Posts Tagged ‘Bates College’

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Winter Dance Showcase

February 1, 2019

Franco Center and Bates College, Lewiston

Including Thornton Academy Dance Company. February 2, 7:00 p.m., Gendron Franco Center. Tickets: $15.00 for adults, free for students. For tickets call Bates College at 689.2000. F.A.B. (Franco and Bates) represents an ongoing effort to provide opportunities for regional dance artists to present dance works in central Maine, as well as an opportunity for local audiences to have access to contemporary dance works. Visually stunning and kinetically mesmerizing, this event combines classic and modern dance pieces in one of L/A’s magnificent performance halls.

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Dahlov Ipcar’s Impact

July 5, 2018

A wonderful connection

As educators, we often don’t know the impact of our relationships with students. As a teacher our words and guidance may stick for a day, a month, or perhaps a lifetime. We know of Dahlov Ipcar, the amazing artist and her contributions as a children’s book author and illustrator but this story tells much more about Ipcar’s relationship with others. In particular how her work as a teaching artist in a classroom in Cape Elizabeth in 1999 spoke to a young student named Rachel Walls. During the 90’s the programs were called Artist-in Residence and although I don’t know for sure I’m guessing that the program was funded by the Maine Arts Commission. The following  post is was published on June 7, 2018 in the Bates News. It is reprinted on the Maine Arts Education blog with permission from the writer Doug Hubley who is a newswriter at Bates College. Thank you Doug! 

Rachel Walls ’99 was 8 years old when she first met Dahlov Ipcar, one of Maine’s best-known and most-loved artists. Ipcar, known for her children’s books as well as her work in other media, came to Walls’ classroom in Cape Elizabeth through an artist-in-residence program in Maine schools.

“She was assigned to work with us for a quarter and teach us how to write and illustrate children’s books,” says Walls, who is now an art dealer and curator, a cultural historian, and an advocate for the arts in education.

That early encounter blossomed into a friendship and professional relationship between Walls and Ipcar, who died in 2017 at age 99.

Today, Walls is the sole representative of the late Ipcar’s work — a position that led to her participation in creating the Bates College Museum of Art’s summer 2018 exhibition, Dahlov Ipcar: Blue Moons & Menageries.

Dahlov Ipcar chose Indrani Rahman, a famous classical Indian dancer and the grandmother of two Bates alums, as her model for the oil painting “Valley of Tishnar.”

Opening June 8, Blue Moons & Menageries comprises a stunning range of work by an artist known for her versatility across media. And it includes pieces seldom or never shown in public, including a painting from the 1960s for which the model was the first Miss India (for the Miss World pageant) and the grandmother of two Bates alumni.

The daughter of prominent modernist artists Marguerite and William Zorach, Ipcar reached a wide audience through the many children’s books she wrote and illustrated. She also maintained a steady studio practice, producing paintings, sculptures, and prints that are widely represented in public and private collections.

Her work is known for its bold use of color, a dramatic and romantic flair, and its many representations of animals wild and domesticated. Her works “are rich, decorative and, yes, even a little homespun. They are playful, comfortable and homey,” art critic Daniel Kany wrote in January for the Maine Sunday Telegram.

“But they are also highly sophisticated responses to some of the leading intellectual art movements of Modernism, particularly Cubism and Surrealism.” In 1939, Ipcar was the first woman — and, at age 21, the youngest artist at that time — to be featured in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Rachel Walls. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Walls’ parents collected work by Ipcar. “I did get the opportunity to visit her at her farm” in Georgetown, Maine, Walls says, “and because my parents were fans of her work, I was aware of when she was going to be in public, and I attended those events.”

The pair reconnected in a more profound way in 2011. Walls, recovering from a serious skiing accident that affected her reading and writing, turned to Ipcar’s children’s books as she recovered those skills. She brought some Ipcar first editions to a book signing, and the artist invited her to the farm for what turned into an ongoing series of visits.

Ipcar was dealing with her own health setback, and the cruelest one for an artist: gradual loss of her vision because of macular degeneration. She enlisted Walls in an effort to organize information about the life and work of her mother, Marguerite Zorach, and especially to help re-establish Zorach’s artistic credibility, as too often her work was viewed as secondary to that of husband William and even to Ipcar’s.

“Blue Moon Square” (2007) is one of seven works in Dahlov Ipcar’s “Blue Moon” series on display at the Bates art museum.

Ipcar, says Walls, “wanted someone to really document what she felt were important aspects to the cultural significance of Marguerite Zorach in American history and art history.” (Zorach was awarded an honorary degree by Bates in 1964 — and Ipcar had her own turn in 1991.)

“When we completed that project,” Walls continues, ”we started doing the same thing with Dahlov, to make sure that her legacy was also preserved.”

“Something that was very much a part of my training at Bates is that, outside math and science, there’s no one answer to anything,” says Walls, a double major in women’s studies and in American cultural studies.

“It’s all about perspective. I learned how important it is to listen to other perspectives and contextualize how things may have been for somebody else, and how their own experiences left an imprint on how they view and experience life every day.”

Blue Moons & Menageries is full of great stories and surprising connections. The painting “Valley of Tishnar,” for instance, has an arcane but fascinating link to Bates. Named for a place in the children’s fantasy book The Three Royal Monkeys, this 1966 painting depicts a woman wandering in a jungle with leopards, tigers, zebras, and a peacock.

If Ipcar’s fantastic side often seems to draw the most attention, the artist made a serious study of educational, artistic, and psychological theory.

Ipcar’s model for the piece was a famed Indian classical dancer named Indrani Rahman, daughter of an Indian father and American mother. Named Miss India in 1952, Rahman was also the grandmother of two Bates students: Habib Wicks ’94 and Wardreath Wicks ’99, Walls’ classmate.

Meanwhile, appearing in public for the first time ever are five panels from two murals that Ipcar created in the 1930s. A gift to relatives of Ipcar’s husband, Adolph, who died in 2003, the murals illustrated two popular folk songs, “Froggy Went a-Courtin’” and “The Walloping Window Blind.”

Spanning some five decades of Ipcar’s career, and making their public debut as a group in the Bates exhibition, the “Blue Moon” paintings of the exhibition’s title afford a tidy summary of Ipcar’s oeuvre. “If you were only to look at these seven paintings, it’s a very nice overview of the range that she had, and some of the subjects that she used throughout those decades,” Walls says. “To be able to show the majority of those paintings in one space together, is, I think, a major coup.”

Rachel Walls ’99 speaks with museum visitor Jane Abrahamson on the eve of the Ipcar exhibition opening at the Bates College Museum of Art. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

“There are large gaps in the years between some of the paintings,” she adds. “And that’s because the series was truly inspired by Dahlov’s dreams” — she would make a “Blue Moon” painting only in response to a dream whose imagery, what Walls describes as “these fanciful and imaginary creatures,” seemed right.

But if Ipcar’s fantastic side often seems to draw the most attention, the artist, Walls points out, made a serious study of educational, artistic, and psychological theory pertinent to youth development, with the aim of learning “to write literature that was appropriate for the illustrations that she was able to easily create for her books.” (With that in mind, Walls has worked with the Bates museum to develop educational programming for Blue Moons & Menageries, including a reading of Ipcar books coupled with an art-making session on June 26.)

Looking at her own writing and the inspiration she found, early and late, in those books, Walls sees herself as an example of what Ipcar aimed to achieve. “That’s something I find very rewarding,” she says. “I very much valued her friendship, and her creative genius, and the principles and ideals that she tried to put forward in her children’s books.”

“Hunters of the Moon” is a 1966 oil painting by Dahlov Ipcar.

Doug Hubley
Newswriter, Bates College
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In Today’s News

July 31, 2017

Son Long Laura Faure

Laura has directed the Bates Dance Festival and put Maine on the map when it comes to excellent dance learning opportunities. From young children through adults for 30 years Laura has watched them come and go from Lewiston. I have fond memories of meeting Laura and my visit to the festival. Thank you Laura for your commitment to dance in Maine and good luck as your journey continues!

You can read the entire article from the Portland Press Herald written by Bob Keyes by CLICKING  HERE.

 

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In Today’s News

May 26, 2017

Next director Bates Dance Festival

Shoshona Currier, director of performing arts for the city of Chicago, has been appointed as the next director of the Bates Dance Festival, an internationally renowned teaching and performance series held every summer at Bates College. Shoshona was born in Fort Kent and graduated from Windham High School.

You can read the entire article in the Bates news by CLICKING HERE.

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Creativity: What Do We Really Mean?

February 12, 2013

Blog post series

This summer during the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Institute we added Creativity to the overarching components of the focus for the professional development opportunity. The reason for this Creativity blog post and others in the future are because of the following question: How do we provide others with the information and opportunity to think deeply about creativity? Maine is fortunate to have Bronwyn Sale and Trudy Wilson offer this educational opportunity on the meartsed blog.

This is the first in a series of blog posts on creativity written by Bronwyn Sale and Trudy Wilson. Bronwyn was a teacher in a variety of grades and settings for fourteen years, seven of those as a visual art teacher at Brunswick High School before joining the faculty at Bates College. Trudy was a professor of art Education at USM and was a member of the Visual and Performing Arts writing team for the Maine Learning Results. Both Trudy and Bronwyn did graduate research on creativity and have much to offer on the topic. 

We hear the terms creativity, creative, creative thinking, and creative problem solving frequently used (and perhaps misused) in the education world today. Assertions include:  the need for schools and students to be more creative because “21st century skills” demand it, that teachers can’t be as creative as they once were due to testing and other mandates, that schools somehow “kill” creativity,  (we prefer to say: some practices in some schools and in some classrooms may not facilitate creativity), that creative processes, artworks and performances created in arts classes can’t be assessed, or that “creative” is at the top of the new Bloom’s taxonomy (it’s not, create is). In this series of blog posts we will describe what creativity researchers say creativity is and unpack some of the terms associated with creativity most often heard in education: creativity, creative thinking, the creative process, and creative problem solving.  Although these terms are all related to creativity, they all have nuanced meanings that are important for teachers to distinguish when designing curriculum and instruction that may encourage creativity.

We hope this blog series inspires teachers to reflect on their own teaching practices and to think about what they do or do not do to cultivate the potential for student creativity in their classes.  We want to encourage teachers to delve more deeply into research around these terms in order to advocate for the creative processes of teaching that promote student learning and that are grounded in creativity research, rather than educational fads or trends. By including links or references to research, teachers can find the sources they need to advocate for the importance of teaching in ways that promotes creativity within their disciplines to colleagues, administrators, students and parents.  In each blog post we will provide a framework of questions or strategies that gives arts educators in particular a way to consider how their teaching practices may facilitate or inhibit students’ creative potential.

So, what is creativity?

Creativity is not a unique “21st century skill” nor is it exclusive to the arts. Creative processes, creativity and the potential for creative solutions are possible in any discipline or domain and a quick study of history reveals how we have always needed creative solutions to problems!  Arts Teachers, however, may be uniquely positioned to facilitate creativity in their classrooms:  the arts, when taught well, immediately engage students in the habits of mind, thinking and problem solving associated with creative processes in arts disciplines. In exemplary Arts programs, students develop “studio habits of mind” that support creativity and facilitate creative processes in the arts.  These habits are listed here: http://www.artsedsearch.org/summaries/studio-thinking-how-visual-arts-teaching-can-promote-disciplined-habits-of-mind and summarized in a recent post on the Maine Arts Education blog by Pam Ouellette:  https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/habits-of-mind/.

So, what is creativity? Alternatively, what does it mean to say something is creative?  Most researchers (and probably most teachers) do not entirely agree on a definition of creativity and have come up with a variety of theories to explain creativity  (for an extensive text on the subject we recommend Explaining Creativity by R. Keith Sawyer).  However, the most commonly agreed upon definition is originality or uniqueness.  Some would also add appropriateness and/or usefulness.  What is complicated for the arts teacher (or any teacher) is gauging when a student has come up with a unique or original solution to a problem.  Not all arts or classroom products are inherently original or unique. When describing something as creative, point of view and context matter. What may be a unique or a new approach for the student may seem typical from the perspective of the teacher who has experienced the artworks and performances of thousands of students.

In fact, creativity researchers have documented that creative solutions to problems often take years of training, thinking, and “doing” in a domain or discipline before they are realized. So, in order to facilitate creativity in any subject a teacher must teach “domain knowledge” or the content, skills, rules, history and thinking patterns associated with their discipline. Sometimes in arts classes students work on technique or skills: they practice. This practice may actually be one important component of supporting creativity. Although an emphasis on skills and practice may seem counterintuitive at first, it is difficult to be a creative scientist, potter, mathematician, actor, dancer, or musician, if you do not have a solid background and understanding of the techniques, thinking and knowledge associated with these domains. Creativity researchers have documented, with few exceptions, that almost all of the people that we consider “creative” scientists, artists, musicians, poets etc. in our culture, have extensive knowledge and/or training in their respective fields. The type of creative work that alters a domain, field, or history is referred to as “Big C” creativity.

What we are most concerned with facilitating in K-12 classes, however, is often described as  “little c” or personal creativity. Research around “little c” indicates that we all have the capacity for creativity in our lives. It is this education for the “little c,” that may make the “Big C” possible. The dilemma in the classroom, however, remains: how do we know when a student has pushed themselves toward an original or new solution to a creative problem (from the perspective of the student) and when is something a student’s default or common approach? To use language from the book Studio Habits of Mind: How do we know when students “stretch and explore” in their performances, artworks and other assignments? A few strategies may help:

  1. Have students reflect on their personal creativity/originality. You might ask students to describe orally or in writing: How did you arrive at this solution?  Was this a new approach for you? Why or why not? What did you do or think about differently in the work/performance? What have you never done before? Where did you get your ideas? How were you inventive? What skills do you still need to practice in order to realize your vision?
  2. Read and seek to understand the language of the VPA Maine Learning Results that embeds Creative Problem Solving (which is further broken down into understanding the creative process and using creative thinking strategies within the domain of the arts) into the Visual and Performing Arts.
  3. Self-reflect on your approach to teaching: Can students distinguish between technical practice and times when a unique solution is encouraged? Do technical practice and finding creative solutions ever come together for students in my class? Do I strike a balance in my classes between building skills, domain knowledge and problem solving? Do I always provide the solutions for students? Which assignments are open-ended? Closed-ended? Why? Do I always describe in detail how to create every artwork or performance? When do students solve artistic problems for themselves?  When do students find and define the problem for themselves? Do I design some learning experiences for students that allow both problem solving and problem finding?
  4. Balance structure and freedom. Creativity research seems to indicate that too much structure in assignments and classes may decrease creativity but no structure at all also decreases creativity. How do I balance structure and freedom in my classes? What is the “sweet spot” or optimal balance between the two? How can I structure and scaffold learning experiences that allow for student exploration/choice or freedom? What “big” or essential questions are students working toward investigating, exploring and answering in my classes that might help structure and tie curriculum together?
  5. Do I acknowledge or specifically praise inventive and original solutions when they occur?
  6. Teach students about the creative process in your field (model your own process if applicable) and have students document and reflect on their own creative processes. This documentation could occur in sketchbook or process journal. Or, students could videotape/photograph and/or describe the steps they took toward final works and performances.
  7. Teach and model creative thinking strategies (more on this in a future blog post).

For now, to delve deeper we recommend the following:

Explaining Creativity by R. Keith Sawyer  http://ascc.artsci.wustl.edu/~ksawyer/explainingcreativity/

Creativity by Mihayli Cziksaintmihaly

Creativity Research Journal (you may have full access through public/university libraries) http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hcrj20/current

Art Education (Journal) published by the National Art Education Association has had many issues in the past few years addressing creativity in the Visual Arts. The Publication is Free with NAEA membership: http://www.arteducators.org/

Studio Thinking by Lois Hetland, Ellen Winner, Shirley Veenema and Kimberly M. Sheridan  (Not about creativity directly, but describes the Habits of Mind that are developed in exemplary arts programs that certainly facilitate the potential for creativity in the arts)

Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe offers a useful and impactful methodology for designing instruction using essential questions and deep understanding in ways that often balances structure and freedom in the classroom.  Their methodology is being used in the design and writing of the new National Core Arts Standards.

Next post in this series: What is the creative process? What are ways to promote creative thinking and creative problem solving in your classroom?

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Maine Association for Middle Level

October 29, 2012

MAMLE

This past Thursday and Friday I attended the MAMLE conference at Sugarloaf where arts educators were well received in the workshops they presented on a variety of topics. I have included a bit of information below on each of the sessions where the arts teachers presented.

Allied Arts in the Standards World

Sacopee Valley Middle School art teacher and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leader Danette Kerrigan and Medomak Middle School music teacher Julie Sanborn participated in a panel presentation on the work they are doing at their respective middle schools and in their classrooms. The other panel members Lisa Hogan from Mt. Ararat, Barbara Greenstone from Boothbay and Phil Brookhouse from MLTI also made connections to the arts. Friend of arts education, Jill Spencer facilitated the session.

Panel members: Lisa Hogan, Julie Sanborn, Barbara Greenstone, Phil Brookhouse, Danette Kerrigan

Steel Drum Band

Julie also presented a session with the Pantastics, the school’s steel drum band. The band performs at community events and has traveled to other schools and events in and out of Maine. The students played several pieces at the start of the conference as well as in an individual workshop. Other middle school teachers were invited to play one of the drums as well. The members of the band promised to write a blog post on their involvement playing the steel drums. Look for that in the future.

How Can I Teach for Creativity?

Danette was joined by MAAI leadership team member Bronwyn Sale from Bates College for a session on creativity. They made quite a team with Bronwyn presenting foundational information on the creative process, creativity, and creative problem solving. Danette shared the practical components of addressing the topic in a classroom setting and provided participants with hands-on exercises including SCAMPER which stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Magnify, Put to Other Uses, Eliminate (or Minify), and Rearrange (or Reverse).

Bronwyn Sale and Danette Kerrigan

Service Learning and Music Appreciation

Leonard Middle School music teacher Shianne Priest had students join her to share a service learning project that she her music appreciation class has undertaken for two years now. The 8th graders this past year raised $1600 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They collaborated to write the lyrics for a song that 9th grader Lily Muscatell took a step further and wrote the music for and performed. Selling the CD was one part but hearing about their learning and how the experience affected them was amazing.

Shianne and Lily listen while the 8th graders explained the project.

Thank you to everyone for their fabulous work and sharing the opportunities that you afford Maine students!

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Bates Celebrates 30 Years

July 12, 2012

July 13 – August 12

This is the Bates Dance Festival 30th year and year after year they provide wonderful opportunities for dancers and dance appreciators of all ages. To view full details please click here. You can watch videos of the work; read interviews with the artists; and see what the critics have to say! To purchase tickets please call the box office at 207-786-6161 or purchase tickets on line.The main stage series features new works by acclaimed choreographers Rennie Harris Puremovement, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.in.Motion, Kate Weare Company and Keigwin & Company as well as emerging artists from the U.S. and Africa.

In addition the Festival offers a selection of free demonstrations and Inside Dance lectures, as well as low-cost events including, the annual Musician’s Concert and the Festival Finale, a showcase of student talent.
Available is a dine and dance deal that you can learn about by clicking here. Enjoy a delicious dinner at one of our fine local restaurants, Fishbones or Fuel, and get a 10% discount on your meal.
Keigwin + Company

Keigwin + Company

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