Master of Fine Arts

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Among the first low residency MFA Programs in the country, MECA now has two fully accredited programs to choose from.  Our low residency MFA combines intense periods of on-campus instruction in Maine with the freedom and independence of working from any home location.   Our full residency MFA gives you the option of moving to the arts district in Portland, Maine with 24/7 access to 200,000 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities and a vibrant creative community.  

Both of MECA’s MFA programs offer an interdisciplinary approach that encourages students to think across traditional academic boundaries and challenge their art practice and intellectual curiosity.   The curriculum emphasizes the intersection of studio production, individual research, and critical analysis.  This structure promotes the development of a sustainable lifelong practice.  

  • Choose from full-time MFA in Studio Art or low residency option

  • Emphasis on developing a studio practice that is grounded in contemporary art history and critical issues

  • Only 15 students accepted each year allows for a remarkably high degree of engagement and access to faculty compared to other MFA programs

  • Carefully selected Studio Advisor for Fall and Spring trimesters

  • Engaged core faculty and consistent one-on-one student mentoring

  • 24/7 access to studios and facilities

  • Year round on-site studios available for students who prefer to work within our full residency program

  • Online and in-person course work emphasizes research, experimentation, reflection, collaboration, and engaged problem-solving

  • Designed for artists looking for a transformative learning experience who are passionate about risk-taking and thinking critically through their practice

  • May Thesis Residency for Graduating students

  • Thesis exhibition and final thesis defense in MECA's Institute of Contemporary Art

  • Rigorous written and published thesis

  • Curriculum highlights and promotes the development of a sustainable lifelong practice.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2015–2016 academic year.


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Alexis Roberts

Los Angeles, CA

Alexis Roberts is a video and performance artist from Los Angeles, CA. Her work focuses on themes of pop-culture, female identity, celebrity obsession and so much more. She has an affinity for creating characters and constructing narratives, which put said characters into absurd situations. The subdued and sardonic nature of this work allows the pieces to remain accessible, light hearted and amusing while still touching on deeper themes and concepts. Currently she is in the early phases of developing and filming a full length video piece set in 1995, about an obsessed Blind Melon fan who drives to New Orleans for the biggest let down she could imagine.

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Alexis Roberts, MFA '11

Julie Poitras-Santos

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Julie Poitras Santos employs diverse materials to create installations and site-specific performances that share a relationship with language. Investigating ritualized actions, narrative landscapes and liminal spaces, the work touches on aspects of anthropology, surrealism and feminist theory. Also a poet, her research interests include areas where art and language intersect.

In 2012, Poitras Santos curated and created work for a five-person exhibition at the Coleman Burke Gallery in the Fort Andross Mill in Brunswick, Maine that was accompanied by a catalogue with curatorial essay. Her solo and collaborative work has been exhibited domestically and internationally, including exhibitions at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the Centre for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, Spain; Reykjanesbaer Art Museum in Iceland; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado. She has attended residencies and created performances and projects in the United States, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Iceland; these include working at the NES Artists Residency in Skagastrond, Iceland in 2009, the European Ceramic Work Center, in 's-Hertogenbosch, NL in 2005, and the Vermont Studio Center in 2004. Poitras Santos has received many grants and awards, including a recent Good Idea Contemporary Art Grant from the Maine Arts Commission and a Boulder Arts Commission Major Grant from the Boulder City Council in Colorado in 2002.

Julie Poitras Santos holds two MFAs, one in Visual Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder, 2000, and a second in Poetry from the Stonecoast Creative Writing program, 2013. She received a BS from Tufts University in 1990. Poitras Santos has taught sculpture at Bowdoin College, the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. She lived in Barcelona, Spain for three years (2004-2007) and worked as the Artistic Director of the Art Residency program Can Serrat, in Montserrat National Park.


BS, Tufts University
MFA, University of Colorado

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MFA Faculty - Julie Poitras-Santos

Caroline Lathan-Stiefel

Atlanta, Georgia

Caroline Lathan-Stiefel has recently exhibited her work at The Delaware Contemporary Art Center in Wilmington, Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Locks Gallery in Philadelphia, Towson University in Maryland, The Abington Art Center in Jenkintown, PA, Galerie Articule in Montreal, Suyama Space in Seattle, The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, SPACE Gallery in Portland, ME and Sandler Hudson Gallery in Atlanta. This summer she curated a show entitled Seepages for Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta and also created a temporary outdoors installation in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. She is the recipient of a 2009 Independence Foundation Grant, a 2008 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a 2005 Creative Capital Foundation Grant in Visual Arts, and a 2003 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant in Sculpture. Lathan-Stiefel received her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University in Providence, RI and her MFA from the Maine College of Art in Portland, ME. Currently she lives in West Chester, PA with her husband, composer Van Stiefel, and her two children, Sam and Charlotte.

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Caroline Lathan-Stiefel, MFA '01

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