Posts Tagged ‘art education’


Viles Arboretum Art Symposium

June 5, 2014

Invitation to Maine Art Teachers and Students for a unique opportunity

SS71The Viles Arboretum is pleased to extend an invitation to all elementary, middle and high school art teachers to sign up for a unique learning opportunity to be held at the Arboretum in Augusta from September 12 – 21, 2014. We will be holding the first Viles Arboretum Art Symposium on our grounds with eight nationally known artists creating stone sculptures from start to finish. The theme will be nature inspired art. During the week days, we will have five very special opportunities for Maine schools to participate in a private audience with one of the artists and to learn first-hand about the artists’ background, involvement in art, source of inspiration, and much more. In addition to this, each field trip class will be able to meet the other artists, ask questions and observe the various techniques for taking raw stone and turning it into a piece of beautiful art. There is no cost to participate. You just have to schedule your bus and students. Staff at the Arboretum will work with you to be sure all the opportunities you wish to create for your students are available. Please call the Arboretum at 626-7989 for more details or to schedule your group.

SS310The Viles Arboretum is centrally located in Augusta, Maine on 224 acres of fields, forests, wetlands and with botanical collections from around the world. We offer an ever-changing selection of inspirational exhibits, educational and practical programs for the general public and for schools. We focus on interactive, creative and hands-on teaching with a focus on botany and natural history. Our goal is to unlock everyone’s natural ability to understand the nature of our world through your own eyes and by using your own intellect.

We strive to make our 224 acres of fields, forests and wetlands, play a key role in contributing to the quality of life for Maine citizens and visitors from every corner of the world. Our presence contributes significantly to the quality of life in and around Augusta and beyond and our newly installed Art Trail presents the largest publicly accessible display of outdoor art sculpture in Maine.

You can learn more about the Arboretum and its programs, or how to become more involved by checking our website at, checking our Facebook page or simply by stopping in or calling us at 626-7989.

Your school can apply for the Maine Arts Commission Ticket to Ride funding to use for this opportunity. Please click here to  learn more and download the application. The process is fairly simple and there is a quick turn-around once the application is submitted.





Saco Museum “Artist’s Talk”

March 5, 2014

MAEA show

IMG_2670Brunswick art teacher Allison Price was the organizer of an intriguing “art talk” on a recent Saturday afternoon to accompany the Maine Art Education Association’s Exhibit titled “After Hours” at the Saco Museum.

Five other teaching artists gathered with Allison; Meryl Ruth, Robin Brooks, Manon Lewis, Debbie Bickford and Charlie Johnson. The  discussion included a wide range of topics, including artist’s early memories, advocacy, process vs. product, teaching creativity, relationships with students, teachers as artists and assessment, among others. The audience had several questions toward the end of the conversation and audience members came to Allison afterwards to tell her they could have listened for another hour because the discussion was so compelling.

The discussion in it’s entirety (90 minutes, but a good flow and clear audio) can be found at and there are a couple of short videos created from some of the artworks and clips of the discussion.       Saco Project       Saco Project 2

“I was so very impressed with the quality and variety of work in the “After Hours” exhibit, and sitting amongst the work of all these talented people to talk with colleagues about what we do with learners in the ARTS and why we do it was a most rewarding and affirming experience!”  Charlie Johnson

Thanks to Charlie Johnson, Mount Desert Island High School arts educator for contributing this blog post and creating the videos to document the opportunity.


Statewide Ceramics Show

February 1, 2014

1st Annual High School Ceramic Show scheduled April 9-26

Screen shot 2014-01-26 at 10.31.16 AMHigh school ceramic teachers (one entry per school) judge their students prior to the show. Each teacher is eligible (at no cost) to submit 1 utilitarian clay piece and 1 sculptural clay piece for the Gannet Gallery Show on or before March 29.

Students, families, community members, and school personnel are invited to attend the opening, scheduled for Wednesday, April 9, 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Prizes will be donated by local educational and artistic organizations to recognize the quality ceramic work that is created in our high schools in the state of Maine and presented at the opening.

How to Enter

  1. RSVP by copying the information below, fill out for each piece and email a to Russell Kahn at
  2. Print out info below for each entry and make sure it is taped to the work. Deliver or mail to Russell Kahn at Camden Hills Regional High School, or to the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell. Entries must be received by Saturday, March 29th

Artist(s) Name(s):

School or group:

Contact address (include city, state & zip):

Contact phone (and name if representing a group):

Contact email:



Title of sculpture/pottery:

Medium(clay, glaze, firing temp.):


Price if art is for sale:


  • Safely packaged work for drop off or mail by Saturday, March 29, to Russell Kahn, Camden Hills Regional High School, 25 Keelson Drive, Rockport, Maine 04856


  • Harlow Gallery, 160 Water Street, Hallowell, ME 04347
  • April 9-26, Gannett building gallery, 331 Water Street, Augusta, Maine opening the evening of  Wednesday, April 9, 5:00 – 7:00 PM
  • Pick-up April 28-30. After the 30th pieces will be auctioned or discarded because there is no storage at UMA or the Harlow Gallery. If you did send the artwork by snail mail, please include return postage…Thanks!!

Questions? Please contact Russell Kahn at 207-322-6168 or!

By submitting work, students, parents and school agree to have the images of the work used for future promotions. Also, UMA, Harlow Gallery, Russell Kahn, and anyone else involved with the show shall not be held responsible for broken ceramic pieces during shipping or the duration of the show.

Screen shot 2014-01-26 at 10.31.26 AM


Dr. Elliot W. Eisner

January 15, 2014

Stanford professor passes, a great loss

Screen shot 2014-01-14 at 4.20.31 PMWhen I entered college in 1972 Elliot Eisner’s book Educating Artistic Vision had been recently published. It was used as a text in one of my Foundations of Art Education courses and provided a basis for looking closely at what I was considering spending my career doing. I remember it fondly and I plan to go to the attic this weekend and find that text just for a walk down memory lane. I am sure that some of you have memories from your teacher training days and Dr. Eisner or perhaps another researcher?! If so, please share a comment.

One piece that I love that Eisner wrote is about, not just visual art, but all the arts.

Ten Lessons the Arts Teach

The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.  Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution
and that questions can have more than one answer.

The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.  One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.  Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.

The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know.  The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.  The arts traffic in subtleties.

The arts teach students to think through and within a material.  All art forms employ some means through which images become real.

The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.  When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source
and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.

The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young
what adults believe is important.

SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications.

The entire National Art Education Association community is saddened by the loss of our dear friend, mentor and leader, Dr. Elliot W. Eisner, 81, of Stanford, CA, on January 10, 2014. Elliot served as President of NAEA from 1977 – 1979 and is renown for his work in art education, curriculum reform, and qualitative research. His vision, intellect, and generosity of spirit will be celebrated at the 2014 NAEA National Convention in San Diego as we remember Elliot and his widespread influence. The family requests that memorial gifts be made to NAEA’s Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award, established in perpetuity by the Eisner family and NAEA, recognizes individuals in the field of art education who have made a sustained and significant contribution to the field through their work as a teacher, lecturer, or artist-including those who work in preschool, primary school, secondary school, and colleges and universities.

Find out more about the Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award at


Baby Journal Published

June 23, 2013

Art teachers with Westbrook Middle School students whose artwork is included in the book

You might remember back in September at the start of the 2012-13 school year the blog post that invited artwork submissions for the First Lady’s Baby book, “Love.Read.Learn!” Baby Journal. From that blog post and information going out to school’s and educators through other avenues there were over 800 pieces submitted for consideration. Every region of the state was represented and students from grades K – 8.

The project was a collaboration with the Barbara Bush Foundation and First Lady Ann LePage. The First Lady arranged the artwork throughout the Blaine House to be scored using a rubric derived from the AP rubric. First Lady Ann LePage, Becky Dyer from the Barbara Bush Foundation, and art teachers Lynne Shulman and Kathy Smith and I met at the Blaine House to score the artwork. It was great to share our love of teaching with both Becky and the First Lady. And a blog post announced the work selected.


Barbara Bush and Ann LePage at presentation of the book

A couple weeks ago I was invited to the unveiling of the book as it was presented to three new moms. Two of the students whose artwork was selected for the book (out of the 32), from Westbrook Middle School along with their teachers, principal, and their parents were in attendance as well.

I was so proud to see the completed book and all the students who submitted work. I know that the First Lady and Barbara Bush were inspired by the student work and dream of the possibilities. During the next year the book will be presented to new parents at each hospital in Maine. A great day for art education!

All the artwork published is at this link which is located on the front page of the meartsed blog.


Trees, Timber and Tradition

June 17, 2013

Cameras in action

image0011Potter Liz Proffetty recently borrowed the digital cameras from the Maine Department of Education to teach a really interesting technique to the Pre-K -6 students at Southport Central School.

The school was asked to participate in an installation in the Children’s Garden at the Boothbay Botanical Gardens. The theme was “Trees, Timber and Traditions.”  Though each grade (pre K-6) used the theme of a clay leaf shaped tile, each grade approached the theme slightly differently. The pre-school class used stamps and pressed objects from nature into their clay leaves to create texture. Grades 1-3 drew and painted various landscapes onto their clay tile. Grades 4-6 first created the clay leaf, painted and glazed them and then used photos that they took at the Boothbay Botanical Gardens during a field trip. The photos were transferred to the clay tile using a relatively new technology that allows the ink from the laser printer to bond with the glaze on the clay leaf.

image004The students enjoyed using and combining modern technology of digital photography, editing and laser printing and the ancient medium of clay to create a collaborative public art piece. The work will be on view at the Botanical Gardens in the Drawing Cottage throughout the summer.

If you are interested in borrowing the digital cameras to use with students please contact me



Pride of RSU 20

May 15, 2013

RSU20 Student Artshow poster 2013


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