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Artistic Excellence

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  • Human Figure as Vehicle

    Arnela Mahmutovic '17
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  • Artist-in-Residence at Bigelow Lab

    Carter Shappy '15
    Read Story
  • Expanding Histories

    Faculty Joshua Reiman
    Read Story
  • Catherine Quattrociocchi ’17 in Juried National Exhibition

    Catherine Quattrociocchi '17
    Read Story
  • Lewis Rossignol Featured in Dispatch Magazine

    Lewis Rossignol '17
    Read Story
  • Vivian Beer ’00 Wins Ellen DeGeneres’ Design Challenge

    Vivian Beer '00
    Read Story
  • For the Love of Dolphins

    Harlan Crichton ’12 & Zak Taillon ’12
    Read Story
  • Bluestocking Film Series

    Faculty Kate Kaminski
    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.


Work as professional artists


Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors


Work for a nonprofit


Work as craft artists


Work as fine artists


Work as art teachers


Pursued an MFA after graduation


Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers


Make art in their personal time

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Human Figure as Vehicle image

Human Figure as Vehicle

Arnela Mahmutovic '17

I have been pushed outside of my comfort, a very tight academic approach to painting, into alternative methods of describing form. I am slowly learning to become fearless in my practice and embrace experimentation.

Describe a body of work that you are currently working on.
I am currently exploring the contrasts between my Bosnian upbringing and how moving to America created an intense shift in my personal development. My primary medium of choice is oil paint, but more recently I’ve been diving back into my love for drawing at an attempt to find a relationship between the two. I use the human figure as a vehicle to directly connect to a viewer emotionally. I describe inner turmoil through the portrayal of an outside force being inflicted upon these figures– this is an attempt to relate back to my concepts while also leaving room for the viewers own interpretation.

What made you chose to study art?
As a child I’ve always resolved problems visually; this carried through to my high school years until ultimately deciding upon a Fine Art focus at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York. After receiving an Associates Degree, I wanted to continue my studies and transferred to MECA. My work has always been strongest two dimensionally but I am hoping to expand beyond that comfort into something more sculptural or installation based. I felt that the painting major would give me the most freedom in realizing my ideas.

How has your education at MECA shaped you as an artist? How has your practice changed over time?
While I did not spend my first two years of schooling at MECA, I feel that my artistic practice has been greatly influenced by the professors and curriculum since being here. I have been pushed outside of my comfort, a very tight academic approach to painting, into alternative methods of describing form. I am slowly learning to become fearless in my practice and embrace experimentation. I think a lot of strong ideas have gone to waste because I have convinced myself out of them, so I am attempting to resolve this.


What inspires you?
My greatest inspiration comes from the people I surround myself with. I have been lucky enough to have an incredibly motivated and talented group of individuals during my time at both Hudson Valley and MECA . Their honesty and support is what keeps me pushing through any obstacles in the studio.

What do you hope to do after graduation?
After graduation I’d like to continue my studies into a MFA Program. Ultimately my hopes are to pursue a career in teaching, but I would enjoy working within a curatorial field as well.

What’s the advice you’ve ever received?
As I was finishing my last year at my previous school, I spent a couple hours in my professor’s office panicking about my transfer to MECA. What resonated with me most was, “The worst thing that could happen in your career as an artist is convincing yourself you’re not qualified to be one. There will be plenty of people who will tell you this along the way– don’t be one of them and give em hell.”

Arnela Mahmutovic

Artist-in-Residence at Bigelow Lab image

Artist-in-Residence at Bigelow Lab

Carter Shappy '15

Our goal is to shed local light on the cutting-edge and incredibly important research that Bigelow has been conducting, and to explore the relationships between artistic and scientific creativity and discovery.

Printmaking alum Carter Shappy ’15 is the Artist-in-Residence at Bigelow Lab. You can follow his blog at art.bigelow.org.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science’s mission is to investigate the microbial drivers of global ocean processes through basic and applied research, education, and enterprise. What is learned will be essential to the conservation and responsible use of the ocean and the many valuable services it provides.

Trash Tank Painted rope, netting, plastic bags and other plastics retrieved from the Back Cove of Portland, ME, acrylic tank, 35 gallons of Back Cove salt water, seaweed, florescent lighting, and wooden pedestal. 36"x42"x18"

Trash Tank, Painted rope, netting, plastic bags and other plastics retrieved from the Back Cove of Portland, ME, acrylic tank, 35 gallons of Back Cove salt water, seaweed, florescent lighting, and wooden pedestal. 36″ x42 “x18”

“This installation was an attempt to bring the content of my earlier prints into a sculptural and experiential form. I was reconceptualizing the spaces that had influenced my making at the time, such as, sensory deprivation tanks and the many areas of Maine’s coast. The installation took place in a small square room with twenty foot ceilings. Participants were asked to remove their shoes at the door and were encouraged to interact and touch the piece as desired. Due to the size of the room, only three to four people could comfortably view the piece at a time, often resulting in a quite, singular experience.”

Previous work

The Spiral Screen print on Dura-Lar, wooden cylinder, color changing LED light, and soundscape. 14' x 4' diameter

The Spiral, screen print on Dura-Lar, wooden cylinder, color changing LED light, and soundscape. 14′ x 4′ diameter.

“The spiral was a sensory piece that originated from the meditative moments that I encounter throughout the mundane rituals of my life. There is a poetry or music found in the seemingly insignificant periphery of our lives, from the spiraling, dancing plastic bags whipping through vacant parking lots, to the tangled bodies of rope and seaweed swirling in filling tide pools. My immersion into such events and materials is the result of my experimentation and interest in altered states of consciousness, specifically those I’ve traced back to childhood, psychedelic and meditative experiences.”

Expanding Histories image

Expanding Histories

Faculty Joshua Reiman

I encourage my students to be curious, thoughtful explorers of life and visual culture. Participating in this process of discovery and potential is extremely rewarding.

Visitors to Joshua Reiman’s website are greeted by the enigmatic film still of a man in a suit and bow tie climbing up from the Seine river in Paris with a snorkel mask perched on the top of his head. The character is from Reiman’s film Panning for the Immaterial (2015). He is looking for the gold from Yves Klein’s 1959 seminal conceptual artwork Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility, where Klein dumped gold into the Seine as a gesture of selling a space that does not exist. The muted elegance of the image aptly reflects Joshua’s multifaceted and exploratory artistic career, which currently includes teaching at MECA as an Assistant Professor of the MFA in Studio Art + Sculpture.

Joshua Reiman

Joshua Reiman, Panoramique de l’immatériel, 2015 (poster) 23 minutes

Joshua works in sculpture, film, video and photography and 2016 has already been busy, starting with the exhibit MAXIMUM MINIMUM IN UNUM, which he co-curated with Susanne Slavick at Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery, and which explored the dichotomy between“over-the-top” (Reiman) and “less is more” (Slavick). Writer Colin McFadden wrote in the online publication Dear Pittsburgh, “the works displayed are meant to eschew discrete classification. Loosely translated, it refers to the maximum and the minimum in fact of one, two sides of the same coin, exploring themes that sometimes run parallel, sometimes converge. Even the stylistic choice of articulating the exhibition in all capital letters reinforces the curatorial concept.”

Joshua Reiman

Joshua Reiman, G. Washington, 2001 (I Can Not Tell a Lie), c-print 30″x30″, from a series of 14 images

My Castle is your Home, curated by Helga Schmidhuber, opens March 12 and runs through May 1, 2016, at Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden (NKV) in Wiesbaden, Germany. The focus of the group exhibit lies in inviting people into her Helga’s “stronghold” to view artwork by colleagues and friends, whom she met during her studies at Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, or through art residencies. The exhibit includes work from four of Joshua’s films (2009-2015), and a photograph from his G. Washington (2001) series, described in an essay by Stefan Osdene as “imploring viewers to consider how notions of heroism, celebrity, and rebellion have shaped the popular culture of two distinct epochs in American history: the period of the Revolutionary War and the Hip-Hop era. Viewers are confronted by provocative images of George Washington and his compatriots wearing powdered wigs, grills (gold teeth), diamond-encrusted pendants, and customized basketball uniforms – individuals who strut around with a sense of swagger and confidence more befitting gangster rappers of the late 1990s than revolutionary leaders.”

Joshua Reiman

Joshua Reiman, Vanished into Plein Air, 2015 (film stills), Super 8 and digital Super 16, 9:06

Meanwhile, The Mountain and the Bumble Bee, curated by Chris McGinnis, opens March 25 and runs through April 22, 2016 at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design. This exhibit was inspired by a travel log by geologist and land surveyor John C. Fremont, who noted in his 1842 travel log an unlikely high-altitude encounter with a bumblebee, during which he imagines each of them to be the first of their species to brave the geological extreme of the Rocky Mountain territory. The group exhibit features Joshua’s four-channel film A Brief Inquiry (2010) and other works by contemporary artists and poets that explore notions of landscape, highlighting America’s “contradictory role as both steward and exploiter.”

Joshua’s work often uses iconic figures from art and politics to “anchor new narratives at the junction of where reality and fiction meet” and his work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States, in Germany and in Estonia. Prior to joining MECA, Joshua was a visiting professor of art at Carnegie Mellon University where he taught sculpture, installation, and site work. Josh has an MFA in sculpture from Syracuse University and a BFA in sculpture from the Kansas City Art Institute.

Visit Joshua Reiman’s website.

Catherine Quattrociocchi ’17 in Juried National Exhibition image

Catherine Quattrociocchi ’17 in Juried National Exhibition

Catherine Quattrociocchi '17

MECA has expanded the way that I think about materials. It has given me the freedom to experiment with anything that I can imagine, although sometimes that freedom is extremely overwhelming.

Catherine Quattrociocchi

Catherine Quattrociocchi ’17 (Metalsmithing & Jewelry) was accepted into the juried exhibition Any Portmanteau in a Storm, a showcase in the blending of techniques, materials, and ideas to create the perfect storm of conceptual creativity through Wearable Art. The opening reception is Saturday, April 2, 6:00–8:00pm and the exhibition is on view until April 22, 2016. The exhibition is located in the Norfolk Arts District at 740 Duke Street, Norfolk, VA 23510.

Catherine’s two pieces in the exhibition are part of a body of work that consists of physical sketches exploring the notion of interruption. This is her first national juried exhibition.

Catherine Quattrociocchi

Lewis Rossignol Featured in Dispatch Magazine image

Lewis Rossignol Featured in Dispatch Magazine

Lewis Rossignol '17

Lewis Rossignol ’17 was contracted by Dispatch Magazine to produce illustrations for featured stories (“Do You Believe the Swipe?” and “Are You a Brand?in the latest two issues.

Lewis Rossignol '17

Illustrations by Lewis Rossignol ’17. Left: Illustration for “Do You Believe the Swipe?”Right: Illustration for “Are You a Brand?”

Lewis worked with Mark Fleming, the Visuals Editor of Dispatch Magazine, to fully conceptualize the illustrations for each article. When asked about the experience, Lewis said “The people over at Dispatch are great to work with and are incredibly professional.”

View more of Lewis’ work here.
Read “Do You Believe the Swipe?
Read “Are You a Brand?”

Vivian Beer ’00 Wins Ellen DeGeneres’ Design Challenge image

Vivian Beer ’00 Wins Ellen DeGeneres’ Design Challenge

Vivian Beer '00

Vivian Beer ’00 was announced the Winner of Ellen DeGeneres’ Design Challenge on last night’s finale. Vivian won a $100,000 cash prize from Wayfair.com and her work will be featured in HGTV Magazine. The episode challenged the final two contestants to design furniture for greenrooms at The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Vivian Beer '00 Ellen Design Challenge

Finalist designer Vivian Beer’s design, an elegant signature table with curved metal legs, a wood trestle and a transparent acrylic top paired with a spectacular CNC machined, LED lit acrylic chandelier, is presented to the judges. Images provided by HGTV.

View Vivian’s Work through out the Design Challenge Season.

View Vivian’s Portfolio and Artist Statement.

For the Love of Dolphins image

For the Love of Dolphins

Harlan Crichton ’12 & Zak Taillon ’12

“I made this compilation during a 13,000-mile road trip through rural America. These are places that were off the big highways. They are forgotten, lonely places. I attempted to capture their desolate beauty.”

Interview with Harlan Crichton ’12

Can you describe the project?
In 2013, I began a 13,000 mile motorcycle trip around the country. These vignettes were shot everywhere between Oregon to Kentucky.

This film started out as separate shorter films. It was something new for me and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. I made a larger compilation but it lacked something. That is when I asked Zak to come up with an atmospheric soundtrack.

What was your process in the making of the film?
This film is a companion piece to the photos that I took on my trip. I feel that they exist as moving photographs. After riding for a number of days, I would come to a place that I was interested in. It could have been the name, the history or the landscape that attracted me. I would then walk around and look. After a day or two it would be time move on.

What was the process of collaborating with Zak for the music like?
Zak and my collaboration was very straightforward. We met up for coffee, talked about the clips and some general ideas I had. From there, I left it completely in Zak’s hands. I’m constantly excited by what he came up with. He did a great job.

What goals were accomplished? Were there things you wish went differently?
This was an opportunity for me to play. I didn’t have an ultimate goal, besides making something interesting. I did my part; Zak completed it.

How has your education at MECA shaped you as an artist?
MECA was a great place for me. I loved the faculty, students, and the facilities. I hadn’t taken any art classes in high school. But I had taken a few summer photo courses. When I was choosing a college, I didn’t see myself anywhere else but art school.

While I went to MECA I really came into my own. The faculty provided me with the tools I needed to find my own voice. It also gave me the connections with some really great artists, such as Zak.

View Harlan’s work here.

Interview with Zak Taillon ’12

What was your process for creating the soundtrack for the film?
Creating the soundtrack for For the Love of Dolphins was essentially just me responding to Harlan’s visuals on synthesizers. He told me to do whatever I wanted with the sound and gave me the film 100% silent so there was a lot of opportunity for me to explore in this project.

I immediately knew within moments of my first viewing that I wanted to use only synthesizers in the scoring process. I started by brainstorming for ideas by playing a soft-synth version of the Roland Jupiter-8 while I watched the film on repeat, taking note of moments I felt strong emotional responses to. After a few hours of creating and shaping the synthesizer sounds I wanted to use in the 12 scenes of the film, I recorded myself improvising four live sessions in my home studio, each one ranging between 20 and 45 minutes long.

From there, I searched for motifs within the recorded performances that resonated with some of the emotions I felt in the landscapes of Harlan’s film. Those motifs became the foundations for each scene of the film and the rest of the composition process was just building new motifs off of older ones, editing my performances, adding layers, and eventually adding a couple samples to the mix. I completed the score in just two back-to-back 12-hour studio sessions.

The sound design for this film was inspired by the ambient works of Oneohtrix Point Never, Tim Hecker, Brian Eno, and Phillip Glass.

What were the goals accomplished? Was there anything you wished went differently?
The main goal I had in scoring For the Love of Dolphins was to use the color and texture of sound to guide the viewer through the cinematography that Harlan documented on his cross-country motorcycle trip. I think I accomplished this goal by using and reusing musical motifs as if they were characters in the film.

I felt that an unexpected success of this soundtrack was the complexity of the dialogue it seems to bring up about nature, sustainability, industry, and death. I don’t think I would change any aspect of the soundtrack if I had to do it again.

How has your education at MECA shaped you as an artist?
My education at MECA helped me develop a strong visual language and taught me how to creatively respond to my abstract feelings, concepts, and thoughts. Though I did not study music at MECA, the things I learned about art and about myself in my college career shaped me as a composer and visual artist all the same.

View Zak’s work here, and here.

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.