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Matthew Tanzi MFA '15 Creates Animation for "Trick or Treat" Concert

Posted: 2015-10-21

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Matthew Tanzi, MFA '15: Camille Saint-Saens — Danse Macabre from Maine College of Art on Vimeo.

On October 18th, 2015, Portland Symphony Orchestra held a "Trick or Treat" concert at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. Assistant Conductor Norman Hunyh lead the “ghouls and goblins” of the P.S.O during a family-friendly musical. Norman Hunyh hired Alum Matthew Tanzi MFA ’15 to create an animation for the fifth piece of the concert— “Camille Saint-Saens Danse Macabre”. Inspired by the old legend of the Grim Reaper going to cemeteries on Halloween night to play his fiddle, Tanzi animated the undead dancers dancing around to the Reaper’s tune. View more of Matthew’s work at

WAKE UP ALICE! at the Portland Public Library

Posted: 2015-10-21

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WAKE UP ALICE! Contemporary Illustrators Views on Alice In Wonderland

November 6th–December 31th, 2015
On view at the Portland Public Library

This exhibition of contemporary illustration celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the publication of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, as well as marks the 10th anniversary of the Illustration Program at MECA. Over the past decade, the Illustration Program has attracted some extraordinary talent to the school. Our students, alumni, faculty, and visiting artists include some of the most respected illustrators in the world. We have invited some of these artists to create original works for this show. On view at the Portland Public Library until December 31, 2015.

Daelyne Bell ’13, Calef Brown (Former Professor), Sophie Cangelosi ’16, Cecil Cate ’15, Michael Connor (Professor), Kimberly Convery (attended), Miles Cook ’14, Hana Firestone ’14, Russell French (Portland School of Art Alum), Kiah Gardiner ’14, Nancy Gibson Nash (Nashbox), Mike Gorman (Former Professor), Taylor Grant ’15, Kevin Hawkes (former professor), Jamie Hogan (Professor), Hilary Irons (Professor), Judy LaBrasca (Professor), Chair of Illustration Mary Anne Lloyd, Liz Long ’14, Abbie Masso ’16, Emma McCabe ’15, Declan McCarthy ’14, Phoenix McNamara ’06, Daniel Minter (Professor), Taylor Mirabito ’16, Scott Nash (Professor, Nashbox, Show Curator), Alex Rheault (Professor), Peter Rimkunas ’13, Joe Rosshirt ’11, Lewis Rossignol ’17, Ted Smykal (Visiting Artist), Lori Stebbins '11, Molly Steinmetz ’14, Rob Sullivan (Professor), Melissa Sweet (Visiting Artist), Matt Tavares (Former Professor), Chris Vales ’14, Scott Whitehouse ‘03 

Some of the included work:

Alice Flora by student Taylor Mirabito 

Alum Emma McCabe '15

Illustration Chair Mary Anne Lloyd

MECA Faculty + Alumni Exhibit in PMA's 2015 Biennial "You Can’t Get There From Here"

Posted: 2015-10-06

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Justin Kirchoff (United States, born 1966), Sighting Noon, gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches.

"Opening October 8, You Can’t Get There From Here: The 2015 Portland Museum of Art Biennial highlights Maine’s artistic legacies in the making. Curated by Alison Ferris, this year’s Biennial provides a comprehensive overview of the many facets of Maine’s contemporary art scene. The exhibition will be on view through January 3, 2016."

"You Can’t Get There From Here includes established Maine artists who have created notable new bodies of work and those who have traveled outside of Maine and are becoming known outside its borders. The Biennial will also represent the first major institutional appearance for several young, emerging artists, showcasing the next wave of Maine artists and affording them the opportunity to make initial introductions to national art audiences."

Gideon Bok (attended) '88, Camden, ME
Jeffrey Clancy, former faculty, Madison, WI
Stacy Howe MFA '10, Portland, ME
Justin Kirchoff, faculty, Eliot, ME
Caroline Lathan-Stiefel MFA '01, Avondale, PA
Randy Regier MFA '07, Wichita, KS
Noriko Sakanishi '70, Portland, ME
Miles Spadone '13, South Portland, ME

Learn more about this exhibition here.

2015 Alumni Biennial "Residual Utopia" Opens Oct. 9, 5-7PM

Posted: 2015-10-02

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Please join us on October 9th, from 5PM to 7PM, for the opening of Residual Utopia; the 2015 Maine College of Art Alumni Biennial at the College’s Institute of Contemporary Art. This year our jury, comprised of alumna Jenny McGee Dougherty ’05, Dan Mills, Director of the Bates Museum of Art, and Lissa Hunter, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, has selected four artists that represent the breadth of the college’s academic programs, with representatives from our Bachelor’s Program, as well as our Master’s in Fine Art and Art Education programs.

The work that these artists produce illustrates a range of interests, practices, and levels of audience participation. In their individuated practices these artists have identified certain utopic ideologies as having been built on the ashes of that which came before. Ellen Babcock BFA ’84, Cole Caswell MFA’08, Kevin Goodrich Art Ed ’10, and Carlos Pileggi MFA ’13 are working in fields of painting, photography, social sculpture, social practice, and printmaking.

The logic at play in each of their practices showcases their ability to develop and to problem solve; two traits demanded of artists today. This development out of/away from the rules of art practice is both postmodern and contemporary, as well as decidedly anti-utopian. The parameters laid down by generations of modernists decreed the separation of artistic disciplines for the sake of their own agendas. The rigidity of these systems had within them the seeds of their own demise, and it is from the rubble of those hopes that these artists mine for material, content, audiences, and histories. We have on exhibition what they have built from the residue of their respective utopian legacies.

On view until December 18th, 2015. 

Jason Morrissey '98 : Forged in Fire on the History Channel

Posted: 2015-08-10

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Forged In Fire

The bladesmiths must forge a signature weapon using everyday steel objects like ball bearings and shovels as their only source material. Who will make it through the season finale of #ForgedInFire?

Posted by HISTORY on Thursday, August 6, 2015

Metalsmithing & Jewelry alum Jason Morrissey '98 will be on the History Channel tonight!

"FORGED IN FIRE features world-class bladesmiths competing against each other to create some of the most iconic edged weapons from history. In each episode, four of the best bladesmiths in the country will come together to put both their skills and reputations on the line. Whether they are making a Japanese katana, a medieval broadsword, or an ancient throwing blade like the chakram, the weapons they forge will be fully functional and lethal works of art and war. The unique histories contained within each weapon will be creatively told during the forging process and the final weapons themselves will be assessed and ruthlessly tested by our panel of expert judges. These dynamic and explosive tests will be individually designed to push the weapons to their absolute limit. One by one, the bladesmiths will be eliminated until only one remains to be crowned the champion."

Learn more about FORGED IN FIRE here

MECA Alum Edwige Charlot Debuts First Solo Exhibition in Portland

Posted: 2014-04-29

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Edwige Charlot '10 debuts new works in exhibition entitled N.O.W (New Old World). This is her first solo exhibition in Portland. New Old World features intaglio, woodcut and monotype prints, drawings, and collages by Edwige Charlot. This collection of drawings, prints and collages incorporate material or technique to create hybrid works on paper. Unlike a traditional printmaker, Charlot uses printing methods to produce a rich lexicon of motifs and images. Her botanical compositions are inspired by her blended Haitian Catholic and French heritage,  temperate and tropical landscapes, West Indian culture, and textiles
The exhibit is on view at 3 Fish Gallery from First Friday May 2nd to May 31st, 2014. A reception with the artist will be held on Thursday, May 8th, 2014 from 5-7pm. In conjunction with this exhibition, the gallery will host an artist talk entitled “Visual Creole”on Saturday, May 10th from 2-3pm.

MECA Alum Addison deLisle Receives Training Fellowship in France

Posted: 2014-02-26

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MECA alum Addison deLisle (class of 2011) was recently awarded the prestigious training fellowship with the Fondation de Coubertin in France for metal smithing. The fellowships last 11 months (from September to July) and the participants attend workshop sessions, classes, lectures and other cultural activities in the Paris area.

For more info on the artist

For more info on the fellowship 

New exhibit features MECA Painting Majors 10 years after graduation

Posted: 2013-12-23

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2004 MECA PAINTERS 10 YEARS LATER:  An annual exhibit featuring Maine College of Art painting majors a decade after graduation

+ Clint Kaye

+ Adam Kitzerow

+ Natalie Larsen

+ Jodi Leeman

+ Sage Lewis

+ Owen McKenzie

+ Larissa Mellor

+ Patrick O’Rorke

+ Jared Radding

+ Owen McKenzie

+ Larissa Mellor

+ Rebecca Shelly

June Fitzpatrick Gallery at MECA | 522 Congress Street | Portland, Maine

First Friday Artwalk Reception
February 7, 2014, 5:00 – 8:00pm

Exhibition: January 27- February 19, 2014

Gallery Hours:  Tuesday–Saturday  noon-5:00pm

Call 207.699.5018 or email for more information.

Adam Kitzerow, Every Which Way (detail), acrylic and mixed media on canvas

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

Posted: 2013-12-10

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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,, 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.

Contact: Mark Rossier
212-366-6900 x 211

Opening Reception for Deborah Bates '83 Hosted from 4-6pm on 11.15 at MECA

Posted: 2013-11-14

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by Deborah A. Bates '83 (1938-2013)

The exhibition will be on view in the Charles C. Thomas Gallery on the second floor of the Porteous building from October 17, 2013 through February 20, 2014. 

An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 15, 2013 from 4-6pm. 

Bates incorporated various techniques in her work, including collage, drawing, and painting, in order to highlight the relationship between the structural geometry of architecture and the geometric shapes that represent shared DNA.  Finding particular inspiration in the fact that a maternal line of women bestowed upon her family four generations of continuity, Bates grounded her art in personal experience and delved into her consciousness to process the experience of her homecoming.  In so doing, Bates acknowledged the constancy of women and argued that their silent contributions not go unnoticed. 

caption for image: Deborah Bates, Persis, acrylic and charcoal on panel, 40" x 30", 2002.

Upcoming Exhibition to feature the work of MECA Alum Deborah A. Bates

Posted: 2013-10-15

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Deborah Bates, Persis, acrylic and charcoal on panel, 40" x 30", 2002.

FROM THE GROUND: ARCHITECTURE OF A FAMILY features paintings by Deborah A. Bates '83 (1938-2013).  The exhibition will be on view in the Charles C. Thomas Gallery on the second floor of the Porteous building from October 17, 2013 through February 20, 2014.  

An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 15, 2013 from 4-6pm.  

Bates has incorporated various techniques in her work, including collage, drawing, and painting, in order to highlight the relationship between the structural geometry of architecture and the geometric shapes that represent shared DNA.  Finding particular inspiration in the fact that a maternal line of women bestowed upon her family four generations of continuity, Bates grounded her art in personal experience and delved into her consciousness to process the experience of her homecoming.  In so doing, Bates acknowledged the constancy of women and argued that their silent contributions not go unnoticed. 

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. 

The Portland Museum of Art Presents the First Museum Exhibition by MECA alum, Ahmed Alsoudani '05

Posted: 2013-10-03

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(Portland, Maine) The Portland Museum of Art (PMA) will present Ahmed Alsoudani: Redacted, the first major museum exhibition of the work of American-Iraqi artist and Maine College of Art graduate Ahmed Alsoudani. The exhibition features 20 of the artist’s tumultuous and innovative paintings, which reflect on the horrors of war with a unique artistic voice. Ahmed Alsoudani: Redacted will be on view through December 8, 2013, in the PMA’s celebrated Third Floor Gallery for Contemporary Art. 

“Challenging the viewer with nuanced art historical arguments and blatantly difficult, abject, and grotesque imagery, Alsoudani does what few artists can do: he successfully translates the complexity of contemporary politics into meaningful painting,” said PMA Director Mark H.C. Bessire.

Through his personal experience as a child and adolescent in war-torn Iraq, Alsoudani developed a keen sensitivity to the effects of war, violence, terror, and political unrest on a global scale. His paintings reflect his experiences as well as the mediated nature of war in our time. “I’m not just commenting on Iraq but on an experience that becomes universal,” Ahmed Alsoudani said, referring to Untitled, 2007, a loose, nearly abstract rendering of the moment the infamous statue of Saddam Hussein fell in Baghdad in 2002.  His splintered compositions, and the overwhelming and sometimes harrowing scenes represented in a bright, near-primary palette, address the uneasy balance in our culture between scenes of disaster and objects of beauty. Alsoudani cites historical figures Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, and George Grosz, as well as more contemporary painters Philip Guston and Francis Bacon as major influences. Like his predecessors, he seeks to create works that depart from the glorification of violence and the heroism of warfare. Instead, his large-scale paintings offer graphic, often disturbing imagery that includes disembodied hands or all-seeing bulging eyes juxtaposed with random mechanical parts and other recognizable but misplaced imagery.

Ahmed Alsoudani was born in Baghdad in 1975 and grew up under the regime of Saddam Hussein. He left Iraq as a teenager and lived in Syria before immigrating to the United States in the late 1990s. He studied in Maine at the Maine College of Art (BFA, 2005), and the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (2006), and graduated with a MFA in painting from the Yale School of Art (2008). In 2011, his work was featured in the Iraq Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, in the exhibition The World Belongs to You, and at The Francois Pinault Foundation at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice. His other major international exhibitions include: La Route de la Soie at Tri Postal in Lille, France (2010); Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East at the Saatchi Gallery in London (2009); as well as shows at the National Gallery of Saskatchewan, Canora, Canada (2007) and the Gwangju Museum of Art, Korea (2007). He lives and works in New York.

The exhibition is co-organized and co-curated by Mark H.C. Bessire, Director of the Portland Museum of Art and Dr. Sara Cochran, Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Phoenix Art Museum. The exhibition was on view in Phoenix from March 13 through July 17, 2013. A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition and is available in the PMA Store for $19.99.

This exhibition was co-organized by Phoenix Art Museum and the Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Generously supported by Louise Bessire in memory of Henry E. Bessire and Sabre Yachts & Back Cove Yachts. Ahmed Alsoudani: Redacted is also sponsored in honor of the Maine College of Art by: Patricia and Cyrus Hagge, Chris and Betsy Hunt, Horace and Alison Hildreth, and Candace Karu. Funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Corporate Sponsors: The Bear Bookshop, Marlboro, VT and The VIA Agency.  


Posted: 2013-10-03

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MECA Alums Featured in PMA Biennial 

This fall the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) is featuring 30 artists selected from nearly 900 applicants for the 2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial: Piece Work. Ten of the artists are MECA alumni and two are faculty.

Kate Beck '96 (Attended), Harpswell, ME
Matt Blackwell '77, Brooklyn, NY
Allison Cooke Brown '01, Yarmouth, ME
Alina Gallo MFA '08, Portland, ME
Bryan Graf, Portland, ME,  Assistant Professor of Photography
Julie Gray MFA '12, Saco, ME
Adriane Herman, Portland, ME Associate Professor of Printmaking
Alison Hildreth '76, Portland, ME
Joe Kievitt '93, Portland, ME
Sage Lewis '04, Columbus, OH
Justin Richel '02, Rangeley, ME
Aaron Williams '94, Ridgewood, NY

Selection of the artwork for Piece Work followed a new process this year. The jury process was conducted internally by Jessica May, the PMA’s first Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art. The goal of the exhibition is to explore one very strong, deep thread of contemporary practice that has relevance both regionally and nationally. Many of the artists in Piece Work live in Maine for all or part of the year; for others, the state has been an important part of their biography or artistic practice.

On view October 3, 2013 through January 5, 2014, the Biennial will feature more than 70 works, ranging in media from painting and drawing to photography and video.


MECA Alum's Style and Product Photography Feature Real World Models

Posted: 2013-08-28

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LK Weiss ('11) is a photographer and designer whose work challenges mainstream conceptions of beauty. She owns multiple businesses, including branding and design company The Portland Designer. But it was Weiss' Jack Tar 207 that recently caught th attention of the international site, the Huffington Post. Her work often represents people from Maine's Queer community, and it is her bravery and acceptance of non-traditional beauty that coach and writer Mary Gorham Malia emphasizes in the article. 

"The people that show up in Jack Tar 207 shoots aren't strictly queer, they do shoot straight folk too, but LK notes they are intentionally leveraging the stunning style of the queer community in the Portland area. With a mission to use non-traditional models they are attracting a wide variety of clients who love what they create and the visual voice it creates for their products and brands," Malia wrote.

Check out the article here. 


Five Alumni Selected to show work

Posted: 2013-07-09

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Five MECA alumni will show their work at the Shaw Jewelry gallery in Northeast Harbor, Maine; located near Acadia National Park. The five working artists from Maine College of Art will demonstrate Maine's artistic legacy in a variety of compelling styles and techniques.

The featured artists are:
Connie Hayes
Margaret Lawrence
Mark Marchesi
Holly Ready
Justin Richel

The show will run from August 15- September 11, with an opening reception on August 15 from 5-7pm.

126 Main Street
Northeast Harbor, Maine
Open daily until 6:30pm





Posted: 2013-07-01

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Artist Asherah Cinnamon, (BFA '08) exhibits new work at the Maine Jewish Museum. Nancy Davidson curated Cinnamon’s new show entitled Celebration, Tradition and Change. This exhibition will run from Friday July 5th, 2013 to Thursday August 29th, 2013. The opening reception with the artist will be held at the Maine Jewish Museum at 267 Congress Street in Portland, ME on Tuesday July 9th 5-8pm.

Asherah Cinnamon is an international award winning, contemporary sculptor, installation/ performance artist, and creative educator. Her work explores avenues of healing, both personal and planetary. Asherah's parents were survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. Their ability to take great joy in life and to overcome that experience was an inspiration for her. Graduate of the Maine College of Art (BFA), Boston University (MSW), Cambridge University (Graduate Diploma), and the University of Wisconsin (BA), she has made her home in Maine for over 30 years.

Cinnamon’s creative practice explores the power of human interaction as a means to build community, seek justice (tzedek), and heal the world (tikkun olam). Celebration, Tradition and Change is an exhibition deeply rooted in Jewish Feminism. Cinnamon is inspired by almost six thousand years of cultural philosophy and ritual. The sculptures and works in this exhibition are references to concepts and objects used in these traditions. Each piece holds meaning, memory, and ethical solutions beyond any single culture or religion. Ritual, whether celebratory or mournful, helps us connect to each other across differences.

Celebration, Tradition and Change is on display from July 5th to August 29th at the Maine Jewish Museum at Etz Chaim Synagogue Monday- Friday 10am-7pm or by appointment. For more information, contact Curator Nancy Davidson at or (207) 239 4774.

Two MECA alums awarded Emerging Artist Grants

Posted: 2013-06-24

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Two MECA alums won Emerging Artist Grants from the Saint Botolph Club Foundation in Boston this year! Edwige Charlot '10 and Pilar Nadal MFA '13 were both awarded grants from the Boston-based organization that recognizes and supports New England based artists. 
Charlot is an artist printmaker. Born and raised in France and of Haitian heritage, her work has been shown in Maine, Connecticut, and New York. 
Nadal is a recent MFA graduate who works in multiple mediums. She is originally from upstate New York.

Molly Vogel BFA '09 selected for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show

Posted: 2013-06-24

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Molly Vogel BFA '09 was selected for the emerging artist category this year at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show. 

The 37th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show includes 195 premiere artists from the United States, selected from more than 1,000 applicants. All work is for sale.

Molly Vogel is a jewelry designer living in Connecticut, whose work has been shown in Maine, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and Kentucky. 

For more:


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