Posts Tagged ‘Houlton’


Aroostook Mall Art Exhibit

March 20, 2017

Northern pARTners

Mackenzie Vigue and Delanie Cyr of Mapleton Elementary School

The Northern pARTners, Aroostook County regional art teachers, held a reception at the Aroostook Centre Mall on Thursday, March 9th from 7-7:30pm. Students from all around Aroostook County gathered to celebrate and showcase student artwork for the Essence of the North annual YAM(Youth Art Month) art show.

There were eleven county school districts represented including Presque Isle/Mapleton, Fort Fairfield, Limestone, Caribou, Ashland, Washburn, Connor, Hodgdon, Houlton, Mars Hill, and St. Agatha/Frenchville.

The Aroostook Centre Mall graciously donated space again this year for hanging the show. Vibrant colors and stunning examples of student artistic talents and skills filled the room as county art educators put up their student work.

Student artists accompanied by family and friends filled the gallery space from 6:45-7:45 Thursday evening. The visual appeal of the exhibit is an experience one wouldn’t want to miss. This was evident on reception night as people of all ages excitedly traveled around the exhibit.

Jack Boone of Zippel Elementary School

Beth Walker, Washburn art educator, provided a scavenger hunt which has student artists and their families studying the artworks looking for 2 clues in each district’s collection. They check off if they found the clue and write down the district where it was found. Stacy Ramsey, art educator from Hodgdon, created a visual scavenger hunt for her younger students. Students had to find photo images that she had photographed and printed off.

Despite the blustery weather conditions, it was an exciting evening meeting, greeting, and praising the students and their art work.

The northern pARTners are very appreciative and thankful to the Aroostook Centre Mall for providing this opportunity to display artwork from school districts around the county.

The artwork will be on display from February 28 through March 31st.


Abby Collins of Zippel Elementary School


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Pam Chernesky

March 14, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the third blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader stories. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work each Maine visual or performing arts teacher or artist is doing.  CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 81 Teacher Leaders plus 4 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. There have been 74 posted to date. Thank you Pam for sharing your story!

Pam Chernesky teaches theatre and visual art at Houlton Middle/High School. She has taught art and theatre in Maine for the past 29 both downstate (Gov. Baxter School for the Deaf and Bonny Eagle High School) and, has been teaching art in the County for the past 3 years. Her high school courses include Art 1, Art 2, Advanced Art, Ceramics, Photography, and Theatre. She also teaches art and theatre with 6th, 7th and 8th graders in the Middle School. In total Pam teaches about 400 students with 3/4 of her time in visual arts and 1/4 teaching theatre.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

 I love seeing students connect with each other and discover their own creative voice. In my district students have not had any elementary art or theatre so I see them transform into artists. Teaching students to take risks, believe in their ideas, and work collaboratively energizes me on a daily basis.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

Opportunity to learn, passionate teachers who love sharing their craft, and resources and support from the administration and the community. If these happen consistently then success is at hand.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Many of my students have their first ever art or theatre class in middle or high school and truly believe they can’t create, have no ideas, or are afraid that they will get it “wrong”. Quality assessment provides clear expectations for both the students and me.   They see their progress toward meeting standards and realize that they CAN achieve and create.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative?

I definitely cherish meeting and working with so many wonderful arts teachers from across the state who are like-minded and willing to think outside the box. The trainings and leadership opportunities that have been afforded to me since joining MALI are impacting my practice and leadership in so many ways.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud of the accomplishments of my students. This includes the state and nationally recognized performers and artists, as well as the students who just take my classes to earn a graduation credit and instead learned so much more. I know that when you learn to create, you will be less likely to destroy. When you put yourself out there and take a creative risk, you will be less likely to criticize different ideas. When you connect with others and see diverse ways to express ideas, you will not see your world in such a black and white, right and wrong view. The arts impact every human being who participate in profound and long-lasting ways, and I am proud of my part in facilitating those changes in my students.

Visual Art and Theatre teacher Pam Chernesky and Dance and Phys. Ed. teacher MaryEllen Schaper (Bonny Eagle Middle School)

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

In schools, time is always a huge factor, coupled with the strange concept that the arts are not a “core” subject and therefore don’t really matter in the same way as other subjects. The resistance to change at a systemic level is most frustrating. I think that if schools let all the arts teachers reinvent the way a school day would operate, I could be a better teacher and my students would see connections and be better learners and future citizens.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to luck” or circumstances?

I have worked hard to expand offerings for students both during school and in extra-curricular areas. Students participate in the MLTI Screensaver Challenge, the Scholastic Art Awards, art shows outside of school and the MPA One-Act Festival. I am on the boards of our community arts center and the local children’s theatre. Most people have no idea of the hours of work and coordination it takes to build relationships, provide opportunities, and share those successes with the community.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Never underestimate your power as a teacher to change a student’s life and make a difference. Your students are learning more than vocabulary or skills, they are learning to think, empathize, connect and become better human beings, and we teach all those things through the arts.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would travel with my family and experience arts and cultures around the world. I could probably even get a ticket to Hamilton in New York! I would also save money for my daughter’s college expenses as she pursues her love of music. I would use the rest of the money to provide more opportunities for my students. Field trips to museums and performances are out of reach for many rural schools who live great distances away from those venues. It would be a thrill to be able to afford to take them to see the works of art that they have only seen in books or on the internet, or to see live performances.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I hope not. I struggle with balancing my family life with my arts life, and it is wonderful when they intersect. I am lucky to have the loving support of my family but I don’t underestimate the time we have together. Hopefully at 94 I can look back with fond memories of it all! I know I love what I am doing right now.


Essence of the North Student Art Exhibit

March 25, 2013

Aroostook county

Thank you to art teacher Ruth McAtee for contributing this blog post and the photos that accompany it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is our fifth annual Essence of the North Student Art Exhibit. It is now on display at the Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque, Maine. This show is put on by the Northern pARTners Aroostook county regional art educators, a group of art teachers from school districts around Aroostook county. Throughout the year we meet once a month or every other month to share information on what’s happening in the visual arts at the state and national level as well as what we are doing in our own visual arts programs. We usually meet at a school site, and art teachers who cannot come to the site, attend via Tandberg. Planning for the our annual art show takes place at these meetings.

This year the show features selected art pieces from the following districts: Caribou, Limestone, Connor, Easton, St. Agatha, Frenchville, Hodgdon, Houlton, Mars Hill, Presque Isle, Mapleton, Ashland, and Washburn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA reception for the student artists, their families, teachers, and administrators took place March 15 from 7:00-7:30 in the gallery space at the Aroostook Centre Mall where the student work is being showcased. Visual Arts teachers at the reception:  Judy Babbidge (Pre-K-6, Connor) absent from photo, Ruth McAtee (MSAD#1 grs. 3-5 Zippel and Pre-K-5 Mapleton Elementary schools), Beth Ann Walker (K-8, Washburn),  Sue Beaulier (Pre-K-12, Ashland), Jane Hutchison (K-12, Easton), Bonnie Tidd (High School, Houlton), Wanda Jackins (K-12 Mars Hill).

The art work is on display from March 11-April 6th.


While in Aroostook county for the Mega-regional workshop in Easton I had a chance to visit the exhibit at the mall. It was great to see the work of the Northern pARTners. I could imagine the art teachers there together putting the show in place and the families at the opening enjoying it. The collaboration that the art teachers have is marvelous. CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU for providing the opportunity for your community!

Angela Wang, grade 10, Drawing II - student of Ellyn Whitten Smith at Presque Isle High School

Angela Wang, grade 10, Drawing II – student of Ellyn Whitten Smith at Presque Isle High School


Youth Art Month Exhibits

March 14, 2012

From Portland to Hallowell to Bangor to Presque Isle

Celebrating Youth Art Month with student art exhibits throughout the state.

Art in the Heart student exhibit, Bangor Mall

Bangor Mall – Art in the Heart student exhibit. Fifty five art teachers have contributed about 800 pieces of student artwork and came together on a recent Sunday to set up the exhibit. The artwork will be in place until March 17th.

Kal Elmore’s description: “Teachers had selected work, matted work, made lists of students, etc. Calls had been made to arrange mall space, panel moving, etc. The day had arrived. It was time for all the parts to come together. And, yes, it was a Sunday morning.

The panels arrived. People started to set up their exhibits. Art teachers greeted old friends with hugs and news. “Oohs” and “aahs” could be heard as art teachers found pieces that are appealing. It truly was glorious to see this exhibit come together!”                                              

The state Youth Art Month exhibit is at the Portland Museum of Art until the end of the month. The exhibit is sponsored by Maine Art Education Association (MAEA). The official opening was on Saturday, March 10th with hundreds of people there to celebrate the 131 students from grades K-12. It was marvelous! Carol Trimble received the Arts Advocacy Award from MAEA and Linda Stanley, MAEAs selection for the Art Teacher of the Year; both had wonderful messages for parents, teachers, and most importantly the students! The show remains until the end of March.

Camilla Jones, "Me on My Worst Day" Tempera, Hall-Dale High School

The Harlow Gallery in Hallowell annual student exhibits are top notch. The high school exhibit was on display during the first part of the month and presently on display is the elementary student art work. The high schools represented each send one student to actually hang the show. They did a marvelous job on the collaboration.

The Northern pARTners – art teachers from Aroostook county, came together last week to hang their student art show at the Aroostook Centre Mall. The art teachers traveled from Houlton, Easton, Caribou, Hodgdon, St. Agatha, Washburn, Mars Hills, Connor, Fort Fairfield, Limestone, Ashland, and of course Presque Isle. The show has 346 pieces from 12 towns. Hundreds of parents and students attended the opening and there were smiles and smiles to go around.

Madasyn Shorey, Grade 3, Zippel Elementary School, Ruth McAtee art teacher

Aroostook county art teachers at the opening of the exhibit.

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