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MECA Public Engagement students forge connections with Avesta Housing Community

Posted: 2014-01-10

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Behind each piece of artwork hanging in the community room at Bayside East is a story. There’s the story of the treasures brought home by a young man stationed overseas, or the story of a cultural tradition transplanted in a new community. And there’s the simple story of preserving a community’s history through newspaper clippings.

Looking at the 11 prints on the walls, the stories might not be apparent. But for the residents of the Portland senior community, the artwork represents memories of cherished items collected over the years, as seen through the eyes of local art students.

From September to December, a class of Maine College of Art students spent several hours talking with a group of residents of Bayside East and seeing first-hand the objects that hold special meaning for them. Residents brought odds and ends gathered over the years, like collections of old newspaper clippings, gifts given to them by loved ones, and even colorful traditional African clothing made by hand.

Through stories and questions, the students learned why these objects were so important to their owners. Then, they created original prints using the objects and stories as influence.

The semester-long project wrapped up in December with a potluck party at the property. The students unveiled their art to the residents and talked about their process. Each student made multiple prints so that the residents could also hang one in their apartment.

One of the residents, Bill, had showed students a geisha doll he’s had for over four decades, purchased overseas when he was serving in the Navy. The doll became a source of inspiration for one student, who made a black-and-white print of its likeness that now hangs in the community room kitchen.

“My 45-year-old gal – it’s nice to see her out,” said Bill.

This partnership is just one way Avesta has been exploring community partnerships to help enhance our residents’ sense of home through art. The importance of art goes beyond aesthetics – it’s a vital part of creating a sense of community and making our residents feel at home.

Partnerships with other organizations also strengthen relationships between our residents and members of the larger community, creating connections that can have a lasting impact. The residents visited the students in their studio to see first-hand how printmaking is done. They also got a personalized tour of the college’s facilities on Congress Street, which was especially meaningful for one resident, who used to work in the building back when it was the Porteous department store.

“It’s community development for both, for us and for (Maine College of Art),” said Bill of the project. “What it brings to the room is what we were looking for. This is extremely nice to have.”

Kate, a student, said they were all initially nervous about leaving the classroom and “stepping out of our comfort zone,” but those feelings quickly dissipated as they spent more time with the residents. “We had a really fun time, they were interested people we wouldn’t normally interact with,” she said. “They were fun to talk with – they always had something interesting to say.

“Every time you have students get out somewhere else, it’s beneficial to your art,” she added.

Maine College of Art students pose with a resident of Bayside East dressed up as Santa Claus

Rod, one of the residents, said the opportunity to interact with young people held more meaning for him now that he’s getting older and most of his own children have moved away. “Getting to know them has been really great. They’re obviously a really great bunch of kids,” he said. “I think programs like this are really great — this way, you don’t just house older people and forget about them.”

The connection that developed between the residents and the students was great to see, and I’d like to thank Professor Pilar Nadal and her students for enhancing the lives of our residents through art. And a big thank-you to Bill, Phil, Doug, Rod and the other residents who participated in this project and shared their time, energy and hospitality.

Avesta looks forward to working with the Maine College of Art to repeat the program with another group of residents next fall.

* Thank you to Pilar and her students for providing some of the photos for this blog post.

Read full blogpost here

FROM THE INSIDE: MECA Staff Show on view through January 23

Posted: 2014-01-09

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MECA Student Designs John Waters' Holiday Ornament

Posted: 2013-12-20

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For a class assignment, Illustration student Declan McCarthy '14 drew a portrait of filmmaker John Waters. Pleased with the result, he sent it to him not expecting a response. He was surprised when he received a personal phone call from John Waters, asking to purchase the rights to the image for use on a holiday ornament. Waters is known for his holiday cards and ornaments which are a coveted item by those on the receiving end.

New York Times: John Waters Offers Seasons Greetings With a Wink
Cheer Up Brigade: Blog by student Declan McCarthy 

Dana Bell MFA '04 Awarded New York Foundation for the Arts' (NYFA) Fellowship in Choreography

Posted: 2013-12-10

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THE NEW YORK FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS (NYFA)

AWARDS 91 FELLOWSHIPS TOTALING $637,000

THROUGH THE ARTIST FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

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Awards made in literary, performing and

visual arts categories


The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is pleased to announce the recipients of its 28th annual Artist Fellowships Program. A total of $637,000 has been awarded to 91 artists or collaborative teams in the disciplines of Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design, Choreography, Music/Sound, Photography and Playwriting/Screenwriting. In addition to the Fellows, three Finalists, who do not receive a cash award, were named in each of the five categories. The Fellows and Finalists were selected by state-wide peer panels from 2.922 applicants. A complete list of recipients and their counties of residency follows.

The program is open to artists at all stages in their careers and each Fellow or team receives an unrestricted cash grant of $7,000 to use in any way they desire to further their creative work. As Kristoffer Diaz, a Brooklyn-based playwright whose playThe Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity was a Pulitzer finalist in 2010, noted, “It's an unbelievable honor to be selected as a NYFA Fellow. It's never easy to make a living as an artist, especially in New York; NYFA fills a huge need in letting writers write.” His remarks were echoed by Joyce Hwang, an Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design recipient from Buffalo, who said, “I am honored to be selected as a NYFA Fellow this year, and excited that the award will enable me to continue constructing an urban habitat project that I have had to put on hold until now.”

First launched in 1985, NYFA’s Artist Fellowship Program, has provided over $27 million in unrestricted cash grants to artists in 15 disciplines at critical stages in their careers. Awards are made in five disciplines a year on a triennial basis. Past recipients include the winners of five Academy Awards, five Tony Awards, eight Pulitzer Prizes and 17 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships.

“We are so grateful to the New York State Council on the Arts and our other funders for making it possible for us to administer this award which has such a significant impact on the lives of artists throughout the state,” said NYFA Executive Director Michael L. Royce. “By giving artists the support they need, we all get to enjoy, learn from and be inspired by the fruits of their labors.”

NYFA’s 2013 Artists’ Fellowships are administered by NYFA with leadership support from the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation and one anonymous donor.

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) was founded in 1971 to empower artists at critical stages in their creative lives. Each year we provide over $1 million in cash grants to individuals and small organizations. Artspire, our fiscal sponsorship program is the largest and most established in the country and helps artists and organizations raise and manage over $3.5 million annually. Our NYFA Learning programs provide thousands of artists with professional development training and our website, NYFA.org, received over 1.5 million unique visitors last year and has information about more than 11,000 opportunities and resources available to artists in all disciplines.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Rossier
212-366-6900 x 211
mrossier@nyfa.org

Graphic Design Students Partner with Casco Bay High

Posted: 2013-10-31

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Graphic design students parntered with Casco Bay High students to redesign the logo for the expeditionary learning school. Graphic Design faculty member Margo Halverson and Illustration faculty member Mary Anne Lloyd guided the students in a four week collaborative process that included brainstorming, research and sketching. The final logo encompasses the core qualities of the high school - progressive, unique, explorative, and adventurous.

MFA Student Wins Travel Grant

Posted: 2013-10-31

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MFA student Kathleen Daniels won the Roderick Dew travel grant. She will visit the El Yunque rainforest located in Puerto Rico, one of the most complex ecosystems on earth. While there, she will observe the relationship between flora and host trees. Her current studio practice focuses on the disturbances in the landscape that affect plant life essential to human survival. Using bamboo armatures covered in paper, Kathleen creates futuristic biological plant forms that are a result of cross-breeding and mutation. The funding is made possible by alum Roderick Dew. Recognizing the importance of travel for artists’ professional development, he awards this grant annually. Roderick graduated with a BFA degree from MECA in 1980 and an MFA degree in 2000.

MFA Student Completes Residencies

Posted: 2013-10-31

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Charley Young, a student in the MFA program, recently completed residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Spark Box Studios in Ontario. As an interdisciplinary artist, Charley is interested in drawing, printmaking, and public installation. To date, her work includes large-scale monoprints of historic building facades, that document a site's appearance prior to its destruction. She is currently an artist in residence at the Banff Centre. In 2014, she will participate in the Arctic Circle Program Expedition.

Capitalizing on Creativity: Thinking Wrong, Doing Right

Posted: 2013-10-18

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Monday, November 18th, 2013 from 5:30pm-7:30pm
Portland Public Library Rines Auditorium

Join us for an interesting and informative evening of “Wrong Thinking” and learn how to unlock the ingenuity in yourself and your employees.

Creative solutions are not found by thinking in the same old ways that created the problem. John Bielenberg founded Project M on the premise of “Thinking Wrong” as a means of making the world a better place through design. “Thinking Wrong” is all about challenging our own orthodoxies or learned behaviors that inhibit true innovation and creative exploration. It is about generating a lot of possibilities before doing the much more analytical process of selection and execution. What John Bielenberg does best is help companies and their people find the courage and the sense of humor to consider whole new, wrong ways of bringing their stories, ideas, and innovations out into the world.

One of their projects, Alabamboo is a growing movement dedicated to strengthening the economic and social fabric of the rural south through re-imagining local agricultural enterprise. By introducing bamboo as a regional agricultural product, Alabamboo fosters job creation, localizes production, and sustains clean air and water in the region.

John Bielenberg is Executive Producer, Design, for Future. In February 2013, John was awarded the AIGA Medal, the design organization's highest honor. With the award, AIGA recognized him as a "designer, entrepreneur and imaginative advocate for a better world," specifically citing his "innovative investigations into the practice and understanding of design and leadership in the 'design for good' movement." In addition to this recent honor, John has won more than 250 design awards in his career, and became an AIGA Fellow in 2008. 

>>More information on the Alabamboo project

 

Pricing: $35 or become a member of MCC for $35 and the first Creative Toolbox is free! $15 for MCC Members, Students with valid ID

Space is limited! Contact intern@mainecenterforcreativity.org to register today or call Jean at 207-730-0694

Public Engagement Receives EPA Grant

Posted: 2013-10-17

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The Public Engagement program received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to embed issues of environmental stewardship and climate change into the curriculum. Faculty members Samantha Haedrich, Charles Melcher, Paul Gebhardt and Elizabeth Jabar are launching creative projects in their classrooms and in the community, working with community partners Environment Maine and Portland Trails. The EPA focused work also includes several co-curricular events and initiatives: film screenings, launching the student group MECA SOAP (Students Organized Against Pollution),  energy saving and waste reduction efforts on campus, and the Take the Pledge green commitment. In addition, MFA alum and eco artist Tim Gaudreau will be a visiting artist in the spring semester working with  the Public Engagement students.  

Noted Visiting Artist to Present Lecture on the Interface Between Printmaking and Painting

Posted: 2013-10-16

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Between Ink and Paper: Printmaking with Catherine Kernan
Osher Hall, Maine College of Art
Friday, October 25, 7-8pm
Free 

Catherine Kernan, nationally acclaimed artist, will present a lecture about the interface between printmaking and painting on Friday, October 25, 2013, 7:00-8:00 p.m. in Osher Hall at Maine College of Art, Congress Street, Portland. The event is open to the public free of charge and is presented in partnership with the Printmaking Department of Maine College of Art.

Catherine Kernan is a painter, teacher, printmaker, the co-founder and partner of Mixit Print Studio in Somerville, MA, and the director of Maud Morgan Arts, an arts center in Cambridge, MA. She says, “Working at the interface between printmaking and painting, I use large scale woodblocks in unorthodox ways as a transfer tool to build images layer by layer in a painterly process of controlled accident. No longer a purist, I exploit any available tool or means to transfer color and form to surface. Interruption and interference with the ‘perfect transfer’ are integral to the process.”

The Kate Mahoney Memorial Fund was established in 2003 in memory of a founding member of Peregrine Press. The Fund is designed to encourage printmakers in southern Maine and to promote public understanding of the art of printmaking. Peregrine Press, founded in 1991 as a non-profit, fine arts printmaking cooperative in Portland, Maine, is the only such cooperative in Maine, and among a few of its kind in the nation. Currently there are 30 active members who work in a variety of printmaking techniques such as collograph, woodcut, monotype, etching, photo-etching, lithography, and other mixed media processes. The shared studio, which is available to members 24/7 is operated and maintained on a cooperative basis with an elective board that runs the organization. The full membership meets several times a year to organize events and workshops. Peregrine Press is working towards being as toxic free a studio as possible.

Sponsored by The Peregrine Press and is made possible by the Kate Mahoney Memorial Fund
For further information, contact: Larinda Meade (207) 756-8560 larindam@maine.rr.com meander-2-catherine-kernan.jpegor Dorothy Schwartz (671-4787) dorothyroseschwartz@gmail.com

MECA'S JAMIE HOGAN'S CHILDREN'S BOOK ILLUSTRATIONS NAMED IN "100 GREAT CHILDREN'S BOOKS"

Posted: 2013-10-10

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The New York Public Library has announced the "100 Great Children’s Books | 100 Years" featuring "inspiring tales that have thrilled generations of children and their parents." Among those, "Rickshaw Girl"- illustrated by MECA's Jamie Hogan and written by Mitali Perkins has been honored. Maine has been the home to classic and contemporary children's book creators, including "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White, "Make Way for Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey, and "The Giver: by Lois Lowry. Jamie Hogan is a professor in MECA's Illustration Department. 

"To see my name on the list of children's book authors and illustrators I grew up with and stories that my daughter was raised on, put me over the moon," said Jamie Hogan, "What astounding company."

The "100 Great Children’s Books | 100 Years" list was chosen by children’s librarians at The New York Public Library and published on the occasion of The New York Public Library’s acclaimed exhibition "The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter."

Find more information & the complete list by clicking here. 

Posted: 2013-10-09

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Maine College of Art was recently featured in "Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers." The book, published in its fourth edition and is aimed at college-bound creative students and provides the information and and tools necessary to pick the right arts program.

College Coach and Author Elaina Loveland scrutinized art programs from across the country and ultimately selected more than 250 art, drama, dance, music and creative writing programs in arts conservatories, liberal arts colleges and universities to recommend to potential students. MECA is among those selected.

The book is available for purchase at:

Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble
Borders

For more about the book, click here. 

Alumna Vivian Beer '00 wins $25,000 Fellowship from Society of Arts and Crafts

Posted: 2013-10-08

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 The Society of Arts and Crafts is pleased to announce the 2013 recipient of the John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship is Vivian Beer, a 2000 graduate of Maine College of Art. 

Beer is an innovative furniture maker based in New Hampshire.  She aspires "to create handmade, one-off objects that manifest the nostalgia of history, the speed of progress and the memory of the human hand".

John D. Mineck was a past President of The Society of Arts and Crafts Board of Trustees and a beloved member of Boston's cultural community. In an effort to support the art that John loved and the people who make it, the Foundation has created a fellowship to encourage and support a young-in-career furniture artist with the financial assistance to help him/her succeed in his/her journey. The fellowship has been designed to help support a talented furniture artist looking to fulfill an apprenticeship, develop his/her own skills, and/or make the transition to independence. The John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship of $25,000 is awarded annually to one artist and is administered by The Society of Arts and Crafts. 

Illustration Students Chosen to Collaborate with National Animation Studio

Posted: 2013-10-04

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Two MECA Illustration majors have been chosen by internationally renown Frederator Studios to develop ebooks for their series "Bravest Warriors" featuring the character catbug.
 
The students are being commissioned to create original content featuring catbug drawn in their own style which then will be produced and recorded in New York of LA. 
 
Frederator Studio is an animation studio known for an array of popular cartoon shows, including Fairly Odd Parents, Chalk Zone, and My Life as a Teenage Robot. 
 
 
 
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