Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC)


ABC Convenes Arts Education Summit

The concerns about the impact of possible major reductions to state and/or local funding next year on arts education was the subject of a Maine Arts Education Summit convened by the Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC) on May 20. In addition to the ABC group of MAAE and Maine ‘s four visual and performing arts educator associations, the Summit group included arts education leaders from the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), and the Maine Department of Education. While preparing for the possibility that stronger advocacy may be needed next year, the Summit attendees emphasized the special role that arts education can play during this time of change and challenges. A letter to Maine School Superintendents expressing that message was drafted by the ABC and sent out on ABC’s behalf by Steven Bailey, Executive Director, Maine School Boards Association and Eileen King, Executive Director, Maine School Superintendents Association. You can read it here.


ABC Student Leadership Group Inducted at the Blaine House

The 12 arts students from high schools around the state who make up the first Student Leadership Group of the Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC) gathered in Augusta this past Tuesday, Oct. 22.  The students were all selected elected for their commitment to the arts by the four Maine professional associations that make up the ABC: the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA), the Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA), the Maine Educational Theatre Association (MEdTA) and the Maine Dance Educators. Below are photos and short bios of all the students, followed by a recap of the group’s day in Augusta.

Student Biographies

Madi Baker (Visual Art) is a senior at Hampden Academy, studying AP art and design. She is also doing an independent study in art education, and is a member of Hampden Academy’s Voices Unlimited choral group. Madi feels a strong commitment to arts education and a mission to promote creativity in all forms.

Maille Baker (Theatre) is a senior at Nokomis Regional High. Over her years at Nokomis she has been involved in a number of groups including drama club, jazz band, combo, and ensemble, jazz chorus, and show chorus. She is also an award-winning dancer and back country skier. Maille is Vice President of her school’s chapter of National Honor Society, and is an active member of Key Club and FBLA. She was student of the year her freshman year, and received the Dartmouth Book Award this past school year. 

Colette Carrillo (Music) is a sophomore from Waterville High School. She is an active member of the school’s choral program and has participated in the Kennebec Valley Music Festival Chorus for three years. She participates in the Waterville High School’s annual musical productions. Colette also composes her own music.

Michaela Carrow (Theatre) is a sophomore from Hermon High School. She is a member of Thespian Troupe 8263 and participates both on the stage and behind the scenes in plays, one-acts, and show choir. She has also sung in the District V Festival chorus and is very active in her school’s Art Club. She is currently working towards her Honors Diploma.  

Alexis Grant (Dance) is a senior at Maine Arts Academy in Sidney. As a member of MEAA’s Spotlight Dance Team as well as TNT Dance Studio’s Competitive Edge Team, her days are filled with learning choreography and working in dance technique classes. She has also performed, volunteered, and created choreography for Lakewood Theater’s Teen Tech and Tour group, with her favorite role being Jan in the production of Grease. Alexis has recently attended the Dean College Summer Arts Institute and the AMDA High School Summer Conservatory as a dance major. 

Delia Harms (Music) is a sophomore from Massabesic HS in Waterboro. Her main musical interest is playing the bassoon in her school band as well as in the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. Delia has also performed in the Maine Music Educators District One Honors Festival and All-State Band and in her high school chorus.

Ethan Hayes (Visual Art) is a freshman Visual Art student at Wisdom Middle / High School in Aroostook County. He is a member of S.L.A.M.! (Student Leadership in the Arts!), Wisdom’s Arts Advocacy and Student Leadership group. Ethan is inspired by science fiction, fantasy and animals like reptiles and sea creatures. He likes to create conceptual drawings for video games and animation projects.

Alison Jones (Theatre) is a junior from Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, currently entering her third year of High School Theatre. She is on the BEHS Theatre student leadership board as the membership chair. An active member of Bonny Eagle’s Thespian Troupe 211 for two years, Alison is performing in and assistant-directing the fall production. She has also received an award for her performance in Humbletown at the state level of the Maine Drama Festival. Last year Alison achieved 3-star Thespian status, as well as recognition as a Vice President’s List Scholar. Her other interests include writing, for which she has received two Scholastic Keys, and was a participant of the Maine Playwright’s Festival workshop last spring.

Tyler Lucca (Music) is a sophomore from Yarmouth High School, where he plays trombone in the honors level Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band and sings in the honors level Chamber Choir. Tyler is currently playing Uncle Fester in the Addams Family fall musical. He also plays banjo in a youth bluegrass ensemble called Flight 317. This well-known and respected band based out of 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth has a rotating cast of high-schoolers and performs frequently in many venues ranging from seasonal festivals to restaurants. 

Sophie Patenaude (Music) is a junior from Poland Regional High School in Poland. She is a classical pianist who also plays tenor saxophone in her school’s concert band. Sophie sings with her school’s chorus, chamber choir, a cappella choir and jazz band and her own acoustic duo, Meraki, as well as being a backup singer for The Masterstroke Queen Experience. She has attended several Maine Music Educators Association District II and All State Honors Choral festivals and will be attending her first NAfME All National Honors Choral festival in November. Sophie also performs frequently in musical theater and theater productions as a musician, actor, and dancer. 

McKenna Shoberg (Dance) is a junior from Lake Region High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has been dancing for 14 years. She took master classes with Carlos Garland from So You Think You Can Dance and has starred in The Wizard of Oz for Lake Region Community Theater. She also attended drama classes at Venice Little Theater in Venice, Florida. McKenna has choreographed dances and received an award for leadership in dance. Last year she won a laker pride award which recognizes being a positive role model, consistently helpful, and selfless.

Gabriella Thompson (Dance) is a senior at Thornton Academy in Saco. She has taken dance curricularly for the past four years in Thornton’s dance program. Gabriella is a co-leader of the Thornton Academy Dance Company. She has participated in TA’s musicals and is a member of the Interact Club and National Honors Society. After graduating, Gabriella plans on going to a University to study business and communications. She wants to continue dancing throughout college because of her passion and love for it!

The Students’ Day in Augusta

The day started the State House Welcome Center where we welcomed the students and their dedicated parents and teachers, who had driven them to Augusta. Then the students moved with us upstairs to the Hall of Flags, the site of the spring Advocacy Day on March 30 that they will be helping us to organize. The students had come prepared with get-to-know-you activities that they shared with each other.

These included signing a large map of the state that had been brought by visual art student Ethan Hayes, from Wisdom HS in Aroostook County.

The heart of the morning was discussion and brainstorming. Facilitated by Rick Osann, who will be the adult advisor for this group, this session was the first of many conversations, to be continued via group chat, through which the students will be refining their advocacy ideas and their individual and group goals.

After lunch the student group visited the Maine Arts Commission, where they were warmly welcomed by members of the Arts Commission staff, who described to them the many ways that the arts – and artists – are supported in our state.

At 2 pm the students arrived at the Blaine House.

Though the Governor herself was unable be there, the students heard encouraging words from DOE Commissioner Pender Makin and from Senator Rebecca Millett, co-chair of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee.

Senator Millett also did the honors of handing out certificates to each student.

Several of the students also spoke. We are thrilled to be working with these young people and we look forward to keeping you posted about the group’s work throughout the year! 


ABC’s Mission and History:

The Arts are Basic Coalition (ABC), led by the MAAE, is an advocacy partnership made up of representatives of Maine’s professional teachers’ associations in art, music, theater and dance (see individual members and contact information below). ABC’s mission is “to advocate with a common strong voice for the visual and performing arts for all students in Maine.” ABC was created when the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education in the summer of 2000 convened a large group of Maine arts education organizations and supporters to investigate ways in which we could collaborate for the cause of “arts every day for every child.” Out of that meeting grew ABC.

Until recently ABC limited its advocacy to state legislation, successfully advocating to keep the arts in the Maine Learning Results, restore the Visual and Performing Arts staff position at the Department of Education, and ensure a one-credit arts requirement for high school graduation. Last spring ABC expanded the scope of its work to include advocating to stakeholders in schools and communities around the state. Each of the partnering organizations also designated a special advocacy delegate to represent that organization in ABC’s expanded work. (See the names and contact info below.) ABC showed off its new logo at Arts and Culture Day at the capitol in April and will be playing a larger role in organizing MAAE’s semi-annual Arts Education Advocacy Day at the Statehouse. A critical part of ABC’s expansion has been its creation of a new ABC Student Leadership Group. For all the news and information about the group see News on the left. 


MMEA’s mission is to promote and advance Music Education by providing a voice and venue for advocacy and advancement of Music Education in Maine.


To work for all the Maine Music Educators and for all Music Education.

To develop and promote the adoption of practices, policies, and standards which align with both the Maine Learning Results and the National Standards for Music Education.

To unify and strengthen the music-teaching profession and to secure and maintain through advocacy the existence of school music programs within the school day in the State of Maine.

To provide members with a forum and voice on matters pertaining to the music teaching profession and to present their individual and common interests before the Maine State Board of Education, their designees and other legal authorities when appropriate and necessary.

Advocacy contact: Victoria Cherry –



MAEA is a statewide professional organization whose members are committed to excellence in visual arts education.


To encourage best practices in standards-based and learner-centered visual arts classrooms in all Maine schools

To foster high quality teaching in visual arts and provide professional opportunities in curriculum, instruction and assessment, as well as in current issues and artistic practice

To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and support collaboration among educators and other arts agencies to ensure quality programs for all learners


Advocacy contact: Theresa Cerceo –



Maine EdTA’s mission is shaping lives through theatre education by: honoring student achievement in theatre and enriching their theatre education experience; supporting teachers by providing professional development, networking opportunities, resources, and recognition; and influencing public opinion that theatre education is essential and builds life skills. 


Advocacy contact: Rick Osann –



Advocacy contact: Emma Campbell –