Posts Tagged ‘Deb Bickford’

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MAEA Conference and Awards

April 12, 2022

What a day for art education!

The Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) concluded an outstanding spring conference by presenting three, no four, awards to deserving educators. But first a word about the conference. I’ve been around long enough to see institutions transform, some for the third and fourth time. I had the pleasure of working on the planning committee for the MAEA spring conference that was held on Saturday, April 2 in Rockland at the Farnsworth Art Museum and CMCA. I’m not just talking about a conference that was held in both facilities but what took place was magical. It was delightful to see the two institutions partner with MAEA to put together a very worthwhile day for art educators.

Presentation by Daniel Salomon

The conference entitled Radical Reuse was planned and implemented by a group of people who had never worked together before, some new to their positions, and everyone went above and beyond. Over a two month period every Thursday the education staffs of both institutions and the MAEA conference planners came together on zoom to plan the annual spring conference. THANK YOU to everyone for a job well done! From CMCA: Mia Bogyo, and representing the Farnsworth: Gwendolyn Loomis Smith, Katherine Karlik, and Alexis Saba. MAEA president, Lynda Leonas, coordinated the effort with board members Iva Damon and Christine Del Rossi supporting. From the Rockland school district Richard Wehnke helped.

Printmaking with Sherrie York – Lynda Leonas and Iva Damon

The keynote was provided by Krisanne Baker, Medomak Valley High School art and ecology teacher and artist. She is committed to advocating for the ocean and inspires her students to learn about water quality, availability and rights, and ocean stewardship. Guest speaker Daniel Salomon who teaches in The Hatchery at Camden Hills Regional High School provided background information on the work he is doing with students utilizing and reusing materials and the role we each can play.

Gallery tour, Farnsworth

After the opening speakers, conference participants attended sessions on printmaking with Sherrie York, art making around ‘place’ with Alexis Iammarino, toured the Farnsworth Museum, and toured CMCA. Several merchants from Downtown Rockland supported the conference goers with discounts. During the middle of the day Daniel’s students from the Hatchery, set up outside CMCA, shared several of the projects they have been involved in this year.

Alexis Iammarino demonstrating, CMCA

AWARDS PROGRAM

The day concluded with honoring the work of four educators with an amazing backdrop of quilts at CMCA. The educators are outstanding in and out of the classroom, engaged in work at the local, regional, and state level. They work (and play) tirelessly, sometimes alone and often collaborating with others. Every day they exhibit all that is right about education. In their respective institutions they have a place at the table where they continuously advocate for students and art education. We know that an excellent education in the arts is essential, and these educators strive for every student to experience just that. 

The awards committee was led by Belfast Area High School art teacher Heidi O’Donnell. Members of the committee included Hope Lord, Maranacook Middle School art teacher and Suzanne Goulet, Waterville High School art teacher, and myself. The awards, clay vessels, were created by Carolyn Brown, Camden Hills Regional High School art teacher. In addition each educator received a plaque for their classroom and a pineapple.

The 2022 Administration/Supervision Art Educator of the Year was presented to Dr. Rachel Somerville who is at Maine College of Art & Design and Westbrook Schools. She was introduced by Melissa Perkins, Congin Elementary School art teacher, Westbrook.

Melissa presenting Rachel

The 2022 Secondary Art Educator of the year was presented to Iva Damon, art teacher at Leavitt Area High School in Turner. She was introduced by Lynda Leonas, president of MAEA and an art teacher at Walton and Washburn Elementary Schools in Auburn.

Lynda presenting Iva

The 2023 Maine Art Educator of the Year was presented to Matthew Johnson, art teacher at Westbrook High School. He was introduced by Deb Bickford who also teaches art at Westbrook High School.

Lynda Leonas presented a surprise pineapple award to Heidi for outstanding leadership and contributions to the MAEA board. She is stepping down from the board as she takes on a leadership position with the National Art Education Association.

Heidi O’Donnell, right with her Belfast colleagues Linda Nicholas, middle and Kathie Gass, left

As we move away from the challenges of the pandemic I urge you to consider:

  • Become a member of MAEA, if you are not already one
  • Volunteer to become a board member and take on a leadership role
  • Nominate a colleague who is worthy of recognition

For more information please go to the MAEA website.

Photos taken by Heidi O’Donnell and myself.

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MAEA Honors Art Educators

April 29, 2017

Maine Art Education Association

Westbrook, Maine, April 2017 – On Friday, April 7 in the beautiful library of Westbrook MIddle School, the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) honored seven of Maine’s art educators for excellent service to their profession, their schools and their communities. It was an evening filled with sincere praise and celebrated in typical fashion with custom-made ceramic vases, flowers and, of course, pineapples. Holly Houston, Recognitions Chair for the MAEA, began the evening talking about the “wonderfulness of art teachers” and with each award presented that wonderfulness became more apparent.

Rhonda Miller presented the 2017 Distinguished Art Educator Award for Pat Savigny-Higgins from Marshwood High School in South Berwick, describing Savigny-Higgins as an “art teacher down to her bones” who is known for her dedication to students. Savigny-Higgins responded with thanks especially to her students for challenging her. Citing that art is crucial now more ever, she urged support for the arts due to the “life lessons that happen in the art room.”

Jodi Thomas presented the 2017 Outstanding Service to the Profession Award to Jody Dube from Lewiston High School. Jody is responsible for guiding students through the creation of pottery that is sold to help fund the Store Next Door, with the mission of supporting homeless students. In this endeavor, stated Thomas, Dube teaches students their “skills have monetary value and can be harnessed to make a difference.” Dube stated he was honored and humbled and thanked all teachers who do what they do every day, saying “In these challenging times, it is an important mission to be able to help kids be who they were meant to be and not just a test score.”

Lisa Ingraham presented the 2017 Retired Art Educator Award to Frank Chin, a former middle school teacher in Skowhegan. After more than 30 years of teaching Ingraham wondered how many students have a deep understanding of the arts because of Chin’s dedicated career. Chin stated that the best thing about teaching art is when things come back to you. He read a letter from a former student who years after being in his classroom wrote to tell him that his kindness was transformative her her, urging him to to remember that while teaching may seem rewardless at times, “please make sure you know you make a difference.”

Lisa Ingraham also presented the award for 2017 Secondary Art Educator of the Year to Mandi Mitchell from Hermon High School, describing Mitchell as a “whirlwind of creative energy who infuses joy into all she does.” Mitchell expressed gratitude for the recognition and thanked her colleagues Ingraham and Suzanne Goulet who have been influential in her career.

Deb Arter introduced the award for 2017 Middle/Elementary Art Educator of the Year to Laura Devin of Woolwich Central School. Arter described Devin as a fierce advocate for the arts and her local program, who spent years in a waterless mobile classroom but now works in a facility that includes a kiln and a printing press. Devin, who accepted the award wrapped in a giant paper chain while wearing a tiara, stated that the arts offer creativity, collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking skills. Devin closed by saying, “Art is so important and we are so lucky to be able to bring it to kids.”

Kay Allison and Kate Cargile presented the 2017 Museum Art Educator of the Year Award to Anthony Shostak of the Bates College Museum of Art. Allison and Cargile spoke from their experience as nearby teachers at Lewiston Middle School, describing how Shostak makes the museum accessible to art students of all ages. They spoke of how Shostak is an asset not only to Bates but all the surrounding schools, especially citing his Thousand Words Project which emphasizes art and literacy connections. Shostak, from Lewiston originally, expressed pleasure at working with teachers and honoring students and their growth in the arts.

Finally, Matt Johnson presented the award for 2018 Maine Art Educator of the Year to his colleague, Deb Bickford of Westbrook High School. Bickford recalled others discouraging her from entering into the arts as a profession but she was determined to make her own way. Most importantly, stated Bickford, is the realization that the art classroom isn’t there to make artists but rather, “We help people learn how to learn. We just happen to do it with art.” Bickford invited seven current and former students to talk about what learning in the art room meant to them. The students expressed themes of the art room being a safe place of refuge but also a place to push you out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons. They spoke of the art room as a place to learn to make better decisions and art as fundamental to the human mind. They talked about how art classes offered valuable life lessons such as how to learn different ways to look at things, to self-evaluate through constructive criticism and to communicate effectively.

Suzanne Goulet also honored Deb Bickford as outgoing president of the Maine Art Education Association. Suzanne Goulet will serve as current president for the next two years.

The Maine Art Education Association is a statewide professional organization whose members are committed to excellence in visual arts education.

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Art – The 1st Language

July 3, 2013

Check out Deb’s blog for advocacy

Westbrook High School art teacher Deb Bickford uses a blog as an instructional tool, a resource site, and a communication hub. Her students like knowing that the information is easily accessible in school and at home. Deb catalogs all kinds of information on the blog so she can refer to it easily.

Recently Deb added information about the National Core Arts Standards which she is using to help others keep up with the information that is coming our way. On June 30 a draft of the PK-8 National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) were released for feedback until July 15. Deb sent the blog link with the NCAS information to her administrators to inform them and invite them to provide feedback.

Check out Deb’s blog by clicking here. If you have questions please email Deb by clicking here. Thank you Deb for sharing this information!

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