Posts Tagged ‘Argy Nestor’

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Wa-Hoo!!!!! Another Teacher Leader’s Story: THANK YOU ARGY!!!!

June 7, 2019

Wa-Hoo!

When some of us on the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) design team thought about what might be a nice sentiment to pay tribute to just some of the work that Argy Nestor has done for Arts Education in the State of Maine, we thought, “What better when to pay tribute then to flip the script, and hack into her world famous Arts Ed Blog and write a teacher leader story about her!”

I realize that no one Blog post would ever say enough “Thank You”, but maybe it will be a start for some of us to to hear about your stories for how Argy has been part of your story.

In 2005 I had moved back to Maine from Minnesota after finishing college, and I had the opportunity to intern at the Maine Arts Commission in the Arts in Education department.  During this experience I had the opportunity to help organize and be part of a summer institute with Arts Educators around the state, and furthermore to meet Argy who was helping plan and facilitate the institute.  Who was this woman who was so passionate, articulate, inspiring, and downright goofy? An Arts teacher who could one moment be discussing the vitality of Arts in schools to bring life and learning to so many students, all the while wearing an oversized pair of sunglasses and a rainbow colored clown hat, and yelling “Wha-Hoo!” every time someone got called up for another door prize!

There is something contagious and special about Argy that I have a hard time wrapping my brain around. It could be something similar to what I learned about her philosophy when she shared the Fish Philosophy video with everyone at the institute, or hearing her mantra of “None of us is as smart as all of us.”  She exudes a sense of togetherness. She fosters a love of learning and a sense of positivity through all obstacles.

Since that point, she has been an integral part of my own journey as a music educator, and it has been an honor and a privilege to get to know her, and work with her in a variety of settings. I know she will always be there to listen, and not just to hear and respond. She stops and listens, and I feel like I am part of her family.

Transition Ticket

Many of us have done exit tickets in classes before, and Argy has used these often at conferences to gain feedback and find out what is on our minds and hearts.  I know this is not an exit ticket for Argy. She is on to new and different things, and I know no matter where she is, and what she is doing, her superhuman powers will be used for good to make a difference in this world, and especially in the world of Arts Education!

I for one am so very grateful for all that Argy has done, and will continue to do for me in my life and my career.  I hope with this post that we can all find a way to let Argy know what impact she has had on us, and help tell this story of how she has impacted so many hearts and minds. Since this is not an exit ticket for Argy, I am calling this a Transition Ticket. I asked some others who have been impacted by Argy to contribute to this story.  Here are a few other responses.

There are so many ways that she has impacted my life. I have grown tremendously as an art educator and as a teacher leader due to Argy’s relentless belief in my abilities, endless support and open honesty, love and kindness. I learned that I have ideas that are important to share, and I have learned to speak up, to collaborate with other arts educators and connect, to respect and bond, to grow and expand my teaching practice and to take on leadership roles. My life has clearly been enriched having known Argy. I am a happier, wiser, more collaborative arts educator due to her influence and support. – Jennie Driscoll VISUAL ART 9-12 Brunswick High School

She is an inspirational model of leadership, grace, and inclusiveness. – Bronwyn Sale, Lecturer in Education: Bates College

Argy has consistently reinforced for me, through word and deed, that every action taken with an “I can and we will” attitude is the most efficient and effective route to results. – Sue Barre, MUSIC 5-12 Waterville Senior High School

Argy has been a positive, strong role model for me.  Argy has believed in me as a music educator. No matter how frustrated I became trying to create presentations or logic models at MALI gatherings, she encouraged me to continue on.  And when I finally presented or successfully completed a plan, she was right there to celebrate with me – like I was the only one who had ever done anything spectacular! She has inspired me to continue my work with our smaller group entitled EM4ME (Elementary Music for Maine.)  With that said, I will carry on with my work and my strong belief of the importance of the arts in children’s lives! Thanks for believing in me, Argy! – Cynthia Keating, MUSIC K-2  Village Elementary School

BA and AA The fact that there is a “Before Argy and After Argy” qualifying time in my life. – Suzanne Goulet, VISUAL ART 9-12 Waterville Senior High School

Argy is one of a kind. She inspires me to be a better listener, leader, advocate, educator, mentor and friend. She is quick to support, kind and thoughtful in her comments and wise, so very wise! She made me feel like a million bucks when she would listen and then say, “So what I hear you saying is…. ” and then repeat my idea in a more succinct way. HA! I love that she values all people, all opinions, all perspectives. She models what it is like to be a lifelong learner, to make mistakes and to learn from them.  Argy is the very definition of community. She has been the heart of MALI and her presence will be felt for a very long time. I wish her the very best on her new journey! – Kate Smith, Central School South Berwick PreK-3 Music

Argy’s sign off on her messages and letters says it all: “Make it a great day!” Not, “Have a nice day”, but “Make it a great day.” This message to all of us about being in charge of our own destiny, about having a positive attitude, about making a difference, and I would add, respecting and hearing the voices of others working collaboratively to achieve common goals, is the life lesson I’ve learned just by being around Argy. She has been an invaluable gift and has become a lifelong friend. – Catherine Ring Arts Education Consultant and Executive Director, New England Institute for Teacher Education

Argy is one of the most inspirational leaders I have met in education. She has a firm grasp of the difficulties educators face daily and helps them meet those challenges head on through her experience and intelligence. She is deeply vested in in both arts and education in the community and has been a huge asset to arts leadership in Maine and beyond. – Emma A. Campbell, DANCE 9-12 Thornton Academy, Saco

Argy challenged and encouraged me to take risks and pursue ideas that improved my teaching and leadership skills. – Hope Lord, VISUAL ART 6-8 Maranacook Community Middle

OMG the joy, love and inspiration she has brought to my life is beyond measurable both professionally and personally! – Janie Snider, VISUAL ART K-8  Hancock Grammar School

Oh so many ways…she has pushed me to be my best self and also supported my mistakes as a path to learning. Argy has asked me to step up and always supported me as an individual and encouraged me to be a collaborator.  – Lindsay Pinchbeck, Sweetland School, Director and Teacher

Always supportive, encouraging and reminds us to thank others. – Dianne Fenlason, MUSIC 6-12 Spruce Mountain Middle School

Argy has impacted my life profoundly. When I attended my first MALI workshop, I was expected to receive professional development, but what I received was more than I could imagine! I found a family, inspiration, confidence, creativity, and so much more. I have grown so much as an educator and person since meeting Argy Nestor, and I know this to be true for others as well. Her passion, dedication, and care has permeated into her work, and has truly impacted us all.    – Dorothy Tripp, MUSIC K-5 Manchester and Readfield Ele Schools

She has gently pushed me past my comfort level to explore new things in my teaching practice. – Allie Rimkunas,  VISUAL ART K-5 Great Falls Elementary School

Argy has impacted my life because now I am teaching in a school that I love and have met incredible people who are as passionate about the arts as I am. I am a better teacher because of her beliefs in arts leadership philosophy of: “Arts being at the table”. With her energy she has made people feel valued for what they do and has helped so many with arts advocacy in their schools. She is such a role model! -Leah Olson, VISUAL ART 9-12 Ellsworth High School

There are very few people who have impacted my life as profoundly as Argy. She has given me the professional confidence to make changes in my classroom, my school, my community and hopefully beyond in ways that have had enormous benefits for a lot of kids! -Jennifer Etter, MUSIC 5-8 York Middle School

There’s an entire horizon to this profession I had never seen or even considered before I met Argy. She adjusted – and challenged – the way I view things, the way I think of and approach things, and she further developed my empathy for others. To have been under the influence of Argy is to have had your life changed. What a blessing to me that I have worked with her as a friend and colleague. I cannot imagine this personal and professional journey without her. -Rob Westerberg, MUSIC 9-12 York High School

Argy’s tireless work in support of teaching artists has given me opportunities to refine and share my own work in dance and creativity, as well as to provide guidance and leadership to other teaching artists trying to teach in the public schools and get their own work out there. -John Morris, Teaching Artist, Dance

Argy’s enthusiasm for and knowledge of Arts Education has had a huge impact on me and my teaching. -Samantha Armstrong, VISUAL ART K-6 Paris Elementary School

Profoundly. She has been encouraging and supportive in my efforts to be a better educator and artist. I routinely quote her to my students – “lean in” and “process before product”. -Tom Luther MUSIC Teaching Artist, Union

Helped me to create a community of people who value the arts. – Alice Sullivan, MUSIC K-12                         Woodland/Princeton

I think Alice’s comment about community is so integral to Argy’s passion and life work.  Connection and building community is so important and I think is greatly valued by Argy, which is illustrated in all of the communities that she has helped build.  The impact that Argy has had and continues to have will make for one amazing teacher leader story! If you would like to tell part of this story of how Argy has impacted your life feel free to contribute to this transition ticket, which will be shared with Argy.

When I was at that Summer Institute with Argy back in 2005 I wrote this poem that I think in some ways captures how I was inspired by Argy through this sense of community.

Community

Not I

Not Me

Can you see?

It’s you

And I

Who try to be

Us and we

They and Them

Try to be

Just as I and you

So they try

As we do

And find-

-connection-

To you and I

And

They

And them

Are now

Us and We

In our new

By Jake Sturtevant MUSIC 9-12, Falmouth High School

 

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Argy’s Journey Continues

June 4, 2019

Walking down memory lane

What a joy it has been during the last few weeks to reflect at the 43 years of my educational pathway. I am fortunate to have selected a career that has provided learning experiences that have expanded my thinking and understanding of how individual learners learn and how we are part of a world of learning connections. I have met and worked (and played) with amazing educators from Maine and around the world.

NEXT STEPS

So, where am I headed next? I have many ideas of what I want to do but I’m going to start by building on the natural next steps.

  • I am working towards creating a fund for Maine arts educators and teaching artists to travel and learn. I’ve had amazing opportunities to travel and every one of them has influenced my creative thinking and doing. I want to support educators who have dreams to travel and learn. I know that when a person returns from traveling that it impacts the learning environment which has the potential to plant seeds and open doors for students. I’m working on the idea with big thinkers and funders. Once I work out the details I will ask you to contribute to the fund. If everyone gives a little we can build the fund more quickly.
  • I will be serving as the director of the middle school at Sweetland School, an arts integrated school in Hope. Lindsay Pinchbeck started the Reggio Emilia inspired school five years ago at the Sweet Tree Arts Center. I have served as an advisor to the school and am excited about the possibilities for the students entering middle school. I will support the teaching team and do some arts integrated teaching as well.
  • In 2016 Lindsay and I traveled to Mpamila Village in Malawi to provide teacher workshops on arts integration. Of course, I gained more than I offered and for the last 3 years continued to support the teachers with 8 other educators providing workshops. My work will go on with Go! Malawi, an organization in Maine that was started by a former student. In July 2020 we will guide the Mpamila teachers to create their own workshops to facilitate at a country wide conference.
  • Malawi led to the innovative work of HundrED and I will continue to share innovative work of the organization. I plan to return to Helsinki this fall for the summit and am especially excited about their Youth Ambassador program.

I will continue to blog through the summer on this blog and communicate with the Maine arts education list-serv about the progress of my work. Please communicate with me at meartsed@gmail.com or through the Maine Arts Education blog below.

WHERE I’VE BEEN 

Like anyone in education we know the paychecks aren’t huge but my life has been rich with opportunities. From the ‘ah-ha’ moments of an individual student’s accomplishment to the excitement of a teacher connecting with other educators and everything in between. When I was teaching every day one thing became clear – hanging out in a middle school art classroom was a continuous learning opportunity and I loved it. My students and colleagues taught me and helped grow my skills and passions as a human being. I received so much than I gave. Being part of an interdisciplinary teaching team where visual art was valued by others as much as I valued it was amazing! When I was recognized in 1995 as the Maine Teacher of the Year I realized how fortunate I was to be honored for such humbling work.

When I left my art room after 30 years it wasn’t easy, teaching was what I knew and loved. But the challenge helped me see more clearly that my mission as an educator was taking a turn. My own son said to me: “Mom, your classroom is just going to get a little larger.” And he was ‘spot on’ (as Rob Westerberg says) about that. Once I fully committed to the work at the state I realized that my “teacher lens” was to guide me. I knew what I needed and wanted as a teacher so I honored that and moved forward collaborating with others to make that happen. Visiting hundreds of arts classrooms in schools across the state was an incredible learning opportunity. The visits led to the 1200 member list-serv and daily communication on this blog.

I AM GRATEFUL

Along the way others continued to collaborate and provide support. I am soooo grateful for the many connections, some of which I mention below.

Carol Trimble

Carol Trimble who was the executive director of Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) was supportive from day one when I arrived at DOE. Together we brought back the state wide arts education conference and I helped with the first state wide arts education census and other MAAE projects. Carol was and continues to be an incredible mentor with a clear mind who can articulate ideas like no one I know.

Many of you remember David Patterson who sadly passed away from cancer in July 2014 at the age of 50. His wisdom and encouragement taught me to believe in the power of communication to form the community. He pushed, questioned, taught and encouraged me every step of the way. This blog wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for him.

Anne Kofler was the elementary art teacher who taught ‘downstairs’ while I taught middle school ‘upstairs’. She inspired me to go the extra mile and made me a better person in so many ways. She continued to support me, after I left the classroom, to take on the ‘big challenges’ and ‘lean in’. All the while herself, taking on cancer, which eventually took her away in May 2016. Her love for using her travels to inspire her students continues to impact me.

Catherine, myself, Rob

Catherine Ring and Rob Westerberg took a chance when I invited them to travel to NH in the summer of 2010 for the New England Institute on Assessment. I am so grateful that they did – I continue to learn from both of them! Together we created the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) by listening to the needs of the field, reviewing the research, brainstorming and planning. The first MAAI leadership team represented PreK-higher education and helped launch the idea without funding in place. There were tears in my eyes when I heard Jeff Beaudry say “we can sleep on the floor and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if we have to, there’s no turning back now.” And, launch we did with 18 amazing teacher leaders at Maine College of Art for the 4-day summer institute. At the end of the institute the teacher leaders made it clear that we weren’t moving into Phase 2 without a place for them.

Phase I Teacher Leaders

Since that first summer, the initiative has grown into a strong leadership program, influencing and inspiring, and the shift in assessment practices around the state took hold. When we traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Teach to Lead summit in August 2015 MAAI shifted to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Teachers with high expectations for themselves and a passion for learning – teaching other teachers has been the foundation of the success. Educators willing to share their ideas, use research, build on their knowledge, and support the network has worked well for Maine. Title II funds helped to support the summer institutes, critical friend days, mega conferences, winter retreats, stipends for participants, and statewide conferences over the next several years. The partnerships and associations with the Maine visual and performing arts organizations and institutions has been an enormous part – too many to name all of them. Thank you all!

In 2013 i moved to the Maine Arts Commission and the work (and play) of MALI expanded to include teaching artists and community arts organizations. They have provided a broader view of arts education. We’ve all been enriched by their participation in MALI. Linking arms with the greater community of arts and arts education is another way to support learners of all ages in their educational paths. I am especially grateful to the 108 teacher leaders and teaching artist leaders who continue to do amazing work in arts education and as artists!

There are so many more individuals and organizations to thank but this blog post could go on for pages. The people I mentioned are ‘giants’ and every day I stand on their shoulders and fortunately continue to learn from them!

BEYOND MAINE

Throughout the 13 years at the state I’ve had many opportunities to connect with and learn from others outside of Maine. Presentations and workshops at regional and national conferences about MALI, serving in leadership roles with the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education and the State Arts Agency Arts Education Directors, and serving on the educational council of the Americans for the Arts have provided me ongoing chances to learn from others.

Mpamila teachers in Malawi

My work in Malawi has been amazing. I originally emailed a former student about her work with Go! Malawi and asked if she could use my skill set. From there the idea developed into creating arts integration workshops. I am forever grateful to Lindsay Pinchbeck who agreed to travel to Malawi in 2016. The collaboration that we’ve formed has influenced all parts of my life. She has definitely made me a better teacher, artist, and person. Spending 10 days providing arts integration workshops for the teachers in Mpamila Village opened my eyes to so much about the world. For the last 3 years we continue to support the teacher workshops and have had 8 educators use their expertise in Malawi. In addition we’ve sewn hundreds of dresses and pants for the children in Mpamila School. This work has taken place with friends, family, and colleagues from all over Maine and in other states across the country. I am so grateful to the many who continue to contribute by sewing and contributing to purchase the materials needed.

Malawi led to HundrED when our Malawi project was selected and Lindsay and I were named Ambassadors for the program. We traveled to Helsinki, Finland last November for the HundrED summit and met people from all over the world doing AMAZING work. The network is expanding and I encourage all of you to check out their site and consider applying to be an Innovator, deadline June 30.

CONTINUE – STAY IN TOUCH

I hope that our paths will continue to cross since my work in arts education will continue. Please feel free to reach out using my gmail address at meartsed@gmail.com. I will be blogging throughout the summer and perhaps beyond. Your work in arts education is critical to continue to make the world a better place. Thank you!

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In Today’s News

January 19, 2019

Art in Education Triangle – Maine, Malawi, Helsinki

Article written by Dagney C. Ernest, for Village Soup, January 16, 2019. “We teach because the future belongs to learners.” CLICK HERE to read Dagney’s article about Lindsay Pinchbeck and Argy Nestor’s trip to Helsinki and the connection between Maine, Malawi, and Helsinki.

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Glorious Celebration!

December 18, 2018

Maine Excellence in Arts EducationLast Tuesday at the State House Complex the celebration for the Maine Excellence in Arts Education was held. The Maine Arts Commission (MAC) was proud to invite young artists and musicians from throughout the state and recognize them for their accomplishments. Over 250 attended the ceremony including 160 students from SeDoMoCha (Dover-Foxcroft) and Marshwood (Eliot) Middle Schools, 45 teachers and students from 9 Maine schools/districts. The chorus students had never met each other yet they came together and sang America, the Beautiful (arr.

Marshwood Middle School music educator Kris Bisson and SeDoMoCha School music educator Kaitlin Young share conducting America, the Beautiful

Ruth Elaine Schram) which started the afternoon program in the Hall of Flags. It was amazing and moved many in attendance to tears. The visual artists were recognized for their individual artwork by Julie Richard, the MAC Executive Director and Charles Stanhope, the MAC Chair.

Students from Marshwood, under the direction of music teacher Kristine Bisson, performed a piece called The River Sings its Song. The original lyrics and music were written by the students during a collaboration with Kris and Brian Evans-Jones. Brian is a teaching artist and a poet who did a residency during the 2017-18 school year. Students made the connection between an unused bridge in their community and their place in the world as young adolescents. During the performance students shared the story of the work which you can read below:

  • Rowan: Our school is comprised of students from Eliot and South Berwick, Maine as well as from Rollinsford, New Hampshire. There are nine rivers in these three communities, with some that flow into each other, much like our student body blending two independent states. We could easily connect to our rivers and bridges since most of us spend time near them in our towns. WE CAN RELATE.
  • Sylvia sharing part of the story

    Kelsey: We took a field trip to the bridge and river to discover the history this area has experienced. We were inspired by the natural beauty as we saw a great heron fly from its spot at the river’s edge. We wrote about the decaying bridge and the babbling river as the driving force that keeps going forward no matter what the season or changes might bring. This is how we feel about our own paths in life: nothing is impossible. WE HAVE PURPOSE.

  • Samantha: We learned about the native Americans, early settlers, and modern-day dwellers at this site. + We wrote a grant to work with a poet-artist-in-residence, Mr. Brian Evans-Jones, to help us dig deeply and gather thoughts into one complete lyric. + We learned how to create music that fit our thoughts and translate into comfortable melodies our voices could sing. + We trusted our fellow students to share our honest thoughts and ideas which led to a larger collaboration with our entire class; and later, the entire chorus of seventy-six students. WE LEARNED ABOUT EACH OTHER.
  • Julia: Our composition has two sections: one slow and solemn section for the bridge: abandoned, destined to be removed; another section for the river: always moving, reaching forward, regardless of destination, an unpredictable path.  The bridge is presented at the beginning, for this is what you see from afar as you travel the road. But surrounding the bridge, always, is the river. The river holds hope: providing power still, for our town. It is cleansing. It is peaceful. It is free. WE CREATE OUR LEARNING.
  • Marshwood Middle School Music educator, Kris Bisson, conducting the chorus.

    Eva: BRIDGING ADOLESCENCE: A RIVER FLOWS THROUGH USIN 2007, THE GREAT WORKS RIVER BRIDGE IN SOUTH BERWICK, MAINE WAS CLOSED BY THE STATE DUE TO DETERIORATION. IT WAS TOO EXPENSIVE TO REPLACE.   ONCE A SCENIC DRIVE ON VINE STREET, IT NOW COULD NOT BE TRAVELLED BY CAR, BICYCLE, OR FOOT. WHEN OUR CHORUS TOOK A FIELD TRIP TO EXPLORE, WRITE, AND DISCOVER THIS BEAUTIFUL AREA, MANY OF OUR STUDENTS HAD NEVER BEEN HERE. 10 YEARS OF OVERGROWTH COVERED THE ROAD AND SURROUNDING AREA THAT HAD BEEN DORMANT. WHAT COULD WE DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

  • Sylvia: PEOPLE BUILD BRIDGES, BRIDGES BUILD COMMUNITIES, COMMUNITIES BUILD OPPORTUNITIES. MARSHWOOD MIDDLE SCHOOL CHORUS DECIDED THAT WE WOULD EMBRACE OUR COMMUNITY AS OUR CLASSROOM. The metaphor of ADOLESCENCE being a BRIDGE was an easy one to relate to because there is a path before us;  yet we cannot predict the journey. And travelling the path is something we all have to do… sometimes together… sometimes alone… or sometimes with help…The elements of nature, history, and a sense of belonging are important to the human spirit. AND THIS IS WHAT WE WROTE…. WE HAVE POWER.
  • Kendra: We learned that a new footbridge for bikes and pedestrians is being planned by a local neighborhood organization. We wanted to help with this effort and held a school-wide Talent Show. We donated our proceeds to the Bridge Brigade towards the one-million-dollar cost of this project. We even had a model of the footbridge on display in our school to help spread the word about the efforts being made to keep a bridge in this location. WE EDUCATE OTHERS AND MAKE AN IMPACT. 
  • Students sharing the story, Hall of Flags, State House

    Dani: Beyond the notes, our students learned about each other and themselves. This project helped us to become reflective writers. We respected everyone’s personal ideas and many times offered encouragement to each other. We experienced creating melodies and harmonies that were designed entirely by us. We recorded melodies and emailed them to Mrs. Bisson or went to the piano to play what was in our heads so we could share with the class. And we shaped them all into one cohesive work: “THE RIVER SINGS ITS SONG”. WE COLLABORATE, AND TOGETHER,WE GROW.

  • Sabrina: In November of 2018 the State Department of Transportation removed the existing bridge. NOW THERE IS A VOID. We experienced history. We saw a bridge in need of repair. We learned that it wasn’t going to be healed. We witnessed photos of its removal. We witnessed loss. We would like to include two reflections from our chorus members to share the impact this project has had on our own development: “As we have experienced composing, practicing, and reflecting, I have developed a strong emotional connection with this piece. It symbolizes the change of our town landmark, but also the change I now see in me.
  • Kendra: “The struggles of adolescence are travelled by all of us and therefore, all can relate to this piece. The river’s emotions are brought to life in this lilting piece full of sorrow and mystery. Hope intertwines and creates crescendos of joy. Let the river sing its song!”

The performance was video taped in its entirety and posted on the Marshwood Education Foundation (one of the projects’ funders) Facebook page and by Senator Shenna Bellows. I suggest that you take a few minutes and watch and listen!

SeDoMoCha Middle School Chorus

Students, under the direction of SeDoMoCha music teacher Kaitlin Young, performed Glorious. And, incredibly glorious it was! The song was based on the composition performed by Macklemore, featuring Skylar Grey. The additional lyrics and choral arrangement was created by the SeDoMoCha Middle School Chorus which was based on their developmental transition. The audience was moved by their words and obvious passion for singing.

Olivia Larson, grade 4, Hancock Grammar School. Art teacher: Jane Snider

Thirty-six students representing nine schools along with their art teachers were recognized for their artwork which is part of an exhibit in the State House Complex including the Governor’s reception area, the Health and Human Services committee meeting room, the Education and Cultural Affairs committee meeting room, and MAC. This is a “first” time exhibit – the student work hangs in the same location as their teachers. The schools and teachers included in the exhibit are listed below. All are teacher leaders with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. Grade 4 student from Hancock Grammar School, Olivia Larson was so excited and proud she said: “This is the best day of my life”.

  • Gorham Middle School, Teacher: Amy Cousins
  • Hancock Grammar School, Teacher: Jane Snider
  • Jonesport Elementary and Jonesport Beals High School, Teacher: Lisa Marin
  • Marshwood Middle School, Eliot, Teacher: Melanie Crowe
  • Maranacook Middle School, Readfield, Teacher: Hope Lord
  • Oxford Hills High School, South Paris, Teacher: Cindi Kugell
  • Brewer High School, Teacher: Lori Spruce
  • Richmond Middle School and High School, Teacher: Jeffrey Orth
  • Waterville High School, Teacher: Suzanne Goulet

Amy Cousins, Gorham Middle School art teacher and two of her students receiving their certificates from Argy Nestor, left and Julie Richard, right

The pride was evident in the faces of students, teachers, family members, and legislators. The art is on display at the following locations until April 31, 2019:

  • Maine Arts Commission
  • Cross Office Building second floor North and South corridors
  • Education & Cultural Affairs Committee room 202
  • Health & Human Services Committee room 209
  • State House, Office of the Speaker of the House
  • State House, Governor’s Reception Area

If you’d like a map that includes the location of each piece email me and I’d be glad to email or snail one to you.

Below is a video created by the Maine Arts Commission Marketing & Communications Director Ryan Leighton. You can see photos of the artwork at THIS LINK and photos of the day at THIS LINKI hope you’ll visit the exhibit.

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Storytelling in the Arts Classroom

August 27, 2018

How might you use storytelling?

At the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Summer Institute “Storytelling” was the overarching theme. It was interwoven in many aspects of the 3 days.

Storytelling session led by Jake Sturtevant and Lindsay Pinchbeck

Falmouth High School and MALI Design Team member Jake Sturtevant and Sweetland School founder and director and MALI Design Team member Lindsay Pinchbeck provided a workshop on Storytelling and they set up a Story Corps tent where teachers could visit during the institute and have a conversation, similar to the National Public Broadcasting Story Corps.

We listened to musician and MALI Teaching Artist Leader Tom Luther tell his story of the stroke he had almost a year ago. He worked his way back and to almost full recovery using a ‘beginner’s mind’ and his music.

Brian Evans-Jones and Kris Bisson

MALI Teaching Artist Leader Brian Evans-Jones and Marshwood Middle School music educator and MALI Teacher Leader Kris Bisson shared their story of their incredible collaboration during the 2017-18 school year where they composed a song about an all but forgotten bridge in South Berwick.

Elementary visual art teacher and MALI Teacher Leader Elise Bothel shared her story and research on self-care tools and how they are enriching her life and positively impacting her teaching.

A panel on Leadership included stories from Catherine Ring, co-founder of MALI and art educator, teaching artist and MALI Design Team member John Morris, MALI Teacher Leaders: music from York Middle School Jen Etter, visual art from Brunswick High School Jenni Driscoll, and music from SeDoMoCha school and Maine’s 2018 Teacher of the Year Kaitlin Young. All unique!

Stories in the Leadership session

In a recent edition of the eSchoolNews from NAfME music educator Lori Schwartz Reichi reflects on her college wind ensemble rehearsal when her conductor would pause to tell a story. She wondered why he would take time out of rehearsal to share details of his personal life.

Years later when she started teaching it made perfect sense to her. The stories her professor told were intentional ‘pauses’ in the rehearsal. READ the entire article and learn more about the power of storytelling in the music classroom. (Storytelling has potential in any classroom)!

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