We’ve Got a New Attitude!

Welcome to Artitudes! Fearless Kids Making Art!  This blog is facilitated by me, Theresa Cerceo. I’m the very lucky Visual Arts Educator in a small (but powerful) public school district in the great state of Maine!   This blog will include entries written by myself and my students.  It’s main purpose is to share not just the art being made, but the ideas surrounding the artwork, our feelings about artists around the world & throughout time, and issues surrounding the arts.  Our goal (mine and my students) is to document our art world with a blog that is student centered while building bridges in our community through the arts.   Photo on 8-20-14 at 10.04 AM #2

S.L.A.M.! in Augusta

On Wednesday, March 8th, our SLAM! and Band students took part in the Arts in Education Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education  at the State House in Augusta.  The following are student accounts of the trip.


At five in the morning, S.L.A.M.! and the band students packed up a bus with amps and posters, and we set off for Augusta!  The bus ride itself was incredible; relaxing, and sociable.  Everyone was extremely comfortable with each other and the atmosphere, for the most part was jovial.

The first stop on the trip was Orono. There we were given a tour of the school, and provided lunch. In addition to viewing various buildings, we were able to observe the gym, and get a look at what dorm life looked like.

After that we visited a high school , where our drama club was able to meet with the theatre students there.  The kids there were incredibly welcoming and accepting. They were kind, and their work space was amazing. Their teacher  led us through several fun and engaging skill building activities and icebreakers. They listened intently as we performed pieces from our play, and then they performed for us.

The following day was the Arts in Education Advocacy Day at the State House.  As part of the day’s program, we were able to meet with our district representatives, Danny Martin and Troy Jackson, which was so cool. They were very kind to us and we were glad to speak with them.


There was a lot of people to meet (and photobomb with the Mona Lisa), which was exciting, and we fit in well.

Our own performance was well-received, and it was amazing to get the chance to really fall into a (at least semi-) relaxed state while performing in front of people.

But it was the other performances that blew me away. With the open mic session that was held, people were able to share their songs, poetry, or jokes. Many talked of things that was going on in their lives, and huge problems that were affecting everyone. One spoke of a sister who was far away and unable to be with her family. All of the poems and songs that were presented were incredible. Some of the poems were so powerful that I almost started crying.

There were two other performances, that were not part of the open mic segment. There was a dance and a play performed. The dance was gorgeous, very well done. The play was remarkable. It was performed by a group called Maine Inside Out, who are a group of people that have been incarcerated in the past, but have gotten out. Those performing the play did insanely well. Their message was clear, and powerful, and it was about people who were looked over for things that had happened to them, the way they looked, or things from their past. Things like having been incarcerated, the color of their skin, their religious and ethnic backgrounds, or the jobs they worked.

The whole experience was incredible, and being there, in a room full of strangers, it felt like we were part of a family reunion or something. The whole thing was amazing.

– Jasmine

I loved presenting for S.L.A.M.! and sharing all that we have done, such as sharing our message at the S.L.A.M.! table and being interviewed for a podcast. The fact that we were able to spread our message and have people listen gave me a sense of confidence and achievement, the likes of which I have never experienced to such an extent. I am so proud of what my peers and I have done in S.L.A.M.! – Daley



Student Artist, Student Voice


This blog post was written

by 4th grade artist, Ella Voisine.

Most of my photos are based on nature and animals. I own many animals like horses, cats, chickens, ducks and a dog.  I love to take photos of them so that I can see what the naked eye can’t see.


I am always outside, so I use some of my time taking photos. I take photos because I feel like we all need to see the natural beauty of nature and animals.

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I try to make my pictures look very natural so that they don’t look like I purposely set them up. I hope that sometime I will get a nice,real camera so that I will have good zoom, and I won’t have to come inside when my camera gets too cold. It can be very challenging to take photos, like when it is windy or when animals move.

Sometimes I just have to take a break because I cannot get quality photos.I think that many others should take photos so that the world can learn more about nature and animals. One of my inspirations is Paul Cyr. He takes many photos of animals and nature, and when I am older I want to take photos like him.

Student Voice: My Journey in Art Education

As part of their High School Studio Art midterm, students began constructing their artist statements. This will be a process we continue through the Spring, culminating in their final exhibition.   For this step in the process, students brainstormed a personal timeline and then used it to create an artistic expression.  I will be sharing some of this work over the week.  This first example comes from Kelly, a senior  who I have had the privilege of teaching since she was in 2nd grade.


Lone Wolf in Art by Kelly P.

Second Grade

Lone wolf using tools

Brush, pencil, clay

All of these on display

Overwhelmed takes full effect

Shaking in it’s fur, scared

Flash forward, freshman year

More intricate tools

Still that lone wolf

Even more scared to take the chance

Shading here, detail here, depth there

Everything whirling in, like a color snowstorm

Much less dangerous

Much more calm

Ink, yarn and ribbon, and paint

This lone wolf is not scared

Embracing the shade of every art piece

The color snowstorm is calm and gone

Snowmen in the Moonlight

First Grade students learned about the art elements of space and value. First, they learned about the horizon line and how to establish a sense of space.  Then, they practiced blending oil pastels to create highlights and shadows in order to give their drawings a sense of 3D form.   For inspiration and an ELA connection, we read Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and made close observations of the spectacular illustrations by Mark Buehner.  



Student Voice in the Studio

The holidays are here!   As is typical, this time of year brings a lot of happenings both in the school and at home with family and friends.  Let’s pause from the high energy of the season to check in with one of our senior Studio Art & SLAM! member, Andrew Guimond.

Andrew’s goal this year was to learn to use the pottery wheel.  Motivated initially by curiosity, then through taking ownership over his learning, he became empowered to continue this journey, developing his personal style in the medium, while coming to more deeply understand the artistic process.



  In Andrew’s own words,

“… today was a real life studio experience… I worked on several  pieces… I threw a jar with lid and trimmed a bowl…  If I wasn’t in this class, I would never  have this studio time… a chance to create in an atmosphere that is relaxed (free of deadlines) but is challenging.  (My process) isn’t forced and I’m not following another’s agenda.”


Brushes & Mud Paint


Looking at the arts through scientific inquiry, students learned that natural materials, such as mud, rocks and plants, are the basis for 2D arts painting and drawing.


Brushes and Mud Paint from March Hare on Vimeo.

Our Science Seminar began with students sharing what they knew about the scientific method.  Then, they developed hypothesis to the question, “How is paint made?”

Next, we looked at and discussed traditional cultural and contemporary examples of mud painting.  Students went outside to dig up dirt (to make mud paint) and to find a variety of natural objects (to make paint brushes).   Then, students made paint, using mud as the pigment and vehicle. Some paints were made with a binder (glue) and some not.  In using these controls and variables, students could compare the effects and determine the more effective paint, the one with the binder.  When making their own paint, students had the option to add a drop of tempera paint to add color variation.

Next we compared paintbrushes to determine what makes a paint brush most effective.  What does it need?  Why are there different types?  Students used object found outside to explore and design what they believed would make an effective paint brush.  These brushes, which were beautiful and functional, were used to create their mud paintings.

Our second experiment involved analyzing  materials and techniques in order to discover the basics of manufactured paint.   Students learned the history of pastels and used two different explore the painterly methods associated with pastel.  Using a mortar and pestle to grind it to powder (like a pigment powder with  the binder already added) students mixed colors and added water to create their own paints.   They also dunked pastel sticks  in water to compare the methods in which water, the vehicle could be added.  They were asked to imagine possibilities for both methods being the more desirable way to paint.

This four day seminar was packed with experimentation, exploration and discovery.  Students made correlations between artistic exploration and scientific inquiry in order to learn about the world around them and use that knowledge to invent personal paths of creation.

Standards we touched upon were:

Visual Arts MLR A Disciplinary Literacy – Visual Arts:  Students show literacy in the art discipline by understanding and demonstrating concepts, skills, terminology, and processes.

Visual Arts MLR C Creative Problem-Solving:  Students approach artistic problem solving using multiple solutions and the creative process.

Science MLR B The Skills and Traits of Scientific Inquiry and Technological Design:  Students plan, conduct, analyze data from and communicate results of in-depth scientific investigations; and they use a systematic process, tools, equipment, and a variety of materials to create a technological design and produce a solution or product to meet a specified need.