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What’s Art Got To Do With It – 2019 Full Schedule

What's Art Got To Do With It - 2019 Full Schedule

Full schedule, class details and special event
Presented on November 1, 2 & 3, 2019

Schedule Of Conference Events

Friday, November 1st

Belfast United Farmer’s Market, 18 Spring Street, Belfast

6:00 -7:00 pm
Doors open at 6 for music, drumming, interactive art installation and Project Connect Mural
7:00 - 9:30 pm
Presenters and Performers - Vijay Gupta and friends

RAW Players - True Life Stories from people affected by the justice system and addiction--featuring Norman Kehling, Rob Porter, Collette Jadis, Ivy Lobato, Natascia La Verde, Deb Hensley, Larraine Brown, Robyn Goff, Beth Whitman

Chasing the New White Whale - an art & advocacy model created by Michael Gorman dedicated to bringing awareness to the issue of opiate addiction in the commercial fishing community of New England and beyond

Welcome to Conference - Larraine Brown, Robyn Goff

Introducing Saturday Morning Workshop Presenters - Natasha Mayers, Joseph Jackson, Gerald Stropnicky

Featured speakers -Bruce Noddin, Maine Prisoner Reentry Network
Ryan Thornell, Deputy Commissioner, Maine Department of Corrections
Lucas Richman, Bangor Symphony Orchestra

Keynote performance presentation by Vijay Gupta,
Introduction by Craig Watson

Gupta's keynote and performance, shares the tremendous impact of Street Symphony, a Los Angeles based non profit organization founded by Gupta, serving prisoners and people on skid row. His message serves to inform, uplift and inspire audience members to move into their own communities empowered by their own human, civic and artistic voices.

Saturday, November 2nd

Location: University of Maine, Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Avenue, Belfast
8:00 - 8:30 am
Coffee and continental breakfast - Atrium
8:30-9:00 am

Welcome to Conference & Missing Man Formation Flyover - Atrium & Hutchinson Front Porch

The missing man flyover is an aerial salute typically performed for one fallen. Our missing man formation honors those many lives lost in Maine due to the public health scourge that is the opioid addiction epidemic. Most of us know someone lost. This flyover is a dedication by a group of local fliers using their own, self-made experimental crafts. Pilots: David Valcik, Peter Webb, Jim Cloud, Jonathan Plengey

9:00 am - 12:15 pm

Morning Workshop Choices - Classrooms Participants will attend their workshop choice in the morning. In the afternoon all participants will attend Music for Change workshop with Vijay Gupta

  • Natasha Mayers

    Workshop Title: A Visual Voice: Designing and painting banners/props/placards in response to the opioid epidemic and the issues about which you most care

    Location: Art Room

    Workshop Description: In this session, we will collaborate on making banners! Participants will see a variety of completed banners, brainstorm ideas, share images, conceptualize, critique and distill graphic designs working together, getting and giving feedback or assistance as we draw and paint. Our images will help make complex issues visible; providing a visual voice that can help gain media attention, hold public officials accountable, engage the public's imagination, and bring the public into a discussion on important issues that impact the lives of Mainers, especially the opioid epidemic. By using our talents to create positive social change through the arts, we can inspire and impact our communities, while helping us become more engaged activists. If you would like to get a head start on a banner, you are encouraged to gather images beforehand, make some rough thumbnail sketches, and research what words might be used. There will be time and space to finish banners for anyone who desires.

    Bio: Natasha founded ARRT! – The Artists Rapid Response Team — which creates banners and props to promote the work of progressive non-profits across Maine. In seven years they have created more than 400 banners. She was an artist-in-residence for many years with the Maine Arts Commission, supervising hundreds of school and community murals. She was the first woman hired to teach at Maine State Prison and later volunteered to teach art at the Kennebec County Jail. Since 1974 she has taught art to mental health consumers, first at Augusta Mental Health Institute and then at the LINC and Waterville Social Clubs. She is the editor in chief of the Maine Arts Journal: Union of Maine Visual Artists Quarterly.

  • Joseph Jackson

    Workshop Title: Written Word in Action

    Location: Auditorium

    Workshop Description: Written word in action is an interactive workshop using writing, storytelling, theater games, sculpture and image making. The workshop examines and explores how poetry and the power of performance can be used as a tool for social change. Drawing from the work of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, participants will learn the techniques of bringing stories to stage.

    Bio: Joseph Jackson is the Director of Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition. (MainePrisonerAdvocacy.org). A group that engages in direct advocacy with the Maine Department of Corrections on behalf of prisoners and their families. Jackson is also the Advocacy Director for Maine Inside Out, (MaineInsideOut,org), a group that utilizes theatre in a collaborative process with formerly incarcerated youth to identify the root causes of internal and external sources of oppression to inform and engage in community dialogue around youth justice in Maine. Mr. Jackson is a returning citizen, spending two decades as a prisoner within the Maine Department of Corrections. While incarcerated Mr. Jackson was Literacy Volunteer, a PEER Educator, a hospice volunteer, a GED tutor, and an Alternatives to Violence Facilitator.

  • Gerald Stropnicky

    Workshop Title: Civic Empathy

    Location: Class Room

    Workshop Description: Everyone has a story. When a community finds itself in crisis, in transition, or post-trauma, those stories take on crucial importance. To find a way forward to a place of restored health, we must stop and listen to all voices, especially those most often ignored. Only through listening can we begin to feel what another feels. Listening can be the hardest step.

    Through a series of games, exercises, and guided conversations, this workshop explores listening and story as we work together toward building community-wide Civic Empathy. Stropnicky offers insight into story theory, as he shares his experiences making story plays with those battling addiction, as well as with coal miners, cotton planters, steel workers, shrimpers, rural teens, former child soldiers, genocide survivors, Mardi Gras Queens and more in an investigation that has spanned continents and decades.

    Bio: In 1978, Gerard Stropnicky co-founded Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, where he worked as an actor, director, writer and administrator for the next 35 years. With BTE he created LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, which was published both as a play and as a trade paperback. In rural communities in Appalachia and the Deep South, he’s written and directed large-scale original site-specific productions where diverse community casts employ local story to celebrate, challenge, and address their issues. He co-founded the Network of Ensemble Theaters. He was named United States Artists Lowe Fellow in 2010. For his service to the autism community, he was the 2010 Temple Grandin Award winner.

12:30 pm -1:15 pm
Lunch / Panel Discussion Artists & Policy Makers -
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Music for Change Workshop with Vijay - Classroom

Vijay Gupta

Workshop Title: Music for Change

Location: Atrium

Workshop Description: Music for Change is an experiential, participatory workshop, illuminating the tremendous impact of Street Symphony, a Los Angeles based non profit organization founded by Gupta. In small exploratory circles, interspersed with musical demonstration and dialogue, Gupta guides participants through an interactive, artistic, and narrative journey. Gupta leads participants in the cappella piece, "Take What You Need,” a vocal work which has been used in music therapy, recovery, and community settings. Attendees feel the transformative power of music. This shared experience serves to inform, uplift and inspire participants to move into their own communities empowered by their own human, civic and artistic voices.

Bio: Vijay Gupta is a violinist and educator whose efforts to merge music with mental health are changing the world, note by note. Named a 2018 MacArthur Fellow for “providing musical enrichment and valuable human connection to the homeless, incarcerated, and other under-resourced communities in Los Angeles,” Gupta is the founder of Street Symphony—a musical advocacy program that empowers citizen-musicians by engaging with communities experiencing extreme poverty, incarceration, and homelessness. The results have been extraordinary.

4:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Closing & Celebrating Connections

Sunday, November 3rd

Location: BAZZ Community Theatre,17 Court Street, Belfast
10:00 am -1:00 pm

Imagining Solutions Brunch
A continuation of RAW 4 Change Community Conversations Project, these final circles, led by trained facilitators support participants in exploring concrete, sustainable ways to engage in creative and artistic efforts in their own communities that address the opioid crisis and related social justice issues.

Limited scholarships are available. Please send a short paragraph detailing your need to our scholarship committee no later than October 18, via: larraine@belfastcreativecoalition.org or call Belfast Creative Coalition at 207-218-1144 for more information.

ACCOMMODATIONS: This event has 10 rooms available at the Fireside Inn for November 1st, 2nd and 3rd with a discounted rate of $101.15 + Tax nightly. Calls to book a room should let them know it is for the discounted rate for the Belfast Creative Coalition event rooms.
Fireside Inn, 159 Searsport Ave. Belfast ME, 04915
Reservations: 207-338-2090
$101.15 +Tax per night (discounted rate)


Special Performance: A Theatre Artist’s Response to the Opioid Epidemic

3pm Sunday, November 3
Addiction Speaks
Location: BAZZ Theatre

An original theatre piece addressing opioid and alcohol addiction, integrating stories from former addicts, incarcerated users, friends and families. Additional performances on Saturday, November 9 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, November 10 at 2:00 pm.

Directed by Suzanne Ramczyk
All performances are followed by talk-back sessions led by skilled facilitators

Suzanne Ramczyk (Director), a retired theatre professional from the Boston-Providence area and formerly, Professor of Theatre Arts at Bridgewater State University, has directed or performed in most every style and genre of theatre. Since living in Maine for the past two and a half years, she directed Cabaret and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime for Midcoast Actors’ Studio, as well as a stage reading of Picasso at the Lapin Agile for Everyman Repertory Theatre and an original devised piece for RAW (Restorative Art Works). Suzanne holds an undergraduate degree in Classical Voice, Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Theatre Arts, with additional conservatory training. Her directing work has received high honors from The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the New England Theatre Conference. In 2003, she won her university’s highest honor for excellence in teaching.

What’s Art Got To Do With It?

Conference / Workshop Goals and Objectives

Overarching goal: Participants will investigate specific artistic tools and methods for inspiring themselves and others to build a concerned, engaged and sustainable community of arts-activism able to effectively respond to Maine’s opioid epidemic and other local and national social justice issues


Participants will:

  • Identify and access their own artistic skills, talents and sensibilities through active participation in a variety of guided, collaborative artistic endeavors and/or mini-projects
  • Identify and explore local and statewide activism opportunities wherein their artistic skills, talents and sensibilities can be best employed
  • Identify the principles of Arts & Activism
  • Understand the field of Arts & Activism as a unique and viable study and practice and its sphere of influence
  • Review, discuss and experience effective examples of local and national Arts & Activism projects
  • Increase their ability to voice important messages, gain media attention, hold public officials accountable, and shape public opinion through artistic modalities
  • Create and explore specific tools that enable effective positive social change through the arts
  • Understand the unique role artists take in capturing and captivating people's attention with a clarity unavailable to many other groups
  • Explore creative and non-threatening ways to depict issues
  • Understand how to make ideas concrete and palatable with pictures, sound, movement and words that authenticate what others are feeling and thinking
  • Understand how the arts can lift community morale and empower others to become engaged and to have the incentive and courage to act