Posts Tagged ‘Krisanne Baker’

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ECOARTS Project

May 10, 2019

Gulf of Maine   2019 – 2022

Krisanne and Anna

Artist Anna Dibble is working closely with educators on a multi-year project described below. She’s presently matched up with Medomak Valley High School art teacher, Krisanne Baker, for the start of this project. Anna is actively looking for other teachers and schools to work with so after you read this article consider emailing Anna at THIS LINKShe is most interested in schools in the greater Portland area for the school years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. 

The Project

The central physical focus of the project is the making of a large scale visual art installation to be exhibited for two months or longer in at least two public venues. Utilizing a special fusion of art and natural science, this project’s goals are to increase public awareness of the ecological issues, promote stewardship, and illuminate current changes in biodiversity due to human source climate change and pollution in the Gulf of Maine. The project is an educational collaboration, and also an attempt to create an active dialogue between artists, scientists, educators, and students on the subject of environmental action and solution.

Because of its particular rapid warming, and the unique nature of its ecosystem, the Gulf of Maine is on the forefront of the global climate and ecological crisis – which makes it an excellent metaphor for a public work of art in Maine.

Integral to the project – a catalytic way of public engagement with the installation – will be an accompanying program of related arts events, including music, poetry readings, science talks, and possibly a panel of civic-minded artists and scientists discussing the biodiversity crisis in the Gulf of Maine, and common goals related to the emergency situation.

The Installation

The elements of the installation and the 2D wall displays will be created by a collaboration of over a hundred art and science students – middle, high and college levels, professional artists and filmmakers, lighting and sound designers.

Anna Dibble will direct the entire project with advice and help from a multi generational Creative Team of 12.

Science

The lifecycles and current climate change challenges, as well as the changes in biodiversity will be an important part of the program when I and the other teachers are working with the students to create the sculptures.

First Venue

The Commons at Bigelow Laboratory:  Within a 24 by 7 by 30 foot area between the windows and balcony edge – a facsimile of a Gulf of Maine ecosystem – cross section of upper atmosphere, sky and ocean.

An explosion of hanging light sculpture constructed of marine debris and recycled/found materials: From the top down: Depiction of CO2 overload above sky of sandpipers, knots, plovers, curlews and other endangered flying migrant shorebirds, salt marsh sparrows, puffins; a centrally located 20 foot Right Whale encountering a wild tangle of monofilament, plastic bags, soda bottles and fishing nets; schools of species chosen as symbolic representatives – herring, tuna, cod. Leatherback sea turtles – all  suspended at various levels from the ceiling and stretched cables between the windows and the balcony. Also, ‘alien’ species moving into the Gulf from the south: Green crab, black bass, squid. The ‘texture’ of the installation: hundreds of hanging, floating enlarged versions of Calanus and other microbial  marine animals, jelly fish, algae.  

Wall displays

Anna sharing information in Krisanne’s art room at Medomak Valley High School, Waldoboro

A special film about the process of the project: Interviews with students, artists, teachers and scientists, footage of beach field trips, and edited documentation of the building of the whale, the other animals and elements of the installation.

Two Timelines: Life on earth and Human life on earth. A chart showing ten year increments of the CO2 overload from the time of the industrial revolution until 2021.

The Animals: From the Calanus to the Right Whale: Each represented animal in the installation will have a yet to be determined visual art piece showing the changes in its life cycle, geographic location due to climate change and other human caused impact.

Thank you to Anna for providing the content for this community. 

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Gone to Malawi

May 2, 2019

Water is Life

Thank you to Krisanne Baker, Ecological Artist and Educator, teaches Visual Arts at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro,  who provided this blog post. It was previously published in the Union of Maine Visual Artists Journal and again in the Courier-Gazette newspaper. You can see Krisanne’s artwork at HER WEBSITEKrisanne has continued the work that was started in July 2016, Arts Integration workshops for teachers in Malawi, Africa. If you’re interested in learning more please contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

At this time last year, Medomak Valley High School art teacher Krisanne Baker took her mantra, “Water is Life,” to Malawi, Africa, where she educated teachers at the top of a rainforest about their water systems, and then made art about preservation and conservation.

I found myself waking up, in what I thought was a National Geographic magazine spread, at the top of a rainforest mountain in Malawi, Africa. Passion can take you on some funny paths. Ten years ago I could easily have imagined a safari in Africa, but not for the reason that got me there in April 2018 with my teaching colleague, Melissa Barbour, who had invited me to collaborate with her. My reason for embarking was water, the rains of Africa, and the passion to make and empower change.

My day job for the past 25 years has been as a crazy high school art teacher. I get a kick out of working with hormonal teenagers getting ready to jump into life. When people find out that I teach at the local high school, they say, “Oh, thank you!” They can’t imagine why I’d be crazy enough to want to spend all day with their kids, but they are grateful.

Teaching also funds my main job – I mean the one in my head and my heart – being a painter; and all the expensive art supplies that go along with it. Once my son was old enough, I finally had the opportunity to work on a Master of Fine Arts. I didn’t do it to become a better teacher, although it did make me that, but to get deeper into my own work. You see, I’d always felt like there was something missing.

One of the hardest and yet simplest things to put together as a research thesis in grad school was what I was passionate about. I knew it was water. But where to go from there? Twelve years ago, there were no front page headlines about climate change; Flint, Michigan; Nestlé Corporation or drought. Why water? I’d spent years making paintings of its many moods and atmospheres. But the reveries just weren’t enough. What it came down to is that I CARE about water. And when you look at the myriad ways in which it touches our lives and makes our lives possible, I thought, well, EVERYBODY should care about water!

My research led me down a road I never thought possible – one that scared the pants off of me – ACTIVISM. “Oh, no, I can’t do that! I don’t know the first thing about it… what would I say? What could I possibly do? Does that mean I have to give a performance or something? Wait, no, I can’t do that, I’M AN INTROVERT!”

All I can say is, introvert or extrovert, if you are passionate about something, you find a way to share it with people. The hardest thing I found was to stay positive and not blame or make people feel bad about all the difficult water situations. I found the most meaningful way to bring about a change is to educate people. With knowledge comes the care and the desire to do positive helpful things. Actions start small and grow bigger, bolder and louder.

First I did my work in true introvert style. I made short videos, using myself as a model, superimposed upon various water situations that need our attention. That way I could perform, but didn’t have to come eye to eye with an audience. But after my short films, I began having to do question and answer talks, or tell stories… or give a gallery talk about series of paintings I made to raise awareness of water quality, chemical infiltration and women’s body burdens.

Five years ago, I began incorporating my water awareness work into my classroom teaching. I developed the “Gulf of Maine: Endangered Ocean Creatures” curriculum and “Gulf of Maine: Dare to Care.” Students wholeheartedly engaged. When I was presented with the idea of interdisciplinary teaching in Africa to teachers in a remote area, the first thing I looked up was their connection to water. My first thoughts were the Darfur droughts and water wars between Israel and Palestine. The area where I was to go was water rich in comparison. Malawi, if you don’t know where it is – I didn’t – is just inland from the Eastern shores of Africa, and is home to one of the largest bodies of fresh water on the continent, Lake Malawi. It’s just above Mozambique.

My mission was to incorporate art and the local rainforest ecology in a teachable curriculum for the Ntchisi district teachers, in the hopes that they would implement local ecological stewardship through art and action. When we think of rainforests, we usually think “rich in resources,” which they are. Rainforests currently face major deforestation problems, not only due to removal of rare and beautiful woods, but also through exponentially increasing populations – a global problem. I hired a forest ranger to guide 12 teachers and me through the Ntchisi rainforest. We learned about the water system, in concert with the plants and animals, and how everything is connected through water. Back in a classroom, I drew global water systems on a chalkboard. I talked about how much the ocean covers the planet, and how we need to care for all waters, as they continually circulate from oceans to clouds to mountains to rainforests, and beyond. There were looks of amazement, and lightbulbs glowing in the minds of these remote educators. I was amazed that this was new knowledge to them, but in a landlocked very remote area, what else should I expect? I was grateful that they were receptive and completely engaged and passionate.

We discussed the water sources that humans use, the mountain rainforest, and how people cutting down trees for cooking fuel would eventually collapse the water system. Malawi is the world’s second poorest country. This mountaintop population of about 40 small villages has no running water and no electricity, no fuel other than wood. When I say poor, I mean to write on a piece of paper, a teacher would first divide it into four quarters before handing it out, if they had any. Children walking with me on the road between the school and the Go! Malawi compound would ask for a sweet. If I didn’t have any, they would ask me for a pencil. They are hungry to learn. Books are a rarity. A current fundraising project begun by an 8th grade student in Maine through the Go! Malawi non-profit will build the first mountain library in the Ntchisi region, hopefully in 2020. (Visit go-malawi.org/donate-online/ if interested in making a donation.)

I led the teachers to incorporate their drawings (images from our rainforest walks, talks and microscope viewings) into plans for three large, painted murals. Each mural showed the place, the cycles of water, plants, trees, animals, people, fish, phytoplankton and zooplankton. I brought a digital microscope, which we plugged into a solar inverter at the Go! Malawi compound. Each told a visual story of how we are all connected through water and how we must care for this place to protect the water. Each mural had the simple words: Water is Life / Madzi ndi Moyo.

At the end of two weeks, my teachers had become new water art activists. They had a plan to circulate the murals amongst several schools, with thought-provoking questions to spark discussions with their students. We have future plans through Go! Malawi to underwrite tree planting workshops and do-it-yourself solar cookers. Until my workshop, many of the teachers had not ever been in the rainforest at the top of the mountain. They thanked me for opening up that part of their world to them, along with the concept and practices of stewardship. I thanked them by asking them to engage their students, and left a suitcase of art supplies for them to make more murals in their classrooms as constant reminders of the importance of water to our lives. Someday I hope to meet up with one of those rainforest village children who has become a water activist.

Krisanne Baker is a Waldoboro artist, an art and ecology educator at Medomak Valley High School, a former professor at the University of Maine Farmington and an avid ocean advocate. Her work concerns water quality, availability and rights, both locally and globally. Baker’s multimedia installations and paintings are studies of the patterns of the natural world, arrangements of colors and ocean life in macroscopic and microscopic views of the “heart of the planet.”

Baker exhibits nationally, gives talks internationally and collaborates with others. She was recently a Visiting Artist in Residence at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in its world-renowned living marine algae lab. This collaboration will result this summer in a large-scale installation of phytoplankton created as phosphorescent glowing glass sculptures.

Baker’s paintings can be seen locally at Caldbeck Gallery, 12 Elm St., Rockland and online at KrisanneBaker.com.

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Monhegan Residencies

February 18, 2017

Open to Maine Artists and Teachers – Deadline March 17

Photo by Bradley Beukema; 2016 resident and art teacher Krisanne Baker night painting on Monhegan.

2016 resident and art teacher Krisanne Baker night painting on Monhegan.

MONHEGAN—The Monhegan Artists’ Residency is pleased to announce its 2017 residency programs. Residencies are available to Maine-based visual artists during the weeks of May 27 to June 30, and September 2 to October 7. To accommodate the summer schedule of Maine K-12 teachers, there is also a two-week residency from July 2 to 14 open exclusively to art teachers. Applications are now being accepted online at www.monheganartistsresidency.org through March 17.

Krisanne Baker, art teacher at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, was the 2016 Monhegan Art Teacher Resident. The body of paintings she produced during her two weeks on the island depict land, ocean and expansive skies at night that include planets and constellations.  She often worked outdoors at night wearing small LED lights, with her color palette laid out in consistent, planned manner so as to know what to reach for in partial darkness.

Krisanne Baker Little Spruce Sentinel at Lobster Cove, 2016, Oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches

Krisanne Baker Little Spruce Sentinel at Lobster Cove, 2016, Oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches

In addition to making a body of paintings during her two-week residency, she also did some underwater filming for her next water art activism short.  This continues her way of combining many of her interests through her art practice, her teaching and her environmental work focusing on protecting water sources and water quality.  She is involved with the Medomak Valley Land Trust and engages her high school art students in environmental work. Krisanne is currently showing her work at Husson University in an exhibition titled ‘Water is Life’: Art & Science on behalf of our oceans (January 20 – March 31, 2017). See more about Krisanne at http://www.krisannebaker.com/paintings_drawings__printmaking

Krisanne Baker working on the deck of her Monhegany residency studio, 2016

Krisanne Baker working on the deck of her Monhegany residency studio, 2016

Not just for landscape painters, the Monhegan Artists’ Residency is open to artists working in new media, photography, sculpture, drawing, painting, and multi-media. This year’s jurors include Chris Stiegler, curator, art historian, and chair of the MFA in Studio Art at the Maine College of Art, Portland; Hilary Irons, artist, and co-founder/curator of Able Baker Contemporary, Portland; and Kelly Finlay, a Monhegan Artists’ Residency board member and museum educator at the Farnsworth Museum of Art, Rockland.

Founded in 1989, the Monhegan Artists’ Residency program is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by donors, art galleries, corporate sponsors, and foundation grants.     

Photos taken by Bradley Beukema.  

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Congratulations Krisanne Baker

May 7, 2016

Artists selected for 2016 Monhegan Residency

Press release

Krisanne Baker

Krisanne Baker

The Monhegan Artists’ Residency has announced three artists selected for its residencies during the summer of 2016: Barbara Sullivan of Solon, Krisanne Baker of Waldoboro, and Michelle Hauser of Rockland. Sullivan creates fresco reliefs of everyday objects and will take part in the residency for five weeks in late May through early June. Baker is a multimedia ecological artist creating works concerning water quality, availability, and rights. As a high school art teacher at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, Baker will be enjoying the two-week residency for Maine K–12 art teachers in July. Hauser creates photographic hybrids and paints on paper, and will take part in the five-week residency in late August through early October.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 5.20.30 PM

Krisanne Baker

The jurors for the 2016 residencies were Sissy Buck, a printmaker and book artist, and recent MARC (Monhegan Artists’ Residency Corporation) board member; Duncan Hewitt, an artist whose work is currently on view in a retrospective exhibition at the Portland Art Museum and professor of art at the University of Southern Maine; and Polly Saltonstall, editor of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine and contemporary Maine art collector. Saltonstall remarked, “It was so hard to narrow down the selection to choose this year’s winners. That said I can’t wait to see how these already amazing artists incorporate Monhegan into their work and how the island shapes their vision.” Fellow juror Sissy Buck echoed these remarks: “It was difficult to choose! Lots of thoughtful review and discussion went on. Each of the chosen artists displayed a deep connection to sense of place in their work. I am excited for these artists to experience and immerse themselves in the slower rhythm, timeless beauty, and community of Monhegan.”

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Krisanne Baker

The Monhegan Artists’ Residency is open to artists at all career levels and strives to support the creative growth of dedicated Maine artists by providing time and space to work free of interruption and constraint in the inspiring environment of Monhegan Island. Since its founding in 1989, the organization has sponsored more than 50 artists, providing them with living quarters, studio space, and a small stipend. The Monhegan Artists’ Residency Corporation is a non-profit organization supported by individual donations and foundation grants. For more information visit on Facebook or go to monheganartistsresidency.org.

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