Building Community Through the Arts


BCTA gets state and national recognition!

Building Community Through the Arts (BCTA), which builds trust among students in Maine academic classrooms through creative theater and dance, has recently gotten the attention of the Maine Department of Education and Americans for the Arts in Washington DC. The Maine DOE has invited MAAE to aggregate its pre and post data so that it can promote BCTA as an “evidence-based program.” BCTA was developed as a response to the school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, and in the reminder of that tragedy following the Parkland Florida and Texas school shootings, Americans for the Arts published the blog that MAAE sent in about this program. Read the blog post here!


Building Community Through the Arts (BCTA) brings group creation in drama and dance into the non-arts high school classroom. The two-week artist residency program engages entire high school or middle school classes – usually but not always English classes – in the development of an original dance or theater piece that expresses the group’s self-identified social issues and/or themes drawn from class curriculum. At a culminating regional performance “conference,” which is open to the public, the participating classes and schools gather to perform for each other and reflect on the experience. Initiated in response to the tragedy at Columbine more than a decade ago, the program’s collaborative process helps to break down social barriers among students even as its classroom setting directly impacts the atmosphere for learning.