Posts Tagged ‘BCTA’

h1

MAAE Artist Residency Program

August 19, 2015

Addressing Social Issues in Portland

Maine Alliance for Arts Education’s (MAAE) Building Community Through the Arts drama and dance residency program (BCTA) was developed in 2000 after the shooting at Columbine High School brought the issue of social climate in schools to the nation’s attention. The BCTA residencies, engaging whole classes of students in non-­arts high school classrooms in the collaborative creation and performance of an original theater or dance piece,  introduced many students to creative theater and dance, even as they helped to break down social barriers and build trust. Until recently the program has been operating primarily in the Penquis Region of the state, where student social issues were often based on socio­-economic diversity or gender issues. But BCTA has been expanding into more areas, and this summer it has come to Portland, where the social issues the students are dealing with include racial and religious diversity.

5e4a1529-30a4-4c07-8632-b978223a4a28The introduction of the BCTA program into Portland has been through MAAE’s new partnership with OPEN (Organization for Partnership and Engagement with Neighborhoods), an after-school and week­end program in Portland’s Parkside area that engages diverse youth to take an active role in the decision making and dialogue about issues of social justice affecting their community.  During a three-­week residency in July with BCTA theater artist Jeri Pitcher, an OPEN group of 12 mostly minority and immigrant youth created “Amy’s First Day,” an original drama, which they performed for the community on the evening of July 22.

The play, the first time that the OPEN program had incorporated theater, addressed racial and religious bias in the community through the eyes of the title character Amy, an African girl newly arrived in Portland. To read more about the play and the issues it raised, visit MAAE’s website, http://www.maineartsed.org

668f31f2-e4bc-4d8c-b762-6ceeb50c2a54MAAE will be working with OPEN and with the youth themselves to explore options for bringing the BCTA program into Portland schools. Public input is welcome as well. To contribute to this discussion and for more information contact MAAE Executive Director Susan Potters either by email (s.potters@maineartsed.org) or by phone (207) 439­-3169.

h1

Maine Alliance for Arts Ed News

December 13, 2014

Building Community Through the Arts

In November the Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) brought five English classes from Bangor and Brewer high schools together for the performance of original works each class had created as part of Building Community Through the Arts (BCTA).  BCTA, the MAAE drama and dance artist residency program now in its fifteenth year, engages whole classes in the collaborative creation of an original play or dance piece, culminating in a regional public performance.

FullSizeRenderThe three Brewer High School groups, all creative writing classes of teacher Michelle MacDonald, worked with drama teaching artist Jeri Pitcher to create and perform works that were based on their self-identified social issues. These were compelling and in some cases darkly humorous plays of social criticism directed at such issues as persistent negative attitudes, social labels and intolerance of difference. Even online social networking came under criticism, for paradoxically encouraging a focus on self rather than on caring about others.

The two Bangor High School classes of teacher Angela Domina, both college preparatory classes in Junior English, worked with dance teaching artist Katenia Keller to create dances that expressed universal  themes, such as nature versus societal order, and loyalty versus betrayal that the students  had explored in their readings of medieval British literature.

FullSizeRender 4Initiated in response to the tragedy at Columbine High School, the collaborative process in the MAAE program helps to break down social barriers among students even as its classroom setting directly connects that process with academic learning. As one Bangor student remarked,  “just as we all have to work together to form a dance group, all the parts need to work together to form a story.”

For more on the November student performances and photos visit MAAE’s website, www.maineartsed.org.

h1

Building Community Through the Arts

November 16, 2013

English and Science Classes at Bangor High School and Brewer High School Create Original Dance and Drama

IMG_0190Four academic classes from Brewer High School and Bangor High School have been working on original dance and drama pieces for the past several weeks, and will be performing them for the public on Wednesday, November 20 in Orono. The students’ creative work is part of “Building Community Through the Arts,” a program organized annually at these schools by the Maine Alliance for Arts & Education (MAAE). The artist residency program, now in its fourteenth year, brings professional Maine choreographers and playwrights into academic secondary school classrooms to help students create group works which combine curriculum themes with the social issues the students themselves choose to address.

At Bangor High School this year Susannah Owen’s sophomore English class has been creating a dance piece based on its reading of Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” and Michele Benoit’s Introductory Chemistry class is creating a dance based on the behavior of elements. Both classes are working with Maine choreographer Katenia Keller.

At Brewer High School Michelle MacDonald’s two creative writing classes are creating works of drama with Maine playwright/ director Jeri Pitcher. For most of the students this is their first experience in creative theater and dance.

The public is invited to view the performances, which will take place at the Church of Universal Fellowship, 82 State Street in Orono. Admission is free. “Building Community Through the Arts” is funded this year with support from the Maine Humanities Council. Performances will run from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm; for more information visit the MAAE website, www.maineartsed.org

h1

Maine Alliance for Arts Education Awards

March 9, 2012

MAINE ALLIANCE FOR ARTS EDUCATION ANNOUNCES 2012 AWARDS

The Maine Alliance for Arts Education is pleased to announce Brian Walsh, Principal at Hermon High School and MaryEllen Schaper, dance educator and teacher at Bonny Eagle Middle and High School as the winners of its annual awards for excellence and service to arts education in Maine.

Walsh was selected as the 2012 Outstanding Administrator Advocate for Arts Education Award, which is given each year to a school or organization administrator who has:
demonstrated outstanding leadership and support of the arts, established exemplary or innovative arts education programs, and promoted the importance of arts in education.

Schaper is the recipient of the 2012 Bill Bonyun Artist/Educator Award which is given each year in honor of Bill Bonyun whose career as a folklorist, storyteller, singer, writer, and educator spanned over half a century. The award is given to someone who has:
made significant contributions to arts education, shown outstanding commitment and dedicated service in arts education, and been an inspiration to students, teachers, and the community.

In nominating Walsh, Cheryl Olson Lorenz said, “In a small community with a high school known as a ‘sports school,’ the support of the principal can make the difference between the arts acting in anonymity or stepping into the spotlight. Brian Walsh has made that kind of difference at Hermon High School through his leadership and support of the arts, arts advocacy, and artistic expression.”

And in her nomination letter for Schaper, Nancy Salmon describes her contributions to dance education by saying, “MaryEllen has provided countless students with their first taste of the joy of dance and movement.”

Schaper and Walsh will receive their awards at a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion, Blaine House on March 14.

MAAE will also honor Carol Gardien Trimble at the March 14th Blaine House Arts Education Celebration for her dedicated service as its Executive Director. In December 2011, Carol stepped down from her post, having served ten years in this role. During her tenure, Carol guided the organization through a period of program and service expansion and helped the board of directors to make major changes that strengthened MAAE as an important state and national networking and advocacy entity. Under her leadership MAAE created and managed two important programs that offered direct services to Maine students and teachers: Learning in Community – Arts (LINC) in Hancock County) and (with Susan Potters), Building Community Through the Arts (BCTA). To support these programs and other MAAE initiatives, Carol garnered funding through innumerable, federal, state, and foundation grants and corporate supporters. Her administrative skills and gracious presence at the heart of MAAE is greatly missed.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: