Archive for the ‘VPA’ Category

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Excellence Celebration

December 12, 2017

Quite the celebration!

First Lady Ann LePage and the artists from Camden Rockport Schools

Twice a year the Maine Arts Commission and the Department of Education recognize student artists with the Excellence in Maine Visual & Performing Education. To celebrate the occasion, 89 student exhibitors have their work displayed at the Maine State Capitol Complex.

Westbrook High School Chamber Singers under the direction of Suzanne Proulx

On December 6, 2017 three school districts from Westbrook, Camden-Rockport and the Blue Hill region were recognized with live performances and a certificate ceremony. The event featured performances from the Westbrook High School Chamber Singers, directed by Suzanne Proulx, and the Blue Hill Middle School Band, directed by Bill Schubeck. Visual Art teachers whose students participated are: Blue Hill Region: Judy Park, Nick Patterson, Penny Ricker, and Rebecca Poole-Heyne. Camden-Rockport: Kristen Andersen, Susan Dowley, and Carolyn Brown. Westbrook Schools: Mia Bogyo, Abby Jacobs, Debra Bickford, Nancy Goan, Cheri Juniewiczc, and Melissa Perkins.

Blue Hill Middle School Band under the direction of Bill Schubeck

First Lady Ann LePage presented certificates to the student artists along with Martha Harris, Chair of the Board of Education and Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Arts Commission.

First Lady Ann LePage with students from Blue Hill Region (School Union 93)

Afterwards students, their families and their teachers scattered throughout the State House complex to view the art. The student artwork will remain on display until February 2018. View each student’s work and location that it’s displayed here.  More information about the Excellence in Maine Visual & Performing Arts Education can be found on the Maine Arts Commission Education webpage.

 

School Union 93 students visiting the Maine Arts Commission to view the student artwork

 

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STEM Program Changing Arts Ed

December 2, 2017

Interdisciplinary connections

Renaissance Arts Academy was founded as a K-12 arts charter public school in 2003 in Los Angeles. The school has incorporated a STEM curriculum into its existing arts education curriculum and is helping students develop and understand interdisciplinary connections. This article called Songs about computer coding? It’s what happens when an arts school adds STEM focus, written by George White and published November 19 in EdSource shares the story of a music student named Zane D’Amico and how his learning isn’t what he expected as a cello player. The school’s STEAM curriculum includes students learning engineering and math skills to “build massive stages for the school’s dance, orchestra and singing performances. And he certainly didn’t anticipate joining classmates on stage to sing about the joys of computer coding.”

Learn more about the school and curriculum by reading the ENTIRE ARTICLE.

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MAMLE Conference

November 21, 2017

Middle Level Education

Recently I attended the Maine Association Middle Level Education conference at Point Lookout. I was thrilled by the number of arts education sessions that were offered and how many times I heard participants mention the importance of the arts. I heard: “the arts engage students”, “hands-on opportunities in the arts are so needs for young adolescents”, and much more.

Tammy Ranger providing the keynote

Keynote speaker, 2017 Maine Teacher of the Year, Tammy Ranger, set the tone for the 2-day conference with stories that paralleled The Wizard of Oz. Her presentation was very inspiring. (I hope to provide the entire keynote in a future blog).

Connie Carter and Rob Shetterly provided a workshop with information about the Samantha Smith Challenge. The challenge asks middle school students: “How/why can creative arts and writing inspire action on serious issues?” What a great opportunity for arts teachers to bring this important question to students. Learn more from the post I provided last week on the Samantha Smith Challenge. I hope you will consider participating with your students.

Kristen Andersen, Katie Rybakova, Allysa Anderson

Camden Rockport Middle School music teacher Allysa Anderson and art teacher Kristen Andersen were recognized for an Exemplary Practice Award along with two colleagues for a very successful integrated unit. Afterwards they shared the unit in a session. Congratulations Allysa and Kristen!

A team from the Middle School of the Kennebunks, art teacher Mary McCarthy and STEM teacher Evan Chase were recognized with an Exemplary Practice Award as well. Congratulations to both!

Both awards were presented by new executive director of the Maine Middle Level Association Executive Director Katie Rybakova who teaches at Thomas College.

Evan Chase, Katie Rybakova, and Mary McCarthy

Save the date for the 2018 MAMLE conference – October 18-19 – Point Lookout, Northport. Providing a keynote is musician, teaching artist Monte Selby.

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Arts Integration Workshop-Malawi

November 20, 2017

Lend your skills and travel to Africa, summer 2018

Are you a visual or performing arts educator or a teaching artist considering travel options during the summer of 2018? Are you interested in sharing arts integration methods in a small country in Africa? If so, consider traveling with Go! Malawi to the beautiful Ntchisi Village in Malawi to provide teacher workshops for local teachers. You might be the ideal educator to share your knowledge and make this the third summer that Maine educators have traveled to Malawi doing so. In return, you will be forever impacted by the experience.

In 2016 Lindsay Pinchbeck, founder and director of Sweetland School, an arts integrated school in Hope and Argy Nestor, director of arts education at the Maine Arts Commission traveled to Malawi and provided a 13-day workshop with 12 teachers from M’Pamila Primary School. The experience was so amazing that they are committed to continuing the program through 2020.

Go! Malawi’s mission is to collaborate with rural Malawian communities to develop sustainable programs in education, healthcare, commerce, and education. Read more about the teaching opportunity on the Go! Malawi site.

Read the documented story of Lindsay and Argy’s experience with a description of their program from July 2016. Contact us with questions or to obtain an application. Applications are now being accepted!

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Americans Who Tell the Truth

November 10, 2017

Samantha Smith Challenge – Register by January 15, 2018

“If we could be friends by just getting to know each other better than what are our countries actually arguing about? Nothing could be more important than not having a war if a war could kill everything”. ~Samantha Smith

Samantha Smith

Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT), partnering with Maine Association for Middle Level Education (MAMLE), and the Center for Innovation in Education (CIE) at Thomas College, is excited to launch the Fourth Annual Samantha Smith Challenge. The Samantha Smith Challenge (SSC), a dynamic educational program for Maine middle school students, promotes social justice through the arts. It is designed to build a bridge between the classroom and the world and to create curious, courageous, and engaged citizens. SSC projects teach students that, no matter what age, they can be part of solving the challenges and problems they see around them.

At the depths of the Cold War, when hot war between the Soviet Union and the United States seemed likely, a frightened young girl from Maine did something about that grim situation. Samantha Smith began by asking “Why?”. She went on to advocate for open communication and peace. A compelling storyteller, Samantha left us a legacy and an inspiring challenge: What can each of us do to make the world safer, healthier, and more fair?

Samantha was a narrative activist. By telling HER story she changed THE story-definitely a creative art! The power of the arts to deliver a message or to invoke action is indisputable. Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) combines art and other media to inspire a new generation of engaged Americans who will act for the common good, our communities, and the Earth. Over thirty of the AWTT portrait subjects have used the creative arts to inspire action and are located on the AWTT website.

The SSC is about identifying important community and world issues, understanding them, and making a compelling argument in an effective medium. After doing extensive research and engaging community members and experts, student participants in the SSC will make their case for positive change. They may paint a portrait of a truthteller in their community, create a dramatic production or tell a compelling story about their issue, or write music that makes us feel braver and less alone. They may write an essay that makes a powerful argument for why we should all join in their effort to make the world a better place. Some students may choose their medium while others may be working in a specific class that teaches drawing or painting, theater or filmmaking where the teacher will define the medium.

The SSC asks, “How/why can creative arts and writing inspire action on serious issues?” All participants in this year’s SSC will gather at Thomas College on June 4, 2018 to showcase and celebrate their work.

Use the arts to showcase and bring attention to your issue, your findings, and your actions.  FOR MORE INFORMATION about the program or contact  Connie@americanswhotellthetruth.org. REGISTER by January 15, 2018.

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Vinalhaven 2nd and 3rd Graders

October 30, 2017

LEAPS of IMAGINATION

LEAPS of IMAGINATION is an in-school art program for students in underserved communities. Our team of eight mentor artists interweaves art, literacy, science and mapping to create month-long projects with environmental sustainability and social justice as overarching themes.

Recognizing that art is a vehicle for teaching thinking, our projects support class curricula and empower children to participate in local and global issues. We work with children in their classrooms for two hours each morning twice each week. Envisioning programs that cut across disciplines, artists dovetail literature, environmental exploration, and artwork with student interests.

LEAPS of IMAGINATION’s MISSION is to ignite the imagination and inspire new ways of thinking so that young people can realize that their ideas have purpose and that they have the courage to act on them.

LEAPS of IMAGINATION was a Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant recipient this year.

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Camden Hills Regional High School Fall Musical

October 28, 2017

In the Heights

In the Heights, the Camden Hills Regional High School fall musical, brings the vibrant community of a New York City barrio, where “Everybody’s got a job, everybody’s got a dream,” to the stage of the Strom Auditorium, this November.

The upbeat Tony Award winning musical production, created by Lin-Manual Miranda of Hamilton fame, will be presented Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 3, 4, 10 and 11 at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov.5, at 2 p.m.

Advance ticket sales for In the Heights are $12 for reserved (front section) seats and $10/$6 students and senior citizens for general admission. At-the-door prices increase to $15/$12/$8. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at stromtickets.com or reserved by calling 236-7800, ext. 3282. Email stromtickets@gmail.com for ticket orders and more information. The CHRHS Strom Auditorium is located on Route 90 in Rockport.

Through melodic songs, original rap lyrics, humor, and the driving rhythms of hip-hop and Latin music, In the Heights tells the story of a group of friends and neighbors, who share hopes and struggles, find romance, and dream of escape to a better place. Streetwise hipsters, big sound and high-energy choreography are bought to the stage by the singing and dancing ensemble.

On the hottest day of the summer, Usnavi (Eric Glaser) opens his bodega, to find his freezer broken and the milk warm. He invites the audience to his world with the original rap, “In the Heights.”

The sound crew for Camden Hills Regional HS’s fall musical IN THE HEIGHTS includes (L to R) Devon Lammert (junior), Noah Vix (junior), and Elias Porter (freshman). Molly Woodruff (junior) will also be helping the crew with the operation of the 20 wireless microphones used in the show. Photo: Marti Stone

“Now you’re prob’ly thinkin
‘I’m up on sh**s creek
I never been north of 96th street’
Well you must take the A train
Even farther than Harlem
To northern Manhattan and maintain
Get off at 181st and take the escalator
I hope you’re writing this down I’m gonna test you later
I’m getting tested times are tough on this bodega”

While Usnavi raps, he introduces the neighbors who stop by for their morning coffee, lottery tickets, candy, newspapers and, of course, gossip.

That morning, Nina Rosario (Annabel Parker) arrives home for the summer, planning to drop out of college after her first year at an Ivy League school. When neighborhood matriarch Abuela Claudia (Sydney Lytton), greets Nina as the future mayor of ‘Nueva York,’ Nina reveals that her year away from home was a failure.

As the neighbors go about their morning routines, Nina sings about broken dreams, and prepares to give her parents the bad news, in the soaring melodies of “Breathe,”

Hey guys, it’s me!
The biggest disappointment you know
The kid couldn’t hack it, she’s back and she’s walkin’ real slow.

Benny (Matt Nickerson), who dispatches for Nina’s parents’ cab service, takes to his microphone to welcome Nina home in “Benny’s Dispatch.” Vanessa (Isabelle Olson), works at the local hair salon, and dreams of moving out of the Heights, in the driving melody, “It Won’t Be Long Now.”

As the young friends look forward to a party with fireworks, romance and its complications take center stage. Childhood friends, Benny and Nina, fall in love. Nina struggles to see a future after losing her college scholarship, while Benny faces her parents’ disapproval of their relationship.

Meanwhile, Usnavi who hesitates to show his feelings for Vanessa, gets a push from his cousin and employee Sonny (Ruben Feldman) in Vanessa’s direction. The Rosarios struggle with financial problems, and Abuela shares a secret with Usnavi, that could change his life.

A power outage, a winning lottery ticket, and the loss of a beloved friend lead Usnavi, Nina, Vanessa, and Benny to discoveries about each other, themselves, and the place they call home.

In the Heights is presented by CHRHS in special arrangement with R & H Theatricals.

Miranda began work on In the Heights while a sophomore in college. A decade later, it became his first Broadway hit, earning four Tony Awards including Best Musical in 2008. He went on to create the Broadway sensation, Hamilton: An American Musical, which premiered in 2015.

Miranda was born in Washington Heights, in New York City, where immigrants from the Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Central America made their home. A common theme of immigrants struggling to find a better life, appears in both In The Heights and Hamilton.

A fundraiser for Puerto Rican Hurricane Relief will be held during all five performances. In September, the island of Puerto Rico suffered devastation during Hurricane Maria. Around the same time, CHRHS students were rehearsing the musical number “Blackout,” which closes Act 1, in which the barrio is plunged into darkness, due to a massive power outage. The poignancy of singing the words “blackout” and “we are powerless” while rehearsing In the Heights was not lost on Musical Director Kim Murphy. The local fundraiser was inspired by Miranda’s “Almost Like Praying,” a single he recorded with other Latino artists to assist with disaster relief in Puerto Rico. Like Miranda’s fundraising single, proceeds of the fundraising during the fall musical will be donated to the Hispanic Federation’s disaster relief fund.

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