Posts Tagged ‘Maine arts education’

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Happy Arts Education Month

March 1, 2021

Celebrate!

On Wednesday, February 17 Arts Education Advocacy Day was celebrated during a zoom a plenary session provided by the Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC) and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) working with the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission. All of Maine’s professional arts education organizations leaders are members of ABC and presented along with amazing student voices. I’m sure many of the Maine Arts Education blog readers attended.

Commissioner of Education, Pender Makin, participated in the event and I think her message is a great place to start March – Arts Education Month. I encourage you to share her message with your colleagues (visual and performing arts educators and all others), with parents, school board members and your community members. The archive of the plenary session will be available and provided by MAAE in the very near future.

COMMISSIONER PENDER MAKIN’S MESSAGE

We (MDOE) value the arts in education extremely highly and perhaps above everything else and here’s why: it’s more than the pragmatic use of the arts to build the architecture, the neural pathways within brains that their engagement in the arts definitely develops, allowing them to better learn and more deeply learn all of their other content. That’s important but it’s not that, it goes beyond the creativity, the self-expression. Even goes beyond the social emotional pieces. It goes beyond the power of the arts which is so critically important at this time above all other times to heal a broken society, to find and create unity in divisiveness. It goes beyond that even. And here’s what I think it is. Arts in education, especially in public education, where every child is supposed to have their very best shot provided for them is critical because it ultimately makes life worth living. The arts make all the other business we do worth doing. It is critical now and always has been but we really need to move forward that we provide equity of opportunity, equity of access, and make sure that all of our arts opportunities are widely available and represent the demographics in the surrounding community.”

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Speak Your Voice

February 22, 2021

Maine Art Education Association Spring Art Exhibit

MAEA members are invited to submit artwork for consideration in the upcoming Speak Your Voice exhibition, hosted by the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at MECA! Have you expressed yourself through a work of art this year? Join us! Are you inspired to make art during what remains of our vacation? Share with us! SPEAK YOUR VOICE!

Registration Window:  March 1 – March 15, 2021

Online Exhibit: April 15 – May 9, 2021 FOR MORE INFORMATION CONCERNING Speak Your Voice, please contact Samara Yandell at syandell@biddefordshools.me

Submission is open to any art educator in the State of Maine who is a member of MAEA. Artists who have work accepted will have their websites and pieces promoted through MECA’s and MAEA’s social media channels. (#MAEASpeakYourVoice). As long as all submission requirements are met, anyone submitting who is an active MAEA member will have one piece chosen for the exhibit. 

Please review the Guidelines at http://www.meca.edu/maea before submitting. You will receive a confirmation email after submitting.


Artists have the option of selling their work for a 70% commission. A link will be posted for viewers to make purchases through the MAEA website, with 30% of the proceeds going to benefit Maine College of Art. For works of art sold during the MECA MAT exhibit, once payment method is confirmed we will contact the artist with the buyer’s contact information to arrange delivery of the work. MAEA will distribute the payment to the artist less the commission for MECA. 

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Teaching Artists Residencies During Covid

February 20, 2021

Possible and yes, happening!

In December 2020 Martha Piscuskas, director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission (MAC), moderated a discussion with teaching artists and a middle schooler called School Arts Residencies During COVID? Yes We Can! Included in the discussion were teaching artists: Bridget Matros, Alicia Phelps, Tim Christensen, and Dana Lagawiec with student Theo Forcier, Mt. Ararat Middle School. They discussed keys to success for remote school artist residencies and what they’re doing during the pandemic to further connections and learning opportunities for Maine learners.

The webinar was recorded and archived on YouTube and can be viewed below. The video opens with Martha sharing a land acknowledgment. Bridget Matros (starts at 4:30) is the Kids & Family Outreach Manager at Waterfall Arts and she is in the middle of a residency in Brunswick provided by the well established Arts Are Elementary program. She shares the set up in how she is teaching multiple learners in more than one space at one time. Alicia Phelps (starts at 12:00) teaches piano and voice and is Director of Community Partnerships and Special Programs at the community music center in Yarmouth, 317 Main. She is a recipient of a MAC grant. Tim is a ceramic artist (starts at 22:00) and became a Teaching Artist Leader with MAC’s Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) in Phase 6, 2016-17. Dana (starts at 31:15) does creative theater and became a Teaching Artist Leader with MALI Phase 7, 2017-18. The session finishes with circus artist MALI Phase 6, 2016-17 MALI Teaching Artist Brigid Rankowski monitoring questions. During the summer of 2020 MALI transformed into Maine Arts Education Partners in Leadership (MAEPL). Tim, Dana, Bridget, and Brigid are on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster.

RESOURCES FROM THE WEBINAR

MAC has the following education specific grants available with a deadline of April 1, 2021. Learn more by clicking on the grant title. Arts LearningCreative AgingDance Education. If you have any questions please contact Martha at Martha.Piscuskas@maine.gov.

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Former President Visits Portland

February 19, 2021

Barack Obama converses with Telling Room students

On January 26 former President Barack Obama participated in a zoom conversation with 26 students from Portland’s Telling Room’s Young Writers & Leaders program, an after-school creative writing and leadership program for international and multicultural students. For security reasons the virtual conversation was kept quiet but fortunately the conversation was videotaped and you can see the edited version below that was released this week to the media.

President Obama talked with the students about his recently published memoir, “A Promised Land.” Each student received a copy and were clearly thrilled for the opportunity to ask the President some questions and hear from him about writing and other topics. He talked a little about his play list and admits that he can’t listen while writing because he starts singing and moving. His final advice to the group was to “reach out to those who are doing what they want to be doing and ask them to teach you”.

The relationships with the Obama family has been going on for some time. Co-founder of the Telling Room, Sara Corbett is friends with Michelle Obama and helped with the President’s memoir. You can read the entire article in The Portland Press Herald, published on February 18th.

Telling Room’s Young Writers & Leaders program, an after-school creative writing and leadership program for international and multicultural students. 

Telling Room Mission

At the Telling Room, we empower youth through writing and share their voices with the world. Focused on young writers ages 6 to 18, we seek to build confidence, strengthen literacy skills, and provide real audiences for our students. We believe that the power of creative expression can change our communities and prepare our youth for future success.

One the years The Telling Room has been a recipient of Arts Learning Grants provided by the Maine Arts Commission. Their story has been shared on this blog in the past. Learn more about available funding for arts education on the Maine Arts Commission website.

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Works in Progress

February 18, 2021

Thornton Academy Dance

Emma Campbell, dance teacher at Thornton Academy has shared the amazing virtual performances created by her students. One choreographer student said: “I wanted to create a dance that would help lift everyone’s spirits”. I’d say, her goal was achieved! Emma says: “My students are desperately craving performances.” As I viewed the video I could feel the students emotions, their commitment to dance and their skills are evident. I invite you to support these students by viewing the video that includes a variety of dances. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

My favorite dance is called Never Grow Up. From the dancers: “Our piece is about going through different stages to where we are now. To achieve this for the project, we each embodied the mindset of a different phase in our life to show the growth we have each gone through.”

It’s simple to ‘buy’ your FREE ticket – CLICK HERE – it will take you to the streaming site. You will be asked to add your email address (so you can get the streaming link) and phone number but don’t worry, NO credit card. If you’re wondering what the Thornton dance studio classroom looks like, you’ll see a peek of that also. This is only available until February 21 so don’t hesitate!

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In Today’s News

February 12, 2021

Update on Elective or Extracurricular Choral Ensemble/Group Singing Instruction

The Department of Education is pleased to share the most recent guidance from the medical and community health experts who have aided our schools in remaining safe and open. Based on additional studies and information as it relates to COVID-19, updates have been made for choral and singing instruction in Maine schools.  

Universal Considerations for Choral Ensemble/Group Singing Instruction 

Required:

  • Masks should be worn at all times for all who are in the rehearsal room. Because singing is a higher risk activity, well-fitting, three-layer, surgical-style masks are recommended.

Considerations: 

  • Maintain minimum indoor physical distance of 6×6 between each singer, instructors, and any other people such as conductors, other musicians, audiences or accompanists. All performers should be facing in the same direction to the extent possible. Avoid singing in a circle or semicircular formation. 
  • Indoor rehearsals should be limited to 30 minutes followed by a break before the room is used again to allow the central HVAC system to exchange the air in the space. A minimum of one air exchange (which 20 minutes will generally achieve) prior to the next use of the room is required, with three air exchanges preferable. 
  • Ensembles meet in either the music classrooms, theater, or larger area depending on their class size. Schools should consult DHHS Guidance to ensure that practice and performance spaces have ventilation systems that are well maintained and operate as designed. 
  • Larger groups that preclude appropriate distancing should meet in a larger area (e.g., theater, cafeteria, gym, etc.) or use any outdoor space that meets mandated student distancing requirements. 
  • Indoor choral performance should only occur in spaces where proper ventilation systems are compliant with DHHS guidance. 
  • One-way traffic patterns should be established for entering and exiting the room, pick-up, and storage of materials. 
  • Transition to small group experience whenever possible, especially when facilities and space considerations are limited. 
  • Focus on solo and small ensemble playing/singing when the ability to maximize physical distancing is limited. 
  • Pivot instructional strategies to reduce the number of studentsmusicians performing at any given time (e.g., small ensembles perform while others listen and assess.) 
  • Utilize alternate performance venues including outdoor spaces, large activity centers, etc., to the extent possible. 
  • Produce performances of individual ensembles rather than full program concerts, to the extent possible. 
  • Use live streaming in combination with, or in place of, in-person audiences, to the extent possible. 
  • Maintain observance of all standing Executive Orders from the Governor’s office related to indoor and outdoor public gatherings. 
  • Consider having students sing softly/at a lower volume than usual. 
  • Consider having teachers use portable amplifiers so they can keep their voices at a low, conversational volume. 
  • Students should not share classroom materials such as pencils, sheet music, music stands, etc. 
  • Doors should be opened at the beginning and end of class to ensure students are not touching door handles. 
  • Use physical barriers (e.g., face shields, free-standing acoustic shields) between rows and/or between individual musicians, if available; clean and disinfect each barrier using approved products after each use. 

NOTE:  These guidelines are largely consistent with those outlined in documentation from the National Association for Music Education/National Federation of State High School Associations. 

Previous and current versions of the guidance and considerations document are available on DOE’s  PK-12 and Adult Education Public Health Guidance webpage.  

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Artistic and Scientific Opportunity

February 10, 2021

Students in K-12 invited to submit artwork

A couple years back I had the opportunity to serve on the selection panel for the Maine Audubon’s Federal Junior Duck Stamp Challenge provided for students in grades K-12. It was a pleasure to help out and I was so impressed with the student artwork. This challenge is a great opportunity for interdisciplinary connections – science and art – for teachers across the state. And, the big winners are the students! Learners can understand how the Federal Duck Stamp Program is one way to conserve our country’s wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Maine Audubon is collaborating with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the 27th annual Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program, and we’re looking for Maine students to submit some creative, innovative, beautiful waterfowl art!

Maine Junior Duck Stamp Best in Show 2019-20: “Watchful Waterfowl” by Saffron Labos, 16, Freeport

The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is a dynamic, multidisciplinary curriculum that teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. The program encourages students to explore their natural world, invites them to investigate biology and wildlife management principles and challenges them to express and share what they have learned with others.  This program and curriculum lend themselves to learning in a variety of forms, remote, hybrid teaching and in-classroom instruction.

Click here to see the artwork selected from the 2019-2020 Maine Junior Duck Stamp Challenge!

The winning artwork from a national art contest serves as the design for the Junior Duck Stamp, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service produces annually. This $5 stamp has become a much sought after collector’s item. One hundred percent of the revenue from the sale of Junior Duck stamps goes to support recognition and environmental education activities for students who participate in the program.

This program has a free downloadable curricular guide to help support learning about waterfowl habitat and conservation. The guides provide fun, age-level appropriate activities that will enhance your curriculum and students’ knowledge of wildlife and habitat.

Madison Grimm, a 13-year-old from South Dakota, took top honors in the Service’s National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest with her acrylic rendition of a wood duck. Her artwork will graces the 2020-2021 Junior Duck Stamp.

Maine Program and Submission Info

Students will be able to submit an entry of approved waterfowl art into the competition. Designs are considered in four grade categories—K-3rd grades, 4th-6th grades, 7th-9th grades, 10th-12th grades—with recognition for first, second, and third places and honorable mentions.

The Maine Best of Show entry will be considered with artwork representing each state in the country. One design will be selected at the national level to create the Federal Junior Duck Stamp. Proceeds from the sale of Junior Duck Stamps (which cost $5 each) support conservation education by providing awards and scholarships for students, teachers, and schools.

You can download the teacher guides here and view the contest rules and entry forms here.  For questions and/or curricular support, please contact Maine Audubon’s Lead Educator, Linda Woodard at lwoodard@maineaudubon.org.

Resources
Eligible Species
Videos
Waterfowl & Wetlands

The submission deadlines for the 2020-21 challenge is March 1, 2021. Send submissions to:

Maine Audubon
Attn: Junior Duck Stamp
20 Gilsland Farm Rd
Falmouth, Maine 04105

Thanks to our sponsor, L. L. Bean, for donating a deluxe backpack to the grand prize winner.

Maine Audubon works to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people in education, conservation, and action.

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Assessment in Maine

February 3, 2021

Maine Department of Education release

As the nation  explores the future of education and embraces opportunities for new and innovative approaches to student instruction and assessment, the Maine Department Of Education (DOE) is excited to develop a more meaningful approach to assessment.  

The federally-mandated State summative assessment is an essential component of an equitable instructional cycle. The assessment serves multiple purposes for educators, students, parents, policy makers, and community members, all with the shared goal of supporting student growth for lifelong learning. 

The COVID-19 global pandemic has afforded educators the opportunity to meaningfully reflect on instructional practice, outcomes and student learning. As educators continue to explore opportunities for authentic learning, we are observing an increase in  interdisciplinary/integrated instruction and the ability of students to apply their learning in a real-world context. With this in mind, and to ensure we are assessing student learning in a similar and authentic manner, the redesign of state assessment is underway.  

The Maine DOE is seeking individuals interested in being involved in role specific assessment redesign focus groups. These focus groups will serve as collaborative thought partners as Maine’s approach to assessment and accountability is redefined, reframed and redesigned. 

From these role alike focus groups, an ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will be established. The ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will represent the geographic and demographic diversity across the state and will be responsible for assisting the Department in synthesizing focus group feedback, suggestions, and best practice approaches to develop a cohesive assessment and accountability plan that addresses and supports the needs of Maine students while assisting Maine in meeting ESEA Federal assessment and accountability requirements 

In the coming months, role specific focus groups will meet for a half day on a bi-monthly basis. Additionally, those nominated from within focus groups to serve on the  ESSA Advisory/Maine TAC will meet for ninety (90) minutes once per month for an extended period of time.  If you are interested in being a part of this work, please complete the intent to participate form by February 26.  

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Union of Maine Visual Artists

February 2, 2021

Journal Winter 2021

The Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA) represents visual artists statewide in all fields of endeavor and welcomes those who support contemporary artists in Maine. The UMVA is dedicated to upholding the dignity of artists, while creating positive social change through the arts. By collaborating with other cultural and progressive organizations, we raise awareness for significant issues while promoting an inclusive arts community in Maine.

The winter edition of the Union of Maine Visual Artists journal includes a piece on the Open Art Teachers Studio. The article was written by Bronwyn Sale, Martha Piscuskas, Iva Damon, and Melanie Crowe and describes the opportunity for art teachers to come together for five sessions and create art together for an hour each time. One participant said: “It was good to see people’s faces and to feel connected.” We know how difficult it can be to feel connected to others and during the pandemic that has been highlighted even more. It was wonderful that Open Art Teachers Studio provided a chance to come together, make and share art, and know that the community is there. READ the entire article.

Melanie Crowe, Fish Back in Water, 2020
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Maine Arts Commission Funding

January 28, 2021

Deadlines for grant applications

The Maine Arts Commission has a variety of funding opportunities for educators and artists. Below are the dates that you may be interested in so please check out the information at THIS LINK to see all the grant descriptions or click on one of the grant titles below. You will need to establish an account if you don’t already have one in order to view the application and detailed information. The required match for all grants in the FY22 grant cycle is waived.

DEADLINES

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