Archive for the ‘Visual Arts’ Category

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Visible Discourse from Maine’s Western Foothills

July 12, 2019

Union of Maine Visual Artists

Artists Diana Arcadipone, Don Best, Nikki Millonzi and Judith Schneider

Union of Maine Visual Artists, Portland Media Center, 516 Congress Street, Portland, ME

September 6 through September 28, 2019

Opening First Friday, September 6, from 5 – 8 pm

Gallery Hours: Monday: 12 PM – 5 PM, Tuesday -Thursday: 10 AM – 5 PM,             Friday-Sunday: 1 PM – 4 PM

Visible Discourse is an exhibition that celebrates Maine’s natural and diverse environment; the wildlife, woodlands, lakes and ocean that draw visitors to Maine from around the globe. This exhibition is a collaborative installation by four artists living in Oxford County: Diana Arcadipone, Don Best, Nikki Millonzi and Judith Schneider. Four distinct voices visually explore their surroundings and collectively celebrate the beauty of Maine. These artists share works inspired by the magic and collective energies of the Oxford Hills, an area with a rich visual and performing arts culture. One well known artist claims the local art springs from “something in the water.”  The juxtaposition of this work celebrates the beauty of Maine and offers a poetic contrast and respite from the historic vitality of urban Portland. Through this presentation of work, the artists hope to advocate for the need to preserve the natural beauty that exists throughout Maine as well as help the viewer perceive new ways to “make sense of things”.

Diana Arcadipone

Diana Arcadipone creates artworks on and of paper. Her passion for making art with natural materials and mixed media emerged from an early devotion to traditional craft techniques such as papermaking, book arts, basketry, and textiles. Trained as a painter and printmaker, Arcadipone’s work is informed by primitive art, folk art, traveling, and the natural world; it is the intersection of these influences that defines her work.

Don Best

Don Best works mainly in wood. He carves, paints, assembles, burns, and hand colors his work, which often uses animals as its subject and theme. Much of Best’s recent work has been reliefs, which give him the opportunity to use his drawing, painting, and sculpture skills to create engaging narratives. Shadow boxes become stages for his carved animals. Best’s work has a playful quality that makes it accessible to people of all ages.

Nikki Millonzi

For Nikki Millonzi, nature, the arts and the world around her all help her to make sense of things. She loves and cherishes the natural world so political activism is important to her. This year Nikki felt an increasing need to express the interconnectedness of life on this planet. Using newspaper and ink her installation We Are All In This Together helps us resonate with this underlying unity.

Judy Schneider investigates place and memory through the physical properties of landscape. By collecting and analyzing nature – dissecting it by color, form and line and then reassembling it, she finds meaning. Scale, density and layering are important. How the images find their natural edge and how memories form present a nice duality.  She is in pursuit of what is physically present, woven with memory, dreams and how the energy of “place” is conveyed.

For more information, contact Judy Schneider, Curator Judywestschneider@gmail.com

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Teaching Artist

July 11, 2019

Huey

Film maker and teaching artist Huey has several screenings and broadcasts coming up this summer. Huey is one of the teaching artists on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster. Check out the information below. 

Surveyor of the Soul
July 14, 7PM, Concord Museum, Concord, MA.  
Q&A with Huey and Laura Dassow Walls , author, Henry David Thoreau: A Life 
Free and open to the public. Part of the Thoreau Society’s Annual Gathering so limited seating for the public. To reserve seats go to  
https://concordmuseum.org/events/film-screening-surveyor-of-the-soul/
August 1, 7PM,  broadcast on Vermont PBS.   The film will also be available during the month of August to stream for online viewing at https://www.vermontpbs.org
August 21, 7PM, Monson Arts, Monson, ME. Free.  Q&A with Huey
https://monsonarts.org/uncategorized/summer-2019-public-programs/
Thoreau took the stagecoach through Monson on his way to Moosehead Lake in Greenville for his trips that he writes eloquently about in The Maine Woods.
August 20, 8PM & August 25, 3:30PM broadcasts on Maine Public Television’s August Pledge Drive.  Become a Maine Public member and get a DVD of Surveyor of the Soul.
Wilderness and Spirit: A Mountain Called Katahdin
September 5, 6PM, Maine Historical Society, Portland, ME. Free. Q&A with Huey.
Held in conjunction with the exhibition, Holding Up the Sky: Wabanaki People, Culture, History & Art
More info, trailers, order DVDs at  http://www.filmsbyhuey.com
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RAMS Art Project

July 9, 2019

Great work Anthony Lufkin – 2018 Knox County Teacher of the Year

Art Educator and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Anthony Lufkin teaches grades K-6 in MSAD #40 and with students at the Rivers Alternative Middle School. This spring the middle school students took on an amazing project. They focused on social and health issues that impact individuals and communities. Students quickly got into a deep level of learning and the connection with these topics and issues on the brain. The topics were challenging ones and each students selected a topic to research and create a response artistically. Two other teachers worked with the students along with the Farnsworth Art Museum. This is a great example of students engaged in and taking the lead in their learning. Take a look at this video and gain an understanding of an amazing project for middle schoolers.

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Express-a-Book

July 2, 2019

Not your traditional book club

Express-a-Book uses the Arts, to create a learner centered, collaborative environment to share ideas. Participants experience the Arts and the format highlights the accessibility and power of the creative process. When we bring people together in a collaborative and creative environment we see learners, of all ages, engage at a high level. The Express-a-Book process supports this notion.

In 2017 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Design Team members Falmouth High School music teacher Jake Sturtevant and Sweetland School founder and director Lindsay Pinchbeck and Argy Nestor who was the Director of Arts Education at the time created Express-a-Book – an innovative and creative approach to a traditional book club.

They presented the idea, after creating a protocol and experiencing it themselves, to members of MALI. Other teacher leaders stepped up, formed groups and experienced the process themselves. The results were amazing!

“It was wonderful to have the opportunity and excuse to jump in the sandbox and find ways to play with, highlight, reflect, and communicate my learning in a unique way.”

~Jake Sturtevant

HISTORY
Lindsay, Jake, and Argy planned and tried the process and presented it to the MALI participants. Lindsay wanted to read about creativity in teaching and learning so she read the article A call to action: The challenges of creative teaching and learning by R. Keith Sawyer.
Jake was curious about the power of boredom. He listened to In defense of boredom on WNYC, Radio, Manoush Zomorodi’s Podcast Note to Self, and read the book Bored and Brilliant. Argy wanted to focus on leadership so she listened to Simon Sinek’s TED Talk called How Great Leaders Inspire Action.

Once they completed their review they responded by creating artworks. Lindsay made a painting and wrote a poem, Jake created a remix mp3, and Argy made a black and white illustration. They shared and responded to each image/sounds by giving feedback and asking questions. This provided the opportunity to learn about each of their topics in a collaborative environment.

What has been learned by using Express-a-Book?

  • Share ideas and resources through an active process
  • Use the arts to make information accessible and engaging for learners
  • Learn together as a community
  • Allow for individuals who do not often engage in art making processes to experience the potential of the arts to enhance learning 
  • Offer a low cost, simple, scalable and refreshing approach to a ‘book club’ 
  • The process has practical applications for a variety of classrooms and settings. Express-a-Book can be applied across disciplines or in professional learning communities, it can take place face to face or electronically, within or across schools, districts, across a region/state/country/ or even the world.
  • Individuals must be willing to stretch and be vulnerable
  • Example of teachers teaching teachers

If you’re interested in seeing the protocol please email Argy at meartsed@gmail.com.

Express-a-Book has been used successfully at conferences and gatherings in Maine and beyond in a variety of ways. The format has been shared in workshops, videos, short articles and highlighted in Teaching Strategies That Create Assessment-Literate Learners by Jeffrey Beaudry and Anita Stewart McCafferty.

 

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Careers in Art Series

June 30, 2019

Science, Nature and Drawing

The final workshop in the Careers in Art Series for Kids, Science, Nature & Drawing will be led by Paula Curtis-Everett at The Folk Art Studio at Fiber and Vine, 402 Main Street in Norway on Wednesday, August 14th. This workshop series aims to open pathways for kids to consider the visual arts and making as a worthwhile activity and even imagine a dream that becomes a career one day. 

Workshop Description: Exploring nature with pencil and paper is fun. Imagine finding an apple with a hole in it: Who lives in there and why? How did they get there? Or imagine finding tracks in the snow. Who made the tracks and where were they going? Draw a picture of what you have seen, then try to figure out the story. Today we will look at nature’s story, draw a sketch of what we see, and figure out what is happening. Bring your curiosity, imagination, and wonder. All other supplies will be provided.

Paula Curtis-Everett, Maine Master Naturalist, has always had a love for drawing and a curiosity for what she sees. She loves researching the “why” and “what” of what she finds in nature. Paula is a retired registered nurse who worked as a school nurse as well as a geriatric nurse.

The Western Maine Art Group, The Folk Art Studio, and Fiber & Vine have partnered to bring this workshop series to the Oxford Hills. Through a generous grant from The Norway Savings Bank, Oxford Credit Union, the Rotary Club and an anonymous donor, this final workshop will be offered at a reduced rate of $15. Workshops are currently presented for two age groups: 10 am – noon for children ages 6 – 8 and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm for children ages 9 and up.  For this workshop, please register by August 7th. Space is limited. Materials and snacks are included. For information and registration, contact fiberandvine.com.

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Creating Live Paintings

June 26, 2019

Buffalo, NY

A friend sent me a photo of an event that they were visiting in Buffalo, NY called Arts Alive. It is held at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, a museum which is a major showpiece for modern and contemporary art.

St. Mary’s High School’s re-creation of James Ensor’s The Intrigue, 1911 (Collection Minneapolis Institute of Art). Photograph by Tom Loonan.

For 23 years the gallery has hosted the annual Arts Alive event where participants create living representations of famous works of art for cash prizes. Anyone can and does participate including students, community groups, organizations, families, and individuals. Participants build their stunning replicas—often called tableaux—using people, props, and their creativity.

More than $1,000 in cash prizes is given to winning tableaux. Celebrity judges will select the Best Tableau from the Albright-Knox’s Collection or AK Public Art, Best Craftsmanship, and Most Creative Entry. The awards are presented in each category (Grades K–8, Grades 9–12, and Adult/Family Group). There is also a People’s Choice Award. And, of course, music, art activities, and more is celebrated as part of this special community event.

View a short YouTube video from the 20th year of the Arts Alive event.

 

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Hike Through History

June 25, 2019

South Berwick

In May I was invited to the Hamilton House and Vaughn Woods in South Berwick for the 25th anniversary of Hike Through History. It’s an annual teaching and learning opportunity in RSU #35 that continues to be a success due to the commitment of many educators and volunteers. It is usually held in town so it was a treat to have it in such a beautiful woodsy setting.

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leaders and Music Educators Kate Smith and Kris Bisson collaborated in teaching traditional dances and music. First they taught the 8th grade students from Marshwood Middle School several dance steps and they turned around and taught the elementary students. In addition, they also taught a few modern dances. Melanie Crowe, Marshwood Middle School art teacher and MALI Teacher Leader worked with students teaching them techniques and they turned around and taught elementary students. Printmaking, weaving, painting on stone and poetry. I was so impressed with the level of engagement of the 500 students who visited and provided the instruction. And, the hundreds of volunteers and parents. It was simply wonderful – a real community collaboration.

All of the photos in the blog post were taken at the two stations where Kris, Kate and Melanie were.

The information below was provided by Julia Einstein, Education Program Coordinator for Historic New England, who plays an integral part in the success of the Hike Through History.

For this year’s Hike, it was all about character studies—and for the grade eight students to look at each person, or family, as a character you can “inhabit” after you have researched the parts of their life. As a result, the student is able to enjoy this way of learning as he/she  steps into the history of the people and of this place that was once the center of the town of South Berwick. This location at Hamilton House (built in 1785) and Vaughn Woods tells the story of the native people, first settlers, the start of America, and how we changed from an agricultural to an industrial nation. Inventiveness and inventions through these times, from a shipbuilding, navigation on water, and early photography.

It was a pleasure for me to be able to write the content for the student’s work in the classroom, as well as to mentor two grade eight classes for this special, new Hike. I, along with a committee of content writers, each put together our topic to include main Ideas, characters to include, vocabulary, possible Activities, and sources for additional Research.

Here’s a brief overview of what I put together:

Hamilton House Walk Through

Topic:  Hamilton House’s long, long, life — three families over 236 years! — and the different ways they lived.

Main Ideas: Did you ever “read” a house? If we learn to “read” the details left behind, a house can tell stories of the people who lived there long ago!  The Hamilton House contains lots of history, as there were three owners, over different centuries.

Possible Activities: A student tour of the first floor of the Hamilton House–a guided walk into 1785 and walk out in 1898 in which the 8th grade students give the elementary visitors the prompts to observe, notice details, and ask questions. Also, create activities or experiences to share the lives of the three different families who lived there.  Why were they there?  What did they value about the house and land?

Inspired by History: Elise Tyson & Sarah Orne Jewett

Topic: Historical preservation, Literary and Visual Arts in the 19th century

Main Ideas: What is “inspiration”? A beautiful, historical place like the Hamilton House can give us inspiration! Elise Tyson would have taken advantage of the recent invention of a (more) portable box camera to move around and photograph outside and inside the Hamilton House. One is able to look into her photographs to study the early days of film photography. It was very rare for women to be photographers during this era! Sarah Orne Jewett would have used her portable wicker writing box to write on site. One is able to read her fiction (The Tory Lover) and non-fiction (River Driftwood) based upon the landscape and characters of the Hamilton House, as seen in these excerpts:
River Driftwood She described Hamilton House in 1881 as being “like a glimpse of sunshiny, idle Italy: the sparkling river and the blue sky, the wide green shores and the great gray house, with its two hall doors standing wide open, the lilacs in bloom and no noise or hurry, – a quiet place, that the destroying left hand of progress had failed to touch.”
The Tory Lover “As for Colonel Hamilton, the host,” she wrote, “a strong-looking, bright-colored man in the middle thirties, the softness of a suit of brown, and his own hair well dressed and powdered, did not lessen a certain hardness in his face, a grave determination, and maturity of appearance far beyond the due of his years. Hamilton had easily enough won the place of chief shipping merchant and prince of money-makers in that respectable group, and until these dark days of war almost every venture by land or sea had added to his fortunes. The noble house that he had built was still new enough to be the chief show and glory of a rich provincial neighborhood.” Due to these two friends’ inspiration and love of history, we are now lucky enough to be able to learn about and experience this beautiful house and grounds.

It was also an wonderful opportunity for me to expand upon a school program that is already in place for grade three students of Central School, “Amoungst Friends, Sarah Orne Jewett and her Circle.”  This circle expanded to her friends Emily and Elise Tyson (later Elise Tyson Vaughn and her husband Henry Vaughn), who she convinced to purchase and restore the house to it’s Hamilton era glory–and in the process to preserve history.  In a visit to all third grade classrooms, I introduced the students to the Hamilton House and guided the students to make a Captain’s Log. When the students visited the house, they were guided to make an observation, both inside and outside in the garden, and record in his/her log, by writing & through sketching. We also played a Maritime Trade Game–with a partner, the students used a World  Map to find the source, the countries from which  “raw” materials brought back to South Berwick by Jonathan Hamilton’s ships. It was a ton of fun–a great way to prepare for the special upcoming Hike.

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