Posts Tagged ‘Portland’


Announcing Mega-Regional Workshops

November 12, 2013

Ellsworth High School, UMF, USM, and UMaine

Feedback on the biennial statewide conference Arts Education: Leading the Way that was held at UMaine on October 24th continues to come in. But that is not all that the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) is providing for professional development this school year.

I am soooooooo excited to announce the professional development opportunities that continue to take place by the MAAI teacher leaders. There are 35 sessions scheduled at the 4 locations listed below that the MAAI calls Mega-Regional workshops.

You can click on each site above to get to the details or go to In the AM at each Mega-Regional session teachers will select 2 workshops from a variety (each site offering different workshops). There are two PM sessions that teachers will have a chance to drill down on important arts education topics that are impacting all of us in today’s education environment:

  • The Arts and Proficiency
  • Think Tanks on Technology

The cost to attend a Mega-Regional workshop is $20.00 with 5.5 contact hours provided. Registration is required to attend the all day, 8:15 – 3:15, Mega-Regional workshops.

Please note: Each mega-regional workshop has a different link for registering! The MAAI teacher leaders are anxious to share their workshops with you and look forward to what you bring to the workshops. These are multiple opportunities for the Maine Arts education community to come together to deepen our knowledge!

If you have any questions please email me at I look forward to seeing you at a Mega-Regional workshop.


Phase 3 MAAI summer institute, MECA, June 2013

Also scheduled are 34 Regional workshops taking place in various locations all over the state. You can find the information on these workshops by clicking here.


Maine Principals Association Conference

December 4, 2012

Leadership in the Arts

Kimberly and Tom presenting

Kimberly and Tom presenting

Recently I joined colleagues to present a session called Leadership in the Arts at the Maine Principals Association conference in Portland. I was happy to have the opportunity to present a session at the conference and honored to be presenting with outstanding and committed educators.

Kimberly Medsker and Tom Edwards shared information about their collaborative work at Freeport High School. Before joining the teaching staff at USM Tom was principal at Freeport where Kimberly is the art teacher. Evidence of high standards were clear in the student work that Kimberly shared. And Tom’s support for the arts was not only evident but clearly articulated. Each student has a webpage that is their electronic portfolio so progress can be tracked and the evidence is clear. Tom believes that the arts are essential for a dynamic, productive school.



Erika Stump shared information on the report that she co-authored with David Silvernail More Efficient Public Schools: Learning Communities Building the Foundation of Intellectual Work. The report is part of the work at the Maine Education Policy Research Institute, University of Southern Maine. Erika shared some of the research finding. The schools that participated in the study included elementary, middle and high schools throughout Maine. These schools had a culture of pervasive learning, the learning was constant, and learning opportunities are continuous. For example, counting the steps while running up a hill is turned into a teachable moment. Erika said that the “arts are a good way to open the brain using creativity or an artistic approach to reach analytical thinking.”

catherineThe session continued with information and discussion on the role of arts educators as teacher leaders, specifically with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI). Leadership is a key component of the initiative and we have provided professional development in leadership at the summer institute along with assessment, technology, and creativity. Jeff Beaudry, USM professor, Catherine Ring, Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education, and both members of the MAAI leadership team joined me for this segment. We are continually amazed at the leadership role that the MAAI teacher leaders are committed to and the value that they offer to their schools and communities by taking on the responsibility.

I look forward to another opportunity in the future to connect with the Maine Principals Association.


International Visual Literacy Association Conference

August 29, 2012

44th Annual Conference at USM, October 13th

October 10 to 13 in Portland, USM, Mapping the Visual Beyond the Visible, annual conference of the International Visual Literacy Association,

Established in 1969, IVLA members represent a wide range of disciplines and includes researchers, educators, designers, media specialists and artists. Through its meetings, publications, and website, IVLA provides a forum for issues dealing with education, instruction, and training in modes of communication and their application. Paper proposals for conference:

The 2012 confereence is hosted by The Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.


Wednesday, October 10, 6:30 PM

Keynote address by Ken Jennings, author of Maphead, a personal account of his lifelong fascination with maps and geography. Best known for his 2004 record-breaking appearance on Jeopardy, the TV quiz show, Ken Jennings has since published two bestsellers, Brainiac and Maphead.

Note: The lecture on the USM Portland campus in Hannaford Hall is also free and open to the public.
Due to limited seating, please RSVP by Friday, October 5 to (207) 780-4850 or

Thursday, October 11
Conference sessions at the Clarion Hotel followed by an evening reception at the Maine College of Art in Portland.

Friday, October 12

All daytime sessions held at the Glickman Family Library on the USM Portland campus. Midday tour of the Osher Map Library and its exhibition, Iconic America: The US Map Outline as National Symbol, accompanied by presentation by John Fondersmith, guest curator whose collection is on display.

Evening: Gala event with dinner and musical entertainment at Clarion Hotel.

Saturday, October 13

Keynote presentation by David Sobel, author of Mapmaking with children: sense of place education for the elementary years. Sessions at Clarion Hotel will focus on K-12 education. Day registration for area educators is encouraged.


Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Summer Institute

July 30, 2012

First day

The last week has been crazy, busy getting ready for the summer institute which starts this morning. The Maine Department of Education’s second summer institute of the Maine Arts Assessment Institute gets underway today at Maine College of Art Thirty five teacher leaders started arriving in Portland yesterday to be ready for the early start at Maine College of Art. The leadership team met to go over the details of the daily schedule and participants continued to communicate electronically.

Over the past six weeks the 20 phase 2 teacher leaders have been communicating on the initiative wiki by responding to questions and having conversations on assessment, leadership, and technology. The standards based, student centered institute will continue to ask questions and provide the time for participants to discuss ideas, share practice, and explore options. Two essential ideas identified by Stiggins in Classroom Assessment for Student Learning:

  1. Teachers must be masters of the five standards of assessment quality in order to communicate accurate, dependable assessment information to any audience or assessment user.
  2. Students are the key users of assessment information and one of the best practices for teachers to improve student use of assessment information is to involve them directly in classroom assessment in appropriate ways as much as possible. 

    Throughout the week I will blog on the institute and keep you posted on the progress. I am excited about the possibilities and opportunities this provides, not only directly for the institute’s participants but for all Maine arts teachers and arts classes this could reach. One outcome of the week is that the teacher leaders will put together a workshop to present at the regional level. This allows the initiative to come to your region of the state! This work aligns with the Department’s strategic plan Education Evolving.



Mentos and Coke Does Portland!

June 29, 2012

For several years I have wanted to see Eepybird do their “thing” with the Mentos and Coke. That is Diet Coke to be exact. Well, last night in Portland I had the chance, finally! They performed in Monument Square in front of an audience of all ages. Many of the young attendees were in the front and yes, they got wet. Eepybird kicked off the first four day Performing Arts Festival. There are almost 80 peformers during the event.

Fritz Grobe and Steven Voltz use over 100 bottles of soda and over 600 Mentos candies. It takes three hours to set up for the event which takes about 3 minutes to complete, start to finish. You can go to the article from the Bangor Daily News and watch a video that shows the performance.

The show was fun and just like I imagined!



Waynflete Music Teacher, Jarika Olberg

April 25, 2012

Talk about the importance and value of music literacy

Jarika Olberg is a young music teacher at Waynflete School in Portland. Fortunately for us, her first concert in December 2011 was videotaped and shared on YouTube. Below is the video embedded of the first 5 minutes of the first concert. In this video you will see how Jarika starts out each of her music classes with grades 4 and 5. She also provides an example of how she includes music literacy in her instruction. It is AMAZING!


Making Art with Teens at the Portland Library

March 10, 2012

I met Justin Hoenke, the Teen Librarian at the Portland Public Library almost a year ago while visiting the library. At that time I wrote a blog post that included our meeting. The post below called Making Art With Teens (part 1), written by Justin with his permission is being reposted from his blog called Justin the Librarian blog.

In late 2010, it donned on me that the walls in my teen library were quite bare.  My teen library, which reopened in April 2010 after a $7.3 million dollar renovation, had all the wonderful elements of a new building: study rooms, lots of seating, a lot of windows, light and energy, and more.  But the walls were empty, boring, and stale.  Those are the things that a teen library does not want to be.  After some thinking, reading, learning about the community, and talking to others at my library, an idea became clearer to me.  What if it were the teens in our community that covered the walls with some amazing art?

I knew that in order to make this program happen we had to have a collaborator.  It’s one thing to be a teen librarian with an idea, but another to actually execute it.  The Maine College of Art, which is located just a few short blocks from my library, was the obvious choice for a partner.  I’ve always enjoyed seeing the work of the students at the college.  From that, I could tell that they were a solid organization to partner with on the project.  Along with my director and our programming coordinator,  we met with a few instructors from MECA and pitched our idea.  Our first step was to create a position description which MECA students could apply to (written by myself and our programming coordinator Rachael Weyand):

The Portland Public Library seeks students interested in or majoring in Art Education to collaborate with the Teen Center to create unique and original art with teenagers. Teens will have varying experience with art and will look to interns to help guide them through the process or creating art. These works will remain in the library’s permanent collection, will be displayed in the library and will be available to be checked out through circulation.

Interns will work closely with the Teen Librarian to define how collaborations will work before partnering with individual teenagers on projects. Work will take place either at the library or at MECA, depending on the discipline. This pilot project will rely on flexibility and creativity of interns in helping to create this program.

Once the position was posted, students could apply for the position.  MECA then selected a student for the position (I’m not sure how this was done, as it was all through the school).  We started working with our MECA intern Peter Hyde in mid January 2012.  Our first plan was for all of us to get on the same page and make sure we had the same goals in mind.  We mapped out a program that we would all feel comfortable with, which ended up looking like this:

  • The Library and the MECA intern will interview and select four teens ages 12-18 who will then work one-on-one with the MECA intern for two months in developing a piece (or pieces) of art which will then be housed in the Teen Library.
  • MECA will provide the studio space for the intern to work with the teens, and the Teen Library will provide the budget for the materials needed by those participating.

To get teens interested, we put the word out via social media (Facebook, Tumblr, library blogs), advertised the program heavily on the digital signage within the library, and also directly contacted local schools about the project. Our message to the schools was simple:

Hello, and I hope you are well. Thanks for taking the time out to read this email. I am looking for teens ages 12-19 who may be interested in creating art at the Portland Public Library. We at the library are proud to announce an art collaboration project with the Maine College of Art (MECA). For the next few months, selected teens from the Portland Public Library will be working with MECA student on an art education internship. The goal is for the MECA student (who applied for the position and was selected by the school) to work with teens to produce art created by teens with the assistance of the MECA intern that will be displayed in the teen library and possibly can be checked out by patrons. The medium which teens will work in will be depending on what the teen would like to work with. A majority of the artwork will be created at MECA with the intern supervising the teens.

I am emailing you to ask you if you wouldn’t mind passing this information along to any teens that you feel may be interested. They can contact mem Teen Librarian Justin Hoenke at 207-871-1700 ext 772 or visit me any Monday-Friday at the Library.

Once the word was out that the program was happening, teens that were interested started asking about the program and how they could get involved.  To gauge teen interest, Peter and I sat down with the teens who wished to be part of the program.  We talked to them about art, about the general idea of the program, and why they would want to be involved in the project. All of the teens we spoke with responded with great enthusiasm towards the project. Our final step was to select the four students that would work with Peter over the next two months.

And that’s where we leave off for now. I will be following up this blog post over the next two months with program updates, photos, and more. Thanks for listening.


Portland High School and Market House Coffee

May 18, 2011

Art for First Friday’s

Andrew Braceras who owns Market House Coffee in the new Public Market House in downtown Portland has invited Portland High School art students to exhibit their artwork in the gallery space in his restaurant. The students and teachers exhibit fresh student artwork every month for each First Friday Art Walk, which is held every first Friday of the month in gallery spaces throughout Portland. The Portland High Art Department really appreciates this opportunity and the support of the arts by Mr. Braceras, the Public Market House and the community.

Portland High School Art teachers Tory Tyler-Millar, Stan Colburn, and Gerry White students’ this month are exhibiting student pastel self portraits from the Art 2 classes and graphite portraits from the Drawing classes at Portland High School.

%d bloggers like this: