Posts Tagged ‘Colby College’


Poetry Resources

May 14, 2018

Wes McNair

During Poetry Month, former Maine’s Poet Laureate, Wes McNair launched a new poetry website for teachers and learners called The Lyric Moose.  If you’re looking for a resource that will help you teach or learn about free verse poetry and how to write about it, check out this compendium of six programs, with a wide range of interactive instruction, including videos, craft exercises, teaching assignments, author interviews and poem lists.

While visiting the site I found the resource 20 Maine Poets Read and Discuss Their Work compelling. The resource includes 20 short videos in which a diverse group of contemporary Maine poets read two poems apiece and explain their beginnings as poets, their influences, and their themes. Gibson Fay LeBlanc and Megan Grumbling are two of the 20 poets featured. For several years they have both provided workshops for the Commission’s Poetry Out Loud program.


“The website includes links to poetry projects for teachers that I’ve developed with Colby College Special Collections and Information Technology Services. There are six links in all, and three of them were sponsored in one way or another by the Maine Arts Commission.”

It is wonderful to see the impact that Wes continues to make on education in Maine and beyond. THANK YOU Wes for your contributions!


Big Fun Friday

November 21, 2016

What a day!

I had the pleasure of participating in three very different events last Friday. The STEM Summit, the 3-day reading of Moby Dick, and an amazing dance performance at Thornton Academy.


screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-9-04-05-pmMy morning started at Colby College at the STEM Summit “Building Bridges: Developing Partnerships to Build Capacity for STEM Education in Maine”. I was a member of a panel including Lindsey Pinchbeck, SweetTree Arts; Brett Elwell, EverFi; Hannah Walden, Maine Central Institute; Kate Cook Whitt, Thomas College; and Eva Szillery, Maine Mathematics Science and Engineering Talent Search. The session was called “Addressing STEM From Differing Perspectives for Students” and below is the description. I had the chance to share some of the amazing Maine arts educators work happening in STEAM in Maine!!

Designing engaging STEM learning experiences cannot be done through one-size-fits all approaches. This panel showcases the wide variety of ways learners can access STEM, through the arts, sports, coding, and others. Learn about the opportunities that are available to Maine’s teachers and how you can participate in these innovative approaches to STEM learning and teaching.

Irwin Gratz

Irwin Gratz


From there I headed south to the Portland Museum of Art to participate in the three-day non-stop reading of the classic Moby Dick. It was fun and a fairly intense experience. We had to read from the book that they provided. For those of you who have read the book the language can be challenging and the sentences a mile long. It has been some time since I read to my own sons or my middle school students so reading out loud felt like a new experience. By the end my eyes were bouncing!

Interestingly enough, from PBS radio, Irwin Gratz read not to long before my scheduled 10 minutes. And, not long after me Julie Richard read. What I loved most but wasn’t able to appreciate it (since I was looking down to follow along in the book) was behind the reader on the large screen were rotating images of a graphic novel of Moby Dick.


img_4394My last stop of the day was at Thornton Academy in Saco for the Fall Into Dance concert. Participating schools: Thornton Academy, Berwick Academy, Studio for the Living Arts, Collective Motion, Community Dance Project, New England Dance Project. Last years performance raised $2,650 and the funding was awarded to MSAD #33 for a dance education residency which will take place in two weeks. I was stunned when I read on the giant check the amount of $3575.00. Look for the information in the future and begin conversations with your colleagues about possibilities of having a teaching artist at your school next school year.


Announcing the amount of $3575.00 being given to the Maine Arts Commission to disperse as a dance education grant.



Visiting Colby College Museum

November 2, 2014

MAC Ticket to Ride funding

For a handful of years the Maine Arts Commission has provided funding to defray the cost of travel for Maine schools wishing to visit Maine arts based venues and events as part of a well rounded curriculum. Below is information provided by Jeremy Smith who teaches visual art at Maranacook Community High School.

Colby1Recently Mr. Smith took my students on a field trip to Colby College Art Museum to view the contemporary sculpture on exhibit there.  There were some remarkable works on view by artists such as Maya Lin, Glenn Ligon, Jenny Holzer, Claes Oldenburg, and Louise Nevelson.  Also currently on view at Colby were many pieces by renowned Maine artist, Bernard Langlais. 

The tour was excellent and the guides were informative and interactive.  Students were asked to participate in thoughtful critiques of several works on display.  When Mr. Smith’s students returned back to the classroom, they were asked to write hypotheses about the elements of visual communication they experienced while at Colby.  Students used a wiki that Mr. Smith created to help them remember the visual narratives from each sculpture.  Through their further investigation and discussions, the students collaborated in small groups to analyze one particular work and form opinions about their chosen artist’s intent, social relevance, and message. 

Afterwards, Smith’s students turned their work toward creating a narrative sculpture about bees, using personal influences and collaboration.  Using found objects to create hive structures and working with aluminum foil, students in Smith’s classes worked to create several collaborative pieces that will be installed into the school’s vegetable garden during the spring of 2015. 

Smith was pleased to have his students’ Colby visit funded through the Ticket to Ride program from the Maine Arts Commission which helped provide the opportunity!  Thanks also to Colby for their remarkable staff and volunteers! 

Wikis have multiple uses and are a great technology tool to utilize in the Arts classroom. To view the one used in Jeremy’s class please click here. 


Please Note

At this time, the Maine Arts Commission is unable to fulfill Ticket to Ride funding requests.  The Maine Arts Commission expects that additional Ticket to Ride funding will be available in the near future. We recommend visiting this site periodically for an update on funding and possible program modifications.


Cartoonist Visits Colby

September 29, 2012

Colby College student, Leah Breen is planning an event on campus that is open to Colby students as well as younger students. She has arranged for Matt Wuerker, a Pulitzer prize winning editorial cartoonist for Politico, to come to campus on October 10.

Matt will lead a cartooning workshop focused on the creative process of how an idea becomes a drawing for students at 3:30 in Diamond. Hors d’oeuvres will be available at 5:30pm for people to look at his work and speak with him. At 7:00pm Matt will speak and some of his artwork will be on display in the Diamond atrium during the days leading up to the event. Wuerker will talk about creating images that reflect events and sentiments during an election season. He will also discuss the fine line between humorous art and serious political statements. Leah says: “His  images are outstanding and he is a fantastic speaker (I saw him give a talk at the Newseum in D.C this summer).””

Matt Wuerker is a political cartoonist for, and a founding staff member of, Politico. He is a winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning which represented Politico’s first Pulitzer win. In 2009 and 2010, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.

Over the past 25 years, his work has appeared in publications ranging from The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. His work extends beyond political cartooning—he has pursued clay animation, outdoor mural, book illustration, and even teaching cartooning to prison inmates.

What a unique opportunity – hopefully students who are interested in cartooning will attend.

The workshop, dinner (buffet style so people can browse Matt’s images with him like at an art gallery), and evening lecture are all open to the public and are all free. Everyone is welcome! Here is a link to the posting on Colby’s site:

The workshop is at 3:30pm, the dinner is at 5:30pm in Diamond, and the lecture is at 7:00pm. All events are in the Diamond building, located next to Admissions on Mayflower Hill Dr. This map shows Diamond at the bottom, left hand corner: 

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