Maine College of Art
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|Type||Private Art School|
|Location||Portland, ME, USA|
The Maine College of Art (MECA) is a fully accredited, degree-granting art college in the city of Portland, Maine. Founded in 1882, the Maine College of Art is the oldest arts educational institution in Maine. In addition to offering Bachelor, Masters of Arts in Teaching and Master of Fine Arts degrees, the school has a continuing studies program for adults and youth. MECA is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), a consortium of thirty-six leading art schools in the United States. The school is located in the heart of Portland and educates artists at all stages of their creative careers.
Impact on Portland
Maine College of Art's renovation of the landmark Porteous Building in the late 1990s was the beginning of the transformation of Congress Street into the now thriving Arts District. New classrooms and studios feature panoramic views of Casco Bay. With four academic programs (undergraduate, graduate, post-baccalaureate and continuing studies) the college has become the largest employer of visual artists in the state. The College recently consolidated all academic and studio functions to a single location within the Porteous building. With 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2) of space, this former department store is now a five-floor vertical campus.
Community members of the Maine College of Art engage in a rigorous creative learning process grounded in multidisciplinary educational philosophy.
Maine College of Art provides a strong foundation program which precedes study in the major. During the first year, students acquire a broad grounding which is beneficial in their chosen field, enabling diversification and interdisciplinary exploration. Formal critiques at the end of each semester provide valuable feedback, helping students understand and evaluate their strengths and areas for growth.
The four-year professional Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in awarded in ten studio disciplines. Majors are offered in Ceramics, Graphic Design, Illustration, Metalsmithing & Jewelry, New Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture and Woodworking & Furniture Design. The college has also recently started implementing a Fashion & Fiber arts major. Minors are possible in Art History, Public Engagement, and Drawing.
Students have 24/7 access to professional quality studio spaces, individual studio spaces as majors (juniors and seniors), and a 10:1 student ratio. Each student is given a key to the building.
Master of Fine Graduate Program
The Master of Fine Art in Studio Arts at MECA has 30 students supports artists and independent curators who are engaged in transdisciplinary research and studio experimentation at a mature level. MECA's graduate program provides multiple options to individuals in various phases of their career. Built around two intensive summer semesters in Maine attended by all students, the full-time program allows MFAs to complete the other four semesters of coursework and studio requirements either on or off campus. The graduate curriculum is taught by a responsive, cross-disciplinary combination of core, visiting, and advisory faculty who work closely with students wherever they live. MECA's students enjoy an extraordinarily high faculty to student ratio and are given generous studio, exhibition, and production space during their summer residencies at the College. A dynamic, purpose-built teaching website is used to deliver courses all year round, anywhere in the world. During the winter and spring semesters, each full-time student is assigned an individual advisor who provides consistent, long-term, in-studio support as students expand and deepen their independent practices. Graduating students present a 7,500 word thesis and install a significant work in the galleries of the ICA or within the Px exhibition program at the College. The MFA at MECA nurtures the development of more rigorous and refined relationships between three key aspects of creative production: stimulus, practice, and analysis are seen as mutually interdependent forces that continually shape artistic experimentation and response.
Art Education K-12 Certification
The Post Baccalaureate Art Education Program has 15 students  is an accredited, full-time, 10-month residency, which blends the worlds of artist and educator. Students will gain an in-depth, comprehensive understanding of how skills intersect through exploration of artistic development and educational practices. Students who have obtained a BFA or BA degree, including 30 studio art credits and 12 art history credits from an accredited institution, may apply. Upon completion the program and passing the Praxis exams, students are eligible to be certified art educators in Maine and forty other states.
Continuing Studies Program
The Continuing Studies Department of the Maine College of Art offers open-enrollment courses for adults, youth and children. Adult Continuing Studies courses and classes for young artists are offered in fall, winter/spring and summer semesters. The summer Pre-College intensive provides high school students an opportunity to explore pursuing a degree in art and design. Approximately 2000 students participate in this program.
Facts about Maine College of Art
- There are 350 undergraduate students taught by 65 faculty members.
- Roughly 40% of MECA students come from Maine and 60% are from the New England area outside Maine.
- The studio building, located downtown in the heart of the arts district, is open 24/7
- The Summer Lecture Series, sponsored by the MFA program, offers free lectures from features leading artists, designers, authors, curators and scholars in contemporary art from around the country.
- The Joanne Waxman Library is dedicated to the professional study of studio art and design. The Library is open to the public and is utilized by museum and gallery professionals, scholars, historic preservationists, K-12 art teachers, and area artists.
- Housing for 140 students is provided among three residence halls, located one block from the Porteous Building.
- The 5 arms in the E within the MECA logo, designed by MECA students, represent the school's five floors. However, there are actually 6.
The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art
The ICA at MECA presents contemporary, provocative work by living artists from Maine and around the globe. Public programs enhance the ICA's exhibition schedule, including talks by artists and critics, forums on current issues in art and design, and interactive workshops for young people.
Recent exhibits include:
2012 MFA Thesis Exhibition, Access to Tools: Publications from the Whole Earth Catalog, 1968 - 1974, Michael Bell-Smith, Lisi Raskin + Kimberly Kay, Francis Cape
2011 A Perpetual Present: 2011 MECA Faculty Selects Exhibition, Time-Lag Records Listening Room, Miguel Calderón: Inverted Star / Poseídos, Rally: 2011 Maine College of Art Alumni Exhibition, Speak More Clearly, Drawn to Disaster, Project Space Videos, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Lili Reynaud-Dewar: Cléda's Chairs, Fracturing the Burning Glass: Between Mirror and Meaning, ICA Collaboration with the Portland Pirates
2010 Faculty Exhibition: Vivaria Particula, Mind Bending with the Mundane, A Meticulous Ferment, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Exchange
2009 Twilight: Jim Campbell, Megan Greene, Kim Keever, Bennett Morris, Archaeology Above Ground, aggregate, Magnify, MFA Thesis09
2008 Mark Klett, Arthur Ganson and Lisa Young
2006 Robert Indiana and MECA Prints, From Baja to Bar Harbor: Transnational Contemporary Art, The Body Eclectic: Selections from the RBC Dain Rauscher Collection
2005 Back From Nature: The Sportsman Redux
2004 Wenda Gu: Middle Kingdom to Biological Millennium
Each year MECA brings a bunch of visiting artists from a variety of disciplines. http://meca.edu/mfa/mfa-faculty#tab-visiting-artists
The community of MECA graduates is a diverse network of artists and designers creating and exhibiting their art throughout the world.
James Zilian ‘99 Designer, Simon Pearce, Quechee, VT
Kari Radash, ceramic artist kariradasch.com
Karen Siatras ’91 Graphic Designer, Smithsonian American Museum of Art, Washington D.C.
Micheal Desouza ’05 and Justin Velgos ‘05 Make iphone apps for their own company taptapas.com
David Hutchins ’87 Animator, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Los Angeles, CA
Blake Almstead ‘07 Creative Director, Compuware
Metalsmithing & Jewelry
Stefanie Briggs 81 - successful studio artist, metalsmith, entrepreneur
Addison Delisle ‘11, metalsmith, apprentice to master blacksmith Doug Wilson
Ryan Greene ’02 Historic Preservationist for Bernacki & Associates bernackiconservation.com, and conservationsolutions.com
Laurie Lundquist ’84 Sculpture; Eco Artist, large scale environmental interventions involving plants and water, lives in Arizona, public artist & co-founder, Deep Creek School, AZ
Vivian Beer '02, Public art, studio artist, former resident artist at Penland, recent Craft magazine profile
Ahmed Alsoudani’ 05 Painter, Venice Biennale, Saachi collection
Eric Hongisto ‘97 Guggenheim winner, professor at University of San Francisco
William Mills ‘80, Gepetto Studios, NY makes soft sculpture puppets, props for films, Letterman
Connie Hayes ‘80 Painter
Caitlin Riordan,‘06 Master Printer, Wingate Studios, NH
Julianna Swaney ‘05, entrepreneur/artist, artstarphilly.com
Brian Wilk ’95 Hasbro Inc. Design Director, Pawtucket, RI
Carrie Zeisse ‘92 United Way, Executive Vice-President for Operations MECA photo alum, MBA from MIT's Sloane School of Management.
Aaron Stephan MFA‘00, studio artist: public art aarontstephan.com
Randy Regier MFA ‘07, studio artist randyregier.com
Nancy Nesvet MFA ’04 curator
- Maine College of Art website
- US News Maine College of Art Profile - Maine College of Art at glance
- http://aicad.org/byname.htm Maine College of Art is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design
- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/23/arts/design/23suth.html?pagewanted=all New York Times article about a MECA project where books became art available for checkout at libraries around the country.
- Don Tuski, President of Olivet College will assume this position July 1, 2010 "Olivet College President to resign", Lansing State Journal (March 23, 2010)
- Keyes, Bob, "New MECA president sees creativity market growth", Portland Press Herald (March 18, 2010)