Posts Tagged ‘South Berwick’


In Today’s News

January 15, 2019

Sarah Orne Jewett House

Once again the Sarah Orne Jewett House is collaborating with schools in the Berwick area. This time two high schools; Berwick Academy and Marshwood High School. Read about what’s happening at THIS LINK


MALI Summer Institute Day 3

August 3, 2018

Hard at work

Brian and Kris

The day started with Teaching Artist Leader Brian Evans Jones and Teacher Leader Kris Bisson sharing their story. For several years the Great Works Bridge in South Berwick, where Brian and Kris live, has been closed. Last year at the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) summer institute Brian and Kris decided to collaborate and shed light on the bridge by composing a song. Brian is a poet and creative writing teacher and Kris is the music educator at Marshwood Middle School; they each brought their expertise to this year long project and the results are amazing. A true integrated unit that involves real life learning and students making a difference. Kris and Brian shared their inspirational story with the participants at the institute.

The day continued with teachers working independently and collaboratively on their Logic Model which outlines plans for the next year (and some longer). Intervowen in the day was the opportunity to watch the Ashley Bryan film “I Know a Man” and to slip into the home made story corps booth with one other person to share a story.

The end of the day included a gallery walk to take a close look at the participant’s plans and provide feedback to each one. Some expressed that a 4th day should have been included as participants left excited and feeling accomplished.

Speaking of storytellers, some educators extended the day by hearing the panel discussion on Ashley Bryant’s work and seeing his show at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA). Mr. Bryant is quite the storyteller and his children’s books are exemplary; marrying the words and images beautifully! Quotes from Ashley in the film were good reminders for all of us: “Don’t lose in us it’s the one thing we have in common.” “Be reminded of the child in you…you sometimes suppress it….” Thanks to the PMA for providing the opportunity that directly connected with our summer institute theme: Storytelling!



Sarah Orne Jewett House

September 28, 2017

Art of Dining exhibition

This fall, Julia Einstein, Education Program Coordinator for Historic New England, prepared an educational component, to be on view in the Art of Dining exhibition at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Visitor Center in South Berwick. There are three parts, a participatory family exhibit, a take-away gallery card, and an interactive learning experience for the Education Space in the Sarah Orne Jewett House. The objective is to engage the family audience and to connect the exhibition with a visit to the Sarah Orne Jewett House. In the exhibit, a temporary wall, painted with magnetic paint, invites the family visitor to “Set the Table!” as they mix and match table linens, plates, cups and silver from the collection in the Sarah Orne Jewett House to design a table-scape. And, to take a photo and send it us to be part of our community table on social media.

Oversized exhibit text invites families with kids of all ages to set the table with a lovely passage from Sarah Orne Jewett’s novel for children, Betty Leicester, published in 1889. “To lay the table and step lightly, “she answered, shaking with laughter. And Betty followed her directions until the square dinner table stood in the middle of the floor, covered with a nice homespun linen cloth of which the history had to be told.”  Parents, and children who are able to read, are introduced to the activity with a bit of introduction, “19th century children were expected to obey the same table rules as adults. Table manners were taught as primary lessons to transform boys into young gentleman and girls into ladies. Today, be inspired by history to set your place at the table.”

The take-away gallery card guides family visitors to look for ideas and concepts behind the art on view, and to use on their tour of the Sarah Orne Jewett House. Using the card upon entering The Art of Dining, they are directed to “Look for a Happy Birthday party, a picnic, and take-out food & imagine yourself at the tables. Notice the make-believe in painted, sculpted, and woven objects.” Most fun is when the card travels with families as they cross the lawn and enter the house museum.  In their visit, they are guided to look for tabletops with books, photographs, natural objects, and to wonder how each was collected, and loved by Sarah Orne Jewett.  When one reads the text on the card aloud in the dining room, it instructs to “Imagine a family dinner party in this grand old house and all the table talk that made its way into the stories of Sarah Orne Jewett.”

At the end of their tour of the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum, in the Education Space, an inter-activity table is set for “hands-on” learning and to connect the exhibition with their visit as a set of directions encourage families to “be inspired by the hand painted teacup by artist and poet Celia Thaxter to create your own designs and set the table for tea,” with step by step directions on how to create a set of paper tea cups.

Perhaps the most exciting part—school groups will be able to have this experience included in the elementary school program at the site! The program, Amongst Friends: Sarah Orne Jewett and Her World, focuses on Jewett’s experiences in South Berwick and around the world through her writing and the artistic endeavors of her wide circle of friends.

The Art of Dining is on view at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center in South Berwick through February 17, 2018. This exhibition presents installations by regional artists Suzanne Pretty, Julie K. Gray, Adriane Herman, Jo Hatlevig, Tinka Pritchett, Diane Stradling, Rachel Eastman, John David O’Shaughnessy, and Mickey McGarrity. The educational installation, Set the Table, was funded in part by the Sam L. Cohen Foundation. For more info, call 207 384 2454 x2 or email


In Today’s News

November 10, 2016

Student artist debuts in SoBoArts show


Marshwood art teacher Jeff Vinciguerra and student Sarah MacDonald look at some of her pottery.

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Sarah MacDonald’s passion is making clay pots, and she dreams of a successful career as a ceramics artist. MacDonald, a senior at Marshwood High School, is getting a crash course in entrepreneurship, learning how to exhibit and sell her work.

Read the entire article from seacoastonline by CLICKING HERE.


Outside Classroom

July 28, 2016

Kate Smith doing much more

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 8.12.54 PMCentral School in South Berwick’s music educator is Kate Smith. She not only is totally committed to teaching music but she totally understands the value of getting students outdoors to learn, interact with, and being creative in the environment. CLICK HERE to learn about the outdoor classroom at Kate’s school.

Please email me about other kinds of work that you do at your school so we can learn about it!

Kate is the 2014 York county Maine Teacher of the Year and a member of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Leadership team.


Find Your Voice

November 12, 2015

Music Educator Kate Smith speaks

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.54.21 AMAs most of you know one of the major parts of my work at the Maine Arts Commission is working with Teacher Leaders through the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). MALI is now in the 5th phase and it is such an honor to work closely with visual and performing arts teachers from all over the state. I am continually amazed at the commitment that these teachers make, above and beyond their “day job” of teaching everyday. I am especially proud when a teacher uses their voice that sheds light on their leadership.

This week, one of MALIs Teacher Leaders and a member of the MALI Leadership Team, Kate Smith used her voice to write an article for the Bangor Daily News, November 9. Kate teaches music to grades PreK-3 students at Central School located in South Berwick. Kate serves as the 2014 York County Teacher of the Year.

In the Bangor Daily News piece located at Kate sheds light on and provides plenty of food for thought on the idea of using your voice. Sometimes a recognition helps us realize that we have a responsibility to use our voices. I hope you will take the time to read Kate’s piece and consider how and where and when you can use your voice in a positive way. When people like Kate use their voices it is a reflection on visual and performing arts educators. Thank you Kate! If you are using your voice, please share your story so others can learn from you!


Central Elementary School – South Berwick

July 19, 2012

A real happening!

Thank you to music educator Kate Smith for providing this blog post. It is a wonderful example of a powerful service learning project directed by the arts!

Summertime means comfortable sandals, marinated steak tips on the grill, a cold margarita in hand and time to reflect on the school year. In the process of reflecting, I realized I am long overdue on a blog post I promised Argy. 

In early 2010, Bill Page, a community member, approached me with a problem, “Hey Kate, do you think the students could help me convince the town that Powderhouse Hill is a really important part of our community?” (I should pause and explain: Powderhouse Hill is a town-owned ski area with a total of three trails and 175 feet of vertical elevation and is completely volunteer run. Visitors pay $5 to ski and snowboard and are pulled up the hill on a tow rope powered by a 5 cylinder engine. It’s a super place for beginners, but the town was getting concerned about rising insurance costs and was considering shutting down the hill).  I was touched that he would turn to the music teacher for help, and I was determined to follow through. I brought the concern to my arts team and a service project was born.

What we did
Week 1: We began with  a discussion about Powderhouse Hill to activate students’ prior knowledge and inform new students. In the music room, we wrote poems or lyrics to express our love for Powderhouse Hill, some students added notation. Then we asked the overarching question, “How can we convince the town that Powderhouse Hill is an important part of our community?” Students chose the art form they would prefer when answering this question, indicating their first and second choices. They could chose: music, art, movement (physical education) or writing (library).

Week 2: The students were now divided into groups according to their preferred art form. Instead of a regular special week, in which they would see each specialist for one day and have a no special day, the student went to their assigned art form group each day (music for four days, for instance). On the fifth day, we had a museum walk. Two students stayed as presenters, while the rest of the students rotated to hear how each group answered the same question. We presented our ideas/final projects to Bill and the audience at the third grade concert. It was met with a standing ovation for both Bill and the students.

The final products
The music group wrote and recorded a song with local songwriter, Sammie Haynes, using the poems and lyrics they had written as their inspiration. We then taught the song to the rest of the third grade and sang it at our third grade concert. The art group painted 7 foot high wooden skiis to be displayed at Powderhouse Hill. The movement group took photos and made posters to show safe ways to ski, snowboard and sled. They had hoped to walk to the hill and make videos, but the weather was not conducive. The library group researched the history of Powderhouse Hill and created a display for the town hall and brochures for the town businesses.

What we found
The students took ownership of the project (as a true service learning project should). Each final product was unique and reflected the students’ learning styles. Students were engaged, for many it was their favorite special all week long! The teachers were thrilled for a multitude of reasons including one we hadn’t foreseen. In a typical week, the third grade classes see us in two different time blocks. For this project, we arranged for them to all come during the same block, which meant some of our groups were pretty big (the music group had over 40 students) but it also meant the third grade team had common planning time all week (yay for them!) and we had extra planning time due to the combined classes (yay for us!). The most important part- the parents and community LOVED it and the students LOVED sharing it. What a wonderful model for sharing the amazing power of the Arts!

Kate Smith is a music teacher at Central Elementary School, a preK-3 school in South Berwick. 

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