The Farnsworth Art Museum has formed a strategic alliance with New York City’s prestigious Lincoln Center Institute, becoming one of only eight sites worldwide to host the Institute’s International Educator Workshop. Beginning in July, the Farnsworth will host the annual one-week workshop for educators, artists, school or arts administrators, curriculum developers and college and university professors from New England and Canada and beyond.

The International Educator Workshop is for educators and arts administrators who are interested in learning about imaginative teaching and learning through aesthetic education. The workshop will address what makes artworks an effective focus of study. A dynamic balance between philosophy and practice, activity and reflection, personal and group inquiries will authentically model the way aesthetic education practices can be adapted in many learning settings.

Participants will experience performances and visual artworks, guided by art-making explorations that have been designed by Institute Teaching Artists. These explorations become entry points into each individual’s relationship with a work of art. The relationships, in turn, lead to further insights about the work, which are then shared collectively, spawning a new generation of questions to be explored.

Farnsworth Director of Education Roger Dell explained the significance of the new alliance. When school reform began in America in the early 1990s, he said, teacher professional development was a major element in the way the nation’s schools were to be improved. Recognizing the importance of teacher training and working with local school districts, the Farnsworth has been offering after-school Educator Evenings and one-day or multi-day Teacher Workshops during the academic year.

“Now, with our alliance with Lincoln Center Institute providing us the opportunity to offer week-long intensive workshops during the summer, the museum will be providing year-round, accredited, professional development for teachers from near and afar,” Dell said.

Farnsworth Executive Director Christopher J. Brownawell said it is with great pride that the Farnsworth Art Museum has entered into a strategic partnership with the Lincoln Center Institute to bring the nation’s most respected professional development workshop for teachers to Maine this summer.

“Studies have consistently shown early introduction to the arts significantly increases a child’s ability to excel in the classroom and in life. The Farnsworth, along with its partners, are pleased to offer our teachers the tools they need to keep the arts alive, vital and at the forefront of learning in the classroom,” he said.

The Farnsworth also will be making scholarships available to any Maine school teacher or administrator currently employed full-time in a public or independent school. Full scholarships are limited, available on a first come, first served basis. A $100 deposit is required at time of registration, refunded upon successful completion of the workshop. Deposit checks should be mailed to the Farnsworth Art Museum, 16 Museum St., Rockland, ME 04841 Attn: Denise Mitchell.

A $500 stipend will be paid to teachers who complete an implementation plan in their classrooms during the following school year. Lodging assistance is available for teachers traveling from more than 40 miles one way.

University of Maine CEUs (30 contact hours) are available, and graduate credits are available through the University of Maine or City University of New York (CUNY).

As a follow-up for workshop participants, the Farnsworth Art Museum will offer dates in the fall for school groups to visit the museum, free of charge, and to see a theater performance, with transportation grants provided.

“Lincoln Center Institute is pleased to join in an alliance with the Farnsworth Art Museum, the wonderful home of so much great American art,” noted Scott Noppe-Brandon, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Institute.

The alliance adds strength to Lincoln Center Institute’s belief in the imaginative learning through aesthetic education as the crucial step to a new level of thinking, of creativity, of sorely needed innovation, he said.

“Together, we can bring this method of teaching to a growing number of educators, the method that gives new direction to their mission and once again makes their jobs, as the custodians of American youth during its formative years, the most important job of all,” he said.

This collaborative effort will make available to Maine educators a wonderful opportunity to explore ways to enhance teaching through the arts, added Susan J. Hunter, University of Maine Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

“Where minds and hearts are engaged, meaningful learning quickly follows and the arts can provide us educators with powerful tools for sparking that kind of student engagement in all manner of teaching/learning situations,” she said.

Maine Department of Education Visual and Performing Arts Specialist Argy Nestor commented “We are pleased to support this collaborative effort to provide high quality professional development for Maine teachers.”

The artworks that will be studied by participants in the Lincoln Center Institute International Educator Workshop hosted by the Farnsworth Art Museum from July 26 through July 30, 2010 will be: visual arts via the museum’s Louise Nevelson Collection, the second largest in the world; and theater, via “Nightingale” performed by Maine’s Figures of Speech Theatre.

The Farnsworth’s strategic alliance with Lincoln Center Institute is made possible through funding support provided by the Arthur K. Watson Charitable Trust, Peter and Barbara McSpadden and Amy and Bob Campbell; and with the collaboration of the Maine Department of Education, the University of Maine, and The Strand Theatre, Rockland.

Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education, established in 1975 and located in New York City, is the educational cornerstone of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. City, across the nation and around the world. For more information regarding the Lincoln Center Institute International Educator Workshop, visit The Farnsworth Art Museum is the only museum in the nation celebrating Maine’s role in American art. For more information, visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to