Building on the Framework of ART works

Peter Korn “Becoming a carpenter may have been a process of self-definition and transformation…Designing and building furniture, on the other hand, has never lost the challenge of exploration and the delight of discovery.” ~ Peter Korn, Why we Make Things and Why it Matters, The Education of a Craftsman

The first book that caught my eye in this New Year was Why We Make Things, a short read about how the creative practice shapes our identities. I saw it sitting among new books on our local library’s shelf, and I couldn’t leave without it. In it Peter Korn recounts the story of his journey from carpentry to craftsperson, and from craftsperson to founding director of The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. Having devoted my last 9 months to ART works, a viable gestation period for my research, I was hungry for a metaphor to begin assessing the project I had launched. Korn’s book didn’t disappoint. It helped me reflect on the hills and valleys I am experiencing while juggling, struggling, and fine tuning my own passions.

IMG_6837 IMG_6839Why we Make Things teaches us that if we are tenacious about what we believe in, we might build upon the frameworks we’ve set forth. Then from us, as in his case, others too may learn.

I have spent the better part of my adulthood in schools. Since the early seventies I have made sure that Art was the soul of the curriculum in places where I taught.

The Advent School, Boston, MA
The Advent School, Boston, MA

The Advent School Early Childhood Center - 2012IMG_1906
The Advent School Early Childhood Center- 2012

Thematic study of civil rights leaders 2012

Portrait of a civil rights leader 2012

Forty years later, when I retired from the world to which I’d grown accustomed, I knew that children’s Art making could now be the center of my life.

I began to sketch out the framework for the coming years in a well worn notebook. And on April 11, 2013 I arrived on the front steps of the Waynflete School for my first Art studio observation.

Waynflete School, Portland, ME
Waynflete School, Portland, ME

Tree observation Waynflete SchoolWaynflete School art show

Now months later, ART works has taken root. Observations in museums, art studios, public and independent, schools, early childhood programs, elementary, high schools, and college programs, in and beyond Maine, and even abroad, have become the foundation for our beginning research. We continue to write down the stories, catalogue photographs, and collate more and more incoming ideas.

Center for Maine Contemporary ArtCenter for Maine Contemporary Art
Fourth grader at CMCAIMG_7409

This coming year will be one in which we will expand upon the building blocks that are shaping ART works. Working toward a spring launch of Leaps of Imagination, we are planning a 4-week program for one of Maine’s public schools, which has experienced cuts in its Art budget. Our goal is to fund a mentor artist so that students in Materials for creative thinkingthis school and then others, will have the opportunity to let their imaginations take off in an integrated Art + Humanities study. Other future ART works projects include profiles of artists and Art teachers and building new connections with schools.

I have appreciated your support during 2013, and I look forward to our continued shared learning.

With anticipation,

Nancy Harris Frohlich


Limestone blocks in Menerbe, France
Limestone in Menerbes, France:  A visual metaphor for 2014

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