Posts Tagged ‘Leaps of Imagination’

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LEAPS Celebrates Student Art

April 29, 2019

LEAPS of Imagination

Working Across Communities

A Celebration of Student Art

presented by

Thomaston’s + Cushing’s Second + Fourth Graders

LANGLAIS SCULPTURE PRESERVE, Cushing

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 12:15 pm

This LEAPS’ program has been made possible by

Maine Arts Commission, Maine Community Foundation, Jane’s Trust, and RSU 13

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LEAPS

April 12, 2019

Art program in schools and community

Jonathan Frost speaking with the 5th graders at his gallery. Their portraits are displayed on the left and bark drawings behind him.

Several years ago Nancy Harris Frohlich created LEAPS of IMAGINATION where artists work with students in connecting the environment and history to making art. Much of the work is done through literacy. Recently I visited the Jonathan Frost Gallery in Rockland during a celebration of art created by 5th graders from South School in Rockland.

The students worked with teaching artist Susan Bebee and after studying bark created drawings. The drawings were amazing and it was clear that the students will not look at a piece of bark the same way again. I remember when I learned to make rock baskets (forming a basket around a rock, whatever size), I never look at rocks the same way again. Always wondering what shape the basket might be if I used it for a form.

The bark drawings were followed by portraits created with a combination of prints and drawings. Students were invited to speak about their artwork and I so enjoyed how articulate they were – they learned so much and were so proud. Thank you Nancy and those who work with LEAPS to provide such rich learning environments for learning in visual arts.

Below are some student responses.

Tell us Why Art is Important for Kids?

  • Because if you have a job, you need to have IMAGINATION.
  • Art helps kids feel INSPIRED.
  • Art is a great way for kids to EXPRESS THEMSELVES.
  • Art is FUN!
  • Art lets kids show their FEELINGS.
  • Art helps kids be CREATIVE.
  • Art makes it possible for kids to be ARTISTIC.
  • Art is so important and helps kids CONNECT to NATURE in so many ways.
  • Kids can get BETTER at drawing.
  • Art helps kids TAKE their MINDS off the REAL WORLD.
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Changing Kids’ Minds

August 23, 2018

LEAPS of IMAGINATION

“Most people assume that imagination takes place in the head, but the hands are just as important.” ~ Mitch Resnick, MIT Media Lab

When children find themselve at the intersection of discovering their capacity to make art and exploring the natural world, deep thinking happens. Local kids who participated in the Langlais LEAPS summer program “got the picture” by soaking up inspiration from the artist himself- Bernard Langlais.

In six weeks of observation, research, and making, led by LEAPS’ artist, Susan Beebe, children engaged in (1) a study of butterflies (2) the creation of a collaborative bas relief, and (3) the art of speaking through hand-made animal puppets – while becoming stewards of the Earth. And that was only the half of it.

The artworks that evolved reveal how nature inspires art and art helps change minds. Having planted their own garden, kids saw butterflies lay eggs there. From the magic of Langlais’ sculptures, they gained confidence as woodworkers. Walking the paths of the Sculpture Preserve got every child’s brain going. As humans, when we travel down new pathways (either literally or figuratively) we generate new neurons in our brains. We can, through these repeated experiences, actually alter the structure and function of our brains!

Taking kids out on trails, training them to observe closely, and inviting them to transform what they’ve seen into original art has impacted our campers this summer. And their commitment to nature and the practice of forging connections will stick with them down the road.

If you’d like to learn more about LEAPS and how we connect local artists with kids, come along with us. Check out our website. 

Wide-eyed with wonder, and grateful to all who made this program possible, Nancy Harris Frohlich, Director, LEAPS of IMAGINATION

LEAPS of IMAGINATION is a partner with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. This is a repost from the LEAPS of IMAGINATION blog.Thank you Nancy Harris Frohlich for permission to repost this from the LEAPS of IMAGINATION blog

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LEAPS of IMAGINATION

December 15, 2017

Kids Put the Pieces Together

LEAPS of IMAGINATION received funding from the Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant to provide amazing opportunities this year for some midcoast schools. If you’re not familiar with the LEAPS program, this is what they ‘walk’ day to day: LEAPS of IMAGINATION brings local Maine mentor artists together with elementary school students and teachers in a collaborative school-day classroom program. Mentor artists interweave in-depth art making experiences with carefully chosen social justice and literature themes linked to the class curriculum. Our project empowers children to believe in their own capacity to create and to make change in both their local community and the larger world.

Thanks to Nancy Frohlich, founder and director of LEAPS of IMAGINATION, for sharing her latest blog post with the Maine Arts Education blog. Students from grade 4, St. George School, spent a day at the newly opened Bernard Langlais Preserve. 

Working in Langlais’ medium, on his home turf, next to his own studio brought the artist to life for St. George School’s fourth graders today. LEAPS’ mentor artists had been planning this visit for months. Although adults had anticipated children’s reactions, they hadn’t quite envisioned how children would put the pieces together.

Once kids had toured his workshop, they skipped around the property, astounded at the scale and detail of his sculptures. Sitting by the fireplace on a chilly morning, they listened to the story, “Why am I me?” Then, imagining what it must have been like to have been “Blackie” Langlais, they shared their insights with their classmates.

“He was creative – how he made the cow with the utter.” “He used a lot of random stuff.” “He doesn’t just use wood. He adds texture.” “With his bears, he adds creases.” 

He made his own tools.”  “In his photos he looked so serious. But if he really was serious, he’d make things serious. Instead he made them imaginatively!”  “He just went on and took a risk. If he made a mistake he just kept going and went with the surprises.”  “He made animals you can walk into.”  “He used ladders.” “He was smart.”  ” I can’t believe he made 3,000 sculptures!”  “He used a lot of measurements.” “He was inspirational!”

A few minutes later they began investigating animals and wood for themselves. Each child had a 12X12 piece of plywood on which to create a creature they identified with. They had plenty of time to “play” with the wood pieces, choosing them, adjusting them, and exchanging them. When they felt ready – they adhered them to their square.

We thought, what would happen if we put all the pieces together like a quilt? So that’s what we did! If you look closely you can see an eagle, a butterfly, a monkey, a chameleon, a cheetah, a wolf, a shark, a tiger, a horse, a hummingbird, a fish, a caribou, a pig, a bunny, a worm, and a whale. In the new year, we’ll install the art in the school. We bet our fourth grade Langlais experts will be excited to talk about the artist and how they approached this collective work of art.

We thank Cynthia Trone at the Langlais Sculpture Preserve for making us feel at home. We loved that roaring fire and the opportunity to become explorers on the artists’ own turf.

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Vinalhaven 2nd and 3rd Graders

October 30, 2017

LEAPS of IMAGINATION

LEAPS of IMAGINATION is an in-school art program for students in underserved communities. Our team of eight mentor artists interweaves art, literacy, science and mapping to create month-long projects with environmental sustainability and social justice as overarching themes.

Recognizing that art is a vehicle for teaching thinking, our projects support class curricula and empower children to participate in local and global issues. We work with children in their classrooms for two hours each morning twice each week. Envisioning programs that cut across disciplines, artists dovetail literature, environmental exploration, and artwork with student interests.

LEAPS of IMAGINATION’s MISSION is to ignite the imagination and inspire new ways of thinking so that young people can realize that their ideas have purpose and that they have the courage to act on them.

LEAPS of IMAGINATION was a Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant recipient this year.

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 2

August 4, 2017

Wowzer!

Kate Cook Whitt

Day 2 kicked off with an amazing STEAM presentation from Kate Cook-Whitt. The opening was titled This is your Brain on Art: Neuroscience and the Arts  – “Examining the World Through Different Lenses: Art and Science”. Kate is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Center for Innovation in Education (CIE) at Thomas College. Participants agreed that Kate’s presentation was outstanding!

Teacher Leaders participated in several great mini-sessions, some led by teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders themselves including:

  • Nancy Frolich, Social Justice mini-lesson

    Social Justice and the Power of the Arts with Nancy Frohlich from Leaps of Imagination

  • 7 Strategies of Assessment with Jeff Beaudry from USM and visual art teacher leaders Holly Leighton and Samantha Armstrong

  • National Board Certification with visual art teacher leader Danette Kerrigan

  • Connecting the STUDIO HABITS of MIND to the NATIONAL STANDARDS in the Visual Arts classroom with visual art teacher leader Jane Snider

  • Things Into Poetry session with Brian Evans-Jones

    Things Into Poetry with poet teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones

In addition Bronwyn Sale and John Morris provided a session called Teaching for Creativity. The afternoon brought all three strands together (teaching artist leaders, new PK-12 teacher leaders and returning PK-12 teacher leaders) for a session with teaching artist leader and potter Tim Christensen. We engaged with a small medallion of clay using the process Tim is so in tune with: sgraffito.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on leadership, advocacy, and putting it into action on the follow up plans for the next year. Strand 1, the Teaching Artist Leaders met with Jeff Poulin, electronically, from the Americans for the Arts.

Day turned into night and educators gathered around the Thomas College fire pit for drumming and a chance for Tim to fire the clay pieces created earlier in the day in the propane fire pit. This provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the state. What a great way to end an outstanding day!

Strand 1 with Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Kate Smith, Design Team member, holds the computer during the question and answer period

Jennie Driscoll, Elise Bothel visual art teacher leaders

Jen Etter, music teacher leader

New teacher leaders David Coffey – music and Amy Donovan-Nucci – visual art

Tim Christensen firing the clay pieces

Fun around the fire pit!

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Letter to Editor

January 24, 2017

Communicating about the Arts

Nancy Harris Frohlich is a retired educator who moved to Maine and settled in the mid-coast. She started LEAPS of IMAGINATION to provide more art making opportunities for elementary students. The LEAPS philosophy: We believe that all children are imaginative thinkers, and that if we give them the opportunity to use their imaginations in school by making art, they will thrive.

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-6-23-12-amLEAPS of IMAGINATION brings local Maine mentor artists together with elementary school students and teachers in a collaborative school-day classroom program. Mentor artists interweave in-depth art making experiences with carefully chosen social justice and literature themes linked to the class curriculum. Our project empowers children to believe in their own capacity to create and to make change in both their local community and the larger world.

I receive emails with these type of questions: “How do I convince people that more funding is needed for art supplies?” and “I want to start an elementary chorus, how do I go about that?” and do I communicate to my administration that we need to increase time for small group lessons?” and “Field trips have been cut from the budget, how can I get my students to an art museum?”

In the fall Nancy wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper during arts week. It’s a great example of advocating to educate. This needs to take place at many levels; school-base with administration and teachers of other content and grade levels, district-wide, community/regionally, and beyond. I’ve always believed that our first responsibility is to teach students, and in addition, adults. Since adults are almost always the ones who make the decisions they need to be informed about why the arts are essential.

As you prepare budgets for next year what will you communicate about the needs for a comprehensive arts education? With Youth Art Month and Music in Our Schools Month just around the corner, how will you use the opportunity to communicate and educate your community? I urge you to begin planning your action steps.

Below is Nancy’s letter to the editor. Even though she uses the word “art”, it certainly can apply to music, dance, theater and media arts. Nancy can be reached at nancy@nancyharrisfrohlich.com. A great big thanks to Nancy for the work she continues to do!

Art Makes Kids Smart

Another academic year has begun, and every year invites new opportunities for teaching and learning. As educators, our work is about designing a more powerful and relevant curriculum in a world in which sea change is the norm. Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind and Drive, reminds us that, “The future no longer belongs to people who can reason with computer-like logic, speed, and precision. It belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind.”  We can teach our children to learn differently. Through art.

Art is a vehicle through which children learn to connect their ideas, to be persistent when problems arise, and to work collaboratively with their peers – all skills critical for the future.  Art teaches children to use their imaginations, to bring an idea to fruition, and to believe in themselves – not just in the studio but in the classroom, where kids can apply the skills they learn in art to all academic domains.

Art has a long-standing tradition in schools, and it’s time we start changing the way we think about it, because we now know that art changes minds.

  • Here’s what art can do for children today:
    Art can build thinking mindsets. Art teaches kids to find connections, make inferences, analyze, and pull their ideas together into a new and inventive whole.
  • Art cultivates student passions, motivating them to think big.
    Art immerses kids in real-world challenges.  When kids are focused on critical issues in today’s world, art gives them an avenue through which to articulate their perspectives.
  • Art teaches children to collaborate. Shared projects and shared thinking open up opportunities for critical skills like negotiation and consensus building.
  • Art invites presentations, critique, and feedback. When kids bring their work to an audience they learn to articulate their ideas and listen to what others have to say about them.
  • Art develops risk taking behaviors in a safe and creative context. If children are going to play a positive role in their world, they have to know what it feels like to bounce back from mistakes and disappointment and to take the risk to think big for everyone’s future.
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