Posts Tagged ‘Maine arts educators’

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MAEA Conference

June 4, 2021

Re-stART: MAEA 2021 Fall Conference- September 17-18, 2021

The Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) Fall Conference is being planned after a year without it and after the struggles we have all faced with the pandemic. This will NOT be held at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts as they are still working on a reopening plan. MAEA is planning a full return for 2022. Instead, this fall MAEA is offering an in-person “satellite” conference at several venues, studios, and locations throughout the state. This will be a two-day event, in small groups, with 18 studio offerings! The conference will run from 8am-5pm during those two days. Room and Board will not be offered for most studios, however with so many locations, you may be able to find one close, or experience some of the great hospitality Maine has to offer. This does cut down on the conference cost significantly though as well!  

The theme of the fall conference is Re-stART. With the worst of the covid crisis hopefully behind us and the acknowledgment of many social disparities, we are looking forward, using the silver linings and new understandings we have learned to continually improve our practice, our wellbeing, and our social interaction.  We see this as something of a new beginning, a chance to make systemic changes and to highlight the best of mankind and of ourselves. This is an opportunity for us to make the changes we know can improve the structures we have found ourselves in. A chance to “Re-stART”. While not all workshops will focus on this theme, we hope it is something we can all reflect on as we begin a new school year this fall. Join MAEA this fall to learn a new craft, refine an old one, and/or develop art making skills with fellow arts educators! 

Registration opens July 1st at 7:00 AM. Make sure to read the descriptions thoroughly for locations, recommendations, and other applicable fees (specifically for those that offer room and board). If you’re not a member of MAEA now is the time to become one so you can participate in the conference.

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Arts Ed Advocacy Day

March 22, 2021

Documentation of the day – February 17

If you were able to attend the virtual plenary sessions on February 17 in recognition of Arts Education Advocacy Day you are aware of the outstanding opportunity the 2 hour session provided. If you were not there, you’re in luck. All of the sessions were recorded and embedded below. The day was organized by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) in collaboration with the leaders of the ABC – Arts Are Basic Coalition.

The first one below actually took place during the last part of Arts Education Advocacy Day, the ABC Student Advocacy Initiatives. We know at the heart of providing quality arts education programs and access to it are students! I salute all the Maine students who care deeply for the arts and are afforded an excellent curriculum. And, to all the arts educators striving to provide access to these programs, thank you!

ABC Student Advocacy Initiative

Governor Janet T. Mills Arts Ed Advocacy Message

Remarks from Maine Arts Commission Arts Education Director Martha Piscuskas

Conversation with Maine Art Education Association President Lynda Leonas and Argy Nestor

Visual Art Advocacy Video Maine Minds

Conversation with Maine Educational Theatre Association leader Kailey Smith and Beth Lambert

Maine Department of Education – Kellie Bailey, Social/Emotional Learning and Trauma-Informed Practices Specialist, Commissioner Pender Makin, and Jason Anderson, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist

Conversation with Maine Dance Educator representative Thornton Academy Dance Educator Emma Campbell and MaryEllen Schaper

Conversation with Maine Music Educators Association President Sandra Barry and Kaitlin Young

Music Advocacy Video

Thank you to Susan Potters, Executive Director of MAAE and Melissa Birkhold MAAE Advocacy Coordinator for the plenary session for Maine Arts Ed Advocacy Day and making these individual videos available. The videos are also available on the MAAE website at THIS LINK.

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Maine Art Education Conference

March 16, 2021

April 3 Zoooooom!

JOIN COLLEAGUES FROM ACROSS THE STATE

VIRTUAL SPRING ART EDUCATION CONFERENCE

SATURDAY – APRIL 3rd – 9:00-2:30

This past year has held many challenges, but there are so many things to celebrate, and you are invited to join colleagues from across Maine for the annual art education conference. This year things will look a bit different as we will be apart. The conference will be coming to you safely via Zoom and we have an outstanding lineup of speakers for you and it is only $20.00 this year!

Conference Registration Link Found Here!!!!

Keynote Address Presenters: Natasha Mayers & Robert Shetterly

About our Featured Keynote Speakers: Natasha Mayers has been called “the heart and soul of activist art in Maine.” She is widely known for her work supervising more than 600 school and community murals from Maine to Nicaragua.

Natasha Mayers

She has been a Touring Artist with the Maine Arts Commission Artist-in-Residency Program since 1975. She has taught students from nursery school to college and in diverse populations: immigrants, refugees, prisoners, the homeless, and the “psychiatrically labeled,” with whom she has worked since 1974, and has organized many exhibits of their artwork.

Her portrait was painted by Robert Shetterly as part of his Americans Who Tell the Truth series, featuring her words: “We need artists to help explain what is happening in this country, to tell the truth and reveal the lies, to be willing to say the emperor has no clothes, to create moral indignation, to envision alternatives, to reinvent language. We need artists to help us come together and share our voices and build community around powerful issues concerning our roles in the world and our planet’s survival. Compassion must be translated into action.”

Rob Shetterly

To learn more, visit Natasha Mayers’s Website and Robert Shetterly’s American’s Who Tell The Truth website

Presenters

Joseph Cough – Midcoast Music Academy
Cory Bucknam – Brunswick Junior Hig)
Lori Spruce & Holly Houston – Brewer High School & Yarmouth High School
Samara Yandell – Biddeford Middle School
Hope Lord – Maranacook Middle School
Argy Nestor – Sweetland Middle School

Those that attend earn contact hours and get swag!! Conference Registration will Close April 1! Sign up today to save your spot! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

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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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A Different Way to Say I Love You

February 14, 2021

Maine Voices

This was included in the Maine Sunday Telegram, February 14. It is a powerful story written by Kay Wheeler, a retired music teacher and musician living in Raymond. As Maine arts teachers take a break this week I hope you’re relaxing and taking time to reflect on the amazing work you’re doing during this challenging time. If you need a reminder of why your job is critical perhaps this story will help.

My career was music, playing and teaching violin. I taught at Ashley Hall School for girls (Barbara Bush went there) and the Charleston Academy of Music. I retired to Maine two years ago and now have time to write my memories.

I recently read in my Portland Press Herald that Tony Bennett has had Alzheimer’s for several years but still performs at home. The man in my life said, “How can that be?” And, I said, “Let me tell you about an experience I had approximately 15 years ago.”

While I was still teaching violin at the Charleston Academy of Music, Judith, the mother of one of my students, told me about a violin workshop in the same city where her former college roommate lived. Her former roomie played the violin and so did the woman’s young daughter. She invited my student and Judith and me to come down to Georgia, stay with her family and we would all go to the workshop together. Judith was willing to drive, and it sounded like a wonderful weekend. So we drove to Georgia on Friday.

Judith’s roomie had become a doctor and married a doctor. We arrived at their home later in the day. It was beautiful! The living room had a Steinway grand piano with a violin sitting on top of it.

We all visited for a while and then went to bed early to be well rested for the workshop. The next day, the workshop was very successful. We had a lovely dinner with our hostess and her husband and daughter. The plan was to stay that night and then leave for home the next morning.

After dinner, our hostess invited us to have cocktails with her father and mother, who lived in the little house next door. When her parents arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. Her father, almost 90, was a retired doctor. He was very handsome and well dressed. Same to be said for his lovely wife. They cam in, we were introduced and we all sat down for hors d’oeuvres and a drink.

After some pleasant conversation, our hostess asked her father if he would like to play piano for us. “Certainly,” he said. He got up and sat down at the piano, He lifted his hands and dropped them with power and positivity and played a Chopin polonaise without one hesitation or error. I was amazed and thrilled. He continued to play classical piano pieces by great composers. Then he began to play the “Meditation from Thais” by Jules Massenet. I’ve played that pieces so many times – it is one of my favorites. I asked the hostess if I could play the violin that was on the piano. She said, “Ms. Kay, that is why it is on the piano.”

I walked over to her father and asked if I might play along with him. He was delighted. Well, one singled to another and another and another. We played classical serious music for around 30 minutes. Then we played show tunes by ear. Then he looked at me and nodded and he switched to hymns. After another 30 minutes of hymns, we finished with “The Old Rugged Cross.” He stood up, signaled to me to take his hand and we bowed together. It was so enjoyable.

Then he walked over to his daughter while calling her name. He thanked her for a lovely evening, hugged her and told her he loved her. Then he said, “Come on, Mother, time for us oldies to retire to our abode.” He smiled, said, “Thank you” again to me, and they left.

As I turned to sit down and finish my drink, his daughter came over to me. She had tears in heroes, and some running down her cheeks. She took my hand and held it as she said, “Thank you so much for the concert. My father has Alzheimer’s and hasn’t known who I am for at least fiver years. But when he plays the piano, he always remembers me and hugs me and tells me he loves me.”

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School Emergency Relief Fund

February 6, 2021

Applications being accepted by schools

This blog post provides information on obtaining federal funding that has come Maine’s way. These funds are earmarked as “relief funds” to help support educational programs because of the pandemic. The Maine Arts Commission encourages you to make a list of materials, supplies, instruments, tools, software and whatever else you have needed or still need during the pandemic. We all know that your programs have been impacted greatly. Please make a list and an appointment to see your administrator so your needs can go into the school/district application.

From the Maine Department of Education

We are pleased to share an exciting update with our partners in education regarding the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) funds. Maine has received $183,138,601 for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II) through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act. The ESSER II application is now available in Maine’s Consolidated Federal Grant portal. Completed applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning Tuesday, February 2, 2021.  

The current ESSER FAQs from the U.S. Department of Education are available here and here. As a reminder, CRRSA also provides support for non-public schools through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER II) funds.

Earlier this week the U.S. Department of released the Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (EANS) webpage available here. Maine has been allocated $12,751,099 for eligible non-public schools based on the State’s relative number of children aged 5 through 17 at or below 185 percent of poverty who are enrolled in non-public schools. More information regarding the EANS application is forthcoming. 

Please contact Karen Kusiak at Karen.Kusiak@maine.gov with any questions.  

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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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MALI Becomes MAEPL

December 8, 2020

Teacher Network Rebrands its Commitment to Arts Education

The Teacher Leader network known as MALI, or Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, has taken on the new mantle of MAEPL, Maine Arts Education Partners in Leadership, with the revised mission to develop and promote high quality arts education for all.” Leaders of MAEPL say the new name and mission statement better encapsulates what this community of arts educators has been and will continue to be. The process evolved as a result of bringing in new staff and expanding the organization’s leadership structure. Jake Sturtevant, music educator at Falmouth High School, longtime MALI member and Chair of the MAEPL Vision Team, said, “We are still committed to partnering with each other to be resilient, compassionate, and curious Teacher Leaders for our students and in our communities.”

2014 Summer MALI Institute

MALI, now MAEPL, a program of the Maine Arts Commission, is a unique teacher leader development program specifically for preK-12 visual and performing arts (VPA) educators from across the state, one of the very few in the country.  Led by active educators, they focus on the emerging needs of the field.  Components of the year-long program for both classroom teachers and teaching artists in all arts disciplines include community-building, an annual Individualized Professional Development Plan, structured mutual accountability, and leadership development. Over 120 Maine VPA teachers, as well as teaching artists, have participated in the last ten years.  

Even before the pandemic, teachers of the arts often felt isolated.  School district-level trainings are often geared towards general or “core” subject teachers.  “I’m only one of two in my district teaching elementary music.  We are in our little islands, far from anyone else doing what we do,” said Kate Smith, 2014 York County Teacher of the Year and MAEPL Program Team Leader.  “MALI changed all that.” 

Pamela Kinsey, Lori Spruce, Kate Smith, Pam Chernesky, Julie Richard, Winter Retreat 2020

This past year the group took a deep dive into their own organizational structure, assessing and clarifying their policies and processes. Even through the pandemic, the Leadership Teams met and solicited input from the entire membership, and determined a new name, a refined mission, and a new logo. “We chose the whirling maple seed pod as our new symbol because we felt it reflected the best of what we do – taking new ideas, learning and sharing together, then planting them throughout our school communities,” said Jennie Driscoll, visual art educator at Brunswick High School and Vision Team member. “It’s got our energy.”  

In 2020 they also delivered a virtual Summer Institute to 50 VPA educators, addressing the social and emotional resiliency needed this year. In addition, many members led efforts to support and connect with other teachers quickly adjusting to online instruction, leading virtual seminars through the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission.

Group exercise at Winter Retreat, 2020

 “MALI grew a wealth of resources and committed members over the years,” said the current Director of Arts Education for the Maine Arts Commission, Martha Piscuskas, referring to the online Resource Bank and Arts Assessment Resources website, available free to all teachers. “We wanted to build on those strengths.” In addition to the professional development programs, next steps include creating an advisory council, streamlining their web presence, and continued advocacy for the sector. 

The group formed in 2010 to focus on student assessments, an emerging need for visual and performing arts teachers at that time. After learning from other states, a small group of educators led by Argy Nestor, the former Director of Arts Education at the Commission, Rob Westerberg, Choral Director at York High School, and Catherine Ring, former school administrator and art teacher, created the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. They established the multi-day Summer Institute, sharing a framework and best practices for successful arts assessment in the classroom. “We quickly became the assessment experts in our schools,” said Sturtevant. 

Hope Lord and Adele Drake, MALI Summer Institute 2017

In 2015 the group added “teacher voice” and advocacy to their mission, becoming the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), again addressing emerging needs of the sector. “I never would have thought to seek out leadership positions, continue my graduate studies, or have presented at conferences without the support and influence of MALI,” said Iva Damon, visual art teacher and Humanities Department Head at Leavitt Area High School.    

For more information about MAEPL, and to learn about how to get involved, contact Director of Arts Education for the Maine Arts Commission, Martha Piscuskas at martha.piscuskas@maine.gov. Arts education resources developed over the years are accessible through the Maine Arts Commission’s website, https://mainearts.maine.gov/pages/programs/maai.

The Maine Arts Commission is a state agency supporting artists, arts organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers to advance the arts in Maine since 1966.  www.Mainearts.com


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Amazing Educators

June 20, 2020

YOU did it!

CONGRATULATIONS EDUCATORS

…for taking on most likely the biggest challenge in your teaching career and for getting the JOB DONE! As you close the door on another school year I wish you a relaxing summer. As you take time for yourself and reflect on the last months please know I am grateful for the commitment you make to your learners and to ARTS education!

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Happy Retirement!

June 17, 2020

Maine is fortunate to have such marvelous arts educators!

We know that what a teacher offers can have an enormous impact on student development day to day AND over their lifetime. As educators retire at the close of another school year, 2019-2020, I invite you to join me in THANKING them for their years of service and dedication to students across the state.

May your road ahead be filled with many years of good health, love and happiness! Yahooooooo! I’m sure you’ll never forget your last spring of teaching through the COVID pandemic.

The following visual and performing educators have contributed a combined 263+ years to teaching visual and/or performing arts education!

  • CAROL BAKER ROUX, Sanford Jr. High 7/8 Band, 40 years
  • SALLY BEAN, MSAD 58, Mt Abram High School, Visual Arts, ? years
  • BECKY CHRISTIE, Mast Landing School, Freeport, 34 years
  • IVER LOFLING, Skowhegan High School, Visual Arts, ? years
  • MAX MARQUIS, River View Community School, S. Gardiner, MSAD 11, Visual Arts, 32 years
  • HEATHER MACLEOD, Brewer Community School and Brewer High School, General and Choral Music, 30 years
  • CHRISTINE NILES, Colby College, Theater Department, Visual Arts, ? years
  • NANCY ROWE, Camden Hills High School, Instrumental Music, 40 years
  • LUCY GRACE SARGEANT, Sanford High School, Visual Arts, 48 years
  • SUSAN CYR, Dike-Newell and Phippsburg Elementary Schools, Music, 39 years

If you  know of a teacher who is not on this list please be sure and email me at meartsed@gmail.com with the information and I’d be glad to add them. Thanks!

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