Posts Tagged ‘saco museum’


Maine Art Education Association Exhibit

February 22, 2016

Saco Museum

WHERE: Saco Museum, 371 Main St.
WHEN: On view through March 18; noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; noon to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
ADMISSION: $5 adults, $3 seniors, $2 students and children ages 7 to 18; free 6 and younger. Free for all after 4 p.m. Friday
INFO: 283-3861, Saco Museum


Deb Bickford

The art of Maine’s art teachers is on view this month at the Saco Museum.

About three dozen teachers are showing work they created for themselves, on their own time and for their own creative pleasure. Teachers are challenged to find time to make work, said Jodi Thomas, who lives in Portland and teaches visual arts at Thornton Academy in Saco.

“My time to devote to the art-making process is in the summer,” said Thomas, who expresses her ideas mostly through photography. “The opportunity to exhibit my work makes me whole. Art is who I am and what I do.”

Diane Noble

Diane Noble

The show, “Four Elements & Five Senses,” is organized by the Maine Art Educators Association. The advocacy organization promotes arts education for children and encourages innovation among teachers through the exchange of ideas.

This exhibition, on view through March 18, is part of the exchange of ideas among teachers, Thomas said. It offers the chances for educators across Maine to see the work of their peers and think about their own art-making practice and how they teach.

Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas

Thomas said her inspiration comes from an annual weekend retreat she makes to Haystack Mountain of School of Crafts in Deer Isle. She took the photograph for the Saco show at Haystack, standing on the water’s edge. She frames her composition with two decaying scrub trees that are barely hanging on, with islands on the distant horizon. The black-and-white photo is stark and stoic, and also inspiring.

Thomas likes to sit at this spot whenever she’s at Haystack, to center herself, focus her thoughts and think about her place on earth. She calls these trees her “sister trees,” and she returns to this spot each fall to see how they are faring.

“I’ve lived in Maine a long time, and I’m connected to nature and to water especially,” she said. “Going to Haystack is a way for me to slow down and reflect on who I am as a person and as a professional.”

Raegan Russell

Raegan Russell

Haystack pushes people to experiment and try new materials and techniques. Thomas said those skills are invaluable in the classroom, where students are always interested in new ideas.

This exhibition is particularly gratifying for her, because it is an exhibition of art made by peers. “I respect my colleagues so much,” Thomas said. “Many of them are my friends, and I think of them as my comrades. We hold each other up in so many ways.”


Saco Museum “Artist’s Talk”

March 5, 2014

MAEA show

IMG_2670Brunswick art teacher Allison Price was the organizer of an intriguing “art talk” on a recent Saturday afternoon to accompany the Maine Art Education Association’s Exhibit titled “After Hours” at the Saco Museum.

Five other teaching artists gathered with Allison; Meryl Ruth, Robin Brooks, Manon Lewis, Debbie Bickford and Charlie Johnson. The  discussion included a wide range of topics, including artist’s early memories, advocacy, process vs. product, teaching creativity, relationships with students, teachers as artists and assessment, among others. The audience had several questions toward the end of the conversation and audience members came to Allison afterwards to tell her they could have listened for another hour because the discussion was so compelling.

The discussion in it’s entirety (90 minutes, but a good flow and clear audio) can be found at and there are a couple of short videos created from some of the artworks and clips of the discussion.       Saco Project       Saco Project 2

“I was so very impressed with the quality and variety of work in the “After Hours” exhibit, and sitting amongst the work of all these talented people to talk with colleagues about what we do with learners in the ARTS and why we do it was a most rewarding and affirming experience!”  Charlie Johnson

Thanks to Charlie Johnson, Mount Desert Island High School arts educator for contributing this blog post and creating the videos to document the opportunity.


Hungry for Art

March 21, 2013

RSU 23 art teachers come together for district art show

Hungry for ArtNot all the artwork in the annual RSU 23 art exhibit is related to art but many of the pieces have a direct connection. As you can see in one of the photos the giant sandwiches are ready for the eating! The art teachers work together to plan the annual event that is held at the Saco Museum. Artwork covers the walls from ceiling to floor.  The district has 7 art teachers and represents the collective work of nearly 2,500 students from Dayton, Fairfield, Jameson, Young and CK Burns elementary schools; Loranger and Saco Middle Schools, and Old Orchar Beach High School.

HUNGRY...Camille Smalley, the Saco Museum collections and research manager said: “This year’s display really showcased the innovation and creativity of the teachers and the district’s art program. There are going to be a lot of people leaving here hungry because the installations look pretty lifelike”.

Congratulations to art teachers Joanne Matusko (Dayton and Young schools), Jessie Francis (Loranger Middle School), Dawn Strandburg (Jameson), Marie Hoyniak (Saco Middle School), Piper Bolduc (Old Orchard Beach High School), Debbie DiGregorio (Burns School) and Diane Noble (Young and Fairfield schools).

An article in the Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier tells the whole story which you can access by clicking here.

Thank you to Diane Noble for sending the information and the photos.



April 13, 2011

How strong is your tree?

I love trees and watch some closely as part of the changes in seasons but in other ways as well. Recently while on the phone I was standing in my mud room looking out the window when something red caught my eye. At a closer look I realized it was a Pileated woodpecker pecking at a huge red maple at the end of my driveway. The big bird was looking for some breakfast at the base of the tree. As I chatted away I watched and noticed a second one. The big old maple was scarred by a piece of equipment years ago when the driveway was put in which has impacted the trees health. Part of me was happy to see the woodpecker. Within moments a second one appeared. The sound got stronger as they both searched for bugs as the snow continued to melt from the long winter.

I was glad to receive the post below from Waterville High School art teacher Suzanne Goulet. She shares some thoughts on trees and its relationship to our connections after seeing Augusta elementary art teacher Robin Brooks’ exhibit in Gardiner at ARTDOGS. In Suzanne’s words…

The show is titled, “A sense of place” and Robins works put me there. Energetic perspectives of trees and light, shapes and colors, textures and lines. Her recent black and white images with broad lines and balance, appear kinetic and monumental. Though the trees tower, they do not intimidate – they are majestic and dancing.

I first met Robin through the fantastic educator show that Allison Price (Brunswick Arts Educator) facilitated at the Saco Museum. Robin practices the philosophy of Reggio Emilia in her classroom/atelier and shared with me the journey of her district to embrace this direction and her continued growth and community that she shares with like-minded educators.

Networking is one way to share and grow in our arts community. There are much too many names for me to list here as branches in my vitae. I am professionally pleased to say that Robin is one of them.

What? Who are your branches?………what do you do to keep your arts tree healthy?

Robin Brooks with her artwork

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