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NEA
Augusta, ME, June 2012 –The Maine Alliance for Arts Education announces a new strategic focus for the organization.

Now in its 34th year of serving the arts education community in Maine, the Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) has just completed an organizational assessment to determine how to best meet its mission to encourage and strengthen educational excellence in visual art, music, theater, and dance in all Maine schools and communities.

With the retirement of long-time Executive Director, Carol Trimble last December, the MAAE Board of Directors has used the transition time before hiring a replacement as an opportunity to assess the needs of the arts education community in Maine and MAAE’s core strengths as an organization. Going forward, MAAE will focus its strategic efforts in two key areas: Advocacy and Professional Development. MAAE acknowledges its many partners throughout Maine for providing invaluable assistance and support during this planning process.

Going forward, MAAE will work in collaboration with established and new partners and networks of educators, parents, arts organizations, communities, and supporters to advance arts education in Maine guided by these two priorities:

1. Advocacy
Proactively influence arts education policy at the state and national level through monitoring and lobbying legislation that affects arts education, and, over time, developing and supporting advocacy strategies at the local level among schools, parents, community partners, arts organizations, and cultural institutions to sustain and improve arts education.

2. Professional Development
Support arts educators, classroom teachers, school administrators, and parents to improve and promote arts education in all Maine schools by planning and implementing professional development activities through workshops, conferences, training, distribution of resource information, and other innovative programming.

In order to strengthen its statewide mission, the Board has also decided to phase out, over the next few months, two regional programs: Building Community Through the Arts in the greater Bangor and Penquis areas, under the leadership of Susan Potters, Education Director, and Learning (Arts) in Community (LINC) in Hancock County—as well as the Imagination Intensive Communities (IIC) program.

To meet its new goals and lead the organization into the future, MAAE has hired a new Executive Director.

The Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) announced today (9/12/12) the appointment of Peter Alexander to serve as the organization’s new Executive Director.  Alexander, a well-known musician and organizer from Bath, was selected over a large field of candidates to lead the Alliance in the implementation of its new Strategic Plan, with a focus on advocacy and professional development for arts educators.

“With the recent dramatic cutbacks in funding for arts programs in Maine public schools,” said Board Chairperson Elizabeth Watson, “Maine public school students need a strong advocate on their behalf, both in Augusta and at the local level.  Peter Alexander is that person, and we’re delighted that he has accepted the appointment to lead MAAE at this critical time.”

Alexander is one of the few people in the United States with a Masters Degree specializing in non-profit advocacy and organizing. He is an accomplished musician (peteralexander.us) and has a long history of leadership in the fields of both the arts and environment.  Since 2009 he has served as President of the Maine Songwriters Association (mainesongwriters.com); he is the convener and leader of the Gulf of Maine Restoration Initiative (northeastgreatwaters.org); he served from 2009 - 2011 as president of Opportunity Maine (opportunitymaine.org); and he is a founding member and still serves on the board of the America’s Great Waters Coalition (nwf.org/greatwaters).

“I am really honored that the board of MAAE has selected me to lead the organization as we step up our efforts on behalf of arts education for all Maine’s students,” said Alexander. “Policy makers and school administrators too often underplay the importance of arts education, and these programs are usually the first to go when budgets get tight.  We’re here to let our leaders know that arts education plays an enormously important role in our state’s economy and way of life and should be expanded, not diminished as we prepare our children for the 21st century  skills they will need to lead successful and richly satisfying lives.”

Outgoing (interim) Executive Director Gail Scott echoed Alexander’s view. “Many students tell us that arts education programs are what make their lives worth living and help them to excel in other academic areas.  The Maine Alliance for Arts Education, under Peter Alexander’s new leadership, will help ensure that the arts are essential to the curriculum and thus a part of every child’s educational experience.”

MAAE is planning a reception to officially welcome Alexander on October 21 from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm at Slates Restaurant in Hallowell (163 Water Street).  Among the activities will be talks by Maine’s arts education leaders and performances by some of Maine’s outstanding music students.  Members of the public are invited but, because space is limited, they must reserve a seat by writing to info@maineartsed.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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