Portland, ME ~ This past month Maine College of Art held its first ever student essay contest. The contest was created to foster a discussion of art within young people in Maine. Full summer camp scholarships were offered to the two students who answered the essay question with the most conviction and clarity of expression. The question was “What would a summer of making art at MECA mean to you? How do you feel this experience would benefit your creative growth?”
MECA received dozens of great essays from high school and middle school students around the state. After some deliberation, MECA proudly announces that the following students won the contest: Caitlyn Duffy of Gorham High School and Arun Devon of King Middle School. The winning essays can be read below.
Finalists for the contest won a week of art camp. The finalists include: Gaia Ayres, Oliver Beardsley-Stites, Jackie Christie, Dorian Heughan, Irena Manukian, Madeline Mathers, Sydney Morrison, Alyssa Ostrowski, Audrey Robidoux, Meghan Russell, and Carsyn Vanier.
The winning essays:
Caitlyn Duffy, age 16
I was brought up surrounded by the most important women in Maine, and maybe even the world. I lived in a house with a mother who had an art project set up for me every week, and enough paint to keep the whole continent of Asia busy for years. She had enough patience for me to run wild with my imagination and enough love to hang up every single picture on the walls. My next door neighbor, Vicky, is a middle school art teacher. I spent many afternoons in her kitchen gluing and drawing many “masterpieces.” I had no shortage of encouragement with my artistic talents as a child. But without these two women, I don’t think I would have been able to thrive in life as fully as I have. As I got older art served as a coping skill, something for me to turn to when I had a rough day in elementary school.
Since then, art has become not just a hobby, but an "at all hours" passion. It has helped me through a lot of difficult situations and has been a friend while I dealt with anxiety and depression. You can often find me doodling in my art journal or taking film photography, which is by far my favorite thing to do. My photographs have been displayed in the Gorham Arts Alliance’s art show and has won me first runner up in the first congressional district Congressional Art Show. A chair on which I painted The Scream by Edvard Munch has been displayed in the Gorham Times and the Portland Press Herald.
I thrive in places surrounded by other people who are just as creative as me, or more so. To have the opportunity to be surrounded by people with passion and to broaden my artistic skill would be an extremely rich experience. It would not only set me up for my dream of going to art school, but it would help me in processing the world into something less harsh than it is. I want to spend the rest of my life making beautiful, thought provoking things, that one day not only comfort me but inspire others. Spending the summer at MECA would set me up to do so.
Arun Devon, age 12
I would like to be able to go to camp at MECA because the world is a big place with lots of kids, kids who are a lot like me. Having so many kids that are so similar to you makes it hard to stand out. If I had a chance to go to camp at MECA then it would be like putting fertilizer on your garden. I would sprout up and become different than the others. In school some of the kids are now taking part in the Global Leadership Project so that maybe one day, if we work hard enough, we can become some of the leaders of the world. I believe that if children have a way to express themselves, then they understand better who they are. And when they know who they are, they can try to understand the people around them. Understanding is a big part of being a leader. In order to lead you need to set a good example, you need to know what is right for the greater good. You also need to know when its best to listen to the ideas that are sprouting up all around you. Being able to express myself is not always easy because like most kids my age when I look in the mirror I’m still not sure who that person is looking back at me. Maybe if I can learn to write or draw better, I can (as I said in a poem I wrote) “look inside and really decide” who the person is in the mirror.But it’s not just what’s inside, it’s also what is done on the outside. I believe that when you write or draw something there is always a bit of you in it. If I could go to MECA for a summer, I would be able to learn and grow and it would help me become a better artist.
(Left to Right) Caitlin Duffy (age 15, Gorham High School) and Arun Devon (Age 12, King Middle School).
MECA '14 Fashion Show a Huge Success
MECA Equips Maine Seeds of Peace With Art, Media Tools for Social Change
PORTLAND | How do art and peace-building overlap? Five Maine Seeds recently discovered when they participated in a day-long printmaking workshop in partnership with the Maine College of Art (MECA).
The workshop, which took place on April 12, came as part of a greater collaboration between Seeds of Peace and MECA. The “It Starts With ME” project series aims to educate students on how to use art and media as tools for social change within their own state of Maine.
“It Starts With ME” emerged in response to the negative stereotypes of immigrants and refugees in Maine. By taking photos of themselves with inspiring messages, Seeds students hope to positively portray the current face of Maine, one that includes an increasingly diverse youth population with their own unique ambitions and dreams. The project presented the perfect opportunity to partner with MECA, as their Public Engagement Minor integrates art, real-world problems and community partners.
MECA Professor Elizabeth Jabar described how the College’s students use “collaborative methods and participatory models to take action as citizens, artists, and designers.”
“As a result, each student gains the skills and confidence to directly impact their culture and society.”
As part of this fifth workshop in the series, the Seeds were able to work with Jabar and Shawn Brewer, a graduate of MECA, to learn printmaking techniques.
In earlier sessions, the Seeds worked with professional photographer and artist Sean Alonzo Harris to take photos following prompts such as “I Am … ”, “I Want to … ”, and “I Will … ”. The Seeds enjoyed a full day of learning how to print the images, working in the darkroom, and playing around with various methods of printmaking to accomplish their desired effect for their project.
The day also included lunch and many chances to sit and discuss art, photography, and the Seeds’ goals for the project.
“I was incredibly excited when I heard Seeds of Peace was beginning to integrate this photography program, because it includes my belief that photography has the power to effect change in a unique way just as effective and sometimes more meaningful than words, speech, and dialogue,” said Sophia Warren, a 2011 Seed.
“Photography, when used right is a very strong way to bring ideas that can sometimes be controversial to a large audience,” said AJ Yarn, a 2013 Seed. “I can talk all day about what I believe and what I stand for but until people see it, they will never really understand.”
At the next workshop, the Seeds will embed text answers to the three prompts over the photos of themselves to create their own personalized works of art. The workshops will ultimately lead up to a culminating public exhibition, which will give Seeds and their peers a public space to tell their stories and display their work.
As the workshop series has progressed, the Maine Seeds feel they have developed their personal relationships and aim to promote this feeling of community through their images. In planning for the gallery show, the Seeds hope for the presentation of the photos to be as interactive as possible. Thus, they can involve the greater Maine community in the artistic and peace-building goals of the project, as Sophia describes:
“Through this program I have discovered a space and community that is both entirely artistic, and entirely committed to a cause of humanitarian causes … we are directing the power of the conversation by showing you what we see through a camera’s lens.”
- See more at: http://www.seedsofpeace.org/?p=19125#sthash.2RJ9Xpmm.dpuf
Good Idea Grant Winners
Congratulations to MECA alums Tina McLuckie and Aaron T. Stephan, and MECA faculty member Gary Robinov on winning the Maine Arts Commission's Good Idea Grant. Ten out of thirty five applicants won the grant, which is a program used to foster the growth of Maine’s artists by supporting the creation of new work or professional development.
Their Good Ideas:
Tina McLuckie of Portland: To support sharing individual stories of physical and mental trauma through body castings and recorded interviews.
Aaron T. Stephan of Portland: To support the production of three large-scale sculptures for an upcoming exhibit.
Gary Robinov of Portland: To support a series of documentary conversations with creators about why they do what they do.
Maine College of Art held its 2014 Commencement at the State Theater this last Saturday, May 10. The Commencement Address was given by poet Richard Blanco, who was President Obama's Inaugural Poet in 2013.
We would like to congratulate all of the graduates of 2014!
Bob Crewe, Songwriter, producer, and recording star
William R. Dill Ph.D., President emeritus of Babson College
Janet Conlon Manyan, Artist and MECA Continuing Studies faculty member
Roxanne Quimby, Entrepreneur and philanthropist
The 2014 Commencement Ceremony for the BFA, MFA and MAT programs will be at 10:30am, Saturday, May 10th at the State Theatre (609 Congress Street Portland Maine). Directly following the ceremony MECA welcomes graduates, families and guests to enjoy a reception in the Porteous building.
Directions to Maine College of Art, Porteous Building:
From the North Take Interstate 295 to Exit 7, Franklin Street
From the South Take the Maine Turnpike northbound to Exit 44, Interstate 295. Follow Interstate 295 to Exit 7, Franklin Street
Directions to the Porteous Building at 522 Congress Street:
Stay on Franklin Street until you hit the top of the hill and take a right onto Congress Street. You will pass City Hall on your right; continue on Congress several more blocks, past Monument Square. Porteous is the large building on the left with a brown awning.
There is a public parking garage at 45 Spring Street, on the right just past the Cumberland County Civic Center. To go to the Porteous Building from the parking garage, leave the parking garage through its rear exit, onto Free Street; the Porteous Building will be immediately across the street from you.
On-street 2-hour parking is available on Congress, Casco (directly across from the Porteous Building entrance) and surrounding streets.
For more information on the ceremony, please click here. Questions may be directed to Anna Schwartz, Director of Student Involvement:email@example.com
MFA Student Charley Young Named One of Canada's "30 Under 30"
For being only 28 years old, MECA MFA student Charley Young has had a prolific career. Young was just named one of the ARTINFO Canada's "30 Under 30" artists—an honor she shares with other young talents such as artist and curator Petra Collins. Young is an interdisciplinary artist who works in drawing, sculpture, and public installation. Her work includes “large-scale mono-prints of historic building facades, intimate portraits of vanishing mountains, and small-scale hand casts that record the space between the body and its environment.”
Young has been an artist-in-residence at the Klondike Institute for Arts and Culture, the Vermont STudio Centre, Spark Box Studios, and the Banff Centre. In June, she will participate in the Arctic Circle Program to create work in Svalbard, Norway. Young will complete her MFA at Maine College of Art this spring.
Senior Victoria Statsenko Awarded Summer Residency by Monhegan Artists' Residency Corporation
Maine College of Art senior Victoria Statsenko has been awarded a summer residency by the Monhegan Artists’ Residency Corporation! The residency program is aimed at emerging visual artists working in painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, or the digital arts. “An important goal of the program,” says board chair Susan Danly, “is to enhance the careers of serious artists who have yet to gain wide recognition.”
Quality of work is the primary criterion for selection. The 2014 jurors were photographer and installation artist Elizabeth Atterbury; photographer Bryan Graf, who teaches at the Maine College of Art; and Monhegan watercolor painter Bruce Kornbluth.
Rangely Morton - '14 - Woodworking and Furniture Design
David Martinez - '15 - Metals
Sam Richardson - '15 - New Media
Festival Logo and Poster Designed by Sabrina Volante
MECA Student's Animate Video Makes Maine News
Maine has a green crab problem— a big one. Due to warmer climates, over the last several years, Maine's soft shell clam industry has taken a hit from what MECA student Chun-Hua Chang calls a "voracious army" of green crabs. Chang did an independent study on the invasive species with Doug Vollmer. The result of this study is a charming and informative short animated video made by Chang that sums up what she learned about the green crab and its relation to the Maine shellfish industry. Chang posted her cartoon on Youtube and after a short period of time the Bangor Daily News wrote an article about it and shared the video.