Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

Courtesy: "I Learn America"

PORTLAND, Maine - A recent wave of immigrants to the city of Portland has meant big changes for the city's public schools, where about 25 percent of students don't speak English at home. As a part of the Portland Children's Film Festival this week, several hundred local high school school kids came together to watch and discuss a film that deals with immigrant teenagers' experiences at one New York City high school.

Tom Porter / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine — The James Beard awards are known as the "Oscars of the culinary world," and among this year's nominees are a record number of Maine chefs and other food professionals, including Alison Pray of Portland.

Jennifer Rooks / MPBN

WATERVILLE, Maine — An 11th grader from Mount Ararat High School will represent Maine in the National Poetry Out Loud competition next month.

  Rose Horowitz won the state finals held yesterday at the Waterville Opera House. She surprised herself — she couldn't even believe that she made it to the finals. But she was a natural on stage.

"Like my actual character is very shy and scared and I have a hard time talking," she says. "I actually do Poetry Out Loud because I can be someone else and can be confident."

Irwin Gratz / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine - The Maine Historical Society has a new chief curator. Kate McBrien most recently was curator of historic collections at the Maine State Museum in Augusta. McBrien came by MPBN's studios last week to talk with Irwin Gratz about her work, and her passion for the past.

Courtesy: Michael-Thomas Foumai

PORTLAND, Maine - Tonight in Portland is the world premiere of a new piece of music dedicated to Beethoven. The Portland Symphony commissioned the work as part of its 90th anniversary celebration series.

BRADENTON, Fla. - Author Stephen King came to southwest Florida to support local libraries.

The Library Foundation supporting the Manatee County Public Library System asked King to speak Thursday at an annual author event. The Herald reports that $200 tickets for King's talk sold out, and the foundation met its $100,000 fundraising goal. The money will help fund a new library computer system.

Courtesy: Orly Genger

PORTLAND, Maine - A New York-based artist has become an unlikely source of revenue for a lot of Maine lobstermen. Internationally-renowned sculptor Orly Genger makes massive works of art using rope - particularly discarded lobster line.

PARIS, Maine — A Maine jeweler says a piece of apatite he is cutting is the largest apatite gemstone ever found in North America.

The Sun Journal reports Dennis Creaser of Paris, Maine, says the purple gemstone weighed 65.5 carats when it arrived in his store. A Connecticut mineral dealer hired him to cut the gem after obtaining it when a collector in that state died. The apatite came from Pulsifer Quarry in Auburn, Maine, where it was mined.

Courtesy Lily King

YARMOUTH, Maine - Yarmouth author Lily King says she was "completely surprised, and thrilled, and extremely honored" by her nomination for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle award.

"Some of my very favorite writers are on that list," she says, "so it's truly thrilling to be a part of it."

Those writers include Chang-rae Lee for "Such a Full Sea," Marlon James for "A Brief History of Seven Killings," Rabih Alameddine for "An Unnecessary Woman," and Marilynne Robinson for "Lila."

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine poet and filmmaker who spends much of his free time documenting the graves of dead poets is launching a cartoon contest inspired by the attack against the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.

Walter Skold says his "Laugh Your Head Off" contest aims to celebrate free expression.

He says the goal is "to defend freedom of expression, resist Islamist intimidation, and actually have some fun."

Susan Sharon / MPBN

AUBURN, Maine - This weekend the West Auburn Congregational Church will celebrate a second CD release by one of its oldest members.

Irwin Gratz / MPBN

It took University of Maine professor Warren Riess some 30 years to solve the mystery of a ship.

It was buried for hundreds of years below filled-land in lower Manhattan, and was discovered in 1982 as preparations were underway to build a 30-story building on the site. Archaeologists who first spotted it knew they needed expert help, so they called Riess, who had just received a master's degree in nautical archaeology.

Warren Riess and his partner, Sheli Smith, wrote "The Ship that Held Up Wall Street."

REUTERS/Win McNamee/Maine Community Foundation

Speaking in Maine takes us next to Portland and USM for a Maine Community Foundation Inspiring Philanthropy celebration, featuring poet Richard Blanco.

On Nov. 18, 2014, Blanco spoke about the power of community and read poems as guest speaker.

For more on the talk, click here. For more on the Maine Community Foundation, visit

PORTLAND, Maine - Portland officials are unveiling the acquisition of several works of art by Maine artist Bernard Langlais that are being placed in public buildings around Maine's largest city.

Officials will commemorate the public art effort at 3 p.m. on Thursday at Ocean Gateway Terminal in front of Langlais's "Standing Bear'' sculpture. City officials say the ten artworks include sculptures, wood reliefs, abstract works and birdhouses gift to the city from the Kohler Foundation.

Tom Porter / MPBN

TOPSHAM, Maine - Concert pianist Frank Glazer, who has lived in Maine for more than 30 years, is preparing to celebrate his 100th birthday. The internationally-renowned performer, who still holds a position as artist in residence at Bates College, spoke recently with Tom Porter at his home in Topsham about his early experienes in music and how they have shaped his approach to the piano.