Posts Tagged ‘Maine’

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Nicholas Parker’s Story

February 26, 2022

Musical journey and it’s impact on something larger

This is a story about Nicholas Parker but his story is especially poignant at this time with the invasion by Russia of Ukraine earlier this week. Samantha Smith was a 10 year old girl living in Manchester, Maine when, in 1982, she wrote to the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Yuri AndropovI. She was seeking to understand why the relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were so tense. Her question and bravery prompted a response and made a huge difference. She received an invitation to the Soviet Union and became a Goodwill Ambassador. Sadly, Samantha, at the age of 13, and her father, died in a plane crash. Her spirit and commitment to peace lives on. I pray for peace for the people of Ukraine.

If we could be friends by just getting to know each other better, then what are our countries really arguing about? Nothing could be more important than not having a war if a war could kill everything.” ~Samantha Smith

NICHOLAS PARKER’S STORY

As many young children do when there is a piano in the house Nicholas started ‘playing’ random notes for fun at an early age. At age 9 he started taking piano lessons from Amy Irish. At the time, he knew how to play “Do-Re-Mifrom The Sound of Music using solely his pointer finger. Amy taught him to develop his piano abilities and he fell in love with the instrument over the next decade.

PLEASE NOTE: All of the indented bold and italic sections below are quotes from Nicholas Parker.

“Plunking around on the piano and coming up with my own melodies has been one of my favorite activities since the beginning, though I never really put my efforts into writing a complete piece until the eighth grade.”

Nicholas playing Do-Re-Mi

In 2014 while in grade 8 at Reeds Brook School in Hampden Nicholas had Karyn Field for a teacher. Students were engaged in project based learning using Meridian Stories. Along with teaching Karyn was the Civil Rights Advisor so she decided to reach out to Rob Shetterly and Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) to enrich the opportunities for student learning. Rob brought some of his large portraits to school to hang in the library. Students selected a portrait from Rob’s collection and were assigned to do some sort of creative project on that person. Nicholas chose Samantha Smith.

I chose Samantha Smith, a girl from Maine who, in the ‘80s, was known as America’s Youngest Ambassador, and who traveled to the Soviet Union as a peace activist at the height of the Cold War. For my project, I wrote a piano piece about Samantha’s life.

Piano recital with Amy Irish

For several days Nicholas worked independently in the music room while writing the piece about Samantha Smith. Karyn remembers checking in with him periodically to hear what he was accomplishing. Nick used his musical abilities and combined them with Samantha Smith; an ideal project in many ways.

When Rob and AWTT staff saw and heard what Nicholas had accomplished they were very impressed. A conversation followed and out of this grew the ongoing AWTT project offered each year to middle students. The Samantha Smith Challenge (SSC) is a dynamic educational program for middle and high school students that uses the creative arts to build a bridge between the classroom and the world as students become compassionate, courageous, and engaged citizens. SSC projects teach students that, no matter what age, they can be part of solving the challenges and problems they see around them and work for the common good.

“Looking back, I would have written the piece a bit differently now (on account of my skills having developed significantly since I was 13), but the music nevertheless managed to elicit a response from Mr. Shetterly, who was present when we displayed our projects.”

Playing on a street piano

Karyn shared that Nicholas was a confident and very humble student. He was provided an amazing opportunity to take what someone did that created change and through Rob’s painting of Samantha, together they elevated her voice. Nicholas was invited, while in high school, to speak at the New England League of Middle Schools annual dinner. Karyn said: “Through his passion and intelligence and his gifts he opened doors for others students and served as a good role model.”

“Seeing the impact my project had on Mr. Shetterly and the creation of the Samantha Smith Challenge was wonderful. Since then, I’ve loved staying in touch with AWTT when I’m able, and have enjoyed learning much more in the fields of piano performance and composition.”

Nicholas returned at Christmas from a semester studying in Italy. He took time to provide an update what he’s doing and some of his thinking.

“Today, I am headed into my senior year at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where I am majoring in Music and Italian Studies. While I have grown a lot in my abilities, I must admit that I’m still trying to figure out what it is that I want to write (and how to write it). George Winston, whose CDs my parents used to play when I was growing up, is a source of much inspiration. His seasonal albums are some of my favorites, and the way in which he captures natural settings through the piano is exceptional. 

Working on music while in Italy last fall

The opportunity to teach music to others has presented itself in recent years as well, and I have found myself working with a few students—albeit largely in a virtual format—on the fundamentals of music and piano-playing. To introduce people to the piano has been an immense joy, and quite often has made me think of the importance of the arts and music in education. I personally have learned at least as much from studying music as I have from any science or math course, and in fact have found that the subjects of music and science are not quite so different. And yet, when it comes to many schools (especially those in less-privileged areas or with less funding), the arts and music programs are all too often the first on the chopping block. The benefits of music in education are plentiful, but inclusion and accessibility are indispensable when it comes to having an impact on students’ development.

Nick performing the Samantha Smith piece he wrote:

As was stated by Stanford University professor Eliot Eisner (quoted previously on this blog), “The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.” Whether by aiding in telling the story of Samantha Smith, or by helping me explore the natural world around us in a way that words and numbers cannot, music has occupied a space in my life that nothing else could. It’s impact on me has in turn given me the potential to impact a little bit of my corner of the world, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

AWTT Education Director Connie Carter has valued her time working with Nicholas and said the following: “Besides being the catalyst for AWTT’s education program the Samantha Smith Challenge, Nick has continued to be a strong voice for courageous student activism.  He has spoken at conferences about AWTT and was a critical voice in our strategic planning process.  Listening to Nick talk about the importance of finding and using one’s voice is like listening to a beautiful musical composition  — full of meaning, compassion, and inspiration.”

It was such a gift to converse with Nicholas and hear his story. His journey in many ways is just beginning, especially to those of us who have been around for many years. But, his musical journey started many years ago as a small child. I’m grateful Nicholas shared his story and I’m sure it will inspire and remind us how important it is to provide learning opportunities in the arts for all.

If you have a student or a former student whose story will inspire please contact me at meartsed@gmail.com!

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Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts

January 27, 2022

What a gift the glacier left

The word watershed (noun) means a time when an important change takes place. Over the years Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, located in Newcastle, Maine has shifted and grown as changes were needed and I’d say most, if not all, were important to the organization. At its inception the focus was on bringing artists together to learn and create. And, for many years Watershed has offered professional development for educators, many of them Maine K-12 visual art teachers.

Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts story started thousands of years ago. There is an abundance of glacial marine clay from the mountains to the sea because at one point Maine was covered by a giant glacier. Watershed is located in Newcastle, a place that has an abundance of clay with a blue-green tinge. Clay can be found throughout our state along banks of rivers and streams and also in fields. Sometimes it takes time to locate; it can be very pure or filled with other components that need to be picked and sifted out. Fortunately, one of the resources that Watershed provides for teachers is a video depicting the exploration to find clay.

This blog post tells the story of Watershed with several topics; history, philosophy, educational opportunities, audience, pandemic – ups and downs, changes underway, and supporting Watershed. Some of the blog content is taken directly from Watershed’s website; some is provided by the founders, teachers who have taken workshops, artist working at the center, and some from staff. A great big thanks to Claire Brassil, Watershed’s Outreach & Communications Director for her assistance with this post.

Original studio space

HISTORY

The history of Watershed begins with the geological gift of clay found along the banks of local rivers in midcoast Maine. For much of the 19th century, the local community relied on vital income from the manufacturing of waterstruck brick (so called because it was made from a wet mixture of clay and water). Waterstruck brick had lasting historical appeal, and in the 1970s an attempt was made to re-establish its manufacture on the site that is now the Watershed campus in Newcastle. While the brick business folded after a year, a group of artists became inspired to make use of the abandoned factory and the tons of local marine clay left at the site.

In 1986, Margaret Griggs, George Mason, Lynn Duryea and Chris Gustin collaborated on a new vision for the brick-making factory—as a place for clay artists to live and work in community. The open layout of the facility encouraged the artists to approach their work with a new vigor and awareness, and the seeds for what would become Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts took hold.

Founders George Mason, Lynn Duryea and Chris Gustin

During Watershed’s early years, small groups of 10-12 artists would spend the summer living and working together on the campus. The first residents formed connections and friendships in a space that provided opportunities to create without hierarchy. Artists developed their personal work and envisioned new possibilities for a creative community. Watershed soon began to attract artists from far corners of the world who sought a creative environment in which to engage and explore. Today, more than 100 artists a year come to Watershed to create and connect with like-minded makers.

I’ve been fortunate to know Ceramic Artist George Mason for many years. In 1987 he created a Percent for Art Project at the new school building where I was teaching in Union. He is an amazing, thoughtful and kind artist. When I asked George what his vision was when he first came together with his colleagues, this was his response:

You know, this all started among friends inviting friends. We sensed a creative opportunity to find out what might unfold by just living and working together with no aesthetic agenda or expectation of result. Even before the name Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts came into being after the first season, this place was already a refuge apart from career; where the magic of relationship and creativity had the space to spark the unexpected.

PHILOSOPHY

Central to Watershed’s philosophy is a belief that the unexpected sparks creativity and that new people, ideas and spaces nurture the evolution of artistic practice. Our dual mission is to provide artists with time and space to explore ideas with clay; and to promote public awareness of the ceramic arts. Through residencies, workshops, public events, talks and exhibitions, Watershed supports the process and work of clay artists from around the country and world.

This video on youtube is very informative.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES, YES FOR TEACHERS

Watershed offers educational programs and resources for grades K-12 art teachers and students of all ages. From workshops and classroom-based experiences, to professional development and online tutorials, Watershed works to support ceramic art educators and the next generation of ceramists.

Watershed provides professional development opportunities; workshops, residencies, and resources. Teachers hone their clay education skills, develop curricula, and connect with other educators from around the state. Watershed provides newly created online tutorials, Digging & Processing Wild Clay and Raku Firing, developed by Teaching Artist Malley Weber.

Teaching Artist Malley Weber who created educational videos for Watershed

Upcoming workshops
Mold Making & Slip-Casting, March 3 – 4, 2022
Sgraffito Technique, March 25, 2022

Long time Teaching Artist and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Leader, phase 6, Tim Christensen is teaching the Sgraffito Technique workshop. Tim’s thoughts on Watershed:

“Watershed has been so important to my development as an artist and teacher. We’re incredibly fortunate to have this facility here, in Maine. It serves as a gathering and sharing place for all of the acquired knowledge of the American, and to some extent the international, ceramic scene, at the same time as providing world class studio facilities and learning opportunities. If we think of art as a language, and the different techniques and styles available to us as our vocabulary,  working through Watershed allows me to say an entire range of things that I would be otherwise unable to express through my artwork. Having Watershed available to me in Maine means I have the opportunity to say anything I can conceive with clay.”

Winthrop Middle School Art Teacher Lisa Gilman commented after the workshop she attended:

“Watershed nourishes the whole artist. They provide space and time for an artist to grow. They support the artist’s mind, body and soul. Watershed is a rare gem in today’s world. Not once all week did I miss technology or really even think of it. I was able to truly connect and grow as an artist and engage in deep thoughtful art making. Pure magic!” 

Vinalhaven’s K-12 art teacher, Heather White, comment:

“I’ve participated in countless professional development opportunities over the years, and my time spent at Watershed ranks at the very top of the list. The instructor and everyone on the Watershed staff was knowledgeable and encouraging, I got a lot accomplished in a short time, I’m going back to my classroom with new and fresh ideas, everyone I met was fun and friendly, and the food was amazing! Hopefully every art teacher in the state has an opportunity to go at some point!”

Teaching Artist Malley Weber demonstrates to a session with art teachers

AUDIENCE

Watershed’s audience is wide and varied. From artists who have different focus to teachers looking for learning opportunities to communities members who appreciate and wish immerse themselves and support ceramic programming. Some of listed below.

  • Artists who can work independently in a clay studio and come from Maine, around the country, or abroad take part in our residency program. We aim to foster community and connection among practicing artists at all stages of their careers, from students and recent graduates to established professionals looking for an opportunity to connect with other ceramists. Scholarships are available for all populations. For example in 2017 The Zenobia Fund was established for BIPOC artists, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)
  • Artists with some experience in clay who are looking to further their skills and knowledge. Guest artist and kiln firing workshops are available.  
  • Maine K-12 educators and students. The teacher education program prioritizes skill-building and technique-sharing in clay for Maine’s art educators. Teachers know their students best and can tailor what they learn at Watershed to suit their particular needs and interests. The teacher sessions also provide an opportunity for art educators who usually work solo to connect and collaborate. 

Watershed offers some programs for student groups as well. Art classes come to campus to learn about Raku firing. 

  • Ceramic art lovers & appreciators. While the bulk of our programs prioritize hands-on learning for artists, Watershed offers opportunities for the public to learn more about and appreciate ceramic work via exhibitions, artist talks, special events, and Salad Days, our annual fundraiser and celebration of ceramic work. 

PANDEMIC – UPS and DOWNS

In person Watershed programming was on hold during the summer of 2020 due to the pandemic. However, the timeline for the building of the new studio (see more under ‘changes underway’ below) was pushed forward and completed more quickly since the campus was quiet.

New ways for artists to create and connect became a priority and the following are some of the programs developed:

  • Online gatherings for artists around topics that mattered to them. For example a partnership was formed with The Color Network and Ayumi Hori to facilitate online conversations for artists who focused on racial equity, economic parity, and creativity during Covid-19.
  • Kiln firing opportunities for Maine artists during the summer were available since because they’re usually in constant use by artists-in-residence.
  • An outdoor sculpture exhibition called “Outstanding in the Field” (details under “past exhibitions”) supported clay artists and offered the public an opportunity to safely view work outdoors.  
  • A series of video tutorials for K-12 teachers and students (and others), created by teaching artist Malley Weber, on digging wild clay, processing wild clay, and raku firing.

CHANGES UNDERWAY and NEXT STEPS

During the last 20 years or so Watershed has been able to maintain and upgrade some of the facilities on the property. They built and fully insulated artist cabins, built a kiln shed, and updated Thompson Hall to name a few changes.

Phase 1, 2015-17: Included project planning, a feasibility student and conceptual facility designs. From this first phase action has taken place and so many wonderful and much needed changes have occurred.

Phase 2, 2018-19: A beautiful historic building, the Joan Pearson Watkins House is located about a quarter mile down the road from the main campus. Watershed purchased the house and the accompanying 20 acres, which abut the land that leads to the studio. It was renovated and restored and holds Watershed’s Barkan Gallery, which offers year-round exhibition, lecture, and event space. Watershed’s administrative offices and retail shop are also located in the house.

Phase 3, 2020: Studio Annex provides climatized, flexible space for adjunct programming and material and equipment storage.

Phase 4, 2021-21: Windgate Studio is a 7,500 square foot studio, weatherized and ADA-compliant, supporting an expanded residency and workshop season. Features include a state-of-the-art filtration and ventilation system, spacious glaze area, custom spray booth, plaster room, and a single-level floor plan offering a seamless transition between studio and kilns. 

  • Supports artists working on commissions or large scale projects.
  • Brings (inter)nationally-known guest artists to lead workshops.
  • Provides opportunities for student groups to make and fire work.
  • Enables Watershed to collaborate with partner organizations.
  • Offers space for artists to create and connect throughout the year.
  • Tap into limitless potential!
Recently opened Windgate Studio

Phase 5: Campus Commons design and construction2022-2023. The Commons will replace the existing Thompson Hall. The plan includes comfortable dining facilities, a commercial kitchen, and weatherized housing for staff.

SUPPORTING WATERSHED

After reading about Watershed you might be wondering how they’ve been able to accomplish so much. Like anything successful they’ve had a vision, commitment from amazing staff and supportive board of directors and advisors. And, they’ve had donors (small and large contributions) who have contributed generously to the mission and success of Watershed. Their Capital Campaign called ‘Watershed NOW’ is creating spaces that inspire bold artistic practice and community. LEARN MORE.

There are opportunities to support Watershed with donations to the scholarship fund, the capital campaign, and the annual fund. Occasionally, Watershed seeks volunteers for specific events and projects. 

Watershed is well-known in the national ceramics community but has perhaps less name recognition in Maine. As capacity for year-round programming grows, Watershed plans to offer more ways for Mainers to connect. 

Co-founder Lynn Duryea shared her remembrance and thoughts on Watershed:

It really was Peg’s vision that got Watershed going. She was a long-time seasonal resident of the area and an investor in the brick factory. When it ceased to be financially viable, she really wanted to see artists use the space, did a lot of outreach and research to see how that might happen, contacting clay programs as well as individual artists. She knew George and ultimately convinced him to try the pilot program in 1986.
George invited artists he knew and who had been recommended to him. He invited me because I was working on large-scale planters for a Percent for Art installation that couldn’t be executed in my Congress St. Portland studio. He knew Chris and invited him to come with his students at Swain School of Design early in the fall. 
I was still working at Watershed when Chris came with his students. It was conversations that came out of that week that moved us forward. I don’t recall that we were looking too far down the road – as it were. I don’t know that we were thinking we were laying the groundwork for what would become a major institution in our field. We definitely saw the potential of a group of people coming together to work in what was then a very raw space, just to see what might happen collectively and individually. Watershed has always been about community – people working together on an equal footing regardless of their reputation, status, age, etc.
Watershed in its early years was about as grass roots as you could get: a group of artists and a small board of directors figuring it all out.
And it has worked. The growth has been organic, uneven and amazing, particularly amazing in the last decade. Fran (Rudoff, executive director) has worked wonders – along with a very dedicated staff and board. In no way did we envision the specifics of Watershed’s programming today in the fall of 1986, but we knew something significant could happen. And it has, by putting one collective foot in front of the other for all these years, never giving up on the ideas and potential.”

NEXT STEPS

Hopefully you’ve read to the end of this long blog post. And either learned about a new place in Maine or reminisced about your own experience(s) at Watershed. It’s a beautiful gem where thousands have traveled to, learned, and left with a full heart. When I think about the co-founders (in their 30’s at the time) who were brave enough to take a chance, I am reminded of Vincent van Gogh’s words: “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything…”

I am grateful for the help Watershed’s Outreach & Communication Director, Claire Brassil provided in putting together this blog post. As for the future of Watershed, Claire’s thoughts below:

In the spring, we celebrated the building’s completion and collectively reoriented after such a rapid metamorphosis. The studio can contain any program we dream up. But … how will Watershed’s limitless future take shape? As an organization known for its scrappy rough edges, what will it mean to nurture the best parts of our original identity while making the most of our shiny new vessel? These coming-of-age throes find us wrestling with invigorating yet challenging questions of who we’ve been and who we want to become.

The shape and scope of Watershed’s next chapter will begin to emerge over the coming year. I feel confident that my colleagues, the board, and our greater community share a collective passion for refining and growing this unique place. Watershed is a quantifiable physical space: 54 acres, 7,500 square feet of studio space, 31 dining room chairs, 15 bedrooms, 11 kilns, and one gallery. But in an equally real sense, we are an experience, an idea, and a respite during an era when few places affirm that creative practice and artists matter.”  

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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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Music and Literacy

October 28, 2019

Resources

Join Sharon and Kate Beever for a morning of hands-on lessons you can bring back to your classroom as tools for educational, cognitive, and social learning. Book and song pairings with associated activities will incorporate speech and literacy, critical thinking and analysis, and social skills. Gain comfort using music with your students and learn about its benefits for literacy and learning. No musical experience necessary.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST

Portland Friends Meeting 1837 Forest Avenue, Portland, ME 04103

REGISTRATION

Presenters

Sharon K. Beever is a Master’s level librarian with over thirty years experience in school settings. She has presented at conferences and classes on the use of technology in literacy, organized Unified Arts programs in multiple districts, and facilitated community partnerships within the school library. Sharon is a member of the MLA (Maine Library Association) and the MASL (Maine Association of School Librarians) and is President of the Saco River Festival Association, which runs an annual summer concert series.

Kate Beever is a board-certified music therapist and owner of Maine Music & Health, LLC. She has a master’s degree in Music Psychotherapy and a certificate in Neurologic Music Therapy, and is a Remo HealthRhythms facilitator. Kate provides music therapy to clients with developmental disabilities, brain injury, cancer, dementia, and general stress. She keeps an active schedule of speaking and performing as a pianist and percussionist.

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In Today’s News

January 19, 2019

Art in Education Triangle – Maine, Malawi, Helsinki

Article written by Dagney C. Ernest, for Village Soup, January 16, 2019. “We teach because the future belongs to learners.” CLICK HERE to read Dagney’s article about Lindsay Pinchbeck and Argy Nestor’s trip to Helsinki and the connection between Maine, Malawi, and Helsinki.

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Moxie Goes Artsy

January 11, 2019

2019 Moxie Festival Call for Art

It’s official!  Lisbon’s Moxie Festival Committee today issued a call for artwork.  Each year, the Moxie Festival Committee selects artwork to be used for t-shirts, posters, and branded items. The selected artwork will be consistent with the fun 2019 theme of “Moxie Goes Artsy.” The Moxie Festival committee selected this theme to inspire a “distinctively different” visual representation of the Moxie spirit, which by dictionary definition means energy, pep, and courage.  It’s also the official beverage of the state of Maine. The committee is seeking an artistic image as iconic as the beverage itself.

Festival organizer Julie-Ann Baumer said the committee is looking for submissions from Maine artists.  “We are looking for a unique look and feel for this year’s festival artwork, given the theme. There are so many amazing and hardworking creative people here in Maine. I look forward to seeing their work.”

The three-day festival, celebrated at the peak of summer with a parade, a 5k run, live music, and many other events, is a glorious homage to the distinctively different beverage, Moxie. The winning artwork will be reproduced on an exclusive and collectible T-shirt, posters, and other festival-branded items.  In addition to seeing their artwork proudly displayed on thousands of T-shirts sold and worn during the Moxie Festival, this year the winner will receive a $750 cash prize, media recognition, the first 2019 printed T-shirt, and the opportunity to judge parade floats designed and inspired by the theme.

The deadline for entries is Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. Winners will be selected by the Moxie Festival Committee. The winner will be announced on Thursday, February 14, 2019. Complete details and guidelines are currently both online at www.moxiefestival.com or at the MTM Community Center, 18 School Street, Lisbon Falls, Maine.

The Moxie Festival, celebrating Maine’s official soft drink, is always the second weekend in July. Mark your calendars for the 2019 Moxie Festival, July 12 – 14, 2019. If you have questions please contact Julie-Ann Baumer at jbaumer@lisbonme.org.

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Retired Art Teachers

October 3, 2018

What are they up to?

Thanks to retired visual art teacher Diane Noble for providing the following information. In her own words…

The MAEA Retired ART Teachers, along with some family and friends, enjoyed a morning at the Bernard Langlais Sculpture Preserve in Cushing on Friday, September 21. We were greeted by Annette Naegel, Director of Conservation for the Georges River Land Trust, that is in charge of the property and Cynthia, the Education coordinator, and Doug, Conservationist of the sculptures.

Seventeen of us heard from each about how the Langlais sculptures came to be renovated with the aid of the Colby College and the Kohler Foundation, then turned over to the Georges River Land Trust as stewards of the works and property of 160 acres.

We toured his studio, workshop, the barn, the education area and the house.

It’s an amazing place, visited by many school groups. If any Art teachers are interested in visiting the preserve with students please contact Annette Naegel, annette@grlt.org, Georges River Land Trust, Director of Conservation, 207-594-5166.

Ticket to Ride provides funds to travel to places like the Bernard Langlais Sculpture Preserve in Cushing. Please learn more about the Ticket to Ride program on the Maine Arts Commission website. 

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Friends of Aomori

August 24, 2018

Looking for teacher to travel to Japan

Friends of Aomori – the non-profit organization that supports the Maine, USA-Aomori, Japan Sister State Relationship – is seeking a K-12 arts educator as a partner for an exhibition and teacher exchange with Japan.
The Teacher delegate selected should have a specialty in printmaking and will travel to to Aomori, Japan for a week in November. The prefecture will pay airfare and Friends of Aomori is providing a $500 stipend and help with housing, etc. Preliminary deadline, August 26. PRELIMINARY APPLICATION!

Friends of Aomori is a nonprofit organization consisting of many dedicated members striving to improve the relationship between the State of Maine and Aomori Prefecture, Japan.  Friends of Aomori’s goals are to:

  • Coordinate incoming and outgoing delegations between Maine and Aomori;
  • Coordinate artistic and cultural exchanges between Maine and Aomori;
  • Provide support to schools in Maine that operate educational exchange programs with Aomori;
  • Educate the public about the sister-state relationship;
  • Raise funds to support the sister-state activities.
The Teacher/delegate selected will participate in coordinating the 2019 Children’s Print Exchange between Maine and Aomori when they return.

Friends of Aomori is an all-volunteer non-profit that supports the Sister State relationship between Maine and Aomori, Japan. The relationship between Maine and Aomori has been in place for 20 years, but the fascinating connection between the two states goes back to a shipwreck in 1889. Read more about the connection.

The ideal candidate is a dedicated, active, certified K-12 art teacher with a focus in printmaking. The teacher will represent Friends of Aomori and the State of Maine in Japan from November 12th – 16th 2018 to observe art classes, printmaking workshops, and the Aomori Rotary Club as part of an ongoing children’s arts exchange between Maine and Aomori. Upon returning to Maine, the teacher will partner with Friends of Aomori on the production of children’s prints to be exhibited in Japan in April 2019.

The Friends send 10 prints by Maine printmakers to Japan for their civic festival every October and they send 10 prints to Maine by Aomori printmakers. These are exhibited around Maine in the spring and summer. (They have begun touring their collection around Aomori as well following the October event.)The exchange is entering year four. So there is a matched set of 20 prints in Maine and Aomori. This this year all 60 prints will hopefully be exhibited at Maine Orono. Thanks to Jeff Badger for making this happen.
The work in the online exhibits have been inspired by Japan and made by Maine Artisans.
The Aomori Print Gallery is located online in a David Clough gallery space.
The Maine Artist Gallery is located online in a David Clough gallery space as well.
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In Today’s News

August 13, 2018

Ashley Bryan

Bob Keyes article in the Maine Sunday Telegram provides the latest news on Ashley Bryan. His show opened recently at the Portland Museum of Art and it is fantastic. At age 95 Ashley is working on a number of books and is planning on one being completed within the month. It is a book of collages based on Christina Rosetti’s poems. He’s also working on a larger project based on his time during WWII when he served in the segregated Army. Seventy four years ago he was at Omaha Beach.

I was very excited to read that he is working with Maine composer Aaron Robinson who happens to be a former student of mine. They are collaborating on an African-American requiem for chamber orchestra, choir and spoken voice.

He’s calling it “A Tender Bridge: An African American Requiem,” based on a Bryan quote: “I always confuse the past and the future, the way I mix up death and life – they are connected only by a tender bridge. This is why stories are at the heart of civilization.”

Plan to take your students to the museum for the show and watch for information on the performance of one of Ashley’s books scheduled for the end of October.

READ the entire article.

“Oh, When the Children Sing in Peace,” 2006, collage of cut colored paper on paper, from “Let It Shine: Three Favorite Spirituals,” 12 by 20 inches. Photo from Portland Museum of Art

 

 

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Excellence in VPA Education

January 18, 2017

Call for student artwork

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First Lady Ann LePage with a young artist at the Excellence celebration on December 21, 2016

For over ten years, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the Maine Arts Commission have been fortunate to celebrate arts education by hosting rotating student art exhibits. During the past two years Beth Lambert from the Maine DOE and I have worked together on this collaboration which celebrates the excellence of students in visual and performing arts education in Maine.

The rotating exhibits are displayed throughout the State House complex and in the Department of Education. Each exhibit features art work from three districts from three superintendent regions. Each district provides 21 pieces representing student art from grades PK-12. During the period students’ artwork is displayed, the artists and their families will be invited to the Hall of Flags in Augusta for a Celebration of Excellence in Visual and Performing Arts Education reception. Each student is recognized by the First Lady of Maine Ann LePage for their accomplishments. The reception will feature performances from the districts represented in the art show.

Under the direction of music teacher Cynthia Streznewski, musicians from Woolwich Central School perform at the State House for the celebration

Under the direction of music teacher Cynthia Streznewski, musicians from Woolwich Central School perform at the State House for the celebration on December 21.

In order to have equitable representation we are seeking artwork from the superintendents regions of York, Mid-coast, Western Maine, and Aroostook. Please consider submitting your students’ artwork. The exhibition guidelines are located at https://mainearts.maine.gov/CMSContent/arts_in_education/Excellence_VPA/2015-2016_EVPA_Artwork_Guidelines.pdf. If you are interested in displaying your student artwork, please contact Beth Lambert at 624-6642 or beth.lambert@maine.gov.

 

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