Posts Tagged ‘Ann Thompson’


Arts Integration at the Trolly Museum

September 18, 2019

Seashore Trolley Museum

Kennebunk is the home of the Seashore Trolley Museum. In August during a week-long experience the museum worked with artist Ann Thompson and six students and nine gallons of paint to makeover the trolley. The Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission provided grant funding for the project. The trolley was donated to the museum in 1960 by the Nagasaki Electric Tramway Co. Ltd. of Japan to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of trade between the United States and Japan. The trolley was built in 1911 and was used in Osaka, Japan, transferred to Fukuoka in 1929 and to Nagasaki in 1953. Read about the experience at THIS LINK the museum’s blog.

Read more at THIS LINK, an article in the Journal Tribune from earlier this month.



October 21, 2017

Art Teacher and Teaching Artist collaborate

Acton Elementary School students in the EXPLORE: Visual Art program worked with Maine Teaching Artist Ann Thompson to create woven wheels, kinesthetic sculptures using bicycle wheels and nylon climbing rope. Ann collaborated with Art Teacher Cami Davis to create and install the pieces at Kelly Orchards in Acton during Applecycle, a bicycle tour of orchards in southern Maine on Saturday, October 14. The sculptures will take permanent residence on the school grounds along with six other pieces that will hang indoors.
Cami said: “Students loved working collaboratively on the three dimensional pieces and learning about the donated and recycled materials used to create the sculptures.”
Applecycle is a fund raiser for the Community Bicycle Center
after school youth development program.
And, Teaching Artist Ann Thompson, who is on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster said: “The CBC is one of my favorite collaborators and a vitally important program for our community!”



In Today’s News

April 12, 2017

Collaborative work

PATHS students with some of the fence parts.

This is a very large collaborative project underway with the Wentworth School in Scarborough and the welding students at Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS). There are 32 students from 12 sending schools taking part from PATHS. This is a great example of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). The students are creating a fence for the existing school garden that will become a gallery for outdoor art and science projects. Art teacher Joanne Maloney is involved along with the teachers who teach the STEM subjects.  Some of the work will focus on kinesthetic, or tactile learning, and movement.

Close up of a flower on the fence.

Later on in May teaching artist Ann Thompson will work with Wentworth students to create wire sculptures for display on the fence.

The coordination of the idea has been enormous, involving many adults and students, and a wonderful example of collaboration.

To read the entire article from The Forecaster written by Kate Irish Collins, April 3, 2017, please CLICK HERE.


STEM into STEAM: What’s in it for the Arts?

November 3, 2012

Another view

Thank you to Ann Thompson who has contributed this blog post on her recent experience and knowledge on STEM/STEAM.

While many are broadcasting the merits of attaching art to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum thrust, turning STEM into STEAM, art teachers often remain wary. They wonder, “Will this compromise my art content?” and “Does this put art learning at the service of other disciplines?” “Don’t we struggle to have art acknowledged as an important, stand alone, component to a complete education?” These concerns should be taken into consideration but I believe there is also an opportunity for both artists and STEM teachers to collaborate across disciplines to their mutual benefit.

I recently returned from a wonderful conference sponsored by several arts organizations in New Hampshire that included a panel discussion on STEM into STEAM. Panelists included:

  • Dr. Foad Afshar, Psy.D.,EdM,BAis a member of the Faculty of Psychology and Art Education at the NH.Institute of Art, Manchester, N.H.
  • Mark MacLean, MBE, CAGS, Assistant Superintendent of the Kearsarge Regional School District
  • Kirsten Reynolds, BFA, Video Art,Syracuse University, MFA, Studio Art, Maine College of Art
  • Dr. Elizabeth F. Smith, BA, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth College
  • Spencer Topel, BM, MM Assistant Professor & Technical Director in the Department of Music, Dartmouth College
  • Moderator, Nancy Serrell, BS,MA Director of Science & Technology Outreach for Dartmouth College, Senior Consultant for Dartmouth’s Toxic Metals Research Program

The discussion posed several essential questions:

  • Can the Arts deepen the process & meaning of STEM subjects?
  • Does Art pose a question in the way that science does? Is there a difference in the sort of creativity used by a scientist and an artists’ creative practice?
  • What art skills and practices are relevant to STEM?

The consensus was that there are many parallels between art and science and that the arts can “collaborate, integrate & enhance” STEM learning. Artists need observational and analytical skills and patience to the same degree that scientists do. Creative juxtapositions can lead to new discoveries in both disciplines and “failures” often reveal new possibilities. Of course the pragmatic relationship to STEM for artists would be to discover new revenue streams for supporting the arts. STEM is very much on the table at the moment and as one educator put it,”If you aren’t on the table, you might be on the menu.”

Personally I believe artists have much to gain from associating with the STEM topics. We have always looked to nature and the physical world for inspiration and routinely transform materials. There has always been a degree of science in art as well as math and engineering, particularly in 3Dimensional art forms. Eco Art has become an established field and many Institutions are offering Art/Science Research Fellowships including the Smithsonian Museum. Read about their Fellows recent projects here:

For more information on STEM into STEAM:

Ann Thompson


STEM/STEAM in Action

September 22, 2012

Ann Thompson is walking the walk

When I see an email from Ann Thompson in my in box I know that there will be something interesting in the message. Recently Ann emailed to let me know that she is teaching art through the Biddeford High School Alternative Education Program one day a week. Her students are mostly Juniors & Seniors who are completing diploma requirements. She has created a course with a “lab” component to introduce STEM related projects to the students.

She will begin by creating Galimotos with the students. For those who are not familiar with Galimotos they are an African kinetic folk toy. I remember reading a children’s story to my sons many moons ago about the village of young people who made Gaimotos.

Ann works with the local bike shop during the summer. This summer it was the bike shop plus 13 milddle schoolers along with three bikes and a climbing rope!

Ann keeps herself busy making the connection between science, technology, engineering, math and is sure to add the “A” for the arts to make it STEAM. In fact she’s heading off to NH for the STEM related professional development that is taking place there during the end of October. (Info posted under Prof Dev Opps). She plans to learn more about a national craft initiative called “Craft Think Tank”. It is a forum for people to discuss the new nature of “making”.

Ann is continuously working on the Maine Reef Project which will be culminating with the installation at the Fryeburg Fair http://the This community art initiative ended up being very inclusive. The youngest contributor was 9—the oldest 94 with a runner up at 89. The Spindleworks artists sent donations as well as many out of state folks from as far away as Oregon, Florida, California,  & St.Croix.
Some had ties to Maine and some just found us on-line. At the Brunswick Family Art/Science Festival which Ann took part in after “Maker Faire” in Lewiston not to long ago there was a lot of excitement about hyperbolic crochet, especially from the Coastal Studies for Girls. Daina Tamina’s book on hyperbolic crochet recently won a Math prize and she is featured in a TEDX talk. Lewiston Sun is doing a feature on the project soon.

Needless to say you can imagine why I enjoy hearing from Ann and the work that she is involved with – Great job Ann and thanks for sharing this information and resources!

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