Posts Tagged ‘National Endowment for the Arts’


Maine Poetry Out Loud

December 11, 2017

Poets go to school

The Poetry Out Loud (POL) program is underway across Maine and the country. Over 10,000 Maine high students are selecting their poems, furiously memorizing and practicing them for themselves, their classmates, and their teachers.

Maine has 48 high schools participating this year, 10 new to POL. At some schools every student, grade 9-12 participates. Maine is repeatedly one of the states with the highest participation and this year will be no exception.  The 2017 Maine State Champ, Gabrielle Cooper, attended Gardiner Area High School; one of the schools where all students participate every year. Three of the new schools this year were fortunate to have

Winthrop High School students with Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

poets visit them to work with students and teachers. Portland’s fifth Poet Laureate, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc provided a workshop at Winthrop High School and Hampshire County Council’s Hampshire Poet Brian Evans-Jones provided workshops at Herman High School and Van Buren District Secondary School.

Students had a chance to experiment with their voices and ‘try out’ their poems for feedback. Both Gibson and Brian are on the MAC Teaching Artist roster and available to provide workshops for schools and community organizations.

Brian at Hermon High School

Thanks to all of the teachers who are working with students across Maine. I was thrilled to be at Hermon High School for the workshops. Brian led the students through exercises to help prepare their voices and their confidence. He said: “It’s important to understand your poem. The better you understand your poem the better you communicate the meaning and with that comes confidence.” Even listening to students recite their poems 2 and 3 times, I could hear their confidence rise.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is organized nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission.  This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. Maine’s POL represent public and private high schools as well as high school homeschooling populations.

You have a chance to learn more about POL in Maine. The Maine Arts Commission invites you to attend the regional and state finals.

  • The Northern Maine Regional Finals will be held on Monday, February 12, 2018, 3:00 p.m. at the Hampden Academy Performing Arts Center, Hampden. The snow date is Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 3:00 PM. Hampden Academy, Regional School Unit #22, is an in-kind sponsor of this event.
  •  The Southern Maine Regional Finals will be held on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 3:00 p.m. at the Westbrook Middle School Performing Arts Center, Westbrook. The snow date is Thursday, March 1, 2018, 3:00 p.m.
  • The Maine State Finals will be held on Monday, March 12, 2018 at the Waterville Opera House, 93 Main Street, Waterville. The snow date is Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Doors open to the public at 2:30 p.m. and the event begins at 3:00 p.m. No tickets are required. The event is free and all are welcome to attend. We anticipate that the event will conclude by approximately 5:00 p.m.

Working with teachers at Hermon High School

Learn more about the POL program at the national site or at the Maine Arts Commission POL webpages. If you teach or live near a high school that does not participate please plan on joining the program in the 2018-19 school year. Email Argy Nestor if you have any questions about how to get involved!



National Songwriting Challenge

October 12, 2017

Opportunity for high school studentsPresented by the National Endowment for the Arts. Partnering with the American Theatre Wing and in collaboration with Playbill, Inc. and Disney Theatrical Productions.

The Songwriting Challenge is a national songwriting competition open to high school students who have a passion for writing songs of any musical style that could be part of a musical theater production. The Challenge offers six semi-finalists mentorship opportunities with professional songwriters and musicians during an intense weekend workshop in New York City in April. At the end of that weekend, the performance of the students’ songs by those musicians and singers will be judged by a panel of esteemed musical theater artists as the final competition and webcast live. One of the six will be selected as the national champion and finalists will be awarded scholarships.

For additional guidelines, timing, and details please visit our application portal. Students can also find additional video resources to watch and utilize as inspiration when applying.

Click here for more information on how to apply!

The Songwriting Challenge is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, partnering with the American Theatre Wing and in collaboration with Playbill, Inc. and Disney Theatrical Productions.

Please help us spread the word about this exciting opportunity for our young artists. To make sharing this information easier, find a downloadable poster (11X14).

If you have any questions, please contact Interim Director of Programs at the American Theatre Wing, Megan Kolb at (If you have a specific question regarding filling out the application please email


Farnsworth to Unveil Mural

August 31, 2017

During September First Friday


Farnsworth to Unveil Mural – During September First Friday

On Friday, September 1, during the First Friday art walk, there will be a special mural unveiling of a new mural arts project on School Street, on the wall of the Grasshopper Shop in downtown Rockland, which is a partnership between the Farnsworth’s Education Department and mural director Alexis Iammarino. The gathering will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m., on School Street, between Main and Union Streets, with a public remarks scheduled for 6 p.m. This is the eighth consecutive year that the Farnsworth has participated in First Fridays, thanks to a sponsorship from the First National Bank. During First Fridays, the museum is open free of charge to the public from 5 to 8 p.m.

The mural arts project has been made possible thanks in part to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The purpose of this community project is to engage local youth in creating public art in downtown Rockland. The project has been guided by local community mural artist Alexis Iammarino. She was joined by Canadian-born mural artist Melissa Luk, who has created mural projects on multiple continents, most recently in the west-African nation of Gabon. The mural was also completed with help of local artists and volunteers of all ages, the youngest of which was 7 and the oldest 80 years old. The mural unveiling will celebrate the efforts of all those involved, give the public the opportunity to meet the artists, and toast this new addition to the cultural vibrancy of Rockland’s downtown. Free ice cream will be provided by the Grasshopper Shop.

For more information on this project, please visit the museum website at or call the museum’s Education Department at 207-596-0949.

Contact: David Troup, ext 128,



December 8, 2016


“I remember one of my first weeks at Google, riding home on the subway, and realizing that every single person was looking at their mobile device, and what a cultural responsibility we had to make those experiences great.” — Rob Giampietro, creative lead of Google Designscreen-shot-2016-12-01-at-9-49-47-am

Rob has a passion for interactive design and understands the power of “interdisciplinary colleagues”. He works to find a balance in technology and the creative process. This article exemplifies and may clarify why the importance of thinking globally about learning and creativity. Rob is part of the first generation of digital natives. I found it interesting to read about how he approaches work and the work he is doing.

CLICK HERE to read the entire article written by Sarah Burford for the National Endowment for the Arts Magazine. Please consider sharing the article with your students – could be very inspirational and open up possibilities!


National Arts and Humanities Youth Program

December 3, 2016

Awards program

2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards
Applications Now Open!

Sphinx Organization's Perfect Fourth quartet performs at the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards Ceremony Photo: Steven Purcell

Sphinx Organization’s Perfect Fourth quartet performs at the
2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards Ceremony
Photo: Steven Purcell

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is accepting applications for the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards.

The twelve award-winning programs this year will each receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award at a ceremony at the White House.

After-school and out-of-school-time arts and humanities programs, also known as Creative Youth Development programs, are encouraged to apply. Please click the following link to access the online National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards Application:

Completed applications will only be accepted via the online process.  Application deadline: Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 5:00 PM PST.


Congratulations Theresa!

October 27, 2016


Theresa at the Maine International Conference on the Arts

Theresa at the Maine International Conference on the Arts. Photo Arthur Fink

In September Maine basket-maker Theresa Secord was recognized in Washington, D.C. as a 2016 National Heritage Fellow. Theresa is one of nine artists who received the nation’s highest honor in traditional arts from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Secord received the award because of her skills using ash and sweetgrass to make Indian baskets, as well as for her role in raising the awareness of the Indian basketmaking tradition within her community and the larger world, said Cliff Murphy, the NEA’s director of folk and traditional arts. “She has been a selfless advocate for other people for a long time,” Murphy said.

Read the entire article from the Portland Press Herald by CLICKING HERE. And, listen to Theresa discuss bringing an ancient art form into the 21st century on this podcast.

Theresa is a long-time friend of the Maine Arts Commission and we are very proud of her accomplishments!



Poetry Out Loud

October 18, 2016

Register now

All Maine High Schools Welcome to Participate in National Poetry Recitation Contest

image001Augusta, ME—The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to announce that online registration is now open for all Maine high schools to participate quickly and easily in Poetry Out Loud 2016-2017, a national competition organized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the Arts Commission. The deadline for registration at is November 7, 2016.

The Poetry Out Loud state champion earns $200 and an all-expenses paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national finals. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. The National Endowment for the Arts will award $50,000 total in cash and school stipends at the national finals, with a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

Maine’s 2016 Poetry Out Loud Champion Rose Horowitz of Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham, who also took first place nationally in a new opportunity for the finalists to showcase their original poetry through an optional competition called Poetry Ourselves, shown here with National Endowment for the Arts chair Jane Chu at the competition finals in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Maine Arts Commission.

Maine’s 2016 Poetry Out Loud Champion Rose Horowitz of Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham, who also took first place nationally in a new opportunity for the finalists to showcase their original poetry through an optional competition called Poetry Ourselves, shown here with National Endowment for the Arts chair Jane Chu at the competition finals in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Maine Arts Commission.

Poetry Out Loud begins at the local level, and can take place in schools anytime between now and January 9, 2017 as the program does not require full class periods and can be completed in just two to three weeks. Almost 10,000 Maine students and 220 teachers from 45 high schools across the state participated in Poetry Out Loud in 2015-2016, mastering public-speaking skills, building self-confidence, and learning about their literary heritage. The program encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Since Poetry Out Loud began, millions of students at more than 7,300 schools nationwide have been involved. Starting at the classroom level, teachers are provided with free multimedia curriculum materials – a Learning Recitation audio guide, a teacher’s guide, posters and comprehensive website,, all aligned to national standards – to augment their regular poetry curriculum with poetry recitation at a school-level, then district-level competition.

“Poetry Out Loud is one of many examples of high-quality, partnership-based programs that the NEA offers to schools and communities across the country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “By helping students foster creative thinking skills and inspire self-expression, we are laying a foundation for lifelong learning in the arts.”

To learn more about Poetry out Loud in Maine, see the promotional national videos “Get involved in POL!” and “Why Poetry Out Loud?” as well as a short video highlighting the 2015 Maine State Finals. In addition, Poetry Out Loud is aligned with both the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Standards and Common Core State Standards: learn more at

The Maine Arts Commission believes that the arts are an essential part of a well-rounded education. Through its Arts Education program, the Commission creates and supports innovative arts learning opportunities that engage both students and teachers in creative thinking, arts participation and the building of vibrant learning communities. Please visit to find more information about the benefits of Poetry Out Loud, as well as information on all educational programming offered by the Maine Arts Commission.

Additional information on Poetry Out Loud is available at, or by contacting Argy Nestor, Maine Arts Commission Director of Arts Education at or 207-287-2713.

The Maine Arts Commission shall encourage and stimulate public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; shall expand the state’s cultural resources; and shall encourage and assist freedom of artistic expression for the well being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state.

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