Archive for the ‘Visual Arts’ Category



October 20, 2016

Suzanne Goulet

Congratulations to the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) Teacher of the Year, Suzanne Goulet. At the annual fall conference at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in September Suzanne was recognized in front of her peers and shared the following message with her colleagues and members of the MAEA from across the state.

For more information on MAEA, their awards and other programs please CLICK HERE.

dscn4589‘I Didn’t Come This Far To Only Come This Far’ – borrowed from a quote Tom Brady found.  (Background discussion on ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), Resiliency, Determination and how Tom Brady never gives up)

A Study of Only – Limitation or Inspiration?                                                        

Last winter I was in a very engaged conversation with a colleague about our school culture and proposals for consideration. We had a very stressful year (Starting with the Principal being suspended the first week of school, and ultimately fired…won’t share more at this time….but that was just the beginning of a tumultuous year)

We needed to examine our culture.

Some interesting (and controversial) ideas were being flushed in a personal collegial conversation… then abruptly my colleague, attempting to disqualify my contributions and stake, retorted with, “You’re just an Art Teacher”

Oh….yes…..that’s what was said…….and the engaged conversation ended there….for the moment.

ONLY?……what does that mean……if ONLY we could ONLY be ART Educators

4747f3_42a4e73771c0482099f1295cab14d835So what does ONLY MEAN?

Self-Assessment: Are You Only An Art Educator? (a physical self-reflective study)

This will be interactive – asking that you please stand, when asked, if any of the following statements describe you (does not have to only relate to teaching).

If you introduced a new word or term to someone’s active vocabulary this week please stand. 

If you have ever helped someone develop or refine work habits or best practices please stand.

If you have introduced a form of recreation to someone please stand

If you utilized your Blood Born Pathogens and Bodily Fluids training please stand…

     …Remain standing if it was this week

dscf7323bIf you have helped someone to be brave, to find courage to make a mistake or fail… and to learn from it please stand.

Stand if you have benefited from a colleague sharing a best practice with you.

You are or have been an active Art leader (Workshop presenter, MALI Teacher Leader, Board, Officer) please stand.

Stand if you made art in the last month before the school year started.

Continue standing if you made art since the school year began

… glean and learn from these people

Stand if you helped someone learn to use scissors safely

If you have created community (met with a colleague from a different school and shared a best practice…online, RSVP ME, in person) please stand.

Stand if you have helped someone with a difficult choice or to identify creative possibilities or solutions.

If you have wondered where or when a student’s next meal or place to sleep will be please stand.

Please let me expand on this one…

If you, at anytime, have, or think you have, saved someone’s life – in addition to rendering first aid… maybe you listened, referred someone to a counselor or medical professional please stand… thank you.

img_1315If you have guided someone to express themselves in a non-verbal form please stand. If you have helped someone to visit or experience a college campus please stand.

If you have had an influence on someone’s career or life decision please stand.

If you have helped someone better understand the world around them p lease stand…         (Are your legs burning? OK to sit now…)

If ONLY… If ONLY being an Art Teacher means that you are an active, reflective and compassionate educator, Then Bring it on.

‘I Didn’t Come This Far To Only Come This Far’

The Maine Art Education Association has been a great vehicle for helping me to become an active, reflective and compassionate educator/Art Teacher.

img_1038Holly, Jodi, Pam, Sheila, Chris, Jeff, Charlie, Lisa, Maryann, Marilyn, Catherine, Argy, Heidi, Deb, Carolyn, Aimee, Shalimar, Sandy, Nancy, Stephanie, Tim, George, Margaret, and Kay are only a few members and former members that I have to thank for sharing something with me that has advanced my personal profession. There are many, many more, and I apologize for not including the entire list.

As low as last year was (the “Only” conversation did not help), the honor of being nominated by a respected Art Education colleague and then recognized by our Associations highest honor was transforming. The honor only got better. My student, Scott Norman, during the presentation helped us to realize or remember how important… no….how vital, art, art education and art educators can be for our students….and us.

dscf6414Nominate a peer today. Ask me for help. Deadline is December 31 ….start Monday. Help others to appreciate what it is to be ONLY an “Art Teacher”.

Elections are coming this Spring. We have two year terms. President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary and Membership are all positions that we are seeking candidates for. I first became treasurer when I left the room… no joke… and my life has forever been changed since… and so have my students. I am extremely thankful for this.

I am active, reflective and compassionate… I Am Only an Art Educator… We Are Only Art Educators.

‘We Didn’t Come This Far To Only Come This Far’

We Have Important Work to continue…

Thank you


Maine Art Ed Members Exhibit

October 7, 2016

Opening tonight



STEAM in Poland

September 22, 2016


img_4192xThank you to Poland Community School art educator, Jonathan Graffius who shared the following information on the summer “STREAM camp” that took place in RSU16. As you will read it was a fabulous opportunity for elementary school student to dive deep into the connections between science, technology, reading, engineering, the arts, and math. During February break 2016 Jonathan designed a STEAM camp so this next step was built on what he learned from that first experience. A meartsed blog post on the STEAM camp is at THIS LINK.

For the STREAM camp, Jonathan designed the concept and the art projects, as well as, making the contacts at the Maine Wildlife park, but there was a team approach to providing the instruction and assessments related to reading, writing and math.  The funding came from a grant that was written by the RSU16 assistant superintendent who also assembled the entire instructional team. Since Jonathan states up front that his expertise is not in reading and writing, therefore he sees the benefits of bringing the staff together who specialize  in literacy and its related classroom instruction. The team worked extremely well together and developed a “center” approach to the STREAM camp instruction that brought individualized literacy instruction to the project. 

RSU 16 SUMMER SCHOOL EXPERIENCE  – In Jonathan’s own words…img_3586

This summer, RSU 16 received a grant allowing Title I students entering grades 3 and 4 to participate in a unique and engaging 4 week STEAM experience. Our goal was to maintain spring reading scores, while providing an engaging program that focused on researching, reading, writing, and creating art based on the animals who live at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine. Throughout this program, students positively responded to literacy instruction, participated in a variety of engineering projects, received small group instruction, went on field trips to gather information to influence their work, and were given individualized instructional time with teachers from multiple backgrounds. The staff consisted of classroom teachers, literacy specialists, general education and special education ed techs. Together the team brought their expertise and experience to deliver instruction through center rotations and three highly engaging field trips to the Maine Wildlife Park.

img_3705Each morning students were greeted with a written building challenge. Students were allowed to work individually or in small groups. Students primarily used wooden blocks and craft sticks to solve the daily building challenges, which involved architectural concepts like column, post, beam, cantilever, arch, and span. Building challenges included specific criteria that allowed for a personal aesthetic and individualized problem-solving. These engaging challenges also required students to apply math skills, primarily through the measuring and recording of data, such as height, number of blocks, span distances, and carrying weight, in their science journals. All of the finished products were photographed.

We gathered every morning after our building challenge to conduct a morning meeting. Following components from the responsive classroom model, morning meeting was an important part of every day because it allowed us to become comfortable and familiar with one another, make connections, share information on a personal level, and build our classroom community. During morning meeting, each student was greeted by name and often had the opportunity to share information about themselves to the whole group. Before our meeting ended, the group collectively reviewed the expectations that were drafted by the students on the first day of meeting each other. Students and teachers signed their name in agreement of the expectations, holding everyone accountable for their actions and words. This familiar routine of welcoming and accepting one another each morning helped set a comfortable, safe, and productive tone for the rest of the day.

img_4088After morning meeting, students broke off into four different groups (which were determined by reading performance data) to rotate among four different centers. Our centers included guided reading groups, phonics focus groups, writing workshop, and art. Through small group center rotations, students were able to receive more focused instruction to meet their academic needs.

At writing workshop, students used iPads and laptops to research information about the animal they had chosen to study from the Wildlife Park. Students wrote poems, riddles, and informational pieces about their animal’s habitat. Students used graphic organizers, wrote drafts in their science notebooks, revised and edited their work with support from their teachers, and all ended up having three pieces of writing published in our final, collaborative anthology of the animals we studied at Maine Wildlife Park.

img_4251When students went to the guided reading group center, they were able to receive direct reading instruction at their level while reading a variety of nonfiction texts. Students were supported by reviewing and practicing reading strategies, listening to each other read, and by writing facts about what they learned from their reading in their individual reading notebooks. Students also had the opportunity to use iPads as a technology resource to read or listen to stories and to take comprehension quizzes about the books they were reading right on their device. Using the guided reading model gave the students the opportunity to recall and reinforce skills learned throughout the school year. Our data showed that students had regressed from the end of the school year to the beginning of the summer program. Our work together helped students get back to where they had ended the school year.

img_3922During the phonics focus group, students participated in a variety of vocabulary and word work activities that related to the animal research they were doing for their writing. Students learned visual and oral cues to match all the vowel teams to bump their sounding out skills to the next level. Practice reviewing phonemic sounds and patterns influenced their reading decoding and performance. Students also read silly animal rhyming poems to recognize and read spelling patterns, as well as talk about their animals and what they were learning through their research.

During the visual arts center, students had the opportunity to be creative in a multitude of ways using a large variety of mediums. Students created works of art that related to their chosen animal and its habitat. Student-led inquiry and research provided a solid foundation for realistic and objective representation in their works of art. All students completed representational drawings, “painted-paper” collages, hand-built clay sculptures, and folded paper trioramas of their animal’s habitat. Many students also used digital cameras, iPads and other portable electronic devices to visually record their observations and experiences from their perspective.

img_3676We also were able to utilize our reading specialist during our center rotations as a resource for our most at-risk students. She was able to pull students for 1:1 reading to help them maintain their spring reading scores.

All students contributed research, writing and art work on a chosen animal at the Maine Wildlife Park that was published in their collaborative book Maine Animals–Their Stories. Learning extended beyond the school walls as students had the opportunity to take three field trips to Maine Wildlife Park and observe their animals firsthand. Students filled the role of field researchers at the park, receiving guided tours with volunteer park guides who answered students’ questions about their chosen animal. At the Park, students also photographed their animals in their habitats and took notes in their science journal. Through expeditionary primary research, students gained an authentic purpose to their research, writing and art.

img_4022The grant that was allocated to RSU 16 stated that 90% of our students would maintain their Fountas and Pinnell reading level at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. Students were able to meet this goal through the use of our STEAM model.

Jonathan will be on the STEAM panel at the Maine International Conference on the Arts, sponsored by the Maine Arts Commission on Friday, October 7, at the Bates Mill, Lewiston. The STEAM panel is one of 4 sessions in the education strand being held that day. There are 3 other arts strands along with other opportunities taking place that day and the pre MICA conference for arts educators on Thursday, October 6. To learn more and to register please CLICK HERE or contact me at


Tim Christensen – Teaching Artist

September 16, 2016

Berwick Academy Community Emotional Map Sculpture

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-7-37-10-pmTim Christensen, in his own words below provides an overview of a residency he did at Berwick Academy. Tim graduated from Berwick Academy in 1987 so returning to his community to collaborate on this unique project is pretty special! Congratulations to the community, Tim, and Raegen for carrying out this idea. The artwork is permanently displayed in the Commons building on the Berwick Academy campus.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-7-25-33-pmRaegen Russell (Berwick Academy art teacher) and I started talking about me coming to Berwick Academy, in South Berwick, at last year’s Haystack Maine Art Education Association fall conference. As the conversations continued, an idea began to form of making a community sculpture with the entire Berwick Academy (Pre-K to alumni to faculty to staff) in commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the founding of the school.

I started thinking about what was really being celebrated, what we mean when we say, “this school is 225 years old”. I figured out what was being celebrated was an unbroken chain of relationships that went all the way back to those three boys going to school in what is now on campus called, “the 1791 House”. Those relationships I wanted to document are the result of feelings and emotions of the community members for each other, and so could be recorded as abstract expressionist marks.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-7-24-45-pmI asked the artists to think about how it felt in their guts when they came up the hill in the morning to go to school, or were laying in bed at home at night and thinking about school. I asked them to make marks that seemed in concert with those feelings, and not to worry about drawing anything, to have no expectations except to show up and make marks.

They were each given a disk of dried porcelain which had been covered with black underglaze, and into the center of which I had drilled a hole, and gave them an etching tool of one sort or another. Most artists worked for 20 or so minutes, although some worked for 15-20 hours on their disk.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-7-25-22-pmThese were then fired and installed on 1/8″ brass rods into which I cut threads on either end, to allow them to screw  into a metal insert in maple orbs, which I turned on the lathe. The result looks like dandelion fluff, or atoms, or drawn circles.

It is basically a community self-portrait, in which every member has an equal voice. In my opinion, one interesting result was a school-wide conversation about the community’s feelings about itself, a self-assessment if you will. This of course invited the related questions of “where do we go, and what do we value as a community?”.

It was an honor to be part of this project.

Tim can be reached at Last Spring he worked at the Camden Rockport Middle School on an integrated unit. The blog post describing the residency is at THIS LINK. Tim is on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster at THIS LINK. Tim is available for school and community artist residency’s. Tim is also a Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teaching Artist Leader – a new program established this year. The Teacher Leaders are listed at THIS LINK.

Embedded is a video that provides a close up look at this project.


Arts Education Conference

August 30, 2016



Pre-MICA (Maine International Conference on the Arts) – 6 October 2016

MICA – 6 and 7 October

THURSDAY DESCRIPTION – This ones just for you PK-12 arts educators, teaching artists, others interested in arts education!

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 9.03.10 AMThe Maine Arts Leadership Initiative celebrates teaching and learning through “Teaching Artful Practice/Practice Artful Teaching” featuring Cheryl Hulteen, author of YES YES GOOD: The heART of teaching. Arts teaching professionals have much to share in their partnership to create personal artful pathways for students to express and explore creative voice through the arts. Using the Multiple Intelligences Theory, join us in a collaboration – defining, exploring, celebrating and understanding different practices of artful teaching. We will build a learning community that reflects the role the arts play in everything we do, teach and learn by strengthening the creative exchanges of artful process and practice. Come and celebrate the heART of teaching.


Thursday, 6 October 2016, 11:30am – 4:00pm

Franco American Heritage Center

46 Cedar St, Lewiston, ME

4 contact hours provided

$40 includes lunch (no cost for full time students)

Registration located at (Scroll down on the page)


Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 9.03.58 AMAuthor of “YES YES GOOD, The HeART of Teaching”, Master Teaching Artist Cheryl Hulteen has spent over 20 years providing consulting services for school districts, teachers, administrators, parents and students to foster greater learning and insight through building Creative Classroom Cultures. “YES YES GOOD” works with stakeholders across the educational landscape to build exciting, innovative and positive environments for teaching, learning, and arts integrated curriculum development through motivational workshops, professional development and one-on-one coaching. In addition to founding YES YES GOOD, Cheryl also serves as teaching faculty for Connecticut Higher Order Thinking Schools, an initiative of the Connecticut Office of the Arts, managed in partnership with Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center.  “However we may speak, it is through the voices of our children we will most clearly be heard.”

image003MICA – Thursday night and all day Friday

ARTS EDUCATION TRACK for FRIDAY MICA plus other great sessions being offered Lewiston Bates Mill

Registration located at

Stories and Images of Malawi No one can show you the sunDzuwa Salodzelano with Lindsay Pinchbeck and Argy Nestor

An 18-day journey to Malawi in July led to the most amazing teachers doing incredible work with very little resources (financial or tangible). The arts were the powerful tool that guided the daily workshops with 12 teachers and opened the hearts and minds of all involved. Join Lindsay and Argy on a visual journey and hear stories of songs and traditions gathered along the paths in Malawi.

STEAMing up in Maine with Kate Cook Whitt, Jonathan Graffius, Malley Weber, and Chuck Carter

What is all the buzz about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) going on across the country? What are the benefits of STEAM in Maine education and beyond? This presentation, in panel format, will bring together four people who are focusing on the topic in their work and play. From PK to higher ed, from teaching artist to game creator. Your questions and ideas are welcome!

Creativity: A Group Inquiry with John Morris

What is creativity? How can it potentially impact our lives? And how do we talk about it with each other? This structured group dialogue will help artists, advocates and educators make connections between creativity research and creativity in practice, while promoting inquiry into the nature of creativity, as well as its role in art, education and community.

Creative Aging

Details being constructed.

If you have any questions please contact me at


Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts

July 30, 2016

Art teachers soaking it in


Teaching Artist Malley Weber

I had the privilege of visiting the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts earlier this week and it was such a treat. A dozen art teachers creating individually and at the same time collaboratively – sharing their knowledge and soaking up the wisdom of each other. In my undergraduate program I had a ceramics focus so the smell of the clay environment, the feel of the clay in my hands, coupled with the buzz of teachers, enlightened all my senses. And right before my eyes was the center of Watershed’s philosophy, a belief that the unexpected sparks creativity and that new people, ideas and spaces nurture the evolution of artistic practice.

How fortunate for the art educators (mostly from Maine) to take the opportunity to nourish their minds and their souls. The teachers had their own studio space where they were continuing to develop their skills and ideas. It was great to see and speak to the teachers about their work. Visiting also was Beth Lambert, Maine Department of Education Visual and Performing Arts Specialist. Participating in the week were Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leaders Jeff Orth and Gloria Hewett. And this years recipient of the Monhegan Artists’ Residency and colleague of mine from MSAD #40, Krisanne Baker.

Jeff Orth, Beth Lambert, and Gloria Hewett

Jeff Orth, Beth Lambert, and Gloria Hewett

While visiting, Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist member Malley Weber shared her present research project – creating ceramic water filters. Malley was intrigued by the idea and has been communicating with and learning from Potters for Peace.

Potters for Peace has provided information has helped in her research.  Since 1998, representatives of Potters for Peace have traveled the world assisting with the establishment of small factories or workshops that produce a low-cost ceramic water filter that can bring clean, potable water to those who need it most. They don’t actually make, store or distribute ceramic water filters or operate filter production facilities. They assist local partners to set up their own filter production and distribution facilities. Much of their work has been in Central America with woman potters.

Malley is experimenting with Watershed clay to find the right recipe to create the filters for the local water supply. The lesson is designed for students to:

  • understand the global issues around water and the importance of clean water for everyone,
  • to experiment with filtering bacteria from water by making their own ceramic water filters,
  • to create a well designed and functional receptacle and lid using elements of art and principles of design that will hold the filter, store and deliver water to a glass by either pouring spout or spigot, and
  • to observe and draw conclusions based on their experiment.

DSC_0447What an incredible idea that is all about the connections between art and science! Malley’s lesson was filled with the language of both disciplines.

One of the founders of Watershed is my dear friend George Mason. It has been a while since I visited the Newcastle facility that was established in 1986. Such a treat! You can read their story at Be sure and check out the opportunities they provide under the watchful eye and commitment of Executive Director Fran Rudoff. Classes are invited during parts of the year and there are community events that are always wonderful!

Thanks to Fran for inviting me to visit and to Malley for sharing her experience!


CSA II: Community Supporting Arts

July 27, 2016

Call for Artists and CSA Farmers

Deadline to submit applications: September 1, 2016 at 11pm.

Where: 160 Water Street, Hallowell, ME 04347

Contact: Allison McKeen, PR & Documentation, 207-622-2813,

CSA 2012: Artist Kate Emily Barnes was paired with Grassland Organic Farm in Skowhegan

CSA 2012: Artist Kate Emily Barnes was paired with Grassland Organic Farm in Skowhegan

HALLOWELL, ME – In 2012 the Harlow Gallery, located at 160 Water Street in Hallowell, organized the first Community Supporting Arts (CSA) project to connect Maine’s artist and farming communities, two vibrant and idealistic groups that are key to our state’s unique sense of place. The CSA project was a huge success and the Harlow Gallery is thrilled to be bringing it back in 2017.

For more information about CSA 2012 visit

The Harlow Gallery is seeking 10 Maine artists to participate in CSA II  to be paired with 10 Maine farms. Each artist will seek inspiration in his or her counterpart’s life, work, landscape, ideals and challenges over the course of the 2017 growing season and create work based on their experiences and observations.  Partnering farmers will be those operating CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) farms. A CSA farm offers shares at the beginning of the growing season and then provides fresh, seasonal food on a regular basis to each shareholding household throughout the growing season. Community Supported Agriculture is a grassroots response to the growing social and environmental problems of our modern industrial food system.

To submit your application or learn more please visit:

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