Art Week at The Riley School

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:15am

This month, children at the Riley School participated in a week of activities dedicated to the arts. Throughout the week, children chose from a wide variety of afternoon workshops such as woodworking, painting, creating sculpture, printmaking, fairy house building, dance, improvisation, and wearable art design.

Riley Art Facilitator, Alix Martin, organized workshops and field trips in collaboration with local artists, family members, and Riley’s facilitators.  “This year was especially exciting as four former Riley graduates (Cecile Burbank, Louisa Crane, Jack Prime, and Emma Wilton) came back to campus to assist and facilitate  workshops in dance, wearable art, nature spiral creation, and printmaking. A special thanks goes out for their inspiring involvement and positive presence!” says Martin.

Local artists and craftspeople included, Kenneth Kortemeier, director of The Maine Coast Craft School and Riley parent;  potter, Elisa Kim; artist and farmer, Jacinda Martinez; Mark Kelly; Alexa Michelle; Tanna Rackliffe,; and Clarity Artists, Robert and Su.sane Hake. Off campus groups visited a glass blowing demonstration at David Jacobson’s studio in Montville, and Jay McDougall’s contemporary sculpture in Rockport.

“ This was the best Art week,” said Whitney Oppersdorff, Board member and first Art Facilitator at Riley. “It encapsulated the spirit of Riley;  joy, creativity and community!”

A celebration of the culmination of Art Week, was held on Friday morning. On display were large mural paintings, small boats, prints, and a mosaic using pieces of plastic collected from the recent school beach clean-up at the Plaisted Preserve in Owls Head. Outside, a large log sculpture, fairy houses made of clay & natural materials, a spiral labyrinth from gathered dried grass & hay, and a May pole were constructed among the buildings of the 20 acre campus.

In the Riley School theater, the entire school gathered along with family and friends for a fashion show of  wearable art, an improvisation demonstration, and dance performance. To close the event, Riley staff made a surprise show of their own ‘big hat’ creations.

“Leading up to Art week, I revisited the life and work of artist, Keith Haring, an artist I have loved since I was a child. His spirit and overall abounding kindness is inspiring,” explains Alix Martin.  “He believed ‘art is for everyone.’ This quote, and the idea of art being created in endless ways and with all sorts of people, was the inspiration for me in planning for Art Week at Riley. The campus was truly alive with the energy of many hands and hearts creating art together. Art really is for everyone!”

Celebration of arts continue at Riley with a Musical Theater performance on Thursday, May 24th at 6:30, and a spring Music Fest on Thursday, May 31st at 6:30.  All are welcome, these events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit our facebook page, call 207-596-6405 or email:

The Riley School is a progressive, independent school, where children are guided to become independent, lifelong learners and innovative thinkers. Small, multi-age classes provide opportunities to build strong, collaborative relationships and to nurture the unique talents of each individual. Accredited by the New England Association of School and Colleges and the Maine State Department of Education, the ungraded Riley School enrolls children K-9th grade, and 18 months – 4 years for the Wade Acres program.  Applications are currently being accepted for the 2018-19 school year. For more information visit or call the office 207-594-6405 to schedule a visit.