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Wintergreen Arts looks to broaden reach with technology

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — With a new array of digital tools, the Wintergreen Arts Center is aiming to reach more youth, promote digital literacy and help bring together technology and arts.

The center recently received a $25,000 grant from MMG Insurance Company in Presque Isle to buy laptops, cameras, a digital scanner, software and a digital project.

On Tuesday, one of Wintergreen’s teachers was putting those new devices to use with two of her classes, as visual arts students created music videos with dance students.

Wintergreen executive director Dottie Hutchins said the new technology opens new opportunities for the nonprofit community arts center. The cameras, laptops and projector can be used for new classes in visual arts, design and software coding, while the digital scanner will allow Wintergreen to make digital copies of traditional paintings and drawings.

Wintergreen Arts Center students in Shaye McHatten’s visual arts and dance classes partner to make music videos using some of the new digital tools purchased with a $25,000 grant from MMG Insurance.
(Anthony Brino | BDN)

“It adds amazing things to the kids who are already coming and will bring a whole new demographic into Wintergreen,” Hutchins said.

Wintergreen offers arts programming for all ages, including pre-school, after-school and summer programs and adult arts activities. While the center’s youth programs have been popular among elementary school age kids, Hutchins said she thinks the new technology will help draw more teenagers.

“This is going to help us attract high school students,” Hutchins said.

This fall, Wintergreen Arts Center is partnering with Hardscrabble Solutions to offer youth software coding classes to all ages.

Overall, she said, the new technology is also aimed at helping the next generation develop strong, interdisciplinary skills through the arts.

“It’s all about getting kids digital and getting kids into careers like coding.”

MMG Insurance initially approached Wintergreen with the idea and sees it as a way to support the arts center and the region, said MMG president and CEO Larry Shaw.

“Investing in programs that combine digital technology with art provides creative ways for young people to gain knowledge and confidence in skills they will use throughout their lifetime,” Shaw said.

MMG chief operating officer Matthew McHatten added that Wintergreen “is probably one of the best arts centers in Maine.”

“It’s really important to have Wintergreen as an asset for our community as we look to attract people from other places,” he said.

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