Posts Tagged ‘Margy Burns Knight’


Snow Shoe Art

March 23, 2018

Got snow?

Lisa and some of her students

Art has always been a passion for me. Art is magical, ephemeral and life changing. But those reading this who are arts educators, you already know that. Trying to find the words is not easy to describe the experience my students and I had with snow shoe artist, Jason Cote. The whole experience was serendipitous. Teaching art for 20 years, I was thinking of new ways to engage my students. Looking to breathe new life into my lessons I started to see more and more about snow shoe art. Then as the universe would have it Jason Cote was interviewed by Bill Green’s Maine. He was close to my school! I contacted him through social media and he immediately responded and wanted to work with my students.

Working with a local community organization, Winthrop Plays Outside, run by Margy Burns-Knight, we were able to be the first to commission Jason as an artist. Jason Cote came to the middle school in February for a half an hour assembly. Students were shown his work and were able to ask him questions. Now we had to wait for the snow….

March delivered great snow. We got 12 inches of fresh snow on March 8 and 9 and the magic happened. Jason arrived at school at sunrise and sketched the design in snow. He laid down the initial circles and paths for students to follow. We kept the groups small, we had 12 pairs of snow shoes. Students were given directions to follow the path and follow Jason’s directions. Students could watch if they did not want to participate. For many students this was the first time on snow shoes. However, when the first drone pictures came out, more students wanted to participate. About 150 students in grades 6, 7 and 8 created the work of art with Jason.

Watching from the sidelines, directing students, helping get snow shoes on and off, I was nervous. The kids were incredibly well behaved but from my view it looked like fun chaos, but chaos never the less!! Then the school’s tech teacher took a few drone pictures and the magic began to appear. Jason hires a professional drone photographer to take the final photographs and video. The pictures were amazing. The artwork was clear, the middle school staff and I were all in pure awe. Students have expressed their gratitude for several days.

It’s hard express how grateful I am for this experience. The art was temporary, but the memories will last forever. When I got home and had time to reflect I thought of Christo and Jean-Claude. Their work is tough for many to understand; it’s temporary, environmental, conceptual. Whatever you want to call it, art work, art happening, snow shoe art, I as an artist got to feel like Christo and Jean-Claude for the day. The experience transcended all expectations.

WATCH THE VIDEO to get a full sense of this project. The still photo doesn’t tell the story well. It is HUGE! To learn more watch the Bill Green’s Maine segment with Jason Cote. Amazing! And, an article from the Portland paper, March 2017, on Jason’s work. Thank you to art educator from Winthrop schools, Lisa Gilman for providing this blog post!


Talking Walls

September 26, 2014

Thomas College, October 9, 2014

Talking Walls2(3)(1)


Talking Walls

January 18, 2014

Back again!

If you’ve been in education for some time you will most likely remember the book written by Winthrop resident Margy Burns Knight. Margy came to the school where I taught on more than one occasion when we did interdisciplinary units that included all students in Grades K-8. It was a fabulous opportunity to engage students in thinking about who they were as an individual and their connections to the world.

imageDuring one residency Margy came with the book illustrator  Anne Sibley O’Brien and met with each grade level of students to talk about the meaning of walls in the individual student’s life. As a follow-up each student created an illustrated poem that was put onto a dyed 8″x 8″ gray fabric. They looked like stones and were put together onto a dyed sheet with a little space in between. The artwork was about 5 queen sized sheets large at completion. It became part of the library attached to the ceiling in a circle similar to a tower. Students could walk through the tower/wall/space by arches that were cut out. It was marvelous!

Margy and Anne are back with an updated version of the wall and are hosting a teacher workshop to learn about how to use the book with students. How are walls part of your life?!   I hope you will consider attending, I am sure you won’t be disappointed! Information below with registration details!

February 7, 2014
Come celebrate the new Talking Walls – Discover Your World
by Margy Burns Knight, illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien
– updated and rewritten for read-aloud effectiveness
– compiled into one volume

519 Congress St #2B, Portland, ME 04101, 2nd floor – Maine Charitable Mechanic Association Library

The first forty educators who register are invited to an hour-long free workshop with the author and illustrator to introduce the new Talking Walls – Discover Your World, and to share examples of how to use the book to meet Common Core standards for informational text, grades K-8: Key Ideas and Details, Craft and Structure, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, and Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity.

Each participant will be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of the book at the launch party (see below).

To register: Email name, school and contact information (subject line: Teacher Workshop) to by February 1, 2014

5:00 – 8:00 LAUNCH PARTY (during First Friday Artwalk)
Mainely Frames
541 Congress Street, Portland

– Refreshments: Wine & cheese & crackers
– Display of original Talking Walls illustrations
– Books available for purchase and autographing
– “Reconciliation and Forgiveness Wall” – Community activity honoring the life of Nelson Mandela
– Drawing for free copies of the book (for educators who attended the workshop) – 5 winners

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