Archive for the ‘Visual Arts’ Category

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Congressional Art Awards

May 2, 2016

Student artists recognized

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 27, 2016
CONTACT: Linda Nelson, Assistant Director
207-287-7050,  linda.l.nelson@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, ME, April 27, 2016–The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce a special, invitation-only event at the Blaine House to celebrate this year’s Congressional Art Competition winners. The tea, hosted by First Lady Ann LePage, the Congressional offices of Representatives Pingree and Poliquin, and the Commission will feature the work of JoJo Zeitlin, a junior at Cape Elizabeth High School in Congressional District 1, and Michaela Shorey, a senior at Rangeley Lakes Regional School in District 2. Ten other students, five from each congressional district who have been awarded runner up and honorable mention status for their art, will also receive certificates at the event. The First Place submissions will hang in the U.S Capitol for one year along with student art from participating Congressional Districts across the nation.

“We are very lucky to have this kind of talent in our student population here in Maine,” said Julie Richard, Maine Arts Commission Executive Director. “It reinforces the strength and quality of our art education programs across the state. Congratulations to our winners and our finalists.”

Zeitlin won District 1 with her black and white photographic portrait of an older man entitled “Brian.” First District jurors Amy Cousins, an art teacher at Gorham Middle School and Piper Bolduc, an art teacher at Old Orchard Beach High School, said they appreciated her skill in capturing the personality of an individual, which they believe is a unique talent for an artist of her age. They commented on the outstanding quality of her pieces as shown through her technical ability to use depth of field and dark contrasts to enhance the subject matter.

“Jo Jo’s photograph shows great composition and technique. As an islander, I love that the image is so distinctly rural, coastal ‘Maine,’” Representative Pingree said in announcing the award. “I think it will really stand out and I’m proud that it will represent Maine’s First District when it is hung at the Capitol this June.  My congratulations to JoJo and all the top finishers of this year’s competition—everyone’s work was truly exceptional.”

Shorey’s top piece, entitled “An Older-Young Girl,” was also a portrait made from various media including pastels and cut paper. Jurors for Maine’s Second District—Robyn Holman, the former curator at USM’s Lewiston Gallery, and Anthony Shostak, an arts educator at Bates Gallery-found Shorey skilled in using the media to convey a sense of the person, and commented on her strong sense of composition, uniting all the elements to further convey the work’s title.
“Each year, I am astonished by the tremendous artistic ability and creative talent of our Maine high schoolers,” said Congressman Poliquin. “I am incredibly proud to showcase Michaela’s artwork at the U.S. Capitol for this next year, where it will be admired and enjoyed by thousands of Americans from across the country. Congratulations, Michaela, on a job well done!”

The judges recognized the work of five other students from each District as follows:
·       District One—first runner-up Anna Callahan of Brunswick; second runner-up Abigail Stevens-Roberts of Saco; and honorable mentions Katie Sprague of Manchester, Gabriel Rosen of Portland and Caitlyn Duffy of Gorham.
·       District Two—first runner-up Rachel Flannery of Auburn; second runner-up Chandler Clothier of Lewiston; and honorable mentions Olivia Berger of South Paris, Alanna Fellows of Lewiston and Shin Hye Hwang of Hebron.

Every year beginning in 1982, the U.S. House of Representatives sponsors the nationwide Congressional Art Competition to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Over 700,000 high school students have competed for the honor of having their work shown in the U.S. Capitol.

The Maine Arts Commission coordinates the competition in Maine, which is open to all high school students and results in a winner, first runner up, second runner up and honorable mention chosen from each of the state’s two congressional districts. The competition is co-hosted by the Commission and the offices of Representatives Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree.
To select student work for consideration, the Maine Arts Commission partners with the Maine College of Art and the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  Gold and silver winners from the Maine Regional Scholastic Art Awards are automatically submitted to be juried in February for the Congressional Art Competition.

For more information on the Congressional Art Competition in Maine, please contact the Maine Arts Commission at info@mainearts.com. To learn more about the Commission’s arts education programs please contact Argy Nestor, Director of Education, at argy.nestor@maine.gov. To learn more about the Commission’s visual arts programs please contact Julie Horn, Director, Visual Arts Programs, at Julie.horn@maine.gov.

The Maine Arts Commission shall encourage and stimulate public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; shall expand the state’s cultural resources; and shall encourage and assist freedom of artistic expression for the well-being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Holly Leighton

April 27, 2016

Teacher Leader series

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This is the seventh blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 66 posted to date.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 8.42.57 PMHolly Leighton has been an elementary art teacher at the Ella P. Burr School in Lincoln for 17 years seeing 400+ students weekly. This year she moved to the district’s high school, Mattanawcook Academy, where she is the art teacher with 92 art students from grades 9-12. (RSU 67) Holly’s main responsibilities are teaching six 70 minute classes and covering the visual art standards.

What do you like best about being a visual art educator?

I love working with the students and watching their confidence in their art abilities grow. When I have a student that feels they “just aren’t good in art” I make it my mission to help them find their strengths and show them their growth as they go. When they begin to show pride in their art, embrace new media eagerly, and start thinking outside the box, I feel I have done my job well. It is very fulfilling and makes me feel proud to hopefully be making a difference in student’s lives.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY visual and performing arts program?

I believe it requires teachers that are knowledgeable and passionate about teaching the arts and understands and loves working with students of all ages. I believe there has to be support from the administration, school board, and community. I believe we have to build strong art programs and continually advocate for them.

How have you found assessment to be helpful in your classroom?

I like to use formative assessments to track student’s growth and guide my teaching. I like to make sure each student knows where they are and where they need to go next in their learning. I have students do self-reflections on their artwork using the critical analysis process. I feel it makes students really think about their art, gives it importance, and makes them proud of what they have done.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Confidence! I was very unsure about how effectively I was using assessments in my classroom. After attending the conference in the fall I realized many of the others felt the same and we are on the right track. I learned so much from the others, creative resources for assessing in the arts, confidence in using my voice, and that we all have good ideas and need to share them. I have become a much more confident teacher.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud of whom I have become through my years of teaching and this has happened because of the many dedicated colleagues that have mentored and encouraged me on my way. I consider myself a good teacher that cares about the students and really wants them to succeed in life.

What gets in the way of becoming a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

For me it is time. Teachers are expected to spend so much time on new initiatives, trying new programs to improve the way we do things, meetings, and duties. We need to have time set aside on early release and workshop days to work on curriculum and standards, reflect on our teaching, and the multitude of other things that have to be done to keep our programs running effectively.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear to at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I have always tried to find ways to bring the students to the arts and artists to the classroom. We have had authors, illustrators, drama and dances teachers, and musicians come preform and/or teach in the classrooms. We have had multiple field trips to the Portland Museum of Art, Colby Art Museum and University of Maine Museum of Art. With help from my arts colleagues, I arrange these events at little or no cost to the district through grant opportunities and foundations. It is a lot of work and sometimes seems to just happen to others. I do it because I feel it is important for students in our rural area to experience the arts first hand.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Reach out and network with others. Join state and national organizations and be an active member. There is a wealth of resources out there to help with funding for field trips to the arts, to bring working artist to your schools and professional development opportunities for yourself.

If you were given $500,000 dollars to do whatever you please, what would it be?

I would go on vacation and travel to all the places here and overseas that I have wanted to see. I would pay off our home and fix up our family’s summer camp on the lake. With the rest I would fund a ceramics studio for our art program.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You are looking back. Do you have any regrets?

No. I use to have regrets, but finally realized that choices I have made have led me to be who I am today, my family, friends and work ethic. I believe the choices we make in the past lead us in different directions and where I had ended up at this point in my life, I couldn’t be happier.

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CRMS Teaching Artist and Art Teacher Unite

April 25, 2016

Where art and science meet

Completed piece

Completed piece

Not to long ago I had a delightful visit at the Camden-Rockport Middle School. Middle school art educator Kristen Andersen had invited me to learn more about a collaborative teaching unit that she had undertaken with teaching artist Tim Christensen. I met Kristen many years ago and have visited her classroom on occasion. (I love it when teachers contact me to visit and learn what they are up to. So, please contact me if you’d like to share. It gives me the opportunity to share what you are doing so others can learn from you)! I met Tim at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts five years ago where he was facilitating a clay workshop at the Maine Art Education Association conference. Tim is a full-time artist and in addition does school residency’s.

IMG_2055Tim and Kristen put their heads together to develop this unit. They are working with the Farnsworth Art Museum’s Stories of the Land and It’s People program. In Tim’s personal work as an artist, he is documenting the habitat of animals and microcosms that are living today that will become extinct, some in our lifetime. The way he explained it is we know that the wooly mammoth existed during the Pleistocene epoch. The mammoth was identified as an extinct species of elephant by Georges Cuvier in 1796. So, we know the mammoth existed but we are unsure of its habitat. In order to preserve this information of the animals and microcosms living today Tim has taken it upon himself to document their habitats on pottery. Animals live here and they have systems that support them – its about the interactions and relationships. And, we know that pottery has told stories for hundreds of years.

IMG_2056Ninety grade 7 students are participating in this undertaking along with the science teacher Patty Crawford and Language Arts teacher Katie Urey. In fact, the artwork has been created during several of Patty’s classes. (Kristen is on multiple teams so her schedule doesn’t coincide with all of Patty’s classes). The work directly relates to the grade 7 science curriculum and students are writing haiku poems in Katie’s classes.

IMG_2040Each student is responsible for 3 clay tiles about 2″x4″. They started by drawing a name out of a hat of an organism and researched it. The tiles were underglazed black on raw clay. The drawings are being carved on one tile to create various shades and textures by using a variety of marks (lines, crosshatching, stipples to name a few). The technique is called sgraffito on porcelain. A second tile has the facts that they learned about their animal and the third has their haiku poem. Each tile has two small holes at the top which will be used to hang the tiles on copper rods that will be hanging between wooden braces. It will be like an abacus. The exhibit will be an educational tool so others can read and learn and try to match up the fact tiles with the image tiles.

IMG_2039The connected unit has been supported by principal Jamie Stone who moved to Camden-Rockport Middle School from an expeditionary school in Baltimore. They’ve connected with the Coastal Mountains Land Trust who is very excited about the work. They set up locations and field trips so the students could visit a location where their organism actually exists. This study is providing an opportunity for students to become stewards of the land (in their back yard). On the field trip many of the students actually saw them. The land trust plans to exhibit the traveling show on location this summer.

IMG_2079This unit is a great example of how the expertise of both the art educator and teaching artist are critical. Tim’s expertise as an artist as well as his knowledge of the science helps elevate this unit to a higher level of teaching and learning.

When visiting classrooms and schools Tim’s role is to supplement the teacher’s knowledge in the area of pottery and all of the components of ceramics that accompany it. In addition, he supports young people who are considering being an artist and show interest in expressing themselves visually. Tim is a role model and a living example that anyone can be a full-time artist if the field is chosen. He wants students to know that “they can have a rich full life and be heard if they develop their artistic skills”, said Tim.

Kristen finds that the Camden-Rockport Middle School art curriculum is enhanced by the artists that she invites into the school. Kristen has done at least one major installation every year for several years and it is not viewed as an extra but an important part of the students’ education. The installation creates a collaborative atmosphere for the entire school.

Tim and Kristen

Tim and Kristen

The artwork will be on display for the community to view on Thursday, April 28, 5:30 to 7:30 PM for Arts Alive Night being held at the Camden-Rockport Middle School.

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R.S.V.P. ME

April 24, 2016

April 26

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 2.26.22 PMPlease join Maine educators on Tuesday, April 26th, 3:30 to 5:00 for the last R.S.V.P. ME meeting of the 2015-2016 school year.

This virtual meeting will be a roundtable discussion about how teachers are creating paths to Proficiency-Based Education. Across the state teachers are developing programs to help students adjust to the new demands of Proficiency-Based Education as independent and self-directed learners. This zoom meeting is to provide you with strategies to adjust to the teaching and learning environment. Sign up to share them on Tuesday, April 26th!

To participate in this Zoom Online Video Conference – and earn 1.5 contact hours as a Maine Art Education Association member – email lisa.ingraham@msad59.org. You can also contact me anytime with questions and comments.

*The April R.S.V.P. ME meeting has been moved from April 12th to April 26th.

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In Today’s News

April 16, 2016

Clay mural artist in residency

photo 5Randy Fein just completed a clay mural with 187 fifth graders at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School entitled “Exploration”. The mural was unveiled as part of the school’s Science Discovery Night.

photo 3Each student created a 6 inch tile that became part of the mural which has become a permanent artwork in the school. Fein is on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster located at THIS LINK. She said she is a life long amateur astronomer inspired by her Dad.

Read the entire article describing the work in the Times Record at THIS LINK.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Iva Damon

April 13, 2016

Teacher Leader series

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This is the sixth blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 65 posted to date.

Iva Damon, 2Iva Damon is the 9-12 high school level in visual arts at Leavitt Area High School. She teaches art 1, art 2, natural arts, painting, and two dual enrollment classes through UMFK. This is her fifth year teaching at Leavitt and seventh year teaching in general. In my six classes, Iva has just under 100 students total. She is also the co-advisor to the Class of 2019.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

It’s a unique experience to see students challenge themselves to be creative and try new things. The best part is having the opportunity to see how students grow throughout their high school experience.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

A sense of humor, patience, and continuing to be an active artist in one’s own discipline. We all are working with kids and a sense of humor and patience go a long way in making connections with students in a meaningful human way. Far too often there are so many items as teachers we are juggling to keep up with. We are all busy, but I personally need to take the time and just create art. It keeps my passion for what I am teaching alive when I can share what I do and why I find it important with my own students.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessments in my classroom are essential to understanding how well my students are learning. Formative assessments are the best way to check for understanding and influence how long and and in-depth lessons need to be within a unit. Personally, formative assessments should guide instruction to fit the needs of the students.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

The Arts Assessment Initiative validates that there are other art teachers throughout the state who have a similar passion to become connected, advocate for our profession, and want to become better educators. It has given me the opportunity to work with individuals outside my district to share with and learn from.

What are you most proud of in your career?

The relationships I have been able to develop both professionally with peers and students. It’s an amazing thing to have shiny new faces in introductory classes, and continue to have those students come back for one to three more years because in some way I was able to capture and inspire their interest in the arts. Having students become passionate about a subject that I love so much is such a powerful experience.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

All of the other things that occur that take us away from teaching or working with kids. There are so many tasks, duties, and assignments that are given to teachers, and I feel like the quantity increases every year. There is a need to reflect on one’s practice within the classroom and how well students are receptive to information, updating and changing curriculum, but there are so many other items that have found their way into my normal day.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

Every year Leavitt holds their Art’s Gala celebration in March. It is the annual art show that occurs Thursday night after a week of having 5-8 visiting artists come into the building to work with all the arts teachers as well as other content area teachers. The entire first floor of Leavitt becomes transformed with displays and installations that students are responsible for creating. It may appear that everything runs smoothly but a great deal of hard work and determination goes into the event. Though not alone in this endeavor, teaching students how to mat, create artist statements, tags, and create their own installation is exhausting but the final product of walking through the halls on the night of Arts Gala continues to be an amazing and proud experience.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Have fun in what you do. Students are so receptive to whether their teachers are passionate about what they teach. It is important that the passion we have for the arts comes through on a normal basis. When they see how passionate and excited we as teachers are for the arts, that enthusiasm will spill over to them too.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

If I were to be given $5000,000 I would probably spend half of it to pay off all of my existing debt and take time to travel with my family. The remaining amount of money, I would really like to see set in a trust to be given out to students so they can have opportunities for art experiences outside a school classroom like camps, college classes, or intense studies.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

By 94, I hope that I have few regrets. Like many things, time is my issue. I hope to travel more but I know that I need to take the time to do so. I want to see more masters work in person and be able to see more of the world, and to do so I need to travel. It is something I love to do, and I need to make the time for it to happen.

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Marcia Buker School

April 9, 2016

ART everywhere

Family Art Night

We are turning Marcia Buker Elementary School into

Marcia Buker Gallery of Art

April 12th 4:30-6:15

800 works of art representing every student will be exhibited!
Art Chair Raffle 6:00PM
Japanese Tea Ceremony
Refreshments
Art Activities
Come and be inspired!

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 Please come to our fabulous art celebration!

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