Posts Tagged ‘Maine arts education’

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Call for Presenters

January 20, 2019

Spring conferences

The annual Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) Spring Conference is just around the corner and they are looking for presenters. Saturday, 6 April, Belfast Area High School is hosting.

Interested in presenting? CLICK HERE and complete the form. Wondering what workshops were included in 2018? CLICK HERE.

The Maine Music Educators Association is hosting their annual conference on May 16 and 17. If you are interested in presenting please submit your proposal by CLICKING HERE
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Greely Center for the Arts

January 16, 2019

Grand Opening – you’re invited!

On Monday, January 28, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. you’re invited to attend the grand opening of the Greely Center for the Arts. MSAD #51 is proud to share in their celebration – join them for a tour, student’s sharing their talents, and to celebrate the opening of their new learning facility. FOR MORE INFORMATION!

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In Today’s News

January 15, 2019

Sarah Orne Jewett House

Once again the Sarah Orne Jewett House is collaborating with schools in the Berwick area. This time two high schools; Berwick Academy and Marshwood High School. Read about what’s happening at THIS LINK

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Arts Accessibility

January 14, 2019

What does it mean?

This post is reprinted with permission from Shawna Barnes’ blog located at THIS LINKShawna is a Teaching Artist Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALi). She is a ceramic sculptor and mixed media artist who loves sharing her passion with others. Shawna is a strong advocate for the arts being accessible to all. She is an Army veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF 7) from 2009-2010. Shawna lives with several disabilities including myasthenia gravis, cervical dystonia, seizures, hypermobility joint syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, and PTSD. 

Shawna created a survey on arts accessibility which you are invited to complete; access it at THIS LINK

One of the things I talk about a lot is the phrase “arts accessibility” and the fact that I am an advocate for it. In discussions with colleagues and friends, I realized that it isn’t really a clear term. This point was driven home even further when I included the question “What does arts accessibility mean to you” in a survey I shared asking for feedback regarding educators’ struggles with arts accessibility in the classroom/studio. So I figured I’d take some time and provide an overview on all the different possible definitions of arts accessibility and what it means to me.

Arts Accessibility – Definition #1

For me, it started when I was exploring different opportunities for artist residencies, workshops,  and seminars. As someone with mobility impairments, I always had to ask if the facility was accessible. No…….handicap accessible, not accessible from the highway. One of the things I discovered was that most of the facilities are not friendly or easy to navigate for those of us who have any type of mobility impairment/disability. This was a discovery made long before I became a teaching artist leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative; it was then, however, that arts accessibility became my pet project. I was disappointed and downright bummed out about missing out on some amazing learning opportunities because the studio spaces were on the second floor of an old barn with no elevator access… or down several flights of outside stairs down the side of a cliff…or lacking any sort of climate control (air conditioning or heat source). And those barriers were from just a few of the locations I looked at locally. The facilities themselves are spectacular and amazing; drawing high caliber artists and professionals from around the world… This is just one example of what arts accessibility could look like – the most literal definition of the phrase – physical accessibility to a facility.

My disabilities are acquired; I was not born with them.  As a result, I am acutely aware on all the amazing things I am missing out on as a result. That FOMO (fear of missing out) is real ladies and gentleman, and the sting is one that is ever present. I quietly made it my mission to let the administrators of these facilities know that I was deeply saddened to be missing out because the facilities were not accessible. Some enlightening and hopeful conversations have been had as a result of this dialogue.

Arts Accessibility – Definition #2

Another quite literal definition of the term is actually having access to the arts. This includes students having access to art classes at their school, having nearby museums or art studios to attend, local theaters and dance halls, et al. There was a big focus on STEM curriculum, and as a result the creative arts saw a lot of cuts in Prek-12 curriculum. Recently however, administrators, educators, and clinicians are acknowledging the importance art has in youth development. This re-discovery has transitioned STEM curriculum to STEAM with the A standing for the arts. There are still many students who do not have the opportunity to take an art class – either one offered as part of their daily curriculum OR after school activities. This access barrier extends well beyond academic and includes all people who have interest in learning more about a topic in art.

Arts Accessibility – Definition #3

A third definition of “arts accessibility” is one of economic hardship. Learners of all ages who live in impoverished communities lack the financial means to be able to explore the creative arts. In areas where art and band are still offered as part of the middle/high school curriculum it’s less of an issue; at least they have the exposure to a creative outlet. However for others where these classes are not available, lacking the financial ability to enroll in after school classes at studios or arts organizations is a barrier. Economic barriers prevent access… which leads me to my next definition…

Arts Accessibility – Definition #4

Accessibility to the arts could have nothing to do with infrastructure and everything to do with the abilities of the staff. For adults and children with a wide range of developmental disabilities, the physical access definition is less important than having access to teachers who are able to meet them where they’re at. What I mean by that, is that for many in this demographic, teaching/leading them through an art class takes considerable patience and an understanding of how their brain functions. When families find artists/educators who ARE qualified and adept at working with these populations, the financial barrier is then factored in. Finding and hiring experienced artists can be expensive.  Investing in custom equipment and tools to allow the student the highest level of engagement in activities can be cost prohibitive.

Arts Accessibility – Definition #5

My fifth and final definition for arts accessibility, is one of the psychological variety. It has everything to do with the possible/potential student. The commonly accepted definition/understanding of creativity is that it’s something artists have. If the student feels and truly believes that they just don’t have the skill to create anything worthwhile and thus are defeated before they even try, that is a barrier to access. If it’s one thing I LOVE doing…it’s breaking down this particular barrier to arts access. It is a barrier that anyone can break down and help the student over if the teacher has the right tools in their toolbox.

And there ya have it. Those are MY five definitions of what  arts accessibility barriers could look like. There’s likely more that I haven’t thought of or come across yet. In future posts, I will break down each definition and explain how I personally work towards overcoming the barrier to access. It’s just as much about breaking down the stigma that only artists can appreciate art and reap benefits from a creative outlet as it is about providing opportunities for people to explore activities they’d never considered.

What does “arts accessibility” mean to you? How do you overcome the barriers?

You can follow Shawna at the following: 

www.shawnabarnes.com
www.facebook.com/shawn.n.m.barnes
www.instagram.com/shawna.n.m.barnes

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Arts Accessibility

January 8, 2019

Complete a survey

Shawna Barnes is a Teaching Artist Leader (TAL) with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). She is reaching out to the Maine Arts Education blog readers to assist in completing a survey. In Shawna’s words…. has created a survey to collect information on accessibility and I ask you to take a few minutes to complete it so she can get a comprehensive picture As part of her work as a TAL she is collecting information and providing resources and opportunities for others to gain knowledge about accessibility to arts education.

Shawna has created an Arts Accessibility resources website and it is at the beginning of being an amazing website!

SURVEY

Hello! My name is Shawna Barnes and I am a teaching artist leader with MALI. My project for the year is to work towards and advocate for arts accessibility in ALL its definitions. I am a disabled Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran turned artist and know the challenges I face when it comes to arts accessibility – especially as it relates to residencies. Truth be told, not many of the facilities are wheelchair or mobility impaired friendly. But that’s just one layer of this cake. That’s where YOU come in. I am looking for input from anyone and everyone who is touched by arts education.  Whether you are a teacher/educator, artist, occupational/physical therapist, caregiver or parent to a person with disabilities, home school coop, arts organization leader… I want to hear from everyone. If a question doesn’t apply to you, there’s an option to select N/A. This survey will be used to help inform my next steps in this project.  It will help me know where and what to focus my workshops on that center around developing creative adaptive solutions to help learners of ALL abilities. For more information or with any questions, please feel free to email me at info@shawnabarnes.com.

SURVEY

If you know someone who’s input I should have, PLEASE send them the link. It will stay up indefinitely. The more information I have, the better!!

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Maine Excellence in Arts Education Celebration

December 7, 2018

Maine Arts Commission to honor Excellence in Arts Education

The Maine Arts Commission will honor nine schools – nine visual art educators – 36 students for their artwork – 158 students for their music – two music educators at the Maine State House with a special reception with First Lady Ann LePage in the Hall of Flags, December 11, 2:00 p.m.

Marshwood Middle School is recognizing their students in the arts with this sign outside their school!

Starting December 1, 2018 through April 2019, the Arts Commission is featuring an art exhibit of 45 pieces that will include for the first time ever, student work combined with their respective art teacher’s work. The student art exhibit is being showcased throughout the State House Capitol building, the Burton M. Cross building, and the offices of the Maine Arts Commission. Additionally, each student artist and their families are invited to the Hall of Flags for a special reception on December 11, starting at 2 p.m. The reception includes student performances and a certificate ceremony with First Lady Ann LePage.

Acrylic painting by grade 8 student Lydia Phipps, Marshwood Middle School

“The Maine Arts Commission believes it is essential for every student to have access to a quality and comprehensive visual and performing arts education,” said Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission. “The arts let’s students develop the critical thinking, collaborative, and creative skills necessary to succeed in the ever changing diverse and global economies of today’s world. “

The following schools, teachers and 4 students from each school will be honored and featured in the student exhibit:

  • Gorham Middle School, Teacher: Amy Cousins
  • Hancock Grammar School, Teacher: Jane Snider
  • Jonesport Elementary and Jonesport Beals High School, Teacher: Lisa Marin
  • Marshwood Middle School, Eliot, Teacher: Melanie Crowe
  • Maranacook Middle School, Readfield, Teacher: Hope Lord
  • Oxford Hills High School, South Paris, Teacher: Cindi Kugell
  • Brewer High School, Teacher: Lori Spruce
  • Richmond Middle School and High School, Teacher: Jeff Orth
  • Waterville High School, Teacher: Suzanne Goulet

“Great Third Hill” created by Marshwood Middle School art teacher Melanie Crowe

Two choruses will be recognized and performing at the celebration. Seventy five students will be traveling from Sedomocha School in Dover-Foxcroft with their music teacher Kaitlin Young. Traveling from Marshwood Middle School in Eliot will be seventy five students with their music teacher Kris Bisson. Their programs will highlight their amazing students and a collaborative project that Kris’ students participated with teaching artist Brian Evans-Jones.

All of the teachers involved are teacher leaders in the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, a program of the Maine Arts Commission.

The reception is open to the public on Tuesday, December 11, 2:00 p.m.

For more information about the Maine Excellence in Arts Education please contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at 207-287-2713, argy.nestor@maine.gov.

For more information about the Maine Arts Commission’s programs and services, please visit www.MaineArts.com; follow the agency on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, or contact the offices at 207-287-2724.

 

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Poetry Out Loud Resources

December 4, 2018

Coming soon

Brian Evans-Jones, teaching artist and poet created a set of “exercises” that will be made available to Maine students and teachers to be used to help prepare them for the Poetry Out Loud (POL) program and for teaching and learning poetry. Recently students, poet and film makers converged on Deering High School in Portland to tape the exercises.

Maine’s 2018 POL champ Allan Monga, senior from Deering and 2018 POL state finalist Emma Lombardo, senior from Westbrook High School provided their POL experiences to demonstrate multiple recitation ideas. They are both amazing young people – I was so impressed with their thoughtfulness during the taping.

Brian directed the individual video clips, Ryan Leighton, Maine Arts Commission marketing & communications director and film maker Cody Mitchell taped hours of footage. It will be edited to create a set of resource videos that will be made available at the beginning of December 2018.

This is an amazing opportunity for Maine! It was great to see the learning taking place for all involved. Thank you to Deering High School principal Gregg Palmer for making the arrangements at the school.

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