A big Thanks! to Deb Bickford, president of the MAEA, her Westbrook HS colleague Matt Johnson and their National Art Honor Society students Abby St. Clair, Jenessa Corbett and President Trina Sayed. All five have been hard at work designing and creating the 16 county signs that will be up on 8-foot posts behind each table at the Hall of Flags on March 24th.
Trina Sayed, 2016 Westbrook High School NAHS President
The beautiful signs show each county’s distinctive shape enlarged against a handpainted background, and also its place within the shape of the state.
The county by county organization of the tables at this year’s Advocacy Day is only one part of MAAE’s focus on arts education for students in the whole state. The length and breadth of the state will also be represented by student lobbyists coming to speak one-on-one with their legislators from every county, and in some cases from every house and senate district in that county. If you haven’t yet registered, join us, and if you’re an arts teacher let us know about a student who might want to attend! The form for registering your interest is http://eepurl.com/bLE54n
The student lobbying begins at 9:30 am. Our program of speakers and student performances in the Hall of Flags will take place between noon and 1 pm. We look forward to seeing you there!
For more information contact Susan Potters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration for MAAE Arts Education Advocacy Day, Thursday, March 24th, is now open! And attending yourself is only one of the ways you can register your interest and support.
In this year of increased statewide attention to arts education generated by the Arts Commission’s Census of arts ed in all Maine schools, MAAE’s Advocacy Day will be sending a message to all of the state’s legislators that every Maine student deserves access to quality arts education at school. Our lobbying at the Statehouse in Augusta this year will be a full court press! We’re inviting our best advocates… young people… to come to Augusta from every senate and house district in the state…..first to tell their legislators how the arts have been important to them in one-on-one lobbying outside the senate and house chambers between 9:30 and 11 a.m. then to invite their legislators to come downstairs to the Hall of Flags to meet more of their constituents at the tables, which will be organized this year by counties and hosted by delegations from the whole community. All are invited to be at their county’s table to talk to their legislators when they come downstairs.
Register at http://eepurl.com/bLE54n if you plan to attend on March 24th yourself, if you can help us to identify a student who can attend, or if you just want to be kept in the loop about all the excitement!
And feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Thanks for your support!
Our most persuasive arts lobbyists are the students. So this year we are inviting our alliance of adults around the state – that is educators, parents, artists, and leaders of arts organizations – to help us identify those students who would be able and willing to come to Augusta to meet and talk about what the arts have meant to them with their legislators outside the chambers in the morning of March 24th, and to invite the legislators to meet with them and more of their constituents at noon at the tables in the Hall of Flags. The tables will be set up this year by counties, not organizations, so that the Hall itself will reflect the state geographically, with large signs above each table displaying the county names.
As the day gets closer we will be asking you to register, so that we can keep track of which legislative districts our lobbyists represent, and which remain to be covered. In the meantime, we hope that you can set the day aside to come to Augusta and also find some student advocates to join you! If you can’t take the day off, perhaps you can find a parent or other adult to bring the students.
If you have questions feel free to contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 207 439-3169
We look forward to seeing you on the 24th!
The Every Student Succeeds Act, which has amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, gives states and local education agencies greater autonomy in setting curricula and standards. The National Association of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has pointed out the positives for the arts in the new legislation, including its encouragement to integrate the arts into STEM programs. But in eliminating the eight Core Academic Subjects, one of which was the arts, the new law has eliminated an important basis for requiring the arts to be included in school during the school day… not as extra-curricular.The legislation, which eliminates all “Core Academic Subjects,” in their place creates a definition for a “well-rounded education” as “courses, activities, and programming in subjects such as English, reading or language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, computer science, music, career and technical education, health, physical education, and any other subject, as determined by the State or local educational agency, with the purpose of providing all students access to an enriched curriculum and educational experience.” (bolding mine).
As included in the subjects listed in a well-rounded education the arts are eligible for Title I funds, which are the largest pool of federal resources dedicated to ensuring equitable access to a complete education for all students. However, the states can now choose among those allowable subjects.
Our advocacy for arts education is more important than ever. We hope you can join us in Augusta for Arts Education Advocacy Day on March 24th.
Stay tuned for more details.
Youth in the Parkside area of Portland performed an original theater piece on the evening of July 21st that they had created as part of MAAE’s Building Community Through the Arts (BCTA) program. The group of mostly immigrant and minority youth meet as part of OPEN (Organization for Partnership and Engagement with Neighborhoods), an after school and week-end program in Portland’s Parkside area that empowers diverse youth to take an active role in the decision making and dialogue around social justice issues affecting their community. The play, the result of a partnership between OPEN and MAAE, was the first time that the OPEN program had incorporated theater.
During a three-week residency with BCTA theater artist Jeri Pitcher the group created “Amy’s First Day,” a play exploring the social problems faced in school by the title character Amy, an African girl newly arrived in Portland. The play also explored the social problems in school facing minority and immigrant youth in general. These included rejection of African immigrant students by black students born in America, teachers expressing surprise at the academic accomplishments of their black students, and Muslim youth being made to feel uncomfortable about their custom of daily prayer, while also being looked at with suspicion by white students.
Part of the tension that the play explored was the question the students faced in all of these situations of whether to accept and work around the daily indignities and obstacles or to try to confront them, and if so, how.
The powerful and compelling play, performed for the Parkside community, included monologues when the characters spoke directly to the audience about their motivations. In a facilitated discussion with the audience afterward, many in the audience commented on how true to life the situations were and how insightful the monologues were as well.
For BCTA this represents an important new phase. So far the program has been operating only in school classrooms, and in areas of the state where social issues are based on socio-economic rather than racial and religious diversity. We will be working with OPEN and with the youth themselves on ways that we might take the BCTA program into the Portland schools, and the best way to do that to effect change. We’d welcome your input as well. To contribute to this discussion and/or for more information contact MAAE director Susan Potters either by email (email@example.com) or by phone 207 439-3169.
(Emily Bean, BCTA Bangor Community Committee Chair; Betsy Webb, Superintendent of Bangor Schools; Susan Potters, MAAE Director)
MAAE’s Building Community Through the Arts (BCTA) program and Bangor High School’s new Visual and Performing Arts Academy were celebrated together on May 28th when MAAE joined forces with the Bangor School Department to raise community awareness about the arts programs at Bangor High School. The late afternoon event, held in the barn of John Rohman, a member of MAAE’s advisory board, was a joint effort by the BCTA Bangor Community Committee and the arts educators at Bangor High School, and included a student art exhibit and student jazz and string ensembles. The party’s shared focus was the high school’s new Visual and Performing Arts Academy, which offers students a full program in their chosen arts field, and the school’s annual two-week dance residencies as part of MAAE’s Building Community Through the Arts program, now in its fifteenth year.
(Betsy Webb, Superintendent, and BHS arts educators: Kal Elmore, art, George Redman, chorus, Eric Hutchins, art, William Bell, orchestra. Seated: Scott Burditt, band.)
Betsy Webb, Superintendent of Bangor Schools, spoke about the second pathway of in-depth learning offered by the addition of the Visual and Performing Arts Academy to the academy initiative begun by the school’s STEM Academy in 2012. Kal Elmore Bangor High School visual art educator and William Bell, Bangor High School music educator, spoke about the Academy’s visual and performing arts offerings in more detail. As director of MAAE, Susan Potters spoke about the opportunity offered to students by the BCTA residency program to explore academic concepts in English and science classes through dance.
BHS English teachers Angela Domina and Stephanie Hendrix, and science teacher Michele Benoit, who had hosted BCTA dance residencies with teaching artist Katenia Keller, showed photo and video examples of the interpretive pieces created by their classes and described the impact on the students of the collaborative creative process itself.
(BHS English teacher Angela Domina. Also pictured: Betsy Webb and
English teacher Stephanie Hendrix)
The event was in part intended to raise community support for the dance residency program. BCTA Bangor Community Chair Emily Bean, who has been organizing the annual support for the program at Bangor HS, helped to organize the party and the host committee – Lizabeth Schley, Susan Carlysle, Katie Schaffer, Sandy Johnson and Margaret Baillie – that provided the refreshments.
(Photo credit: Michele Benoit)