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Artistic Excellence

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  • Bluestocking Film Series

    Faculty Kate Kaminski
    Read Story
  • Intern Profile: Elizabeth Dee Gallery, NYC

    Meg Hahn '17
    Read Story
  • The Art of Music: Seeing Sound at MECA

    Bob Crewe Program in Art and Music
    Read Story
  • Anne Emlein + Rose Allard ’14 Win 2016 CAP Apprenticeship

    Faculty Anne Emlein + Faculty Rose Allard '14
    Read Story
  • Portland Mural Initiative

    Tessa Greene O'Brien, MFA '16
    Read Story
  • Majors Exhibit Nationally

    Mary Forst '16 & Betsy Lewis '16
    Read Story
  • “Wake Up Alice!” Exhibition

    MECA Students, Alums, Faculty
    Read Story
  • Colorful Costumes

    Textile & Fashion Design Majors
    Read Story

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What do our alumni do?

Statistics from the 2012 Strategic National Arts Alumni project (SNAAP)

Did you know?

56% is the national average for arts alumni that work as professional artists.

45% is the national average for arts alumni that are self employed, independent contractors, or freelance workers.

67

Work as professional artists

24

Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors

23

Work for a nonprofit

21

Work as craft artists

35

Work as fine artists

25

Work as art teachers

19

Pursued an MFA after graduation

61

Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers

91

Make art in their personal time

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Bluestocking Film Series image

Bluestocking Film Series

Faculty Kate Kaminski

Kate Kaminski, Adjunct Instructor of Academic Studies, is founder and artistic director of the Bluestocking Film Series, recognized by Down East Magazine’s editors in their Best of Maine Culture section. The series was also mentioned in Ann Hornaday’s Summer Preview in The Washington Post, and Marie Claire magazine listed Bluestocking number two in “The Things We Love About July” in 2015. More recently, a curated selection of the Best of the Bluestocking Film Series played during the #SeeHerNow World Weekend of Women in Film in Stockholm and at the LadyBug Festival in Göteborg, both in Sweden.

Bluestocking Film Series is an exclusive showcase for provocative, well-produced films that feature complex female protagonists driving the narrative and leading the action. The only film event in the world to require female protagonists, submissions must also pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test (see below for ‘the rules’).”

View Bluestocking Film Series website.

Intern Profile: Elizabeth Dee Gallery, NYC image

Intern Profile: Elizabeth Dee Gallery, NYC

Meg Hahn '17

Of the objectives I intended to learn while interning at Elizabeth Dee (the daily operations of a contemporary art gallery, the process of putting together an exhibition, and how the art market works), I was taught a tremendous amount about all three and much more.

By being involved in the gallery’s administrative aspects, I was able to not only work but witness, as well, how the multiple functions of a gallery come together. This included the gallery’s maintenance, archive, shipping, storage, sales, finances, and press. In terms of how an exhibition comes together, I observed and worked on tasks that were needed before, during, and after a show ended. To name a few, this involved the physical planning and layout of a show, how the gallery obtains these works, the promotion/press of a show, and how art is sold.

Additionally, I became much more aware of the contemporary art market in particular, and how art fairs function. I gained knowledge about the variety of contemporary art institutions and how they can be broken down into sub­categories like for-profit and nonprofit and public and private collections, and how works are bought and sold. I was also informed on the preparation and aftermath of the gallery’s participation in art fairs.

The Art of Music: Seeing Sound at MECA image

The Art of Music: Seeing Sound at MECA

Bob Crewe Program in Art and Music

I strongly believe in creativity and how different art forms interact to create something unique. I believe my brother Bob’s career demonstrates this in a powerful way. The Bob Crewe Foundation and Maine College of Art are embarking on something really special and original in academia by blending the two areas with an evolutionary design. — Trustee Dan Crewe

The fusion of music and art at MECA is a match made in heaven, or at least in Newark, New Jersey, where Bob Crewe grew up. The path from Newark to Portland, Maine, may seem unlikely, but serendipity works in mysterious ways. Because of the extraordinary career of Bob Crewe, and his brother Dan’s generosity, the Bob Crewe Program in Art and Music is now an integral and uniquely innovative part of the MECA experience.

Dan Crewe has served on MECA’s Board of Trustees since 2011. Dan is the devoted brother of Bob Crewe, the writer/producer of many of the American rock and pop group The Four Seasons’ greatest hits: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”—to name only a few. Bob also wrote songs that were later covered by Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Herman’s Hermits, and Roberta Flack. Bob’s protean talent as a songwriter and sound studio wizard has long been recognized and celebrated in America’s professional music scene, and Dan wanted to honor Bob and preserve his legacy by nurturing young musicians.

Through Dan’s friendship with MECA’s president, Don Tuski, and their shared vision for a music program at MECA, a unique opportunity for MECA was born. Dan donated an unprecedented $3 million to MECA to institute a music minor option for MECA students. Along with funding a state-of-the-art sound studio, music practice rooms, and classrooms, Dan Crewe’s gift from the Bob Crewe Foundation has also created the Bob Crewe Gallery, featuring artifacts and
memorabilia from Bob’s life and career.

When Dan Crewe and President Don Tuski presented the fledgling program to the public at a news conference in 2013, Dan set a compelling and modest tone of inspired philanthropy. “There is no agenda,” Dan said, “no preconceived direction. Let MECA’s future artist-musicians create the program and take it wherever their creative genius leads.”

The connection between art and music, specifically art students and musicians, has long been known, if only haphazardly reported. Some of the 20th century’s most iconic pop stars originally went to art school, eventually blasting off into music but never abandoning their artistic skills and practice: John Lennon (painting), Jerry Garcia (illustration), Freddie Mercury (graphic design), Pete Townshend (graphic design), Kanye West (visual arts), Rob Zombie (visual arts), and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull (fine arts), to name only a small fraction of the more recognizable names. The art/music crossover is so obvious that it has frequently been missed.

Bob Crewe himself went to Parsons School of Design in NYC and his visual art practice was an inspiration for his music. Besides his brilliant music career, Bob designed a number of album covers and had many acclaimed one-person gallery showings of his paintings.

The “hiding in plain sight” nature of this phenomenon could be the reason this rich creative hybrid has rarely been acted on formally in art schools. Through Dan Crewe’s largesse and President Tuski’s collaborative vision, however, MECA is now in the vanguard of this powerful new direction. MECA’s Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Ian Anderson (no relation to the Jethro Tull frontman) asserts that MECA is “the first art college to explicitly engage in combining the study of contemporary art and design with music.” In Dan Crewe’s words, “I strongly believe in creativity and how different art forms interact to create something unique. I believe my brother Bob’s career demonstrates this in a powerful way. The Bob Crewe Foundation and Maine College of Art are embarking on something really special and original in academia by blending the two areas with an evolutionary design.”

The sound studio is now rocking, and there is a steady stream of artist-musicians going downstairs to what used to be The Forbidden Zone—the MECA catacombs—but is now a sparkling facility full of sound and creative freedom. Steve Drown, Assistant Professor of Music and sound studio professional, heads the program, which features courses such as History of Contemporary Music, Applied Theory Through Composition, Music Business and Management, Ethnomusicology, and the experimental course Sound and Color.

Steve and his colleague, instructor and composer Hans Spencer, bring great experience and passion to the new program. Hans is the CEO of Listen Up, a mobile music teaching app company, and has taught music for 20+ years. He has a master’s in jazz studiesfrom the New England Conservatory of Music. Steve has been an independent recording engineer for 20+ years, currently workingat The Studio in downtown Portland. He earned his degree in music production and engineering from Berklee College of Music.The proof, though, is in the figgy pudding, as they say at Hogwarts, and all signs indicate that MECA’s music program resounds with audible and visible proof. Steve Drown says: “Students have beenstopping by the music department since day one, just asking to play the instruments. It’s great that everyone wants to be involved.” Steve also shared a glimpse of how the program will interface withother MECA disciplines: “The new art and music program is going to be great not just for musicians; the new recording facilities will help the Digital Media students with films, animation, and video games. They now have a great space to record voice and do
sound design.”

Anne Emlein + Rose Allard ’14 Win 2016 CAP Apprenticeship image

Anne Emlein + Rose Allard ’14 Win 2016 CAP Apprenticeship

Faculty Anne Emlein + Faculty Rose Allard '14

I remember as a small girl watching the lobstermen sitting around the general store knitting mittens and trap heads. I began to understand that self-sufficient Mainers had their own answers to labor and climate needs, and that knitting is a part of our past, present and future-culturally and economically.

Faculty Anne Emlein and Faculty Rose Allard ’14 were chosen as a Master / Apprentice pair in the 2016 Craft Apprentice Program, implemented by Maine Crafts Association and Maine Arts Commission.

The seven-month CAP apprenticeship offers concentrated peer-to-peer learning experiences for apprentices who demonstrate a commitment to further their abilities as specialized craft practitioners. They will accomplish this through a significant relationship with a master artist. The program will also serve to celebrate the role of the master/apprentice relationship as a way to generate creative entrepreneurship through the cultural sector. It addresses the need for developing sustainability and resiliency in the craft sector by allowing craft artists to acquire new skills, tools and management habits that help them adapt to the changing environment of craft consumers. CAP offers support and guidance from the MCA and MAC, as well as, honorariums to both master and apprentice. The program concludes in October with a exhibition and alumni gathering during Maine Craft Weekend and Maine International Conference on the Arts in Lewiston.

The number of applicants to the inaugural year of CAP exceeded expectations leaving a difficult task to the 2016 CAP jurors: Carolyn Hecker, MCA Founder and Gallery Director Pearson Legacy Gallery (Deer Isle), Ian Anderson, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College MECA (Portland) and Barbara Michelena, Founder and Curator, CRAFT (Rockland).

Meet the 2016 Master / Apprentice Pair

Master
As a child, Anne Emlein spent summers in Phippsburg, ME with her grandmother, who inspired her to pursue a fiber arts degree. She earned a BFA in Textiles from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1981 and purchased her first knitting machine shortly after. She went on to earn a Certificate in Discipline‐Based Art Education from the Getty: California Consortium for Arts Education, Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento, CA) and an MFA in Textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been exhibited in numerous regional and national craft shows and museums, and she is the founding director and program chair of the Textile and Fashion Design Department at the Maine College of Art (MECA), where she has been teaching since 2012.

“I remember as a small girl watching the lobstermen sitting around the general store knitting mittens and trap heads. I began to understand that self-sufficient Mainers had their own answers to labor and climate needs, and that knitting is a part of our past, present and future-culturally and economically. “ Anne Emlein

Apprentice
Anneli Rose Allard, who goes by Rose, spent much of her childhood in her Finnish grandmother’s sewing room in eastern Connecticut. Anne Emlein’s Introduction to Machine Knitting course at the the Maine College of Art (MECA) transformed her path as an artist and Rose “hasn’t had a knit-free day since.” She earned her BFA from MECA in 2014, and currently teaches at MECA and throughout Portland.

“I am fascinated by the history of knitting and the concept of one continuous thread to make an entire garment. The medium lends itself to my exploration of my Finnish heritage and love for Scandinavian design. I see blending yarns on the knitting machine as another form of painting.” Rose Allard

Portland Mural Initiative image

Portland Mural Initiative

Tessa Greene O'Brien, MFA '16

I am a painter that is currently using traditional methods of oil on panel to explore themes of contemporary life, memory, and the formal properties of paint.

The Portland Mural Initiative aims to bring contemporary art into the public spaces of Portland and its surrounding areas. They work with emerging and established artists that have a strong connection to Maine, to create innovative murals and architectural interventions. They also aim to facilitate a dialogue between the artists and the communities in which the murals are located, through public meals and artist talks.

Tessa Greene O’Brien is one of the co-founders of Portland Mural Initiative. Tessa was born in midcoast Maine, and grew up surrounded by woods, fields, ocean, and artists. The landscape and the people continue to inspire her work.  She graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in studio art, and went on to spend the next 10 years traveling the country doing art production for music festivals. During this time she worked closely with teams of artists to design and implement many large scale murals, installations, and collaborative projects. She gained extensive experience managing volunteers, operating lifts, and overseeing project timelines and budgets. Today she lives and works in Portland, Maine, where she has a small specialty painting business, and is pursuing an MFA at Maine College of Art.

 

Majors Exhibit Nationally image

Majors Exhibit Nationally

Mary Forst '16 & Betsy Lewis '16

Two Metalsmithing & Jewelry Design majors, Betsy Lewis ’16 and Mary Forst ’16, were accepted into national exhibitions. Betsy is exhibiting in Craft Forms 2015, dedicated to enhancing the public’s awareness of fine contemporary craft, while providing a venue for established and emerging artists to share their creative endeavors.  Both also exhibited in Form Forge Fabricate, the Southern Illinois Metalsmith’s 8th annual exhibition, which promotes metsalsmithing arts and features work by graduate and undergraduate students interested in metal as an artistic medium. Mary is also a finalist in the 2016 NICHE Awards student competition, hosted by NICHE Magazine.

“Wake Up Alice!” Exhibition image

“Wake Up Alice!” Exhibition

MECA Students, Alums, Faculty

Our Illustration students, alumni, faculty, and visiting artists include some of the most respected illustrators in the world.

This exhibition of contemporary illustration celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, as well as marked 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 invited some of these artists to create original works for this exhibit at the Portland Public Library in Portland, Maine.

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

View artists work. 

Colorful Costumes image

Colorful Costumes

Textile & Fashion Design Majors

Colorful costumes designed by MECA students and faculty were featured in "An Alice Symphony."

The colorful costumes seen in the Portland Symphony Orchestra and The Portland Ballet’s performance of “An Alice Symphony” by Del Tredici were designed by Textile & Fashion Design students and faculty.  Part of an Enchanted Favorites program, the symphony was in honor of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland (a similar tribute took place at a MECA hosted exhibit at the Portland Public Library). To fit the two different bodies of the performers playing Alice, Ariana Faria ’17 designed a blue dress with a combined knit and woven fabric .

Participating Textile & Fashion Design Majors

Justin Desper ’17
Ariana Faria ’17
Parker Smedley ’17
Nicole Waller ’17
Ashley Wernher-Collins ’16

Photo Credit: Michael Havey