Student Artwork Featured at Portland Museum of Art for Youth Art Month

Creative works from art students from around Maine are on display online at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) in celebration of Youth Art Month.


For almost 30 years, PMA and the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) have collaborated to bring National Youth Art Month to Maine. The exhibition is designed to underscore the value of art education for all children and encourages support for quality art programs in Maine schools.

“This annual exhibition showcases the incredible work produced by K-12 students throughout the state, representing a wide variety of youth perspectives and artistic practices in Maine,” said PMA in a statement about the exhibit.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Youth Art Month has gone digital for the first time. PMA said the online exhibition “brings exciting opportunities to share the artwork of Maine’s youth with a wider audience. We hope that the artworks in this exhibition inspire more creativity, spark more conversations, and garner support for more arts education in our schools and in our communities.”

The attached artwork is a portrait by Portland High School sophomore Venice Melcher, titled “Amy.” Here is the artist’s statement:

“I created this portrait of my mom because she creates a lot of change in my life and the lives of others. She volunteers weekly at a local hospice and animal shelter, and has a business where she sells reusable products made from organic cotton, along with being a great mom! I used mixed media, including watercolor and acrylic paints. I used the neurographic technique for my mom’s face, and cut out and glued down little pieces of paper to create the objects surrounding her.”

Digital receptions were held on Saturday, March 13, for the young artists and their families.

To view the artwork, see a listing of student artists, and where they go to school in Maine visit the PMA’s exhibit website:

Information for this article was provided by Portland Public Schools as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at


Virtual Learning Sessions 3/18 & 3/31: Adaptive and Innovative use of Technology in Arts and Theater 

Join Maine Department of Education (DOE) specialists and a panel of Maine educators in two professional learning sessions that focus on the adaptive and innovative use of technology in arts and theater. These sessions are designed to be conversational, with educators from across the state sharing their challenges, successes, and takeaways. The first session focuses on theater and tech; the second session focuses on makerspaces and the arts.  These sessions are being held in recognition of “Arts Education in Our Schools Month,” celebrated statewide and recognized by Governor Janet T. Mills.

Session Descriptions and Details:

Theater & Tech – Performances
March 18th, 2021 at 3pm

Description: Join MDOE specialists and Maine theater and tech educators in a panel discussion on virtual theater performances. This session will include reflections on theater education over the past year, looking at successes, challenges, and innovative solutions. We will also talk a bit about the technology that aided in successful solutions to explore how the role of tech in theater changes in a virtual space.

To register for this sessionclick here or go to:

Arts & Tech – Makerspaces
March 31st, 2021 at 2pm

Description: Join MDOE specialists and Maine arts and tech educators in a session on makerspaces. Whether you’re new to makerspaces or well-versed, this session has something to offer you. We’ll cover the basics of what a makerspace is, look at a few ways that local schools have integrated them into their building, and talk a bit about how makerspaces can be used in collaborative and innovative ways.

To register for this sessionclick here or go to:

For further information contact Maine DOE Visual and Performing Arts Specialist Jason Anderson at

MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Declares March a Celebration of Arts Education in Our Schools

The list of observances that happen in the month of March is long and varied – the first day of Spring, Women’s History Month, National Foreign Language Week, Deaf History Month – and included in that list is the opportunity to celebrate arts education in our schools for the entire month!  In Maine and across the nation we take time throughout the coming month to recognize the value of the arts in the education of the whole child.

Recently, at a celebration of and for arts education advocacy throughout Maine, Governor Janet T. Mills delivered remarks celebrating the rich traditions and history that arts, artists, and arts education continue to play in the social fabric of Maine’s citizenry.

She, as well as the Maine Department of Education, encourage you to safely celebrate the role that the arts and arts education play in your local communities by encouraging and supporting the efforts of students at all levels.  Without their dedication and determination to explore their artistic selves, many of Maine’s youth would miss out on opportunities to build a strong foundation of 21st-Century skills with which to be successful in a post-secondary school world.  We, at the Maine Department of Education, are proud of our steadfast arts educators for their perseverance during this difficult time, and applaud their attitudes toward innovation and adaptation so that students have opportunities to continue exploring the artist within each one of them.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Maine will be celebrating “Arts Education in Our Schools Month” a bit differently than in past years.  But rest assured that celebrations are happening in the form of virtual art shows, concerts, and performances of all kinds.  Contact your local school to see how you can support the students and arts educators throughout the month of March – and how you can see, hear, feel, and experience the amazing works of art that come in all forms from students of all ages.

For more information on “Arts Education in Our Schools Month”, and how you can celebrate with your local community, contact Jason Anderson, Visual and Performing Arts Content Specialist at the Maine Department of Education (; 207-592-3524).

Art Educator Bridges Divide Between Remote and In-person Students Through Digital Communications Artist Showcase

13 Series of 7’s 

A Remote Digital Communications Artist Showcase

An educator reflection written by Melanie Crowe, Visual Arts Educator at Hampden Academy.

This school year has presented some unique challenges, engaging students who are remote with the in person school community has been a central focus for me as an educator. The journey to find ways to showcase remote student work and learning has created wonderful collaborations between departments and spaces here at Hampden Academy. Working in conjunction with Leslie Rosenblatt, HA’s Library Media Specialist, she and I have found a way to bridge the spatial divide between the remote students and the in person students. Using the Library’s garage as a “gallery” space, the quarter 3 remote Digital Communications students created a movie of their digital photography that will be on presentation for the month of February.

Students in the Digital Communications course curated their work and selected, what they believed to be, their most visually engaging and compositionally successful photographs. Over the course of the semester, students in the remote Digital Communications course learned how to use their cameras on their phones like a digital SLR camera. They learned how to manipulate and control settings beyond the typical point and shoot of a phone camera. Students focused on how to manipulate and change their depth of focus, shutter speed, and ways to enhance their work using photo editing software on the web.

The students chose their best seven works from the quarter, used vocaroo (a web based voice recorder) to record an artist statement reflection. The video is shown during the day on a loop at HA for those interested to view during their study hall or during their visit to the library. This opportunity provides students in the building a way to hear and see the work created by students who are learning remotely. We hope that students will engage with the work and enjoy the works created by their peers.

Future collaborations are in the makings to showcase more of the amazing artwork our students create here at Hampden Academy. The featured thirteen student photographers are: Nikyla Bidler, Graceann Brinkworth, Madison Burns, Owen Cross, Isaac Cruz, Rebecca Demmons, Ryan Dudley, Tesa Kneeland, Gabriella Moore, Sophia Pereira, Sara Reynolds, Cameron Robichaud, and Zachary Robichaud.

Maine Educators use French Music Competition to Increase Student Engagement, Cultural Knowledge, and French Skills

In its 6th year, “Manie Musicale” has spread nationally and internationally with 950 schools from 47 states and six countries (and counting) participating to select the best French song and music video of the year.

“Manie Musicale” is a yearly competition of songs modeled after the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament in the U.S. Students fill out brackets to try to predict which of sixteen songs will win the “championship.” Once the tournament starts, students vote for their favorite songs in daily matchups to see who wins. Songs include a variety of contemporary Francophone artists from around the world. “Manie Musicale” was inspired by a Spanish version that came first – Señor Ashby’s “Locura de Marzo.”

Stephanie Carbonneau, a middle school French teacher in York and Michelle Fournier, a middle school teacher in Falmouth, started with just their two schools in 2017. Once they realized there was not a national-level competition like this for French, they collaborated to bring one to life, at least on the state level. Carbonneau and Fournier presented at FLAME the following year and opened it up to other schools.

“Manie Musicale” has really exploded in the last 2-3 years especially with the help of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. A website was also created by Carbonneau and Fournier to assist the voting process as well as to house resources to bring “Manie Musicale” to life in their classrooms. Teachers from around the country now collaborate in the Facebook group with over 1000 members and online to create activities to support using the songs in class as a linguistic and cultural teaching tool.

Students in Carbonneau and Fournier’s classes are encouraged to submit song nominations, but they also consult colleagues in the American Association for Teachers of French (AATF) and social media groups for input. Carbonneau and Fournier carefully screen song lyrics and videos for age- and school-appropriateness, with a focus on promote diversity, inclusion, and tolerance. Last year they partnered with FluentKey, an educational media company out of California, who created interactive quizzes and games based on the “Manie Musicale” video playlist to add even more fun and competition to the event. This year they added a logo designed by a fan and fellow French teacher who uses “Manie Musicale” in her own classes.

There are many teachers who do “Manie Musicale” on their own, but the impact made by this duo and the collaborative following is music to many students’ and teachers’ ears.