5% Day at Whole Foods Market on June 3rd

If you’ve visited the first floor of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, you’ve probably seen visitors – children and adults alike – hard at play at our Whole Foods Market cash register, or picking out some healthy groceries from the Market shelves. On Tuesday, June 3rd, join us at the real Whole Foods Market on Somerset Street for our fourth annual 5% Day.

It’s one of our favorite days, hosted by the sponsor of the Museum’s popular Our Town grocery store: a chance to support the Museum & Theatre as you shop for groceries. 5% of all purchases at Whole Foods Market Portland will directly benefit our mission as we raise awareness and funds for early childhood education. And with summer just around the corner, it’s a great time to think about stocking up on seasonal fruits and fresh local veggies, about trying a new spread or picking out some summer favorites and selecting seeds and plants for your garden.

With each purchase you make at Whole Foods Market from 8am to 10pm on June 3rd, you’ll be supporting local arts and education, helping us develop and continue our broad range of educational programming. When you visit Whole Foods Market, you’ll be able to learn all about their healthy food options and meet staff members of the Museum & Theatre as  you shop – we’d love to talk with you about your favorite programs at the museum.

One thing we love about the Market here in the museum is the great sense of community it creates. On 5% Day, we hope to meet many of you from our vast Portland community. It’s going to be a fun day, we hope you’ll join us!

Hancock Lumber Helps Us Celebrate Earth Day

preschooltourHi! I’m Forest Hancock and I’d like to welcome you to learn a bit more about Hancock Lumber and their connection to the Children’s Museum & Theater of Maine. In 2005 our company partnered with the museum to create our Tree to Timber exhibit and have been proud to share this space with thousands of kids and families for 9 years!

Our Tree to Timber exhibits shows children the process of sustainable forestry. There’s an interactive video game and real Eastern White Pine tree trunks. At the sawmill you can crank a conveyor belt that draws in rough pieces of wood and returns finished pieces of pine and watch a complete sawmill tour video. In the tree house you can use the finished pieces of pine to build your own home, along with touch, see and feel by-products like bark, mulch and wood chips.

“We appreciate the opportunity we’ve had to collaborate with the
sawmill_tour_videoChildren’s Museum on our Tree to Timber exhibit. Through this space, we’ve been able to bring life to our everyday sustainable forestry practices. In return, thousands of families each year can enjoy a fun, interactive exhibit that teaches them about turning logs into premium Eastern White Pine boards! It feels good to know that our company is a part of the Museum’s success and we look forward to our continued partnership.”

Kevin Hancock, President | Hancock Lumber Company

Please save the date for Earth Day fun at the Children’s Museum on 4/22 from 10:30 – 4:30! Join me for my first CMTM appearance for a day of earth-friendly activities – planting seeds, playing with mud and making art with all kinds of natural materials, along with much more! Throughout the day they’ll also be earthy story times, special face painting, and meeting live creatures such as worms, turtles, and sea creatures. Visitors can also take home a special Eastern White Pine seedling to plant that I’ll be handing out compliments of Hancock Lumber, while supplies last! You also don’t want to miss a special reading of the children’s book Tree to Treehouse that will be a part of our exhibit in the afternoon! Join the family fun during school vacation and stop by to see me, take a picture and bring home your new tree!

Hancock Lumber started doing business in Maine over 166 years ago – that’s right in 1848! We responsibly manage forests, selectively harvest Eastern White Pine trees to manufacture into boards at our sawmills, ship those boards all over the world and sell them at our 10 lumberyards throughout Maine and New Hampshire! We also sell building materials to contractors and homeowners at those locations. Being connected to the community, however, is one of the most important parts of our business. We are so proud of the space we’ve created together with the amazing team at the museum and look forward to continuing the partnership for many years to come! Please visit our website to learn about our community involvement: http://www.hancocklumber.com/retail/community

Spring in Development

It’s spring! Just like the seasons, we’re seeing some changes here at the Children’s Museum & Theatre. One of my jobs in Development is writing to businesses and individuals in the community who contribute funds that allow us to make needed changes and bring new opportunities to the Museum & Theatre, keeping them updated on how their contributions are being used and how the programs are received. It’s always exciting for me to see new programs arise.

Arts Educator Louisa has been collecting works from artists and writers statewide on the Autism spectrum to hang in our popular Show and Tell Gallery. The Gallery premieres in April and artworks will be on display throughout the season. This is the first year that the Gallery will feature written works in addition to visual arts! Additionally, our friends at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine (RMHC) have given us a grant for another round of Play Our Way private playtimes for ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) youth and their families. This year Reba will join Louisa, offering improv-based Play Our Way  theatre workshops in addition to family visual arts programs.

1534762_10202839100872414_930804797_oTheatre Artistic Director Reba is directing our theatre season’s final show, Cinderella: The World’s Favorite Fairy Tale. Four different versions are represented in this play: the European Cinderella narrates as the audience meets Yeh Shen of China, Vasilisa of Russia, and Broken Wing of the Mi’kmaq tribe in North America. Thanks to funding from the Morton Kelly Charitable Trust, Reba, the cast and crew are working with cultural consultants for each version. Cinderella will also be touring to local Learning Works locations in addition to the 18 productions in our Dress Up Theatre beginning April 11th.

The Museum & Theatre also received a grant from the PW Sprague Memorial Foundation for  A Child’s Garden of Verses. The Robert Louis Stevenson poems will be brought to life by actors in our own garden throughout June, beginning June 3rd. Check out our calendar of events for all the dates and times! In more great theatre news, we have received funds from the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust for Reba to write a brand new play, Road to Hope: An Elephant’s Story, based on Hope Elephants, an elephant sanctuary in Maine. Watch this blog for more news about the Hope Elephant project this summer and its debut in July!

Speaking of summer, we can’t wait for our garden and greenhouse to be open again. Be on the lookout for fun gardening opportunities with educator Jamie this summer thanks to new funding from Kitchen Gardeners International, a community based right here in Scarborough, ME.

The Roy A. Hunt Foundation funds Start-Up Circus, which will begin this spring with a new educator (me!) and help from our friends at the Circus Conservatory of America and the Merriconeag school. The Start-Up Circus will teach teamwork and confidence through tumbling, juggling and partner acrobatics among other starter circus staples. Circus workshops will join our usual round of daytime programs this summer, developed by the Merriconeag students and myself at the end of May.

There’s always lots going on here, and more to come!

Yoga, A Pig Roast, and Katy Perry at this year’s Auction

Preparations for our largest fundraiser of the year, our Annual Auction, are well underway and I am thrilled to share with you a sneak peak of items that will be up for bid on Friday, May 2nd. We are so fortunate to not only have hundreds of loyal and generous donors, but over 40 amazing volunteers who have helped us to secure all of these great items!

For those of you who have been joining us at our Auction over the years, you will be excited to hear about all the brand new items and donors in this year’s line-up, including:

Schooner J&E Riggin

3, 4, or 6 day Windjammer Sailing Vacation for 2:
This truly unique travel experience also offers gourmet meals onboard. Whether you’re a sailing enthusiast or complete novice, the crew will teach you the ropes (literally). You’ll travel wherever the winds take you, starting in Rockland and traversing the coast from Boothbay to Bar Harbor.
Donated by: The Schooner J. & E. Riggin

Pig Roast Party for 50:

Gather the whole neighborhood for this casual, backyard event. Rain or shine, let Mainely Pig Roasts do all the work, including the 8-9 hour natural charcoal roasting process. Vegetarian? No worries, they’ll also provide yummy sides like baked beans, cole slaw and cornbread.
Donated by: Mainely Pig Roasts

4 tickets to Katy Perry – The Prismatic World Tour at TD Garden in Boston:
Grab the girls to see this “California Gurl” live in concert! Check out some videos online (and my personal favorite) to get psyched up before the Auction!
Donated by: Ameriprise Financial

Long September Weekend in Nantucket for 8 + a Cruise on a Luxury Motor Yacht:
Our new Marketing Coordinator Todd Richard comes from Nantucket, and he is positive there is no better place to vacation on Earth. If you don’t believe him, just ask the people at TripAdvisor.com, who voted Nantucket one of the best island vacation destinations. September is a great time to visit the island, with all the weather of summer and a quarter of the tourists.
Donated by: 27 Dukes Road, Nantucket MA and Barton & Gray Mariners Club

yogibo-midi-orange_3Yogibo Yogi Midi Lounge Bean Bag Chair

I can say from experience that these bean bag chairs are super comfy and not just for
kids! The Midi could be a two-person love seat, a recliner or even an extra bed for overnight guests. Don’t believe me? Test it out for yourself at their new Maine Mall location in South Portland.
Donated by: Yogibo

Plus so much more! Check out the entire auction line-up in our online catalog: http://kitetails.org/pdf/Auction%202014%20Prelim%20Catalog.pdf

In addition to raising funds to support our daily operations, the Annual Auction also provides an opportunity for guests to donate year-long scholarship memberships for families in need. Thanks to the generosity of our attendees last year, we raised 77 memberships worth over $7,000! Please consider donating to this special cause, regardless of whether you are able to attend the event.

Buy your tickets today! Tickets are now available to purchase on our website: www.kitetails.org/auction or give me a call at (207) 828-1234 x242. We look forward to seeing you on May 2nd at the Ocean Gateway Terminal.

A special thanks to event sponsors MEMIC , Pierce Atwood, WEX, Spectrum Medical Group, and Berlin City Auto Group.

Spotlight on: New Grant Funding

Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine Development Associate Alicia Stokes Gaudet is thrilled to tell everyone about two new programs that we have received grant funding for
and are already underway.

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Here at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, we are fortunate to receive the support of many local and national foundations and corporations. One of my responsibilities in the development department is to research prospective funders and coordinate our funding requests. Contributed support helps us to provide new educational opportunities to a much larger Museum & Theatre population, particularly at-risk children and families in our community who may not ordinarily have the opportunity to visit us here.

Recently our educator Jamie started a new interdisciplinary educational program for homeless parents and their preschool-age children, called Learning through Play, funded by the MainStreet Foundation and Walmart. After visiting the Salvation Army during parenting programs at their Playspace, Jamie invited several families to participate in weekly morning programs at the Museum & Theatre. During these programs, Jamie has provided lessons in literacy and nutrition and has helped to build bonds between the parent and child.

Just last month we received a generous grant from the Roy A. Hunt Foundation for Start-Up Circus, which will be coming soon to the Museum & Theatre. Our educator Roseanne, who has training in circus arts, will work with experienced performers from the Circus Conservatory of America and high school students who have studied the circus arts to lead weekly workshops with low-income children to develop a community performance that showcases their new talents.

Also, be on the lookout for ongoing circus programs with Roseanne this summer and fall!

Please join us in thanking all of our corporate sponsors and foundation supporters, who truly make our work possible!