the state – Sunday, October 25, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. This event is provided by the Maine Educational Theater Association.

For more information CLICK HERE! To register CLICK HERE!

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