MECA, Telling Room and Library Partner for Teen Exhibition
The 10-month post-baccaluareate program at MECA prepares students to become art teachers. In addition to the classes on campus and the student teaching in classrooms, the future teachers also participate in community collaborations. This fall, students in the Art of Teaching Art class with Paul Gebhardt partnered with the Portland Public Library and the nonprofit writing organization The Telling Room to conduct a series of workshops for teens. The work focused on the theme of The Telling Room's yearly anthology “Searching for Maine: Searching for Me.” First, students wrote their personal stories of identity. Then MECA students helped them create silhouettes and cut them out. To complete the project, they wrote their stories inside their silhouettes and exhibited them in the gallery at the library. “For a lot of these teens, they never understood the concept of a gallery opening,” said Telling Room creative director John Holdridge. “There was this great moment where there was a room full of high school students, Telling Room staff, MECA students and professors all in the space together, viewing the work, having conversations – classic art opening conversations about the work and some not about the work. It was good to provide a space where significant cross-sections of this Portland community can come together, high school students, higher education students and professionals; we wanted to provide a hub for all of these people to be able to come together.”
Faculty Lecture: Gan Xu
Art History faculty member Gan Xu will deliver a lecture, "Art Historian to Designer: My 390 Foot Buddha" on December 1 at 1pm in Osher Hall. Dr. Gan Xu was born in Shanghai, China. He studied art history at Xian Academy of Art, Xian, China, Vanderbilt University, and Ohio University. His research and publications focus on contemporary art in the West and in China. He has published two books and more than thirty articles in exhibition catalogs and magazines. He lectures nationally and internationally, and has taught as a visiting professor at Eastern China Normal University, Sichuan Academy of Art, China, and Langzhou University, China. He brings students overseas to study in China, Japan, Italy and France. Dr. Xu is also a painter and has been exhibiting his work since the 1970s. He teaches Chinese calligraphy and ink painting. His most recent title in China is the Art Director of an architecture firm, Linkhigh Interior Design, and has been involved in large scale architectural projects in China. His current project involves the design of a cultural park dedicated to Buddhism.
Visiting Artist: Sarah Pierce
Maine College of Art welcomes Visiting Artist Sarah Pierce back to her homestate of Maine for a lecture on Saturday, December 3 at 6pm in Osher Hall. Since 2003, Pierce has used an umbrella term, The Metropolitan Complex, to describe her practice which uses archives, exhibitions, and papers–often opening these structures up to the personal and the incidental. Central to her activity is a consideration of forms of gathering, both historical examples and those she initiates.
Pierce is currently working towards a PhD in Curatorial Knowledge at Goldsmiths College, University of London and is a regular Lecturer on the MA in Visual Arts Practices at IADT in Ireland. In 2005, she represented Ireland at the 51st Venice Biennale.
Students in MECA’s Second Year Lab, Power to the Print, will install a temporary exhibition and retail space inspired by the market phenomenon known as the pop-up shop. POW! Print Lab will create a distinct visual presence and offer a unique opportunity for viewer participation. Just in time for the holiday season, this exclusive two-day event will feature an eclectic collection of student-made printed works ranging from wood-cuts to silk screened posters, limited edition bags, t-shirts, buttons, stickers and even ornaments.
POW! Print Lab represents the conclusion of a semester's exploration of printed matter and its power as a tool of communication, dissent, and alternative culture from political protest to the entrepreneurial ethos of DIY culture and pop-up shops.
POW! Print Lab opens first Friday December 2, in the Free Street Gallery at Maine College of Art. Come early Friday evening for surprise special events! Sale continues on Saturday, December 3. All profits support the work of the student artists.
Faculty Exhibition in ICA at MECA
This year marks a return to the MECA’s Faculty Selects exhibition series, which presents the work of MECA faculty alongside professional peers of national/international regard. The artists in "A Perpetual Present" will exhibit work that examines a disappearance of a sense of the past. Degrowth, preservation of traditions, and investigations of the beginning stages of tragedies are all themes explored by the artists.
Selected artists include: Philip Brou will be exhibiting with Johan Grimonprez, Judith Allen-Efstathiou with Eirene Efstathiou, and Matt Hutton with Corey Robinson.
The opening reception for "A Perpetual Present" will take place on Thursday, November 17th from 6 - 8pm.
Visiting Artist: Sam Messer
Sam Messer will deliver a visiting artist lecture on November 17 at 6pm in Osher Hall. Messer is Associate Dean and Adjunct Professor at the Yale University School of Art. He received a B.F.A. from Cooper Union in 1976 and an M.F.A. from Yale University in 1981. He is represented by Nielsen Gallery, Boston, and Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles. His work may be found in public collections throughout the country. Mr. Messer has received awards including a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant, the Engelhard Award, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
MFA Student Exhibits in New Brunswick
Current MFA student Kim Vose Jones MFA '12 is exhibiting at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in New Brunswick, Canada. Vose was selected for the gallery's Studio Watch program which offers public exposure for promising emerging New Brunswick artists. Her installation, A Farewell to Flesh, features multiple components utilizing a ton an a half of Nova Scotia salt in sculptural forms. Prior to enrolling in the graduate program at MECA, she volunteered at a clinic in Pakistan, attended the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University and studied glass at Alfred University.
Liberal Arts Faculty member Agnes Bushell published "Death in Arcadia." Set in Portland, the mystery involves politically motivated performance artists, idealistic art students, eccentric old ladies, and the death of a trustee. This is the 11th novel for Bushell.
Her earlier work, "Local Deities" was hailed by the book reviewer for The Nation as "a potboiler like the best of Dostoyevsky’s." It is based on her friendship with two of Maine’s most notorious radicals.
She co-founded Maine's political journal, "The Dissident" and Littoral Books, an independent press.
MECA Wins Broderson Awards
Maine College of Art won three Broderson awards for print publications during a ceremony at the State Theater. Held every other year, the Broderson Awards celebrate the work of commercial artists in Maine. MECA won a silver award in the nonprofit annual report category, as well as a silver award for the MFA Thesis Catalog and bronze award for the ICA "Meticulous Ferment" catalog in the brochure category. Congratulations to the college designers Jennifer Muller and Mira Alden as well as faculty members Margo Halverson and Charles Melcher. The annual report also includes illustrations by students (now alumni) Morgan DiPietro '10 and Jeff Hoffman '10. Other award winning alumni included Ken Murphy '03, Patrick Sperry '00, and Regis Biron '09.
Posterama: A Student Exhibition and Art Sale
MECA students will host the exhibition Posterama! from October 24th to November 20th. Posterama! is both an exhibition and sale of printed matter designed and created by MECA students. The front window and lobby of Porteous will house the exhibit. The sale will take place on November 4th during the First Friday Art Walk. The exhibition is a collaboration of MECA students with support from faculty and staff. Students from Professional Studio Seminar, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography, Printmaking, and New Media are taking leadership, organizational, and curatorial roles to develop their skills. Students will receive 60% of sales, while the remainder is divided among MECA scholarship support and funding of visiting artist lectures and workshops. Maine College of Art is committed to teaching their students to think about a better future, become involved within their community, and problem-solve for society. The Posterama! sale will take place from 5 to 8pm on November 4th on the sidewalk outside of MECAʼs Porteous building, located at 522 Congress Street. The sale will offer affordable art consisting of posters and cards ranging from $5 to $30.
INSIDE/OUT Public Art Project
In response to artist JR’s TED Prize wish “to turn the world inside-out using art," Maine College of Art’s Public Art Studio Class partnered with TEDxDirigo to create Portland INSIDE/OUT.
This temporary public art installation will feature the portraits and voices of everyday Portlanders, representing diverse groups within the city who may not always be heard. These portraits and quotes will be documented through social media and shared throughout the city on posters and banners of various dimensions.
Portland INSIDE/OUT provides a unique opportunity for community members to express their ideas about positive change in time with the November mayoral election. The installation will begin November 4th, and will continue through the 19th, and will take place throughout the city.
Major support for Portland INSIDE/OUT comes from Creative Portland Corporation, Portland Color, and VIA. The INSIDE/OUT MECA artist team is collaborating alongside Portland neighbors, organizations and building owners including The City of Portland, Creative Trails, Cultivating Community, Parkside Neighborhood Center, Company of Girls, The Telling Room, the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA, Mark Marchesi, Pete Nenortas, Michael Berube, Parallax Partners, No Umbrella Media, Winky Lewis, and many, many more.
MECA welcomes visiting artist Alicia Eggert on October 27 at 2pm for a free public lecture. Eggert is an artist working primarily in sculpture, installation and time-based media. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University in Philadelphia, studied Scandinavian architecture and design in Denmark, and worked at an architectural firm in New York for several years before pursuing a career in art. She received an MFA in Sculpture/Dimensional Studies from Alfred University in 2009. Since then, her work has been shown at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, the Burchfield-Penney Art Center in Buffalo, and at institutions in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, Portland (Maine and Oregon), and elsewhere. She currently resides in Maine, and is an Assistant Professor in the Visual Arts Department at Bowdoin College.
Faculty Member Jamra Wins Type Award
Graphic Design faculty member Mark Jamra was one of 53 winning type designers in the 2nd Type Design Competition of the Association Typographique Internationale. More than 500 submissions were considered in this juried contest to find the best typefaces of the last decade from around the world.The contest aims to provide a wide-angled snapshot of the state of typeface design around the globe ten years after the 2001 competition, and to promote typographic excellence and best professional practices. It also intends to raise awareness about the role of typography at encouraging and maintaining cultural diversity.
Visiting Artists: Little Friends of Printmaking
MECA, the USM Art Department and AIGA Maine present the visiting artists Little Friends of Printmaking for a lecture on Thursday, October 27 at 12:30pm in Osher Hall. You can easily spot The Little Friends of Printmaking in a crowd—their inky hands and clothes are a dead giveaway. Their artwork is just as distinctive. Husband-and-wife team J W & Melissa Buchanan first made a name for themselves by designing and printing silkscreened concert posters, but soon branched out into further fields, designing fancy junk for whoever would pay them money. In addition to their work as illustrators and designers, these art-school refugees continue their fine art pursuits through exhibitions, lectures, and artists’ residencies throughout North America, spreading the gospel of silkscreen to anyone inclined to listen. Their awards include honors from the Art Directors’ Club, American Illustration, and Communication Arts. Also, their work has been published in the books New Masters of Poster Design, Juxtapoz: Poster Art, and Handmade Nation, among others. The Little Friends currently live in Milwaukee, WI with two very round cats. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Time-Lag Records Listening Room at ICA at MECA
The ICA at MECA has converted the front gallery into a Time-Lag Records Listening Room from October 12-26. An opening reception will take place on Thursday, October 13th from 6 to 8pm with live music from 8-9:30pm with Prisma, Phantom Buffalo, and Big Blood.
Located in Portland, Time-Lag Records is an independent label that started in 2000, with a focus on vinyl releases that combine the highest possible quality production with an emphasis on the aesthetic of the object itself, and a deep love of interesting, unusual, and undiscovered music, both new and old. Come explore their full archive of vinyl artifacts and cds, as well as a 10+ year collection of poster art from concerts – all from the comfort of couches lining the gallery.
MECA Alum Wins Pollack Krasner Foundation Grant
Ceramics alum Greg Giegucz '97 was awarded a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant. The grant extends for one year and will be used to develop new drawings and paintings for a solo exhibition at Big Bunny Fine Art in April 2012 which will coincide with the New Orleans Jazz Fest. Giegucz shared the news with MECA and said, "I am so grateful and proud of the many positive life changing experiences at MECA. I continue to carry the fondest memories of Maine."
Book club with Chris Thompson's "Felt"
The Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and Artists in Context present a OneBook Club event featuring the book "Felt: Fluxus, Joseph Beuys, and the Dalai Lama" by MECA faculty member Chris Thompson. Read the book, and then join the author and your community of fellow readers for a discussion. The event takes place on Thursday, October 27 from 7pm to 9pm at the Frontier Cafe in Brunswick.
"Felt" centers on a highly publicized yet famously inconclusive 1982 meeting between German artist Joseph Beuys and the Dalai Lama. Thompson—an associate professor of art history at Maine College of Art in Portland—explores the interconnections among Beuys, the Fluxus movement, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual practice.
Students in the Community This Fall
The community is an extension of our campus. Below you will find examples of where our students are working on projects with local businesses and nonprofits that make Portland unique.
All first year students at MECA are required to take the class FYIn, which introduces them to each other, the college, and the local community. The class of more than 120 students is divided into six groups, each with a community partner and real world project. This year’s partners are: Cultivating Community, Spiral Arts via Youth Alternatives, King Middle School, Space Gallery and The Portland Freedom Trail.
Students in Samantha Haedrich's Graphic Design class are working with the Portland Pirates to create a new logo in celebration of the hockey team's 20th anniversary.
Scott Nash’s Illustration students are working with Portland Rotary on designs for the public clock in Monument Square.
Students in Dana Sawyer’s philosophy course The Potentials of Human Consciousness are partnering with the Cambodian Buddhist Temple in Portland.
Students in Elizabeth Jabar’s Second Year Lab collaborated with Pickwick Independent Press (founded by alum Lisa Pixley ‘07). Students carved letter forms and make a giant outdoor letterpress to print tweets on canvas sheets that were then strung on rope and hoisted to the top of the Artist Studio building during Block Party. They are also partnering with the League of Young Voters on creating printed matter related to voting issues.
Paul Gebhard's students in The Art of Teaching Art will be partnering with The Telling Room and local Portland youth on their anthology and exhibit Searching for ME.
Maine College of Art students will have an exhibition of work in the Monument Square branch of Key Bank in November. As the official sponsor of the popular First Friday Art Walk, Key Bank is partnering with a different arts organization each month.
Students in Christina Bechstein’s Public Art class are partnering with TedXDirigo and the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA to participate in INSIDE OUT, a large-scale art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. This global project asks local communities to produce black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal, and share the untold stories and images of people around the world. The students are identifying subjects for large photographic portraits related to issues of voice and audience in the first Portland mayoral election. Look for them around the city during the first week of November.
Students in Matt Hutton’s Woodworking & Furniture Design elective class Design: A Sustainable Approach are working with Allagash Brewing Company. As part of their process for the Curieux ale, Allagash uses 30-gallon whiskey barrels. This fall, students are tasked with using these discarded barrels as their case study for the semester. Research includes understanding the origin of the product, developing a prototype, and then producing a new object, either sculptural or functional. Finished pieces will be on view at the Allagash retail store in late winter.