Posts Tagged ‘arts education day’


Another Student’s Story: Zachary Fisher

April 10, 2014

What Can The Arts Do For Me? By Zachary Fisher

Zachary is the student representative on the Maine Alliance for Arts Education board. On Arts Education day recently at the State House in Augusta Zachary shared the following message.

Why on Earth is arts education a necessity in my upbringing? What could theatre do for me? What could music do for me? Painting, dancing, acting, singing, sculpting? What could they do for me? What could the arts possibly do for me?


Zack and fellow student on Arts Education Day at the State House in Augusta

It scares me to think that this is the mindset of some people in our world. When I hear the question, “What can the arts do?”, I think to myself, “What can’t the arts do?”. Mind you, the Minuet in G has never cleaned my room nor has it cooked me dinner, but when the arts are placed in such a useless and expendable light, I cannot help but be appalled.

I am required to take math because it is a fundamental component of our universe. Math classes increase logical problem solving skills and keep the brain sharp.

I am required to take science because it allows me to comprehend my universe. Science class helps me acknowledge the processes of life and complicated systems in my surroundings.

I am required to take English because it is the language I, and approximately 30% of the entire world speak. English classes help me to express ideas and communicate effectively through our common tongue.

I am hardly required to take classes in the arts. My high school, and many others like it, only require a single year of any “fine arts” class to gain the credit. Compare this to the three years of math, three years of science, and four years of English I was required to take in order to obtain my high school diploma.

What is it then, that separates the arts from other classes? Most importantly is emotion. In high school emotions rage like a wildfire. I have never met a person who can express themselves properly by use of the trigonometry fundamentals. In theory, the english language could express our emotions, and does to some degree, but we as students learn quickly that English class is not interested in our opinion influenced by emotion, but our opinion influenced by research. The arts give us a place to release these kept emotions, and grants us a medium to express ourselves at a satisfactory level.

Common statistics show us that the arts are components to an overall better student. Students who take over a year of classes pertaining to the arts have on average better attendance rates, less discipline reports, higher grade point averages, higher graduation rates, and higher standardized test scores. This is because the arts teach discipline like no other classes offered in a school. This discipline transfers to other classes quite easily and in turn creates a student with better habits.

Finally, if the arts making a better student and providing safe emotional expression does not interest you, then hear this final argument. I have to sit eighty minutes every day, learning how to do complicated math problems. As a future music teacher, I will never touch quadratics after high school so long as I have something to say about it. The future engineering major who sits beside me though, cannot get enough of this curriculum. Just as he enjoys math because it pertains to his career, chorus class is my shining moment of the day where I get a taste of my future, and a taste of what I love. Without math class, the country would be in turmoil. Our economy would likely collapse and our everyday innovations cease to exist. That being said, even utopia would be boring without the arts to color it. The perfect world would give us music to be heard, art to be seen, and plays to be entertained by. Poets would be praised, and singers highly respected. The unfortunate truth is, we live in a world far from perfect. Which means we need the arts more than ever. You need the arts more than you realize. We as students are the influences of your future, so please ask yourself, what can arts do for our students? As you’ll then in turn ask yourself, what can the arts do for me?


Julie Richard Remarks

April 9, 2014


These are the remarks that Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission, Julie Richard presented at Arts Education Day at the State House, Augusta, April 2, 2014.

Arts Education Day_1869 copy

I have been in Maine for about a year and a half and I feel like I am finally getting settled in. Even though this winter has been endless… Having moved here from Arizona, the transition has been quite something!

Arts education has always been a passion of mine. I am a product of a strong school music program which guided my desire to study voice in college and later arts administration. Without band and chorus every day, I would not have made it through high school. Yes, I had both every day – all through junior high and high school. That is not something most of our schools anywhere in this country can boast.

When I was interviewing for this job, I was asked to provide my vision for the future of the arts in Maine. Providing strong arts education programs in ALL of our schools was at the core of my message. Without the arts in our schools, our students will not have the critical thinking skills, creativity, problem solving abilities or poise to lead the creative economy of the future. Let alone developing musicians that can lead our orchestras, artists that can fill our galleries or dancers that can stretch our imaginations.

When our leaders talk about creating jobs and investing in science and technology – without including the arts – they are leaving out the most critical component – the creativity that drives the ideas and inventions that have built our country.

It is critical that we make STEAM – part of our vernacular. Let’s take STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – and add the A for arts – to ensure that our students are developing all parts of their brains so that Maine’s future economy can thrive.

When I hired Argy Nestor – our new Director of Arts Education – from the Department of Education to lead our arts education initiatives, I made a conscious decision that arts education would be a key and critical component of our future and that we would do whatever we can to strengthen arts education in our schools. From providing professional development for arts educators to make them the best they can be to conducting research like the Arts Education Census to know exactly who the haves and the have nots are in our state. We need to make sure that we work together to be successful.

Last summer, the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Department of Education finalized a Memorandum of Understanding that ensures that our two departments will work together to achieve our goals. We are committed to doing the best we can for our State’s students and our educators. Thanks for coming today and supporting arts education in our state.








Arts Education Day

March 16, 2014

State House, Augusta, April 2


Please join us for Arts Education Day….

8:30 – 9:00 am            Music and National Anthem performed by the Bangor Children’s Choir

9:00 am – Noon          Exhibits in Hall of Flags

Noon – 1:00 pm          Program and Awards Ceremony

Welcome and Introduction by Peter Alexander, Executive Director, Maine Alliance for Arts Education

Choral Selection: Bangor Children’s Choir, Robert Ludwig, Conductor

Introduction by Stephen Wicks, Chair, MAAE

Remarks and Presentation of Proclamation [and/or Joint Resolution]:  Senate President Justin Alfond

Introduction by Joan Staffiere, Board Member, MAAE

Poetry Reading: (Martin Steingesser’s student poets)

Remarks: Zack Fisher, student representative, MAAE board

Remarks: Jeff M. Poulin, Arts Education Program Coordinator • Americans for the Arts

Introduction by Elizabeth Watson, Chair emeritus, MAAE

Remarks: Senator Emily Cain

Presentation of Awards:

Distinguished School Leadership Award and the Bill Bonyun Artist/ Educator Award

Remarks: Argy Nestor, Maine Arts Commission

Closing remarks by Peter Alexander

Choral Selection: Bangor Children’s Choir, Robert Ludwig, Conductor

Feel free to explore the exhibits of leading Maine arts organizations before and after the ceremony.IMG_0775


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