I am a Maine based art educator and artist/designer. For the past 15 years, through the Local Stories Project I have been developing a model for learning through a community based, art integrated program for rural public schools in Maine. Classroom teachers collaborate with visiting artists and community members to develop a research unit on local history, then students create a mural and performance piece based on that research, which is presented to the public in a celebratory event. Teachers invariably find that this project greatly increases student learning and motivation, as well as strengthening ties between school and community. Currently, we are working on ways to make this model freestanding, continuing past the single project year.