Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Harris Frohlich’

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Ya Gotta See This

February 26, 2021

Natasha Mayers Story

Over the last four years filmmakers Anita Clearfield and Geoffrey Leighton captured the story of Whitefield artist Natasha Mayers beautifully. Last evening almost 150 people, from all over Maine and way beyond, gathered online for the premiere of Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life. After viewing the 34 minute film folks joined Natasha, Anita and Geoffrey on zoom for the opportunity to celebrate and ask questions with the three of them! The film is delightful and so was the gathering! Kudos to all involved in organizing the happening.

It is always fun to see who participates in online events and especially wonderful to see among the attendees a few old friends – Nancy Salmon, Corliss Chastain, Christine Higgins, Elizabeth Watson, Deb Fahy, Rob Shetterly, and Catherine Ring. Educational and community tools are being developed to accompany the film by Kal Elmore, Nancy Harris Frohlich, Catherine Ring and myself. Natasha Mayers and Rob Shetterly will be providing the keynote at the spring Maine Art Education Association conference on April 3. More information will be provided in the future about this annual event, this year being held online.

CHAT BOX COMMENTS

Below are just some of the comments from the Zoom chat box. They provide an idea of how much participants enjoyed and appreciated the work that Anita and Geoffrey did, how well Natasha’s story is captured and how important her story is to the state of Maine.

  • Wicked awesome! Natasha and filmmakers fantastic job for a Maine Artist Icon!
  • Natasha, Geoff and Anita well done on all levels! There were so many great parts to think about. Loved the idea of incorporating war symbols with Maine symbols. Was moved by the story and the art around the buoys. The filmmaking was outstanding!
  • Great Film! Natasha you’re  inspiring. You have such great way of encouraging non-artists, I enjoyed seeing that. Important work!
  • Natasha, you are so beautiful and bring joy and pride to your Whitefield peeps!  Kudos to the filmmakers for the insights, the humor and fantastic graphics!
  • The amazing thing to me was how many more examples of Natasha’s work could have been included. It must have been very challenging to decide what to leave out.
  • I am so happy to be here and to have seen this amazing film about you!  I love it, I love you! Keep the faith and we will meet one of these days.
  • That was a beautiful film all! You are amazing Natasha! I loved all your work and sharing art with so many.
  • Bravo Natasha! Your work is an accessible voice of love and passion!
  • The visual effects are incredible…how did you do them? Too big a question, I know…but Bravo…perfect for the subject and artiste extraordinaire! The film work beautifully matched Natasha’s amazing work! 
  • Bravo for one of the most joyful films I’ve seen about one of the greatest most fun activist artists I’ve ever had the  pleasure to know. Great going Geoff and Anita!!
  • Courage Forward – you are it, Natasha.

Humor. Anger. Love. Outrage. Grief. Hear Natasha’s inspirational call to activism! The good news is that if you weren’t able to attend the premiere last evening you can access it at THIS LINK on Vimeo for FREE until Sunday evening. This film is so honest, thought provoking, creative, and humorous! It provides so much food for thought and it lands at just the right moment when we’re trying to make sense of the world. After March 25 the film will be available once again at no cost. I encourage you to make some popcorn tonight after your week at school, curl up on the couch, watch the film, and consider how you might use this in your classroom.

Now, more than ever, people want to see truthful, creative role models like Natasha Mayers, who Maine Senator George Mitchell called a “state treasure.” Natasha Mayers: an Un-Still Life presents an artist who has remained true to her passion for over 50 years, following Natasha as she takes on social, economic, and environmental justice issues with humor, irreverence, and a keen aesthetic that enlightens while it entertains. Using a non-traditional approach, the film’s animation and special effects reflect Mayers’ own art-style.

I’ll provide updates in future blog posts about the ongoing opportunities that will take place across the state. If you’re interested in learning more please email me at meartsed@gmail.com.

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LEAPS

April 12, 2019

Art program in schools and community

Jonathan Frost speaking with the 5th graders at his gallery. Their portraits are displayed on the left and bark drawings behind him.

Several years ago Nancy Harris Frohlich created LEAPS of IMAGINATION where artists work with students in connecting the environment and history to making art. Much of the work is done through literacy. Recently I visited the Jonathan Frost Gallery in Rockland during a celebration of art created by 5th graders from South School in Rockland.

The students worked with teaching artist Susan Bebee and after studying bark created drawings. The drawings were amazing and it was clear that the students will not look at a piece of bark the same way again. I remember when I learned to make rock baskets (forming a basket around a rock, whatever size), I never look at rocks the same way again. Always wondering what shape the basket might be if I used it for a form.

The bark drawings were followed by portraits created with a combination of prints and drawings. Students were invited to speak about their artwork and I so enjoyed how articulate they were – they learned so much and were so proud. Thank you Nancy and those who work with LEAPS to provide such rich learning environments for learning in visual arts.

Below are some student responses.

Tell us Why Art is Important for Kids?

  • Because if you have a job, you need to have IMAGINATION.
  • Art helps kids feel INSPIRED.
  • Art is a great way for kids to EXPRESS THEMSELVES.
  • Art is FUN!
  • Art lets kids show their FEELINGS.
  • Art helps kids be CREATIVE.
  • Art makes it possible for kids to be ARTISTIC.
  • Art is so important and helps kids CONNECT to NATURE in so many ways.
  • Kids can get BETTER at drawing.
  • Art helps kids TAKE their MINDS off the REAL WORLD.
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Changing Kids’ Minds

August 23, 2018

LEAPS of IMAGINATION

“Most people assume that imagination takes place in the head, but the hands are just as important.” ~ Mitch Resnick, MIT Media Lab

When children find themselve at the intersection of discovering their capacity to make art and exploring the natural world, deep thinking happens. Local kids who participated in the Langlais LEAPS summer program “got the picture” by soaking up inspiration from the artist himself- Bernard Langlais.

In six weeks of observation, research, and making, led by LEAPS’ artist, Susan Beebe, children engaged in (1) a study of butterflies (2) the creation of a collaborative bas relief, and (3) the art of speaking through hand-made animal puppets – while becoming stewards of the Earth. And that was only the half of it.

The artworks that evolved reveal how nature inspires art and art helps change minds. Having planted their own garden, kids saw butterflies lay eggs there. From the magic of Langlais’ sculptures, they gained confidence as woodworkers. Walking the paths of the Sculpture Preserve got every child’s brain going. As humans, when we travel down new pathways (either literally or figuratively) we generate new neurons in our brains. We can, through these repeated experiences, actually alter the structure and function of our brains!

Taking kids out on trails, training them to observe closely, and inviting them to transform what they’ve seen into original art has impacted our campers this summer. And their commitment to nature and the practice of forging connections will stick with them down the road.

If you’d like to learn more about LEAPS and how we connect local artists with kids, come along with us. Check out our website. 

Wide-eyed with wonder, and grateful to all who made this program possible, Nancy Harris Frohlich, Director, LEAPS of IMAGINATION

LEAPS of IMAGINATION is a partner with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. This is a repost from the LEAPS of IMAGINATION blog.Thank you Nancy Harris Frohlich for permission to repost this from the LEAPS of IMAGINATION blog

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Letter to Editor

January 24, 2017

Communicating about the Arts

Nancy Harris Frohlich is a retired educator who moved to Maine and settled in the mid-coast. She started LEAPS of IMAGINATION to provide more art making opportunities for elementary students. The LEAPS philosophy: We believe that all children are imaginative thinkers, and that if we give them the opportunity to use their imaginations in school by making art, they will thrive.

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-6-23-12-amLEAPS of IMAGINATION brings local Maine mentor artists together with elementary school students and teachers in a collaborative school-day classroom program. Mentor artists interweave in-depth art making experiences with carefully chosen social justice and literature themes linked to the class curriculum. Our project empowers children to believe in their own capacity to create and to make change in both their local community and the larger world.

I receive emails with these type of questions: “How do I convince people that more funding is needed for art supplies?” and “I want to start an elementary chorus, how do I go about that?” and do I communicate to my administration that we need to increase time for small group lessons?” and “Field trips have been cut from the budget, how can I get my students to an art museum?”

In the fall Nancy wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper during arts week. It’s a great example of advocating to educate. This needs to take place at many levels; school-base with administration and teachers of other content and grade levels, district-wide, community/regionally, and beyond. I’ve always believed that our first responsibility is to teach students, and in addition, adults. Since adults are almost always the ones who make the decisions they need to be informed about why the arts are essential.

As you prepare budgets for next year what will you communicate about the needs for a comprehensive arts education? With Youth Art Month and Music in Our Schools Month just around the corner, how will you use the opportunity to communicate and educate your community? I urge you to begin planning your action steps.

Below is Nancy’s letter to the editor. Even though she uses the word “art”, it certainly can apply to music, dance, theater and media arts. Nancy can be reached at nancy@nancyharrisfrohlich.com. A great big thanks to Nancy for the work she continues to do!

Art Makes Kids Smart

Another academic year has begun, and every year invites new opportunities for teaching and learning. As educators, our work is about designing a more powerful and relevant curriculum in a world in which sea change is the norm. Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind and Drive, reminds us that, “The future no longer belongs to people who can reason with computer-like logic, speed, and precision. It belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind.”  We can teach our children to learn differently. Through art.

Art is a vehicle through which children learn to connect their ideas, to be persistent when problems arise, and to work collaboratively with their peers – all skills critical for the future.  Art teaches children to use their imaginations, to bring an idea to fruition, and to believe in themselves – not just in the studio but in the classroom, where kids can apply the skills they learn in art to all academic domains.

Art has a long-standing tradition in schools, and it’s time we start changing the way we think about it, because we now know that art changes minds.

  • Here’s what art can do for children today:
    Art can build thinking mindsets. Art teaches kids to find connections, make inferences, analyze, and pull their ideas together into a new and inventive whole.
  • Art cultivates student passions, motivating them to think big.
    Art immerses kids in real-world challenges.  When kids are focused on critical issues in today’s world, art gives them an avenue through which to articulate their perspectives.
  • Art teaches children to collaborate. Shared projects and shared thinking open up opportunities for critical skills like negotiation and consensus building.
  • Art invites presentations, critique, and feedback. When kids bring their work to an audience they learn to articulate their ideas and listen to what others have to say about them.
  • Art develops risk taking behaviors in a safe and creative context. If children are going to play a positive role in their world, they have to know what it feels like to bounce back from mistakes and disappointment and to take the risk to think big for everyone’s future.
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