Posts Tagged ‘Maine Arts Commission’

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Poetry Out Loud

March 22, 2020

Before the virus 

The Poetry Out Loud (POL) Maine State Finals he state finals took place at the Waterville Opera House on March 2. The following ten high school students proudly took their places after excelling at the classroom, school and regional level. If you click on their names you can hear parts of an interview and the student reciting.

Northern Maine Regional Champions

Southern Maine Regional Champions

Ella Shaffer, grade 10, Rangeley Lakes Regional School photo by Kate Philbrick, Sun Journal

At the time the students, their families and schools understood that one student would be selected to represent Maine at the POL National Finals. Each student was prepared to recite three poems. At the end of round two five state finalists were selected to recite their third poem from which one is the runner-up and one is the state champ. Grade 10 student from Rangeley Lakes Regional School Ella Shaffer was named the 2020 State Champ and Maine’s representative to travel to Washington, D.C. at the end of April. Ella did an amazing job reciting  “Sestina: Like” by A.E. Stallings, “I Eat Breakfast to Begin the Day” by Zubair Ahmed, “No, I wasn’t meant to love and be loved” by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib.

Traditionally a school bus from Rangeley travels to the POL state finals with a group of students and their teachers to support their school representative and also participate as audience members. English teacher Tim Straub has been a huge supporter of his students and the program. Along with Sonja Johnson, art teacher who is amazing! Everyone can benefit from the experience. This year was no exception but it was the first time Rangeley traveled home with the POL State Champ. Those of us who live in a small town in Maine know how exciting this news was for the residents in Rangeley and you can see in the video (below) what that looked like to Ella’s dad on the night of March 3 returning to town. (Get out your tissues).

Sadly the Corona virus (COVID-19) has robbed Ella and her school community the opportunity to travel to D.C. at the end of April for the national event. Even though the national event has been canceled it doesn’t remove the pride that this community has for Ella! I’m sure her three poems will be with her everywhere she travels during her lifetime.

If your high school doesn’t participate in the Poetry Out Loud program you can learn more at the National Poetry Out Loud website. Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission.

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MAC Arts Learning Grants

March 18, 2020

Put together an idea to apply for now 

You may know that the Maine Arts Commission provides a variety of grants for the arts. Among the funding is a grant specifically for arts education called Arts Learning. The deadline is March 26, 2020 and the maximum that you can apply for is $5,000. You are required to match the total requested by 50% which can be in cash or in kind. The cycle for this funding is July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.

The Arts Learning Grant provides funding to support schools and organizations for PK-12 arts education programs. This can be done through school programs, community arts education programs, curriculum planning, professional learning for arts educators, teaching artists, and teachers of all content. Applicants are encouraged to use teaching artists from the Maine Arts Commission’s Teaching Artist Roster.

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must have an active Maine Arts Commission account and current Vendor Code to receive funding.  A school district or nonprofit organization is eligible to apply if they meet the following criteria:

  • Is an organization with a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, is a public school district, or is a unit of municipal, county or tribal government in the state of Maine.
  • Is in compliance with Final Reports required by the Maine Arts Commission for previous awards.

 NOTE: A school must apply through its school district. All paperwork must be conducted through the Superintendent’s offices. Communications and funds will go directly to the district to then be delivered to the applying school. The Maine Arts Commission will not contract directly with individual schools. 

Ineligible Expenses: Grant awards may not be re-granted nor used to cover the costs of brick-and-mortar projects, permanent or capital equipment, operating support or fundraising.

Application Materials 

Incomplete applications will not be eligible for review. A completed application in the Grants Management System (GMS) must contain:

Online – Fields within the Grants Portal that will need to be completed

  • Complete answers to all narrative prompts (Required)
  • Completed project budget (Required)

Uploads – Up to a total of 10 pieces of support materials uploaded through the Grants Portal

  • Resumes, bios, or curriculum vitae for all key personnel (Required): This should  include resumes for teaching artists as well
  • One to three letters of support (Required): Letters from individuals or representatives of organizations or schools who can speak to their anticipated benefit from the project 
  • Lesson plans (Required): Teaching plans or the units showing learning outcomes and assessment tools 
  • Most current completed Form 990 (Required for nonprofit organizations)
  • Copy of IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter (Required for nonprofit organizations)
  • Artistic samples (Required): Images (up to five), audio or video materials (no more than 15 minutes in length), Prose samples (no more than 20 pages in length), poetry (no more than 5 poems), etc.
  • Collateral (Highly Recommended): Materials such as press reviews, articles, marketing materials, etc.

Vendor Code – An applicant must have a current Vendor Code to receive award funds

  • Your Vendor Code is a state assigned number that allows for payment processing. Please check your Maine Arts Commission User/Organization account to see if there is a number in the Vendor Code field. If the field is blank you will need to complete a Vendor Form with exactly the same name and contact information as used in the application. This must be provided to the agency prior to award notification and can be submitted through email, surface mail, or FAX. The form can be downloaded from the Grants Help page.

Application Questions

(To be completed in the GMS-grants management system) (All character counts include spaces)

  1. Describe your project idea in two to four sentences. (Max: 638 characters – about 100 words)
  2. How does your proposal align with the State of Maine Learning Results for Visual and Performing Arts or other relevant standards? (Max: 1,275 characters – about 175 words)
  3. Describe any partnership(s) and/or collaborative planning (Max: 1,275 characters – about 175 words)
  4. State the project objectives and plans for evaluating project success. If this is an ongoing program, share how you will demonstrate growth and expansion from previous iterations.  (Max: 1,275 characters – about 175 words)
  5. List the professional teachers and teaching artists participating in the project. Please summarize their professional experience(s). If applicable, describe the any professional development opportunities these teachers will receive.  . (Max: 1,275 characters – about 175 words)

Review Criteria

Arts Learning Grant applications are reviewed on a competitive basis using the following criteria:

  1. Quality of Project. (25%) 
  2. Alignment of project with State of Maine Learning Results for Visual and Performing Arts. (10%)
  3. Evidence of significant collaborative planning among teachers and other partners. (25%) 
  4. Description  of evaluation methodology with clear objectives and outcomes.  (20%)
  5. Assurance that the project will include certified, trained teaching artists and will provide professional development opportunities where appropriate.  (10%) 

Review Process

Applications are reviewed by panels of public members, selected for their expertise. All grant recommendations are presented to Maine Arts Commission members who approve the review process, making the grant official. The review process and delivery of funds may take up to six months. This means that grant funds may be used to reimburse costs which have been incurred for the project after the grant has been approved but prior to funds being disbursed.

Assistance

Agency staff are always here as a resource for you. We recommend contacting the correct staff person a minimum of two-weeks prior to submitting your application.

For specific questions about the Arts Learning program:
Please contact Martha Piscuskas, Director of Arts Education, at vog.eniam@saksucsiP.ahtraM or 207-287-2750.
For general questions about the application or review process:
Please contact Kerstin Gilg, Director of Grants and Accessibility, at kerstin.gilg@maine.gov or 207/ 287-6719 .
For questions about award payments:
Please contact Darren Henry, Director of Operations, at Darren.Henry@maine.gov or 207/ 287-2726.

APPLY NOW

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Ticket to Ride

February 5, 2020

Funding available once again

Great news for Maine educators seeking funding for field trips. Ticket to Ride, the Maine Arts Commission grant program that provides funding for schools wishing to travel to arts based venues and events is back! Grant applications are administered on a first come first serve basis, so don’t delay.

Ticket to Ride provides 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. The goals of the travel should support student learning and be aligned with the visual and/or performing arts standards. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Funding will be made available approximately one month after an application is submitted. Schools may apply more than once a year as long as they are applying to attend a different event, bringing a different student population, or have not expended their eligible amount.

Any PK-12 school in Maine with a documented free and reduced lunch student population between 30 and 49 percent is eligible to receive support of up to $300 each school year. Any PK-12 school population of 50 percent or greater is eligible to receive up to $500 per school year. Schools are welcome to use Ticket to Ride funds in combination with transportation funds that may be available from individual Maine arts based venues and events.

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must have an active Maine Arts Commission account and current Vendor Code to receive funding.  A school district is eligible to apply if they meet the following criteria:

  • Is a public school district in the state of Maine.
  • Is in compliance with Final Reports required by the Maine Arts Commission for previous awards.

For more information and to apply go to the TICKET TO RIDE grants page on the Maine Arts Commission website.

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Director of Arts Education

January 14, 2020

Maine Arts Commission

The Maine Arts Commission is delighted to welcome Martha Piscuskas as our new Director of Arts Education. Martha brings 30 years of nonprofit organizational leadership alongside a deep understanding of the state’s issues. Most recently she was Executive Director at Waterfall Arts, the community arts center in Belfast that she co-founded in 2000. She has extensive experience in community arts education, developing programming for all ages and in collaboration with local schools. One of five siblings, all artists, with parents in secondary education, Martha grew up immersed in active creative inquiry. In addition to serving on her local school board, she has led and founded numerous Maine organizations including MaineShare, Maine Center on Economic Policy, and Maine Initiatives. Martha has presented nationally and served on multiple boards, including as the Chair of the Waldo County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, and the Chair of the New England Board of Haymarket People’s Fund. A member of the Zeta class of Leadership Maine, she holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Wesleyan University, and a BFA from the Maine College of Art. A longtime resident of Waldo County, Martha lives on a homesteading solar-run farm with her family.

Martha’s contact information: 287.2750  martha.piscuskas@maine.gov.

 

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Dance Dance Dance

December 10, 2019

Dance Education grant

Thanks to Martha Piscuskas for providing information for this blog post.She is the interim director for arts education, Maine Arts Commission.

Hunt and Allison Smith

Nearing the gym, through the corridor literally owned and decorated by the K-third grade Central School students in South Berwick, one could already hear the rhythmical claps of a class fully engaged in old-time dancing. Recently I paid a visit to Kate Smith’s music program, where the whole school was treated to a residency with Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artists Hunt and Allison Smith, who played and taught old English, Irish and even Russian dances throughout the  week.

Thanks to the leadership of Kate and the Physical Education Teacher, Kristan Tiede, the school received a Maine Arts Commission Dance Education Grant and funding from the Marshwood Education Fund to bring this duo to play their fiddle, accordion and teach traditional set dances in circles, squares, and lines over three days. The teaching artists held the attention well of the students, no matter which age group. Even parents, siblings and teachers got to join in with a community family contradance one evening. Says Kate, “I know the residency with the Smiths will renew my confidence in teaching units that embed dance in music units in a more thoughtful, appropriate and successful way.  

I love the opportunity to integrate other subjects and collaborate with peers deepening student learning while giving us the chance  to learn from each other.”

I invite you to learn more about the Maine Arts Commission grant opportunities and the Teaching Artist roster.

The dance education grant at the Maine Arts Commission was established in 2012 with the help of Thornton Academy dance educator Emma Campbell and several dance programs and studios in southern Maine. Through a fund raiser performance they have contributed thousands of dollars so students, school communities, and teaching artists  across the state could benefit from dance education learning opportunities.

If you have any questions about arts education programs at the Maine Arts Commission please contact Martha Piscuskas, Interim Director of Arts Education.

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Intergenerational

December 2, 2019

Puppetry, Storytelling, Music

On Saturday, December 7, students from Falmouth High School (FHS) and residents of The Cedars retirement community in Portland will gather for An Intergenerational Celebration of Puppetry, Storytelling, and Music. The event will mark the culmination of a four-month long project in collaboration between FHS, The Cedars, and Figures of Speech Theatre (FST).
FST Director of Education, Ian Bannon, designed and directed the project, which began with a series of TimeSlips creative storytelling sessions at The Cedars. TimeSlips is a collaborative storytelling format designed by MacArthur Fellow Anne Basting for use by people with cognitive disabilities like dementia. Creativity is an ideal way for people with cognitive challenges to communicate. TimeSlips is developed as a ritual so people with memory loss can learn it through their subconscious or implicit memory. It is based on shifting the emphasis from memory to imagination.
FHS students took turns joining Bannon for the sessions at The Cedars, assisting with the storytelling sessions while gaining first-hand experience with TimeSlips and familiarity with the residents.
FHS Theater Teacher Dede Waite’s students from FHS then dove into the rehearsal process, learning about full-body silhouette shadow puppetry from Bannon and Devon Kelley-Yurdin, a visual artist and community organizer. Students then used the skills learned during rehearsal to adapt three of the TimeSlips-generated stories into original shadow plays. Students in FHS Music Teacher Jake Sturtevant’s music composition class created an original score for each performance, elevating and polishing their fellow students’ work.
Towards the end of the rehearsal process, Cedars residents were invited to join FHS students at the school for a hands-on shadow puppetry workshop, allowing students a chance to work side-by-side with the residents to create short vignettes using the skills they had developed.
The final performances will take place during An Intergenerational Celebration of Puppets, Storytelling, and Music at The Cedars at 1:30 PM on Saturday, December 7. Students will present their adaptations live for the residents. Following the performances, the students, residents, and audience members will be invited to join in an ice cream social designed to foster an intergenerational exchange about the process and performance. Members of the public are fully encouraged to attend.
This project was been funded in part by a Project Grant for Organizations from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Since 1982, Figures of Speech Theatre, has toured the world for more than 35 years with original works created at the intersection of drama, poetry, sculpture and dance. The company has performed in venues including the New Victory Theater, the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center, and Tokyo’s International House. Through their educational programing—which takes place in all 16 Maine counties—FST seeks to engage imaginations, impart skill-based training, awaken consciousness regarding world cultures, and expand students’ sense of life’s possibilities. We offer a range of programming and touring productions in service of that vision.
More information about Figures of Speech Theatre is available on their website: www.figures.org.
The Cedars, Maine and Northern New England’s most comprehensive, non-profit senior community was founded in 1929 as the Jewish Home for Aged. As we celebrate 90 years of innovation, The Cedars offers a full continuum of senior living options, including: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Care. Currently under construction is the new Sam L. Cohen Households, due to open in Fall 2020, will provide a home environment using the best practices for an enlightened, person-centered approach to care in private rooms for rehabilitation, skilled nursing care and a new, vitally-needed memory care assisted living.
More information about The Cedars is available on their website: www.thecedarsportland.org.
An Intergenerational Celebration of Puppetry, Story-Telling, and Music will be presented on Saturday, December 7 at 1:30 PM at The Cedars, 630 Ocean View Ave in Portland. The performance, which will be followed by an ice cream social, is open to the public free of charge. For more information, please contact Angie Hunt at (207) 221-7171.
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NH Arts Ed Conference

November 27, 2019

Culturally Responsive Leadership

Martha Piscuskas

Recently Martha Piscuskas, Interim Director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission attuned the New Hampshire Arts Education conference. The theme was Culturally Responsive Leadership. There were great discussions and learnings on how to create more inclusive  creative spaces, for educators and the young artists we mentor.

Martha returned with several resources to share – some listed below with Martha’s comments included. Martha suggests that you take a look and consider how to use them in your classroom and/or with policy makers.

If you have any questions please contact Martha at martha.piscuskas@maine.gov.

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