Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Pride Month

June 18, 2022

All invited to celebrate

Throughout the world this month people of all ages are celebrating Pride Month. It’s all about people coming together to celebrate who they focusing on the freedom to be who they are. June was selected as Pride month to recognize the Stonewall uprising that took place in New York City, June 1969. Protests and riots went on for three days following a police raid of a gay bar at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan where the gay community and police clashed.

This event marked the beginning of the modern day gay rights movement. One year later the first Pride parade took place in New York’s Central Park and others followed in cities across the country. It was called Christopher Street Liberation Day because the Stonewall Inn is located on Christopher Street. In 2016 the area around the Stonewall Inn was designated a national monument.

In 1978, artist and designer Gilbert Baker was commissioned by San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the US, to make a flag for the Pride celebrations that year. Baker recognized the stripes of the American flag and was inspired by the rainbow to reflect the many groups within the gay community. Since 1978 other flags have been created to represent other sexualities.

Pride events welcome allies from outside the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community. All are welcome to show their support and it gives them an opportunity to learn.

This month I am reminded of this statement made to Agnes de Mille, by Martha Graham in 1943:

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you.


Congratulations Sue Barre

March 17, 2022

National Federation of State High School Associations Awardee                 

In 1989 the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSH) established The Outstanding Music Educator Awards. Waterville High School music educator Susan Barre is an awardee!


Many of us know Sue’s tireless work for music education from her school district in Waterville, Maine to the state level and now at the national level. Sue teaches music to students in grades 5-12. I first met Sue when she became a Teacher Leader during Phase 3 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI). She was a strong leader as MAAI transitioned to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) and its latest iteration of the Maine Arts Education Partners in Leadership (MAEPL). Sue is a quiet and effective leader who is there when needed and is willing to take on a responsibility and give it her full attention. She can be trusted to not only to complete the task but, always at the highest level. She is a steady voice for all her students and the music education in her district continuously shines under her guidance. I’ve had the honor of working with Sue on many projects and watch her grow as a teacher, leader, and human being. We co-presented in Providence at the NAfME Eastern Division Conference in 2015 and again in 2017 in Atlantic City. This is certainly a well deserved award and I invite you to join me in CONGRATULATING SUE!


In addition to earning numerous awards and honors, Susan Barre has transformed Maine’s Waterville school music program to one of the state’s most respected, celebrating music and students of all abilities and interests.

After beginning her education career in 1989 and teaching music at various schools in Maine, Barre joined Waterville Public Schools in 2008 as band director for grades 5-12. In 2014, Barre was named department chair for Visual and Performing Arts at Waterville Senior High School and coordinator of music for grades K-12. During her tenure, Waterville students have consistently been recognized with Outstanding Music Awards.

In 2013, Waterville Ensembles were recognized with the “Spirit of DC” award recognizing responsible and respectful behavior. At the 2018 NYC Heritage Music Festival, the Waterville Music Department won the Sweepstakes Award for outstanding music department, and the concert and jazz band earned Gold Awards.

Barre has worked to revise the music curriculum, seeking consistency in music terms and practices, and coordinated the development and implementation of a portfolio for music students. The portfolio has become a blueprint for many other music programs in the state.

Locally, the Waterville music program has become an integral part of the arts community, recognized for its efficient hosting of local festivals each year. Waterville students regularly perform in the community and are active in the arts programs at nearby Colby College.

At the state level, Barre is a [past] president of the Maine Music Educators, which helped implement a paid executive director position for the organization and moved the state’s jazz programs from a competitive format to a festival format, where ensembles perform for a rating and not against each other. Barre is also president of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Eastern Division and served on the executive committee overseeing the planning and implementation of the 2021 Eastern Division Virtual Festival and Conference.

Sue Barre and Argy Nestor co-presenting, NAfME Eastern Division Conference, Atlantic City, 2017. Session: Leading a Way to Proficiency Through the Arts


April 19, 2021


Reach out and ask a question, collect the comments and post them in the teachers room and if you want to be really brave post them in the hallway. Your students will know that you care about each other and them.

What am I talking about? Well, this is it, Spring vacation for Maine students and teachers is this week. Hopefully it’s a chance to rest and work on filling your cup. We know if our cups are not full it’s difficult to help support others and be our best in the classroom. Everyone knows it’s been a tough year, some admit that their energy has been zapped and yet others are able to see the silver linings.

So, what can we do to help support our colleagues and our school community for the rest of the school year? And still take care of ourselves? Here’s one suggestion – reach out to your colleagues and ask them to name one positive thing about the school year. Perhaps it is a silver lining, an unintentional consequence or something that someone said or did that surprises the heck out of you. Write the comments on paper hearts and hang them in the teachers room or hallway or each day read one during morning announcements or put them on the school kiosk or put it on the schools website or social media page. It is sure to lift spirits and simply let people know how much they are cared for and it will send a clear message to your students.

Comments I’ve heard that fit

At the Maine Art Ed Association virtual spring conference a couple of weeks ago Rangeley Lakes Regional School Art Teacher Sonja Johnson said: “The Art classroom is a place of awakening this year”.  This puts a different twist on the year and when I think about it the comment is filled with truth!

Last week I received an email from Edward Little Music Teacher Bill Buzza that included: “Today was the first day of bringing our two hybrid cohorts back into our building for 5 days a week. The energy was exciting and refreshing as the students got to interact with each other again – kind of like the first day of school of a new year.  And they were so thrilled to be hearing the sound of the full band again!” 

The way I see it the pandemic continues to offer us gifts! Not seeing them, try looking in a different direction like up into the trees to the sky and clouds. Take a moment to consider the gifts. What are yours? Please share at the bottom of this blog post or email me at Thanks!

Cedar Island, Liberty, Maine


Maine Farmland Trust

March 8, 2021

Opportunity for children

Young artists age 18 and under are invited to submit farm-inspired artwork for an upcoming virtual gallery exhibit.

The Maine Farmland Trust welcomes submissions for a children’s art exhibit to be held virtually this spring through the MFT Gallery. Looking for children’s artistic creations that address or are inspired by any of the following questions:

  • Do you have any farm or farm stands near you?
  • What do they look like, and what do they produce?
  • What animals do you like on the farm?
  • What is your favorite food from the farm?
  • What do you like, or what would you like, to do on a visit to the farm? 

Learn and submit artwork HERE. DEADLINE: MARCH 28, 2021

Possible subject or media matter ideas: Vegetables; animals on the farm; fiber (sheep, llamas or alpacas, rabbits); barns or other farm buildings; fields, crops, gardens; helpers on the farm; tractors or other equipment and tools.

Submission guidelines:

The artwork can be any media, 2D or 3D. We are accepting up to 5 submissions per artist. Since the show will be virtual, all submissions should be high quality photos of the original artwork.

Tips for taking a high quality photo with your camera or phone: use a high resolution setting on your device; hold the device steady or use a tripod or brace so the image is clear, not blurry; place the work (one at a time for multiple submissions) in good, even, natural lighting; make sure the edges of the image are square to the edges of the work so there is no distortion; crop the image to clear any distracting background; save as a .jpg file.

Please send an email, subject Farms for ME, with up to 5 high resolution jpg images attached, labeled with Artist First Name_Age_Title of the work_medium_dimensions_price.

In the email please include parent’s full name, email address, and phone number, name of the artist, age, medium, title of the work, dimensions of the work, and price if the work is for sale (or NFS if not).

If you have questions please contact Karen at


On Hiatus

January 4, 2021

The Maine Arts Education Blog is on hiatus!


Happpppy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2020

I know this Thanksgiving will be like no others. If you’ll be with family and/or friends that aren’t in your ‘bubble’ please be sure and practice safe distancing, wear a mask and if you’re inside try and leave some windows open. No matter what I hope the sun shines on you and that you can consider what you are grateful for, even in this challenging world-wide pandemic! I hope you take a moment and write down or make art that reflects what your gratefulness!

I’m grateful for the health care workers who are putting their lives on the line each and everyday to do the right thing.

I’m grateful for our elected officials who are making the most difficult decisions determining what to put in place to keep us all safe.

I’m so very grateful for my family and friends who continue to reach out to each other to lift spirits with a kind word and helpful hand.

Most importantly, I’m grateful for the educators who are teaching during this most difficult and challenging time. I know that you’re working around the clock doing the right thing for each learner and the best that you can for your community! Thank you for making a difference in so many students’ lives and in so many communities. 

Thanksgiving is different this year and my appreciation goes deeper than ever for all of the teachers across this globe going above and beyond and remembering that WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING IS ENOUGH AND WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! Be sure and reach out with stories to share and asking for assistance!

My warmest wishes for a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Chelsea Beck for NPR


November 11, 2020

In the year 2000 I met Joani Share who was an art teacher at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Arizona. We were selected for the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund to learn about the education system on a three week trip. There were many other educators but it was the Art that initially connected us. We learned together on that memorable trip and have continued to stay connected visiting each other in Maine, Arizona and now California where Joani has retired. Joani continues to teach workshops for young and old (including her grandchildren) along with being an amazing painter. She is active in community and social justice topics raising awareness through her own art and collectively with the voices of other artists.

Like many other artists she’s using her creativity and knowledge to consider other ways to make an impact. Three years ago forming “stARTover” to collect art materials and supplies for artists who had lost so much in the wildfires that spread quickly through Napa and Sonoma in Northern California. Recently she emailed about ARTicipate.

From the website:

ARTicipate for Humanity is an evolving resource directory to help connect people, ideas, and projects by using art to foster the humanitarian spirit. ARTicipate is not limited by geography or timelines. 
You can ARTicipate by supporting the growing resource list, as well as by recommending an art organization or artist to join ARTicipate. 

Joani Share with a van fall of art supplies collected for artists who had suffered loss from the wildfires in California

Blog post from the ARTicipate site

Recently I attended one of my art groups through a Zoom session, and everyone was working independently on their own projects. As artists, we are used to working alone in our studios, but during this time of COVID, our need to connect with other creative thinkers seems more important than ever. As we worked and shared our projects during the Zoom session, I was fascinated to see what was being created. Various people in the group were making art to help organizations that contribute to the greater good, as a means of using art to help others. I saw blankets made for infants and toddlers, blue hats to stop bullying, and sewn art panels designed as a remembrance for people who lost their lives due to violence. Seeing my friends working passionately through their art to help others got me thinking.

Three years ago, I formed “stARTover” to collect art materials and supplies for artists who had lost so much in the wildfires that spread quickly through Napa and Sonoma in Northern California. I contacted a number of friends, and local art organizations to gather supplies, and store them until arrangements could be made for a huge pick up. We urged fellow artists to donate, new or gently used art materials so that the artist recipients would be able to make artwork with proper equipment and supplies, not just the dregs of someone else’s studio. It was important to help the artists who lost everything to feel supported, and to lift their emotional spirit, when so much of their lives had literally gone up in flames. We spread the word, and over an 8-week period so many art supplies were gathered that I needed to rent a U-Haul truck to make deliveries. I contacted art organizations in both Napa and Sonoma who knew the hard hit individuals and offered to house the donated supplies, categorize them and help distribute everything to those artists in the greatest need. 

Through “stARTover” we were able to help those artists get back to work and make art a part of the recovery and healing process. “stARTover” was local, and had a limited timeframe, it was literally meant to help artists to begin creating as soon as possible. The outpouring of generosity from the area showed how quickly a community could come together. If we can build an art community on a small scale, what can we do if we go bigger?

After the Zoom session with my art friends, I decided to reactive ARTicipate as a way to connect artists, individuals and organizations to make a difference and as a way to form an artful community that is not limited by time or specific geographic areas. I hope that ARTicipate can become a resource and bridge to make the connections needed to bring artists and organizations together. I see ARTicipate as a living resource directory that can grow and connect people through art. Like “stARTover,” I sincerely hope that the art community will come together to connect people, ideas and projects by using art to foster the humanitarian spirit.

If you’re interested in participating or having your students get involved in ARTicipate please check out the website at and/or contact Joani Share at You can apply to be part of the site on the website under Contact.


Spirit of Music Education Award

June 7, 2020

Quarantine Karaoke

The Spirit of Music Education Award was presented (virtually) to Joseph Meyers who lives in Brewer by the Maine Music Educators Association. Feeling a bit depressed 6 weeks ago, Joseph, who had been a music major at UMaine went to his cellar to play and sing music. Out of that experience the facebook group Quarantine-Karaoke which now has 700,000+ members! 

CBS News out of Boston had a piece on the topic. WHDH out of Boston had a piece on the topic.

Vicky Cherry, MMEA executive committee and advocacy chair recently met with Joe. She describes Joe as “kind, well spoken who has seen the amazing difference this facebook group has made for so many people during this time.” Joe manages 65 volunteers who assist him to monitor the facebook group of over 700 K. He shared some incredible stories with Vicky of the letters he receives daily from people thanking him, life changing stories. Check out Quarantine Karaoke.

Joe is a graduate of UMaine School of Music Program, he is not an educator. He works in the business field. What a great story – so happy that MMEA has recognized Joe for this movement underway; providing opportunities who really need music in their lives, now more than ever.


MALI 2020

May 30, 2020

Summer Institute

MALI 2020 Summer Institute: Quarantine Edition is happening! Yes it will look different. Still FREE! Even amidst constant change the MALI Program Design Team is developing a very dynamic and timely series of virtual Professional Development offerings this summer.

The featured speaker is a leader in the field of Leadership and Resilience, Larry McCullough of the Pinetree Institute in Eliot, who will be speaking about cutting edge research on the balance between adverse and positive childhood experiences, and a framework for VPA classroom strategies to meet that balance.    In additional to a Leadership trainer, Larry has been a professional dancer, dance instructor, and classroom educator with a Masters in Arts Education.
This year’s Institute will explore
  • Leading with Resilience;
  • Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in our Teaching, Ourselves, and Our Communities;
  • Arts Advocacy.  
Deadline for Applications: June 1 – direct link:
Application for new participants.
About Larry McCullough
Dr. Larry McCullough is Founder and Executive Director of Pinetree Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Eliot, Maine, established in 2012 to promote the well-being of individuals, families and communities. with particular focus on addressing issues related to ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and the buffering effect of Positive Experiences in approaches to trauma-informed care.  Pinetree Institute offers workshops at its learning center at Pinetree Farm in Eliot and a wide variety of community-based programs in the Seacoast NH / Southern Maine region. 
In addition to his work with Pinetree Institute, Larry has over 30 years experience working with major corporations, governmental agencies and non-profit organizations in the areas of leadership development, change management, and strategic planning.  Since 2011 Larry has served as lead designer and a lead facilitator for the highly acclaimed Experienced Leadership Program at Ford Motors which combines elements of building personal resilience with strategic people leadership.  Another recent key project included a major transformational leadership program for U.S. Veterans Affairs, the largest health care system in the U.S. including over 72,000 managers and supervisors which incorporated aspects of emotional intelligence, personal resilience and organizational culture transformation. 
Larry’s earliest studies were in education and in performing arts during which he received a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from UMass Amherst and taught elementary school.  During and immediately after his teaching work, Larry worked professionally in the performing arts, studying and performing in New York and co-founding a small modern dance theater company in Toronto, Ontario. In this capacity Larry performed original dance theater works in the U.S., Canada and Europe.  During this time he also ran creative arts programs for children and taught dance in several Canadian Universities. Following his dance career Larry returned to UMass Amherst completing a Master’s Degree in Arts Education followed by a Doctorate in Applied Behavioral Sciences.  Prior to his engagement in corporate training, Larry taught Human Development and Early Childhood Education at the University of New Hampshire and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and worked with community agencies in Norfolk to create professional development programs for human services professionals.

In Today’s News

May 28, 2020

Very special “Taps”

Friends and family stood outside Allen Graffam’s Topsham home Monday to play one last Taps for the longtime band director at Mt. Ararat High School, who died of cancer Saturday. He taught for 35 years at the school before retiring in 2018.

Read the full article and hear Taps played by Allen’s friends, colleagues and students outside his home HERE and my tribute on the blog HEREI found the signs on Allen’s homes heartwarming. Allen’s was a life well lived, gone too soon and well loved.

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