Monthly Archives: February 2011

Robert Pinsky and the Favorite Poem Project

By Vanessa Nesvig
Coordinator of Special Projects

In a week Robert Pinsky, the three-term U.S. Poet Laureate, will speak at the Holiday Inn By the Bay. I always look forward to the opportunity to learn more about the great speakers we have come to Portland, and for this event I had to get going! Poetry is something I don’t know much about but realize that I would love it if I just allowed myself the time to read more. But what, and which poets? Combing poetry sections of book stores with my poet friend Emily Koehn, I thought I knew where to start, but time went by quickly and I was overwhelmed again.

Then I looked into Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project…something he started as Poet Laureate, where he recorded Americans, from all walks of life reading their favorite poems and explaining why they mean so much to them. Kids, teenagers, men, women, all reading something that spoke to their heart. Listen to some of these videos and you will get inspired again to find what speaks to your heart as poetry has for so many thousands of years. Pinsky shows us through others, that poetry can be a part of everyone’s life, their everyday life. I learned the place to start is here.

For more information about the Favorite Poem Project, visit

2011 Bernard A. Osher Lecture: An Evening with Robert Pinsky: Is Vision The Twin of Speech?
Monday, March 7, 2011, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets: $15/$10 members. Holiday Inn By the Bay. Purchase tickets here.

Photo by Emma Dodge Hanson.

Educating Artists and Families

By Julia Einstein
Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs

February vacation week is almost here and we are getting ready to welcome families into the Museum with some very special activities. It’s all the result of our collaborative project with Maine College of Art that has brought four Maine College of Art students, Maggie Muth, Nikkie Stroumbos, Meghan Gervasio, and Hannah Godbey into the Museum to be inspired to create an education program for families with children of all ages.

I’ve told my perspective of the project and Gail Spaien has shared her thoughts and now is the chance for these talented young art students to share their learning experiences.

“In the Museum, I look at Mary Cassatt’s painting of the young woman and child. The artist’s use of restless marks and warm colors remind me of my mother’s own embrace. In my studio, I look at my body and explore my self-image and transformation. I document the changes and the many layers.” Hannah Godbey will graduate from Maine College of Art in 2011.

After your family finds the portrait of mother and child in our Impressionist Gallery, you’ll meet Hannah on the lower ground floor to pose for a family portrait.

“In the Museum, as I look at the painting, The Drop Sinister, I’m drawn in by the contrast between the dark and light shapes and seek to find the underneath stuff that tells a story. In my studio, I surround myself with receipts and to do and grocery lists that I’ve collected in order to give me a peek into the lives of people.” Margaret Muth will graduate from Maine College of Art in 2011.

Maggie will be in the Great Hall of the Museum to give out special drawing and looking kits for families to take on a trip around the Museum. When you return to the Great Hall, Maggie will help everyone make a book to take home.

“In the Museum, I look at the Portrait of Maria McLellan Edwards and wonder about her identity. In my studio, I look with a gendered eye and my body image is my medium. Societal definitions of beauty, ideal, woman, and feminine help me think about my work.” Nicole Stroumbos will graduate from Maine College of Art in 2011.

When you walk back in the Museum to the 19th century collection, Nikkie will be there to help you see yourself in the portrait paintings of boys, girls, and families and teach you to create a very fun and modern parlor game!

“In the Museum, I look at the Anselm Kiefer work for inspiration. I am mesmerized by the tactile surface and thick paint alive with trapped energy and fragility as each piece of straw falls below the painting. In my studio, I explore growth, loss, and the space in between. I’m interested in exposing the beauty in the decay of surfaces. My choices in evocative materials allow me to create an open dialogue with the viewer. “ Meghan Gervasio will graduate from Maine College of Art in 2011.

Up on the 3rd floor of the Museum, your family and Meghan will view the biggest paintings in the Museum. She will help you to discover the differences as you create a contemporary art box.

Here’s the schedule and location of art activities in the galleries:

Tuesday, February 22
McLellan House Parlor:  Identity Collage
In the Great Hall:  Collection Stories

Wednesday, February 23
Lower Ground Floor: Pastel Family Portrait

On 3rd floor Contemporary Art gallery: Texture Boxes

Thursday, February 24
McLellan House Parlor:  Identity Collage
In the Great Hall:  Collection Stories

This blog post is the third in a series on a collaborative project between art educators at Portland Museum of Art and Maine College of Art. Learn more…