Posts Tagged ‘art education’



September 19, 2017

MAEA Fall Conference

Almost 100 visual art educators traveled to Deer Isle Maine for the annual 3-day conference. Some had to drive 5 hours to get there. When I reach the bridge over to the island and smell the salt air and see the seabirds flying, I know whoever has made the long trip, doesn’t question its worth. The conference is held at the beautiful Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and sponsored by the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA). The organization stands on the shoulders of giants and many of those names were mentioned over the weekend.

MALI Teacher Leaders


A HUGE THANK YOU to Carolyn Brown for chairing the conference and to all of the Maine Art Education board members and the organization members who volunteer to do the hours of work to make the conference so wonderful!


  • A GREAT learning opportunity
  • Delicious food
  • Beautiful environment
  • Opportunity to meet art teachers from across the state
  • Amazing people who are open to sharing, exchanging ideas, and providing support
  • A wonderful feeling of community

Yes, that is guacamole


  • The opportunity to learn is amazing; like no other that I have
  • I get to feel what my students feel while learning something new
  • I look around and wonder if my art is good enough and I remember we’re all in this together
  • What an opportunity to push my limits
  • I’m learning at full speed
  • Now I can go back to my school feeling totally nourished

Workshop offerings

  • Expanding Your Fiber Universe: Lissa Hunter

  • Block Printmaking – Balance and Texture: Holly Berry

  • Exploring the Basics of BronzClay Jewelry Fabrication: Nisa Smiley

  • Visual Journaling: Sandy Weisman

  • Making Animal Sculptures with Clay using Enclosed Forms and Additions: Tim Christensen

  • Bringing Digital Fabrication into your Curriculum: Elliot Clapp

  • Experimental Watercolor Painting: Erica Qualey

  • Past to Present: Personal Found Object Assemblage Inspired by Shrines, Alters, and Reliquaries: Stephanie Leonard and Suzanne Southworth


Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2017

Recycled hearts

I know that some of you follow Cassie Stephens blog at Cassie teaches elementary visual arts in Nashville, Tennessee. She is known for her artsy outfits that she is constantly designing. She definitely stands out in a crowd. Recently, Cassie did a lesson with first graders recycling hearts. You can learn all about it and see more photos of the project by CLICKING HERE.



In Today’s News

February 3, 2017

MAEA Portals show

Read about the art teachers exhibit at USM Gorham sponsored by the MAEA. CLICK HERE.



National Core Arts Standards Opportunity

May 12, 2016

NCCAS seeking adjudicators to score high school student work
Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 11.09.54 AM

Contact: Cory Wilkerson
Tel: 800-587-6814

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) is issuing an invitation for arts educators interested in serving as adjudicators of the high school student work collected from diverse school settings across the nation as part of the 2015-16 Model Cornerstone Assessment (MCA) Pilot Project. The MCA high school pilot, partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, is the second phase of the project that began last year with a benchmarking of elementary and middle school student work in the arts disciplines of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. As was done in the project’s first phase, adjudicators will score the collected high school student work, with the goal of creating a resource bank of standards-based student work aligned to the 2014 National Core Arts Standards.

Model Cornerstone Assessments tasks at the benchmark grades of 2, 5, 8 and the three high school levels (proficient, accomplished, advanced) were released simultaneously with the Core Arts Standards. They were created by the five arts discipline NCCAS writing teams to serve as examples of the type of evidence needed to show student achievement reflected in targeted performance standards. The benchmark teams will conduct independent reviews of the student work virtually before gathering for a three-day meeting in Reston, Virginia, August 6-9 to determine final benchmark scoring. Five educators from each arts discipline will be selected to serve as benchmarking team members through a rigorous application and interview process that will open April 26th and continue until midnight, May 23, 2016. All travel, room, and board costs for the team members will be covered by NCCAS.  Interested individuals may apply at

To access more details about the project please go to the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards wiki at The National Core Arts Standards can be found at


Critical Value

July 18, 2015

TEDx Talk, Cindy Foley

This information is taken from YouTube accompanying Cindy’s TEDxColumbus

Published on Nov 26, 2014
What is the purpose and value of Art education in the 21st Century? Foley makes the case the Art’s critical value is to develop learners that think like Artists which means learners who are creative, curious, that seek questions, develop ideas, and play. For that to happen society will need to stop the pervasive, problematic and cliché messaging that implies that creativity is somehow defined as artistic skill. This shift in perception will give educators the courage to teach for creativity, by focusing on three critical habits that artist employ, 1. Comfort with Ambiguity, 2. Idea Generation, and 3. Transdisciplinary Research. This change can make way for Center’s for Creativity in our schools and museums where ideas are king and curiosity reigns.

Cindy Meyers Foley is the Executive Assistant Director and Director of Learning and Experience at the Columbus Museum of Art. Foley worked to reimagine the CMA as a 21st century institution that is transformative, active, and participatory. An institution that impacts the health and growth of the community by cultivating, celebrating and championing creativity. Foley envisioned and led the charge to open the 18,000 sq. ft. Center for Creativity in 2011. In 2013, the museum received the National Medal for Museums in recognition of this work. Foley guest edited and wrote chapters for Intentionality and the Twenty-First-Century Museum, for the summer 2014 Journal of Museum Education.

In 2012, Foley received the Greater Columbus Arts Council Community Arts Partnership award for Arts Educator. She was a keynote speaker for the OAEA (Ohio Art Education Association) 2012 Conference. She is on the Faculty of Harvard University’s Future of Learning Summer Institute.

Foley is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Museum, she was with the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, and the Wexner Center for the Arts.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


Who Are They?: MECA, Part 5

April 8, 2015

Maine College of Art

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.42.14 PMThis is the fifth post on the Maine College of Art (MECA) which is located in downtown Portland. Below is an interview with Fern Tavalin, MECA Director of Art Education.


Fern Tavalin

Please describe the educator training programs offered at MECA.

MECA offers a Master of Arts in Teaching that leads to initial certification in visual art for the State of Maine. Our program is accredited by the State of Maine and by National Alliance of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Receiving NASAD approval is quite an honor.

What is MECA’s philosophy on teacher education?

We believe that teachers should be both artists and educators. Our admissions policy is rigorous in that we review an artist’s portfolio as well as screening for the dispositions that we feel are necessary for good teaching and learning. Those admitted have the potential to become outstanding artist/educators. Because of this, we make sure that they are given the tools to become effective art educators who use the knowledge, skills, and dispositions acquired in our program to creatively serve children and youth in PK-12 schools, museums, community-based/alternative settings, and virtual learning environments. To ensure that our teacher candidates are prepared, we value learning as a developmental process. That means that our candidates are not graded on each assignment as they begin. Instead, we provide substantive feedback, pointing toward their next steps in learning. At key stages, the candidates undergo reviews to demonstrate attainment of Maine’s initial teacher certification standards and our program outcomes.

Each college or university reflects its institutional aims as well as having to be responsive to accreditation requirements. MECA is a studio-based college, the practices of which have much to add to the overall field of education. By maintaining our beliefs and our educational approach, we hope to add value to the research base about how students learn best.

We encourage our candidates to resist the temptation to want to see the state educator standards written in art specific terms and trust that their coursework will reflect the art specific knowledge that they will eventually being to the classroom. Familiarity with the general concepts of teaching and learning and how they translate to art education will give MECA’s teachers a “place at the table” during faculty meetings and gatherings of educators across disciplines.

Is there something that sets MECAs program apart from others?

When MECA’s teacher candidates enter the program, they enroll in an intensive one-month summer institute that integrates the frameworks for teaching and learning, student creative growth and development and how their lives of artists apply to the field of education.

On the very first day, our teacher candidates enter classrooms in Portland’s diverse public school system. They learn to begin by closely observing rather than judging. As the semester progresses, MECA teacher candidates use a variety of lenses for looking at students in a variety of learning environments. This direct experience is enhanced by collaborative inquiry through theoretical readings and shared discussions. The program emphasizes critical thinking and data gathering to question assumptions – both theirs and those of experts in the field.

What advice do you have for someone considering becoming a teacher in this century?

All learning is cumulative, so we cannot always predict the overall outcomes of our efforts as teachers. Because the future is unknown, we cannot say what it will bring. However, studio habits of mind such as developing craft, engaging and persisting and envisioning will be essential now matter what our teachers face.


Who Are They?: MECA, Part 3

March 25, 2015

Maine College of Art

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.42.14 PM

This is the third post on the Maine College of Art (MECA) which is located in downtown Portland. Sarah Sullivan is a first year student at MECA and was kind enough to answer questions for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers. (Perhaps you’d like to share this with high school students considering art school after graduation).

What was your art education like in elementary, middle, and high school? Who or what has inspired you?

Elementary school? All I can remember from elementary school is cut paper that I made into a semi-picture, and then watching the Seasame Street art movie called “Don’t Eat the Pictures” (it was fantastic). In my free time at home I’d roll under the coffee table in my house and draw on the bottom with crayons. In middle school I was selected for the “Gifted and Talented” Art class, which wasn’t as big a deal as it sounded.

It wasn’t until high school that I really got involved with art. Yes, I guess you can say I’d always been creative, but when I got to high school, suddenly I had choices and freedom to do what I wanted. I could choose not only to do art, but what kind of art as well. It was two of my high school art teachers, Peter Morgan, and Megan Boyd who really inspired me to pursue art. Mr. Morgan taught Composition and Design, which was an introductory class where we learned the basics of how to draw still life’s and compose good pieces. Everyone had to take it, so he had to deal with a lot of people who didn’t want to be there. He had a sarcastic streak, but he was honest, and he encouraged me to continue to take art classes. He taught me a lot of the basics which I use today.

Going into my Junior year of high school though, I hadn’t thought of pursuing art in higher education, hadn’t even considered making a career out of it. As much as I enjoyed art, and classes like Mr. Morgan’s, I didn’t see how I could possibly make a living doing that. Enter Megan Boyd. She taught Graphic Design and changed my whole world. She showed me this whole other side of art that I didn’t even know existed. She became my mentor, encouraging me to push my artwork, and helping me with whatever crazy scheme I’d thought of. I don’t know if I would be where I am today without her. Even now we still talk, and I send her my work to get her thoughts on it.

Why did you select MECA to continue with your education beyond high school?

I first heard about MECA through my friend Nichole (who is currently attending with me), when we were both looking for colleges. We were all talking in AP Art about how no one had any idea what they were doing when it came to looking for colleges. We’d all heard of Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt, but then she brought up MECA, mentioning that she enjoyed her visit. MECA sent me a free application, which was a pretty great deal since most of the other colleges were asking for $50. After winning a scholarship, and visiting for an open house, I was pretty much sold. I mean everything was so personal, heck the Dean of the school shook my hand and told me to call him Ian.

How was your transition to college? How do you describe living and learning in Portland?

Hmmm… my “transition” to college? I’d say it was relatively smooth. I mean I think everyone had like a day or two of home sickness, and orientation was excruciating, but I’ve been having a great time. It never really hit me like, “we live here now”, it was more just slipping into this routine that my friends and I have built over the months. Living in Portland is incredible. It’s not a big city, but it’s got so much energy. On the weekends you can go out and explore art galleries or shops. There’s always something exciting happening to get involved in. It’s very different than a campus experience. It’s more than just walking in between your dorm room and your classes. At MECA, you work within this larger community, in the real world. MECA students are continually exchanging and working with the people of Portland. It’s something you wouldn’t get on a normal college campus.

What did you value most in your arts education growing up?

The most important part, for me, of my art education while growing up was getting feedback from other people, and learning how to take that. I mean, it’s great if you can make art for yourself, but as an artist, you’ve got to put your work out there for other people. The whole reason we create is to share it with people. You want it to be the best it can be, and part of that process is other people critiquing your work. I’ve had some great teachers and friends who have always given me honest feedback on what I’m doing. It’s always hard hearing people speak negatively about your work, but over the years I’ve learned it’s really nothing personal. It’s about your work, and you’ve got to be open to new ideas and suggestions. I think learning about that process and being a part of it has really helped me get to where I am today.

What is your passion? Medium of choice?

Graphic Design is my passion. It’s more than just art, it’s problem solving. Designers are presented with these design challenges, you know, you’ve only got so much space or a limited color pallette. I find these challenges exciting, and I enjoy solving the problems that people present. I enjoy working digitally, but I do a lot of hand work at the same time. It’s hard to pick a medium of choice, but I work in Adobe Illustrator the most.

What are you hoping to get from your education at MECA?

Hopefully, by the end of my time here at MECA, I’ll have the knowledge and confidence to go out into the world with my work. MECA has a great team of professors and administrators willing to help you however you need. I’m hoping to have a strong portfolio of work after my 4 years here, and the skills to market that work. I want to learn not just the core concepts and basics of design, but how to apply them effectively. I hope that I come out of this experience a well rounded artist able to hold my own in the world.

What’s the most creatively inspiring experience you have?

That’s also a really hard question. I mean I think we’ve all had those moments where you’re doing anything and suddenly you get an urge to paint or draw. Sometimes I’ll be going through a lesson and I have an idea for a piece or something. It’s easy to get inspired if you’re open to it. Walking around Portland at night, with all the street lights on, especially now in the winter, has a really nice feeling. I wouldn’t say that every night is inspiring, but I would say walking at night puts me in the mood to create. It’s really beautiful, and I think the city at night has that effect on everyone.

Why is art important to you?

For me, art is a method of communicating with people, in a way that my words can’t. Art is a way of working through what’s inside my head. When I draw or I design, it’s more than just putting pencil to paper. When you make art you put all of your experiences and feelings into the work. People respond to your work, in ways that you can’t predict. It has the power to change peoples’ mindsets, inspire change. I see a lot wrong with the world today, and art is my way of trying to change things for the better. I believe in the power that art has, and the spirit that artists put into their work, which is why I have to be a part of it.

How does learning about art impact other parts of your thinking? Your life?

Learning about art has given me quite a different perspective on life than other people might have. As an artist you’re open and curious about the world. You see the beauty in everything. In a world full of war and politics you stand out from the crowd. In one of my classes we read the book “Artists in the Time of War” by Howard Zinn, and it completely changed the way I thought about politics and art. I find that I’m more open to ideas and change. As a designer, I like to problem solve, so I find that in life I’m always looking at things and trying to imagine them better. I think that learning about art, whether it be movements or artists, you start to see the another side of the world and history than what’s just plugged into textbooks or media. As an artist, I’ve got to be open to looking for new perspectives, different solutions, and beautiful things.

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