Maine Senior College Network news & updates
March 2022
Welcome to the March newsletter

The March newsletter has information about registration openings at the University of Maine in Augusta and Penobscot Valley Senior Colleges. Classes will be starting next week so take action now if you want to sign up!

I have two excellent MSCN Climate Change Conversations opportunities for you. Take a look at Penobscot Valley SC's "Climate Change: Problems, Solutions, Progress – Mainers Working Together" listed below. Nine weeks of classes with twenty presenters! Again, take action now to sign up for a seat.
The second offering is the Lewiston-Auburn SC Food for Thought Lecture: Marine Mammals of Maine with Lynda Doughty. Lynda is the director of MMoME and has provided care for thousands of marine mammals.

This newsletter has an intriguing article for MSCN artists and painters written by Stephanie Harkness of UMASC. And, of course, we have another fascinating book review by Pat Reiff.

In addition, you may want to attend the USM W.E.B. DuBois Lecture on Race and Democracy, which will be held on Zoom on March 23rd.

Please note! If you are still looking for more classes and talks, keep a close eye on our "What's Happening?" page. Colleges post information about fast-approaching lectures and courses from around the network. We also have many of our "Climate Change Conversations" offerings listed on the MSCN website.

Don't miss Information about Spring 2022 classes! This shows a list of links to all available class catalogs.

Program Director
Wikimedia Image:
Penrhyn Stanlaws

Penobscot Valley Senior College presents:

"Climate Change: Problems, Solutions, Progress – Mainers Working Together"

Mondays, March 21 – May 16, 2022
1:30 – 3:30 PM -- Presented on Zoom
Are you tired of hearing endless sound bites about the world's climate change puzzle?

Penobscot Valley Senior College has drawn together leading professors, subject matter experts, and public sector leaders in Maine to help you get a good overall understanding of the crisis as well as hearing solutions and receiving guidance on what you can do to support the effort!  
Penobscot Valley SC has created this series of talks in Support of the MSCN Climate Change Conversations initiative,

"Climate Change: Problems, Solutions, and Progress - Mainers Working Together."

In the sessions, we will explore:
  • Some of the science being relied on that demonstrates the need for action now.
  • Goals we must achieve to meet our climate targets, and
  • The likely impacts if we fail to reach these targets
  • A look at current and pending legislation,
  • Strategic planning is critical to our success, and
  • Economic considerations that we must weigh up as we move forward.

This timely course should have something for everyone to learn more about the many effects of Climate Change. PVSC's Vice President, Bill Fackenthall, and dedicated Curriculum Committee member Nancy Rampe, along with other curriculum members, have accomplished an amazing task in finding such notable presenters.

For the tuition cost of $30.00, PVSC's usual course fee, you will have access to nine sessions presented by twenty experts in this field!

This course is open to all current members of PVSC and other Maine Senior College Network Members. 

Each presentation will be recorded, and a link to it will be sent to all registered participants shortly after each session ends. (The recordings will be available for viewing two weeks after each session.)

Registration for MSCN members
Contact Sheila Krautkremer at PVSC (the fee will be adjusted for members of sister senior colleges before registering). 
Phone: 207-659-1359 or send her an email.

Members of sister senior colleges need to provide the following information:
  • name,
  • email,
  • phone, and
  • name of your college

Download a PDF with full descriptions of each session plus presenter bios: "Climate Change: Problems, Solutions, and Progress - Mainers Working Together."

Lewiston Auburn Senior College present:

Food for Thought Lecture:
Marine Mammals of Maine with Lynda Doughty
March 30 at 10:00 am
Lynda Doughty is happy to talk with us about the work of MMoME, the fast-growing non-profit organization dedicated to marine mammal and sea turtle response, rescue, care, research, and education since 2011Lynda is the founding Executive Director.

Born and raised in Maine, Lynda always knew she wanted to work with helping marine mammals. She has provided care for thousands of them, has opened Maine’s first seal triage center, and looks forward to providing more for marine mammals in Maine in the future.

Her work has involved conducting whale necropsies, disentanglement, population studies, marine debris projects, and sterning on lobster boats. Lynda was recognized by Portland Press Herald in 2014, as one of 10 Mainers to be thankful for.

To attend, email us at by noon on March 29. Please include your name and the name of the program for which you are registering. We will send you an email with the link on the morning of the event.

MSCN Spring 2022 Classes
Information about Spring 2022 classes.

The links below will take you directly to website course catalogs for more information.

Please note that you will need to look through the offerings below to find which classes still have seats open to Maine Senior College Network members.

Note. Each senior college opens to its members first. If there are still available seats, they will open up their registration and invite members of all sister colleges to join their classes.

Want More Updates about Openings?
Go to the MSCN Online Class Openings web page and What's Happening? for breaking news about courses and one-off lectures. Colleges will be posting lists of classes with open seats in the coming days. We will do our best to collect information from all the colleges in one place, so you don't have to visit each college individually. But, if you are a bargain hunter and enjoy seeing what the colleges are offering, please visit the links below!

Acadia SC - Registration closed
Augusta SC - Open seats

Belfast SC - Open seats

Coastal SC - Open seats

Gold LEAF Institute - Open seats

Lewiston-Auburn SC - Open seats
Midcoast SC - Registration closed

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) - Open seats

Penobscot Valley SC - Open seats

SAGE at UMPI - Open seats

South Coast - Open seats

St John Valley SC - Open seats
Spring 2022 Classes

Sunrise - Open seats
Spring 2022 Classes

York County - Open seats
Wikimedia Image

Art Swapping 
by Stephanie Harkness

Remember elementary school “Show and Tell” assignments? This article is my “Show and Tell” about what I did during COVID-19 confinement. I’m an artist not because I am good at it, but because art is a birthright. Humans have been making art for at least 64,000 years. Children are natural artists who are usually shamed out of it at some point in their development. I am happiest when my active imagination is busy expressing itself. A couple of years ago, due to physical difficulties and a creative block, I abandoned my art studio and set up a small side table with very few art supplies. This made it easier for me to work and show up for art-making more often, whether I felt inspired or not.
As Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” I persisted in giving myself permission to produce crappy pictures and relearn how to enjoy the process. Making art takes courage, and sharing your art is risky because you are vulnerable to criticism from people and your mean inner critic. I don’t make money from art but like to make my art useful in some way. I have joined the Art Abandonment movement as a random act of kindness, and I’ve given art for charity fundraising. I send it in “happy mail” to cheer people. And now, I swap Artist Trading Cards (ATCs).

Artist Trading Cards are 2.5”x3.5”. They can be drawings, paintings, collages, fabric work, anything that will fit the required size. ATCs are not sold. They are traded with other artists from around the world. Some groups meet up to do this, but the majority of swaps take place online. I have made swaps in the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, France, England, Scotland, Wales, and states in the U.S. I currently trade art on two Facebook pages. In some swaps, an organizer provides a theme and matches up traders.
The exchange is blind; participants don’t know what they are getting. In other groups, people post their cards, and the artists connect with the person who requests their work. The conversation is then taken to private messaging to negotiate an exchange and provide a mailing address.

ATCs are a part of a larger movement in mail art that has a surprisingly long history. The idea is credited to a Swiss artist. In 1997, M. Vänçi Stirnemann displayed 1,200 2.5”x3.5” works of art in his used book store in Zurich.

At the end of the showing, he encouraged people to make their own art and trade with each other. He wanted this to be an ongoing activity, connecting people from different backgrounds. He called it a “collaborative cultural performance.” Always interested in art history, I read about the Fluxus movement on Wikipedia. I learned that it was composed of an international group of artists, poets, composers, and artists in the 1950s and 1960s. Mail art was one of the artistic expressions of Fluxus. They believed in experimental art performance with audience participation such as “happenings.” They were anti-commercial and anti-institutional. Art was not to be elitist or taken too seriously but fun. There was an element of do-it-yourself and chance. The artists fused inter-media art forms. Process over product was of most interest. The works were usually small or brief. I see a lot of Fluxus in the ATC movement.
I asked people on the Artists Trading Cards Facebook page what draws them to swap ATCs. Several mentioned connecting with people worldwide who share their interests, learning new techniques, and having fun. Cathy said, “I really love getting mail that isn’t bills…” (Me too.) Sue used the word “anticipation”—waiting to see what she would get. Hilary said, “It saved me during the Plague, inspiring me to get out of bed.” Art is personal, and when someone wants one of my pieces, it is a form of acceptance. I once wrote a note in my art journal that bemoaned the loss of snail mail to email. I think of snail mail as an art form. I see cursive as each person’s authentic artistic expression. In my journal I wrote, “A human hand formed the letters on the page. The reader was touched as soon as the page was taken out of its envelope. It was personal. It could be kept. It could be reached for any time the touch blessing was needed.” I am developing a wonderful collection of small art from artists everywhere. I’m rich.

This article first appeared in the University of Maine in Augusta Senior College Fall 2021 newsletter

All artwork by Stephanie Harkness
The University of Maine in Augusta Senior College

It’s not too late to register for UMASC spring 2022 classes!
UMASC spring classes are free, so what are you waiting for?

A few classes have already filled up, but there are still many great options available. Mike Bell for history, Frank Johnson for music, Spanish, Classic Films, SoulCollage® and more! Plus, the Spring Lecture Series on Tuesday afternoons will provide a wide variety of interesting topics.

All spring classes are free! However, membership is required. Membership supports our activities and entitles you to attend free classes. Membership levels vary from $25 to $100. In lieu of scholarship grants, UMA Senior College offers a reduced membership fee of $10.  

Classes start next week so don’t delay!

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Penobscot Valley SC Spring 2022
Course Registration is now open to all MSCN members!

List of Spring 2022 Class Titles and Dates

Penobscot Valley Senior College
Registration is now open to members of all of Maine's Senior Colleges.
Please see the "How to Register" information below

(Blue links provide information about each course but follow "How to Register" guidelines if you are not a member of PVSC!)

How to Register!
Members of Maine's Senior Colleges may email Sheila at
Please give your name, email, phone number, and your Senior College affiliation so the PVSC membership fee can be adjusted.
You will then be able to register online, or mail in the form with a check without paying for the membership.
(Any courses with maximum participants, first choice is given to PVSC members.)

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Other News

The University of Southern Maine invites you to join the

W.E.B. DuBois Lecture on Race and Democracy. 
(Zoom) Wednesday, March 23rd, from 6 pm-7:30 pm
W.E.B. DuBois Lecture on Race and Democracy. 

The University of Southern Maine invites you to please join us via Zoom Webinar on Wednesday, March 23rd, from 6 pm-7:30 pm as we welcome Dr. Jermaine McCalpin, Assistant Professor and Chair of the African and African American Studies Program at New Jersey City University, as this year's invited speaker for USM's 6th Annual W.E.B. DuBois Lecture on Race and Democracy. 

"You and I can never be satisfied with sitting down before a great human problem and saying nothing can be done. We must do something. That is the reason we are on Earth." - W. E. B. Du Bois, 1909

Dr. McCalpin's lecture is entitled: “Are We Still Talking About Race? Understanding Race and Racism in Contemporary America.”
In his talk, which will be followed by a Q and A, Dr. McCalpin will center on understanding race as a social construction that has been embedded with both meaning and consequence. It explores the relationship of race and racism and highlights the exaggeration and misidentification of all oppositional theories as Critical Race Theory.

To register for the event, please click here. Upon registration, you will receive the Zoom Link for the event.

The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.

This year's DuBois Lecture is sponsored by the Department of History, the Race and Ethnic Studies Program, the Office of the Provost, Office of Equity, Inclusion and Community Impact, and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Southern Maine.

Please note: This event will include live ASL Interpretation. 

Courtesy of Wikimedia

MSCN Climate Change Conversations
The Maine Senior College Network is launching an initiative called Climate Change Conversations. Colleges across the network will be offering talks and classes that touch upon different aspects of climate change. We will look at how it affects us personally, as Mainers, Americans, and world citizens.

The MSCN What's Happening? page on the MSCN website will add the image above to flag offerings that contribute to this ongoing conversation.

So, stay tuned for some thoughtful presentations from the colleges. The scale of climate change feels overwhelming, but there are many actions we can take both great and small to help.

Infinite Hope: A Black Artists Journey from World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan
Published by Atheneum Books for Young readers
Pages 107
Price  $21.98

Reviewed by Pat Davidson Reef

A beautiful and creative autobiography by Ashley Bryan, who died at 98 this year on February 4, 2022, is a work that should be in every library in the state. It is about world War II and a black artist's experiences on Omaha Beach on D Day. Bryan, a nationally known artist and world traveler, lived quietly for over seven decades on Little Cranberry Island in Ilesford, Maine. His death is a blow to friends, but Bryan lives on in his artworks that can be seen in museums across the nation and in over 40 of his children's books which he both illustrated and wrote. The Isaacs family donated a special collection of Bryan's work to the Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine.
Bryan was a soft-spoken, eloquent spokesman for Black Culture. He pursued his career as an artist, teacher, and writer with a unique spiritual grace. Bryan also was a well-known storyteller of African folk tales, captivating audiences of all ages.

"Infinite Hope: A Black artist's journey from World War II to Peace" is written for young readers between 12 and 14, but all adults, who love history, memoirs, and visual beauty will enjoy it too. Illustrations and photographs with handwritten notes on pages next to photographs give the artist's personal feelings in an intimate view of World War II through the eyes of a black soldier who landed on D-Day on Omaha Beach. His sketches in black and white and in terra cotta give readers of all ages an intimate view of a young soldier's experience in war.
This book is a monument to visual beauty in the face of extreme danger. Photographs of the U.S. Army and allied forces are reprinted across many pages showing soldiers wading through the water with guns and backpacks as they walk onto Omaha beach. Bryan writes," More than 3,600 allied soldiers, many of them Black, were lost on that first day on Omaha and Utah Beaches. Omaha Beach, where my battalion was to invade, was the most heavily defended of all the beaches. Our job was to clear the beach of thousands of land mines so the troops could land. This extremely dangerous task was left primarily to the Black Quartermaster companies. It had to be completed before the regular infantry could storm the beach."

Ashley Bryan, born in 1923 in Harlem, New York, describes his childhood as being happy because he was blithely unaware of segregation in the Bronx. He was respected for his drawings at a very young age. However, when he applied to colleges, he got turned down. His work was excellent, but administrators felt it would be a waste of time to give a scholarship to a person of color. Someone recommended that he apply to The Cooper Union Art School because they judge examples of your art and do not see you. If you meet the requirements, you get in for free. Bryan met the criteria through his art and was accepted.  

Bryan, a respected student at Cooper Union, was not prepared for the segregation he found as an adult in America and the United States Army. He was drafted and assigned to train in Taunton, Massachusetts, where he learned he was lucky because black soldiers trained in the South had a very hard time.

Bryan's sketches, the quick drawings of his experiences during World War II, were hidden away for years. Like many soldiers, he did not want to talk about or remember his experience in war. His battalion went to Scotland, where he worked on the docks, and then to France, where the French Resistance was heroically pushing the Nazis back. A massive allied operation was being prepared. The plan included five thousand ships filled with two hundred thousand soldiers. Bryan's cargo ship anchored off Normandy Beach, and he said," When you saw bodies floating in the water, you truly understood what was happening." The book includes a moving photo of the graves of American soldiers buried in Normandy.

After the war in January of 1946, Bryan returned to New York. He attended Columbia University and put away his World War II drawings. Bryan said, "In a sense, I hid those drawings away just as I hid my experiences from those three years in the war." Bryan continued, "Most veterans don't talk. They want to live past the tragedies of their war experiences, yet they stay with you."

Ashley Bryan's war experiences in this book record history with feelings, not just historic facts. It shows the impact of war for both young and old alike on a personal level. Most of all, this book is for the next generation. Bryan gives us insight into the impact of war and segregation in America from 1941 through 1946. History books tell facts, but this shares the emotions of the times through the eyes of an artist who lived it.

After the war, Bryan created different forms of art, including 40 children's books and handmade puppets, and large paintings in oil on canvas. He made the world a more beautiful place to live in through his creativity and gentle understanding of human nature. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, received two Guggenheim scholarships to study in Europe, and created a beautiful fresco on the center wall of the South Solon Meeting House here in Maine. His children's books have won many awards. Both "Beautiful Blackbird" for very young children and "Infinite Hope" for older children and adults have won the Corretta Scott King Award for fine children's literature. Bryan's paintings of flowers and collages of birds are legendary,

Friends and relatives have formed "The Ashley Bryan Center," which will establish a museum in his studio on Little Cranberry Island. The museum will display his paintings, puppets, and hand-created objects. The bulk of his archives went to the University of Pennsylvania, but his spirit remains in Maine on Little Cranberry Island. I remember him as a strong but soft-spoken soul with a gentle sense of humor and a wonderful mystical quality, greeting everyone with love.

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