Posts Tagged ‘Stu Kestenbaum’


Monson Arts

April 25, 2019

Intensive Summer Workshops

Monson Arts in beautiful Monson, Maine is offering one-week intensive summer workshops. They provide an ideal environment to focus on learning and studio work. Taught by instructors renown in their field, these classes are designed to give participants unhindered time where they don’t have to think about anything other than making. Monson Arts provides all meals and the option of housing right in town within walking distance to all of our facilities. Studios are open 24 hours.

Monson Arts is eager to have art teachers participating in their programs and will document workshop hours to support your certification needs. They are offering a 25% discount for workshops to Pisacataquis County residents.

During July and August 2019 Monson Arts will be offering eight workshops in a variety of media from drawing and painting to writing and audio production. A typical workshop includes 10-15 participants and they are able to host two workshops at a time in their facilities. Sessions begin with dinner on Sunday night and conclude with lunch on Friday. Workshops are open to anyone 18 or older and working at any level from beginners to advanced professionals. Enrollment is on a first-come first-served basis.


  • Book Arts: Erin Sweeney
  • Relief Carving: Daniel Minter
  • Writing: Kimberly Ridley
  • Mixed Media/Sculpture: Anna Hepler
  • Printmaking/Mixed Media: Susan Webster
  • Audio: Alex Overington
  • Painting: Nina Jerome
  • Fiber/Mixed Media: Lissa Hunter

Check out the workshop catalog at THIS LINK for complete details and sign up online. If you have any questions please contact Monson Arts Artistic Director Stuart Kestenbaum at

To learn more about Monson Arts visit their website.


Congratulations Gabrielle!

March 17, 2017

Gardiner Area High School Senior Gabrielle Cooper

Gardiner High School Senior Gabrielle Cooper Maine Poetry Out Loud State Champ
Natalie Lisnet, senior at Bangor High School, is runner up

AUGUSTA, ME, MARCH 13– The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce that Gabrielle Cooper, a senior from Gardiner High School, won the Maine Poetry Out Loud State Finals and is on her way to the nationals in Washington, D.C. in April. Natalie Lisnet, a senior from Bangor High School took runner-up. Cooper won the championship in three rounds of readings among 10 finalists representing Maine’s northern and southern regionals.

The Maine Arts Commission organizes the poetry recitation contest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Jennifer Rooks, public affairs host and producer at Maine Public Broadcasting Network was the master of ceremonies for the event at the Waterville Opera House. The event also featured music from the Maranacook Chamber Singers and a reading by Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum.

Poetry Out Loud Maine Champion Gabrielle Cooper poses with her first place trophy. It was Cooper’s first time competing in the state and regional finals. She will now move on to Washington D.C. to compete in the national championship.

“I think that when a poem works and a poet gets to the point where he or she wants to get, it’s because they made a discovery in their work,” Kesterbaum said while speaking to the finalists during intermission. “I think when you spoke those poems, you were making that same discovery in the words that the poet made.”

All 10 contestants recited two poems by memory before intermission, at which time the panel of four judges selected five finalists. In the final round of five, Cooper recited “To Be of Use,” by Marge Piercy, a poem Cooper said, is about the value of hard work and how nice it is to see progress in your efforts.

In her spare time, Cooper enjoys horseback riding, playing in her school band and volunteering with Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels program. Cooper will attend Dartmouth College next fall, where she hopes to pursue a degree in economics.

After the event, Cooper thanked her mom and English teachers for all the support and effort they put into helping her along the way.

Maine Poetry Out Loud State Finalists: (left to right): Emma Beyor, Kate Hodgson, Amran Mahamed, Skyler Vaughn, Arielle Leeman, Antyna Gould, Gabrielle Cooper, Natalie Lisnet, Jordan Bryant and Sabrina Small.

“They helped me a lot with practicing after school, during my study halls, breaking down my poems for me, and giving me feedback after the regional competition,” Cooper said. “That’s been a great help. It’s been nice to spend that time with them.”

Cooper will receive $200, as well as a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books for Gardiner High School. She will then represent Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals in Washington D.C. on April 25-26. Cooper will compete for the first place award of a $20,000 scholarship. In total, $50,000 in prizes and school stipends will be awarded to the top 10 finalists and their schools.

In addition to Cooper and Lisnet, the other state finalists were: Emma Beyor, Erskine Academy; Kate Hodgson, Camden Regional High School; Amran Mahamed, Deering High School; Skyler Vaughn, The Maine Girls’ Academy; Arielle Leeman, Morse High School; Antyna Gould, Medomak Valley High School; Jordan Bryant, Greely High School; and Sabrina Small, Maine Coast Waldorf School.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud, and for how your school can participate next year, visit or contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education, Maine Arts Commission at Videos of the Poetry Out Loud state and regional finals will be made available on the Maine Arts Commission youtube and Facebook page:

The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, art organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more than 50 years the Commission has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; has worked to expand the state’s cultural resources; and encouraged and assisted 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. Additional information is available at


The Craft School Experience

November 12, 2016


screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-10-18-29-pmMany of you know the Maine Poet Laureate Stu Kestenbaum who served as the Director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts for 26 years. Stu is now the interim director at Maine College of Art and he is working with The Craft School Experience, a consortium of five craft schools, listed below. All of them have fabulous learning opportunities!

From The Craft Schools website: Craft schools across the U.S. offer an educational opportunity like no other. Here, you’ll find internationally-renowned instructors, intensive and focused study, and time for exploration in beautiful residential settings. Those of us who have be fortunate enough to spend time making art at Haystack know how true the statement is about the place.

Stu has interviewed five artists so far in a continuing series of podcasts available by CLICKING HERE. The interviews are very interesting and a great resource to share with students who are interested in learning about the lives of artists and/or are considering being artists themselves. The artists and information on them, taken from The Craft School Experience website is included below.

Roberto Lugo is a potter living and working in Vermont. He grew up in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia and began his creative life writing graffiti. Roberto is a professor at Marlboro College, and he talks about the different languages of academia, the pottery room, and the community where he was raised and the challenges and joys of truly communicating across cultures.

Rowland Ricketts is an indigo grower and artist based in Bloomington, Indiana. He studied traditional indigo making and dyeing techniques in Japan, where he was living after college and where he met his wife, Chinami, who is a weaver.

Vivian Beer is a furniture designer and the winner of HGTV’s Ellen’s Design Challenge. Its about learning how to blend traditional making with new technology, and how her time on the tv design contest showed her that not only can great design be made more cheaply, but it should be.

Sonya Clark is about family, roots, textiles, and the joys of making art in a community.

Tim McCreight is a jeweler, teacher, publisher, writer, and activist.

Sculptor Tom Joyce trained as a blacksmith when he was a teenager. His art work can be found in museums across the country, including the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York City.

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