The purpose of this initiative is to:
- Acknowledge a set of Maine communities that value and invest in the creative interests of young people;
- Learn about the creative opportunities they offer children and youth;
- Discover how these communities sustain and grow these opportunities;
- Explore ways in which more Maine communities could do the same.
Since 2008 the Maine the Department of Education has collaborated with the Maine Alliance for Arts Education and a Design Team led by researcher Dennie Wolf to survey Maine arts educators. The statewide census looked at arts education opportunities and conditions. Funding was provided by The Betterment Fund, the John F. Kennedy Center, and the Maine Arts Commission.
Over a third of the arts teachers in Maine, 44% of the schools, responded to a survey about their programs and their working lives as educators. The initial report was released at The Arts Connect! conferenceon October 9th, 2009, to the 275 arts educators who attended. The Executive Summary (see below) includes plans for the next steps.
Executive Summary (PDF)
Complete Report (PDF)
Out of the statewide census of arts learning that documented that children’s access to education in dance, music, theater, and visual art is not equal throughout the state grew the next steps of the work. The census raised the question, “Where are the communities that even in hard times use their available resources to support the development of young people’s creativity and innovation?”
The work continued by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education and the Maine Department of Education collaborating to identify nine Maine communities where schools and a range of partnering organizations invest in the imaginative development of children and youth. Funding from the Kennedy Center, the Betterment Fund, the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Department of Education made the search possible.
The Imagination Intensive Communities include The Telling Room
(2011), Arundel, Blue Hill, Camden-Rockport,
Deer Isle/Stonington, North Haven, and York (2010). Five communities have
received honorable mention as “emerging communities:” Dover-Foxcroft and Kittery
(2011) and Brunswick, Denmark, and Portland’s Reiche School
The process was also fueled by Maine’s participation in The Education Leaders Institute (ELI) an innovative think tank and design process for state leaders supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Through ELI, the Maine team met with national and other states’ school leaders, legislators, policy makers, educators, consultants, and scholars to envision a healthy education environment founded on powerful arts education programs.
Through an open application and juried selection process, nine communities that vary in size, location, and resources were selected to be honored and to be visited and studied by teams of Maine citizens from all walks of creative work.
One result of this initiative, available to all Maine educators and youth advocates, will be a website that showcases and describes Maine’s top Imagination Intensive Communities. The website will include contact information for dialogue with or visits by other communities for the purpose of creating a network to incubate ideas for future innovations.
For more information, contact Argy Nestor, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist for the Maine Department of Education: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 207-624-6825.
Visit the MDOE Visual and Performing Arts website.
Maine’s 2011 Imagination Intensive Communities Award
The Maine Alliance for Arts Education, the Maine Department of Education, and the Maine Arts Commission are pleased to announce that the Telling Room in Portland has been named Maine’s 2011 Imagination Intensive Community.
Located in downtown Portland, the Telling Room is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the idea that children and young adults are natural storytellers. Recognized for its many programs and community partnerships, the Telling Room focuses on young writers ages 6 to 18 and seeks to build confidence, provide real audiences for students’ stories, and strengthen literacy skills through literature, writing, music, drama, and visual arts.
National Award for Imagination Intensive Communities Project!
Our Imagination Intensive Communities (IIC) project was one of 9 projects in the country that received a Best Practice award from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The award was presented recently at the Partnership's National Summit in Washington, DC. IIC is a process to identify, recognize, research, and share information on communities where schools & community organizations work well together to provide imaginative learning opportunities for students. The innovative project is a partnership between MAAE, the Maine Department of Education, and the Maine Arts Commission. Funding for the 2009-10 project came from the Kennedy Center, the Betterment Fund, the Maine Department of Education, and the Maine Arts Commission.
For more information about the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, go online to http://www.p21.org/.