Posts Tagged ‘MECA’

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Who Are They?: MECA, Part 6

April 15, 2015

Maine College of Art

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.42.14 PMThis is the sixth and final post as part of this series on the Maine College of Art (MECA) which is located in downtown Portland. Thank you to Raffi Der Simonian
rdersimonian@meca.edu, Director of Marketing & Communications for his help in putting this series together.

The final post includes information about MECAs new music and art program which received $3 million to kickstart the program. Learn about it in this video from Ian Anderson, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College.

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Who Are They?: MECA, Part 5

April 8, 2015

Maine College of Art

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.42.14 PMThis is the fifth post on the Maine College of Art (MECA) which is located in downtown Portland. Below is an interview with Fern Tavalin, MECA Director of Art Education.

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Fern Tavalin

Please describe the educator training programs offered at MECA.

MECA offers a Master of Arts in Teaching that leads to initial certification in visual art for the State of Maine. Our program is accredited by the State of Maine and by National Alliance of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Receiving NASAD approval is quite an honor.

What is MECA’s philosophy on teacher education?

We believe that teachers should be both artists and educators. Our admissions policy is rigorous in that we review an artist’s portfolio as well as screening for the dispositions that we feel are necessary for good teaching and learning. Those admitted have the potential to become outstanding artist/educators. Because of this, we make sure that they are given the tools to become effective art educators who use the knowledge, skills, and dispositions acquired in our program to creatively serve children and youth in PK-12 schools, museums, community-based/alternative settings, and virtual learning environments. To ensure that our teacher candidates are prepared, we value learning as a developmental process. That means that our candidates are not graded on each assignment as they begin. Instead, we provide substantive feedback, pointing toward their next steps in learning. At key stages, the candidates undergo reviews to demonstrate attainment of Maine’s initial teacher certification standards and our program outcomes.

Each college or university reflects its institutional aims as well as having to be responsive to accreditation requirements. MECA is a studio-based college, the practices of which have much to add to the overall field of education. By maintaining our beliefs and our educational approach, we hope to add value to the research base about how students learn best.

We encourage our candidates to resist the temptation to want to see the state educator standards written in art specific terms and trust that their coursework will reflect the art specific knowledge that they will eventually being to the classroom. Familiarity with the general concepts of teaching and learning and how they translate to art education will give MECA’s teachers a “place at the table” during faculty meetings and gatherings of educators across disciplines.

Is there something that sets MECAs program apart from others?

When MECA’s teacher candidates enter the program, they enroll in an intensive one-month summer institute that integrates the frameworks for teaching and learning, student creative growth and development and how their lives of artists apply to the field of education.

On the very first day, our teacher candidates enter classrooms in Portland’s diverse public school system. They learn to begin by closely observing rather than judging. As the semester progresses, MECA teacher candidates use a variety of lenses for looking at students in a variety of learning environments. This direct experience is enhanced by collaborative inquiry through theoretical readings and shared discussions. The program emphasizes critical thinking and data gathering to question assumptions – both theirs and those of experts in the field.

What advice do you have for someone considering becoming a teacher in this century?

All learning is cumulative, so we cannot always predict the overall outcomes of our efforts as teachers. Because the future is unknown, we cannot say what it will bring. However, studio habits of mind such as developing craft, engaging and persisting and envisioning will be essential now matter what our teachers face.

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Who Are They?: MECA, Part 4

April 1, 2015

Maine College of Art

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

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This is the fourth post on the Maine College of Art (MECA) which is located in downtown Portland. Chuck Hamm is MECA alumni and a great advocate for Feed Your Soul. Chuck teaches visual art at Belfast Area High School. In Chuck’s own words…

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Who Are They?: MECA, Part 3

March 25, 2015

Maine College of Art

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

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This is the third post on the Maine College of Art (MECA) which is located in downtown Portland. Sarah Sullivan is a first year student at MECA and was kind enough to answer questions for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers. (Perhaps you’d like to share this with high school students considering art school after graduation).

What was your art education like in elementary, middle, and high school? Who or what has inspired you?

Elementary school? All I can remember from elementary school is cut paper that I made into a semi-picture, and then watching the Seasame Street art movie called “Don’t Eat the Pictures” (it was fantastic). In my free time at home I’d roll under the coffee table in my house and draw on the bottom with crayons. In middle school I was selected for the “Gifted and Talented” Art class, which wasn’t as big a deal as it sounded.

It wasn’t until high school that I really got involved with art. Yes, I guess you can say I’d always been creative, but when I got to high school, suddenly I had choices and freedom to do what I wanted. I could choose not only to do art, but what kind of art as well. It was two of my high school art teachers, Peter Morgan, and Megan Boyd who really inspired me to pursue art. Mr. Morgan taught Composition and Design, which was an introductory class where we learned the basics of how to draw still life’s and compose good pieces. Everyone had to take it, so he had to deal with a lot of people who didn’t want to be there. He had a sarcastic streak, but he was honest, and he encouraged me to continue to take art classes. He taught me a lot of the basics which I use today.

Going into my Junior year of high school though, I hadn’t thought of pursuing art in higher education, hadn’t even considered making a career out of it. As much as I enjoyed art, and classes like Mr. Morgan’s, I didn’t see how I could possibly make a living doing that. Enter Megan Boyd. She taught Graphic Design and changed my whole world. She showed me this whole other side of art that I didn’t even know existed. She became my mentor, encouraging me to push my artwork, and helping me with whatever crazy scheme I’d thought of. I don’t know if I would be where I am today without her. Even now we still talk, and I send her my work to get her thoughts on it.

Why did you select MECA to continue with your education beyond high school?

I first heard about MECA through my friend Nichole (who is currently attending with me), when we were both looking for colleges. We were all talking in AP Art about how no one had any idea what they were doing when it came to looking for colleges. We’d all heard of Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt, but then she brought up MECA, mentioning that she enjoyed her visit. MECA sent me a free application, which was a pretty great deal since most of the other colleges were asking for $50. After winning a scholarship, and visiting for an open house, I was pretty much sold. I mean everything was so personal, heck the Dean of the school shook my hand and told me to call him Ian.

How was your transition to college? How do you describe living and learning in Portland?

Hmmm… my “transition” to college? I’d say it was relatively smooth. I mean I think everyone had like a day or two of home sickness, and orientation was excruciating, but I’ve been having a great time. It never really hit me like, “we live here now”, it was more just slipping into this routine that my friends and I have built over the months. Living in Portland is incredible. It’s not a big city, but it’s got so much energy. On the weekends you can go out and explore art galleries or shops. There’s always something exciting happening to get involved in. It’s very different than a campus experience. It’s more than just walking in between your dorm room and your classes. At MECA, you work within this larger community, in the real world. MECA students are continually exchanging and working with the people of Portland. It’s something you wouldn’t get on a normal college campus.

What did you value most in your arts education growing up?

The most important part, for me, of my art education while growing up was getting feedback from other people, and learning how to take that. I mean, it’s great if you can make art for yourself, but as an artist, you’ve got to put your work out there for other people. The whole reason we create is to share it with people. You want it to be the best it can be, and part of that process is other people critiquing your work. I’ve had some great teachers and friends who have always given me honest feedback on what I’m doing. It’s always hard hearing people speak negatively about your work, but over the years I’ve learned it’s really nothing personal. It’s about your work, and you’ve got to be open to new ideas and suggestions. I think learning about that process and being a part of it has really helped me get to where I am today.

What is your passion? Medium of choice?

Graphic Design is my passion. It’s more than just art, it’s problem solving. Designers are presented with these design challenges, you know, you’ve only got so much space or a limited color pallette. I find these challenges exciting, and I enjoy solving the problems that people present. I enjoy working digitally, but I do a lot of hand work at the same time. It’s hard to pick a medium of choice, but I work in Adobe Illustrator the most.

What are you hoping to get from your education at MECA?

Hopefully, by the end of my time here at MECA, I’ll have the knowledge and confidence to go out into the world with my work. MECA has a great team of professors and administrators willing to help you however you need. I’m hoping to have a strong portfolio of work after my 4 years here, and the skills to market that work. I want to learn not just the core concepts and basics of design, but how to apply them effectively. I hope that I come out of this experience a well rounded artist able to hold my own in the world.

What’s the most creatively inspiring experience you have?

That’s also a really hard question. I mean I think we’ve all had those moments where you’re doing anything and suddenly you get an urge to paint or draw. Sometimes I’ll be going through a lesson and I have an idea for a piece or something. It’s easy to get inspired if you’re open to it. Walking around Portland at night, with all the street lights on, especially now in the winter, has a really nice feeling. I wouldn’t say that every night is inspiring, but I would say walking at night puts me in the mood to create. It’s really beautiful, and I think the city at night has that effect on everyone.

Why is art important to you?

For me, art is a method of communicating with people, in a way that my words can’t. Art is a way of working through what’s inside my head. When I draw or I design, it’s more than just putting pencil to paper. When you make art you put all of your experiences and feelings into the work. People respond to your work, in ways that you can’t predict. It has the power to change peoples’ mindsets, inspire change. I see a lot wrong with the world today, and art is my way of trying to change things for the better. I believe in the power that art has, and the spirit that artists put into their work, which is why I have to be a part of it.

How does learning about art impact other parts of your thinking? Your life?

Learning about art has given me quite a different perspective on life than other people might have. As an artist you’re open and curious about the world. You see the beauty in everything. In a world full of war and politics you stand out from the crowd. In one of my classes we read the book “Artists in the Time of War” by Howard Zinn, and it completely changed the way I thought about politics and art. I find that I’m more open to ideas and change. As a designer, I like to problem solve, so I find that in life I’m always looking at things and trying to imagine them better. I think that learning about art, whether it be movements or artists, you start to see the another side of the world and history than what’s just plugged into textbooks or media. As an artist, I’ve got to be open to looking for new perspectives, different solutions, and beautiful things.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Michaela DiGianvittorio

March 24, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leaders series

This is the sixth blog post for 2015 on the Phase 4 Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s (MAAI) Teacher Leaders sharing their stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to learn from and about others. You can learn more about MAAI at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/MAAI# and learn more about all 61 of the MAAI Teacher Leaders at http://www.maineartsassessment.com/#!teacher-leaders/c1qxk.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 1.15.44 PMMichaela DiGianvittorio attended the Maine College of Art and graduated with a B.F.A. in Illustration in 2006. She taught pre-school at a local childcare center for a year and decided to go back to school to obtain a degree in Art Education. In 2008 she graduated from the Post-Baccalaureate in Art Education program at MECA. Michaela is currently a visual arts teacher at Gray-New Gloucester High School. She has been teaching art for seven years and has taught all seven at GNGHS. She is one of two art teachers at the high school. This semester, she is teaching Foundations In Art, Drawing, Multi-Media, Digital Media and Gifted & Talented Visual Art.

What do you like best about being an art educator?

I have a passion for art and a passion for teaching. What I like best about being an art educator is that I am able to practice what I love. It is not often that people love their job, but I truly do. Being an art educator is not just something that I do, it is who I am.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. Connections- Making connections with students, colleagues, administration, parents, community members and other VPA educators is crucial. Through connections you are able to collaborate, receive feedback, and advocate for your program.
  2. Life Long Learning- It is so important to be a life long learner. Staying up to date with new initiates, technology, and attending professional development opportunities will improve your knowledge, and keep you grounded/connected with your school/district and the field of education.
  3. Reflection & Revision- To have a successful program you need to be willing to make changes, take risks, and try new things. Making things new, exciting, and relevant to/for students will make your class more meaningful. Taking time to reflect, review and revise is so important in keeping your students engaged and improve your curriculum, instruction, and assessment. As a teacher, your job is never done. It can always be improved.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessment has not only helped me track student progress, but it also has helped in developing and revising my curriculum. When developing my rubrics, I organize and “unpack” the standards that are being assessed, then target what is essential for the student to know in order to meet each standard. This has allowed me to determine where there are gaps and also create essential formative assessments that help them be more successful when they are working on their summative assessment.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Making connections with other art educators has been by far the most beneficial part of being involved in the arts assessment initiative. Also, it has made me reevaluate what I do and has given me ideas and inspiration for new and different methods in my teaching.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am very proud of everything that I have contributed to the art department at GNGHS. I feel as though I have made a big impact on our art program through curriculum development and also transitioning to standards based instruction and assessment. However, what I am most proud of is the connections that I have made with students. I know that I have impacted many students lives throughout the years, and in return they have impacted mine. Teaching is such a rewarding career!

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

I always feel like I could be a better teacher. The only thing that can really ever get in the way of becoming a better teacher is myself. To be a “better” teacher, you need to be a life-long learner. To be a life-long learner, you need to have self-motivation. Lack of motivation can definitely get in the way of being a better teacher. The trick is to find out what will motivate you when you are in that rut.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be do to “luck” or circumstances?

I honestly don’t know. I feel very fortunate and “lucky” to have a job in art education. I feel as though I have worked hard to get where I am, but some might see that as luck? Art teaching positions are few and far between. Being among so many dedicated and inspirational art educators, I could see how some might see that landing in a position could be do to luck or circumstance.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Practice what you teach! It is so important to continue to nurture your own creativity, and when students can see that you are truly passionate about what you do, it helps to inspire and motivate them. Also, stay in the loop on new initiatives and keep up to date with technology.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

If I was given $500,000.00 I would start an international travel program for the art department!

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I can’t really predict future regrets when I still have many years to live before I am 94 years old. At 32, my only regret is that I haven’t traveled much. If I went back in time I would look into opportunities to teach abroad for a few years before I got married and started a family.

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Who Are They?: MECA, Part 2

March 18, 2015

Maine College of Art

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

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This is the second post on the Maine College of Art (MECA) which is located in downtown Portland. Donald Tuski has been the President of MECA since July 2010. Tuski received his undergraduate degree at Olivet and then earned both his master’s degree and a doctorate in anthropology from Michigan State University. He built his academic career at Olivet, starting as a faculty member and assuming a variety of posts before serving as president for his last nine years at the college. Don is a Maine Arts Commission member. In President Tuski’s own words…

Next weeks MECA post will be an interview with student Sarah Sullivan.

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Who Are They?: MECA, Part 1

March 11, 2015

Intro to Maine College of Art

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

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The next several Who Are They? posts are on Maine College of Art (MECA) located at 522 Congress Street in downtown Portland. MECA is a vibrant learning community established in 1882 and moved to its present location in the former Porteous Department Store in 1996. The physical space and equipment at MECA allows students to stretch and grow through individual course work with pathways to a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts, a Master of Arts in Teaching as well as Continuing Studies for adults and youths, including a Pre-College intensive for high school students. Recently the school added a Textile & Fashion Design major and was gifted $3 Million to establish a music program. In this series you will hear from students, faculty, and even President Don Tuski on a variety of topics that will provide a snapshot of MECA and their commitment to providing an excellent 21st century education.

This video provides an overview of MECA and speaks to their mission, vision and core values.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/79399833″>Maine College of Art – Masters in Teaching</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/mecamaine”>Maine College of Art</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Next Wednesday’s post on MECA will be an interview with President Don Tuski.

If you have any questions please contact Raffi Der Simonian, Director of Marketing & Communications, rdersimonian@meca.edu.

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