Posts Tagged ‘Maine Arts Commission’

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POL State Finals Today!

March 11, 2019

Waterville Opera House – March 11 – doors open 2:30 p.m. 

Maine’s Poetry Out Loud State Finals returns to the Waterville Opera House

Monday, March 11 at 3 p.m.
Doors open at 2:30 p.m.
FREE + open to the public

Don’t miss recitations by Maine’s top poetry high school student reciters!

Performance by the Messalonskee Jazz Band under the direction of music educator Andrew Forster, beginning at 2:45 p.m.

Readings by Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum

Emcee is Bill Green, host of NEWS CENTER Maine

If you can’t make it to Waterville, Boothbay Region Television will be streaming the competition live on the Maine Arts Commission’s Facebook page.

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Arts Engage ME

February 27, 2019

Cultural Sector Network Meeting

Folks traveled from all parts of Maine for the Cultural Sector Network Meeting earlier this week. Maine Arts Commission Executive Director Julie Richard provided a presentation on the state budget which included how the Arts Commission is funded.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Traveling from DC for the meeting was the Executive Director of the Americans for the Arts Arts Action Fund, Nina Ozlu Tunnel provided an update on the federal budget.

Special guest Congresswoman Chellie Pingree was present to provide the Congressional outlook. Those attending joined in celebrating the congresswoman’s role as the Co-Chair of the House Congressional Arts Caucus.

Also in attendance and speaking were staff from Senator Collins and Senator King’s offices.

Everyone is looking forward to Arts & Culture Day planned for the State House on April 22. If you’re interested in participating please contact the Maine Arts Commission.

 

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POL State Finals

February 25, 2019

Please join us, Waterville Opera House, March 11

Thirty two high schools including 4,300 students from across Maine participated in the Poetry Out Loud program this year.  This year’s regional contests were hosted at Hampden Academy and Westbrook Performing Arts Centers. The Maine Arts Commission, which produces and administers the statewide contests is excited about the upcoming state finals at the Waterville Opera House on March 11 at 3 p.m. where ten high school students will perform. The event is free and open to the public.

The doors at the State Finals will open at 2:30 p.m. and at 2:45 p.m. the Messalonskee High School jazz band, under the direction of music educator Andy Forster, will perform. Later in the program they will perform for a second time.

In addition, Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum will read from his poems. The event will be hosted by local television personality, Bill Green.

Northern Maine Regional Finalists Shaphnah McKenzie, Emma Jacot-Descombes, Magnolia Vandiver, Hanna Lavenson, Emily Campbell

Congratulations to the following finalists, their teachers and schools:

Northern Maine Regional Champions (in order alphabetically by school):

  • Shapnah McKenzie, Bangor High School
  • Magnolia Vandiver, George Stevens Academy
  • Hannah Lavenson, Messalonskee High School
  • Emma Jacot-Descombes, Rangeley Lakes Regional Schools
  • Emily Campbell, Waterville High School

Southern Maine Regional Champions (in order alphabetically by school):

  • Southern Regional Finalists Wyatt Bates, Delaney Zeigman, Aaliyah Biamby, Allan Monga, and Joao Victor

    Allan Monga, Deering High School

  • Aaliyah Biamby, Gorham High School
  • Joao Victor, Lewiston High School
  • Delaney Ziegman, Thornton Academy
  • Wyatt Bates, Yarmouth High School

There will be three rounds of recitations. Each student will recite two poems from memory. The scores will be tallied and five students will go to the final round reciting one more of their favorite poems. One state finalist will be named the overall state champion and advance to the national competition, where they will compete for a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends, as well as a $20,000 scholarship.

The event will also be broadcast and live streamed on the Maine Arts Commission’s Facebook page in collaboration with Boothbay Region Television and other local access TV stations.

For more information about the state and national finals, please visit the Maine Arts Commission: Poetry Out Loud webpage or contact me, Argy Nestor at argy.nestor@maine.gov or 207-287-2713.

Poetry Out Loud is organized nationally 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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MALI Teaching Artist Leader Story: Kerry Constantino

February 19, 2019

Teaching Artist – Dancer

This is one of six blog posts in 2019 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 8 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 96 Teacher Leaders and 11 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. Thank you Kerry for sharing your story!

Kerry Constantino

Kerry Constantino began teaching dance to kids right out of college when she graduated college in 2003. Even though she really enjoyed teaching, Kerry felt like she needed more time and experience just creating art. She stepped away from teaching and turned her focus towards developing her technique, studying movement and choreographic theory, and participating in the practice and creation of dance for herself and others. Nearly a decade later, Kerry found herself wanting to teach again, so she applied and was accepted in the San Diego Young Audiences Teaching Artist Training, where she re-learned a lot of things that would prepare her for her role as  a teaching artist. And, she loved it! Kerry really feel at home working with all members of the community. Whether through a school residency or at a private studio, she finds that working with dancers of all ages is so satisfying.

What do you like best about being a teaching artist?

I love being a teaching artist because people, especially young people, are natural dancers.           Giving people permission to move, when so often in a school and work setting, we are told to stay sedentary, is one of my greatest joys.

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

I have no idea what would be the key to having a successful arts education, however, I think the thing that stops people from having a successful arts education is a pressure from society that the arts are not valid, or that they are superfluous. The arts give us tools to be creative problem solvers, to think three-dimensionally, and to have the confidence to improvise if we need to. I think all kinds of industries and workplace environments benefit when there are artists at the table.

Have you found assessment to be helpful in your classes, workshops and residencies, and if so, how?

Assessment is part and parcel to being a teaching artist. Whether I’m teaching 3 year olds or 70 year olds, having tools to assess how my students are understanding me is important. When teaching dance, so much is dependent on being a clear communicator, I want my students to dance articulately, safely, and joyfully. Knowing how much of my information is getting across is accomplished through using assessment throughout class.

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

I have loved my experiences learning with the other educators in the MALI. It has been inspirational to hear their stories and learn from what they are currently practicing in their classrooms. Learning from other teachers and seeing how they organize and strategize their teaching techniques is invaluable.

What are you most proud of as an artist and/or a teaching artist?

I think what I am most proud of in my art is that I haven’t gotten stuck with just one medium. I began as a dancer, but over the years I have continued to be a voracious learner in many different mediums. I don’t think I will ever be satisfied just practicing and teaching one thing, there is so much more to learn. As I have learned new mediums I’ve incorporated it into my own art and into my teaching as well. Sometimes it feels like I’m a bit of a “Jack of all trades” it’s during those times that I remind myself that if I stop learning new things, then I have stopped growing.

Kerry Constantino

What gets in the way of doing a better job as a teaching artist?

I think that the biggest challenge for me as a teaching artist is navigating the process of finding residencies. I still feel really new to teaching, so I’m hoping this gets easier the more that I do it. I tend to retreat a bit when it comes to pursuing residencies because I feel like there are other people who are doing what I do, but with more experience and better. I talk myself out of things a lot and I think this is all born out of fear.

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

Everything. I have spent years pushing and finding a way to continue as a dancer and movement artist. Sometimes it feels too hard, like if being a dancer and choreographer is this hard, then I just shouldn’t do it, but for some crazy reason I keep going. Every piece of choreography I have shown, every informal performance, every single time I have made dance and shown it there has been a period during my creative process that has felt impossible.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a teaching artist or is just starting out?

Go for it! Practice saying what you want to say to your students before you are actually in front of a class. Write down everything. Get a calendar and use it. Don’t worry if you get flustered on the first day and forget your whole lesson plan, you will be ok!

MALI Summer Institute, August 2018, USM

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

There is so much I could do with $500,000. I have always hoped to own a home that would have a dance/art/movement studio in it. Dance requires a lot of open space, so I think that would be a big thing for me, to have a proper studio where I could hold classes and have informal performances in my own home. One of my first dance teachers lived in a huge old victorian house and the “ballroom” was her dance studio. It is definitely a dream of mine to do that. Oh, and more travel, I have terrible wanderlust.

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

If I make it to be 94, I hope that I can see that all of my choices were what made my long beautiful life. I can’t say there would be any regrets at this point.

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POL Southern Regional Finals

February 13, 2019

Amazing Reciters

The Poetry Out Loud (POL) Southern Maine Regional Finals were held earlier this week at the beautiful Westbrook Performing Arts Center. Students traveled from 17 high schools in the southern part of the state to recite poetry. The Maine Arts Commission held the Poetry Out Loud (POL) Southern Maine Regional Finals in conjunction with the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Students have been practicing and reciting poems in schools across the state and country since the fall. For the event each student had prepared three recitations and wowed the audience with their amazing performances.

We’re so proud of the following students who participated (listed in order of their recitations, selected randomly). The names with stars are the five students moving onto the state finals on March 11 at the Waterville Opera House, 3:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The Messalonskee Jazz Band under the direction of music educator Andy Forster will perform at 2:45 and again in between recitations. All are welcome!

  • Jack Lent, North Yarmouth Academy
  • Stephanie Brown, Portland High School
  • Amber Soucy, Lisbon High School
  • Kaitlyn Guay, Greely High School
  • Liam Doyle, South Portland High School
  • Hannah Smith, Westbrook High School
  • Helen Strout, Cape Elizabeth High School
  • Delaney Ziegman, Thornton Academy**
  • Aaliyah Biamby, Gorham High School**
  • Olivia Cox, Mt. Ararat High School
  • Blythe Thompson, Waynflete School
  • Wyatt Bates, Yarmouth High School**
  • Maya Ham, Oak Hill High School
  • Charles Van West, Maine Coast Waldorf School
  • Allison Rickert, Kennebunk High School
  • Allan Monga, Deering High School**
  • Joao Victor, Lewiston High School**

For more information about the Poetry Out Loud program please go the POL pages at the Maine Arts Commission website.

Southern Regional Finalists Wyatt Bates, Delaney Zeigman, Aaliyah Biamby, Allan Monga, and Joao Victor

Poetry Out Loud is organized nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission. It begins in Maine’s schools where school champions are selected to compete in two regional finals at which ten students are ultimately selected to recite at the state finals. One student, the state champion, moves on from the state finals to represent Maine at the national finals in Washington D.C., where students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico will compete for a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends for the purchase of poetry books.

Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals.

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Poetry, Poetry, Poetry

February 11, 2019

Join us to support student poetry reciters

Today, Monday, February 11 at 3:00 at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center located at the Westbrook Middle School students from the high schools listed below will walk on stage and recite two of their favorite poems. If they advance to the final round they will recite a third one. Students are participating in the Poetry Out Loud Southern Regional Finals. At the end of the day five students will be invited to return for the Maine State Finals being held on Monday, March 11, 2019 (snow date Tuesday, March 12, 2019) at the Waterville Opera House, 93 Main Street, Waterville.

For both events, the doors open to the public at 2:30 p.m. and the event begins at 3:00 p.m. No tickets are required. The event is free and all are welcome to attend. We anticipate that the event will conclude by approximately 5:30 p.m.

  • North Yarmouth Academy
  • Portland High School
  • Lisbon High School
  • Greely High School
  • South Portland High School
  • Westbrook HIgh School
  • Cape Elizabeth High School
  • Thornton Academy
  • Gorham High School
  • Mt. Ararat High School
  • Waynflete School
  • Yarmouth High School
  • Oak Hill High School
  • Maine Coast Waldorf School
  • Kennebunk High School
  • Deering High School
  • Lewiston High School

    Northern Maine Regional Finalists Shaphnah McKenzie, Emma Jacot-Descombes, Magnolia Vandiver, Hanna Lavenson, Emily Campbell

    Poetry Out Loud is organized nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission. It begins in Maine’s schools where school champions are selected to compete in two regional finals at which ten students are ultimately selected to recite at the state finals. One student, the state champion, moves on from the state finals to represent Maine at the national finals in Washington D.C., where students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico will compete for a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends for the purchase of poetry books.

    Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals.

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MALI Teaching Artist Leader Story: Shawna Barnes

February 5, 2019

Teaching Artist – Sculptor

This is one of six blog posts in 2019 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 8 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 96 Teacher Leaders and 11 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. Thank you Shawna for sharing your story!

Shawna N.M. Barnes is a Ceramic Sculptor who has been focused on teaching for three years. Her favorite group to teach is the one full of people who “don’t think they can” because of a disability. Or never gave art a try because of their disabilities. “Problem solving and finding ways to show them they can create and engage in creativity… is amazing.”

What do you like best about being a teaching artist?

I love all the people I have met as a teaching artist. Doors that have been opened, and opportunities presented. It has provided me the ability to share my passions with others who appreciate it.

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

First, allowing for differential interpretations of a topic. Essentially acknowledging that the world is full of gray. And when it comes to art, the spectrum of how art and its concepts are perceived, truly is a spectrum.

Second, the ability to acknowledge that art is a bridge between worlds. Whether that be yours and mine, real and fantasy, or past and future. It allows for difficult conversations to be had, often bridging a divide caused by a lack of understanding. Teaching this concept to our students is vital.

Third, the ability to appreciate content, subject matter and skills needed to complete a work of art without having to like the art itself. The ability to see it with an objective eye.

Have you found assessment to be helpful in your classes, workshops and residencies, and if so, how?

Thus far, assessments have helped guide the evolution of my classes and workshops. By evaluating what is working, what is not; what different ages and abilities respond to; I have been able to fine tune the classes so that the highest number of people fund value and enjoyment from the class.

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

The benefits have been innumerable! It has been the push I needed to create the resource center in my website. I have been given the opportunity to grow my speaking career by giving presentations at conferences. It has sparked collaborations between several members for brand music, for upcoming tutorials, and similar applications. It has introduced me to a group of peers that have become my support network. It has given me the confidence in my own set business that my intuition is right and I am on the right path.

What are you most proud of as an artist and/or a teaching artist?

I am most proud of breaking barriers and showing others where barriers exist. As a disabled artist, I often chose to just not participate in events and workshops because it was easier. I’m taking my challenges and helping create solutions that benefit not just me… but hopefully generations of disabled learners and artists so that they can have access to creative outlets.

What gets in the way of doing a better job as a teaching artist?

My health, admittedly. It can cause me to be unreliable and miss deadlines. Another factor is physical accessibility to facilities that may want to host me for workshops or seminars

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

Simply being an artist is hard work and requires determination every day to put the work in. I work through a variety of disabilities just to be able to create; myasthenia gravis,  cervical dystonia,  hypermobility joint syndrome, seizures, chronic pain, peripheral neuropathy and PTSD are the heavy hitters.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a teaching artist or is just starting out?

You will stumble as you find your footing but don’t let that detour you from continuing to put the work in to build the foundation of your career. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There’s plenty of room for everyone at the top, do not entertain a scarcity mindset. 

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

Build my handicap accessible studio. Give a few grants to local artists and arts organizations looking to make their space accessible by adding ramps or stairlifts to their infrastructure. And spend a few weeks in Paris, soaking up all the amazingness that is the Louvre.

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

None.

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