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Our History

Maine College of Art (MECA) was founded in 1882 as part of the Portland Society of Art

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Located in the heart of the Portland Arts District, Maine College of Art offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art, a Master of Arts in Teaching, a Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies, as well as Continuing Studies for adults and youths, including a Pre-College intensive for high school students.

The College has transformed a former department store into the main campus building with vibrant classrooms and studios that are open 24/7. Also located in the Porteous Building, the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA serves a critical regional role in its commitment to presenting contemporary, provocative work by living artists from Maine and around the globe. The Joanne Waxman Library is one of the largest independent libraries in Northern New England.

At MECA, undergraduate students spend the first year developing a foundation and the second year exploring a variety of media. At the start of junior year, students declare a major and spend the next two years working within their discipline. MECA offers 11 majors in the BFA program: Animation & Game ArtCeramicsGraphic Design, Illustration, Metalsmithing & Jewelry, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Textile & Fashion Design, and Woodworking & Furniture Design. The College provides individual studios to all juniors and seniors. MECA is part of a five-college alliance that allows students to access classes and resources in the surrounding area.

MECA is a non-profit institution of higher education that is both NEASC and NASAD accredited.

Residence Life
Residence Life
Residence Life
  • Formally or informally reflecting on each experience in MAT, no matter how monumental or routine, was greatly responsible for the development of my philosophy of education. Continuously reflecting and examining my practice or the practice of my peers, mentors, or professors, was critical in shaping my understanding of what makes a successful educator, and these are values that I have carried with me into my first year of teaching.

    Emily Rupe MAT '17    //  High School Art  //  Cumberland, ME
  • I couldn't have [gotten a job offer] without everything that went into the last 10 months at MECA. I worried and super-prepared before my interview, but once I was there, I felt comfortable and able to speak confidently to their questions. I'm really happy about pursuing these next steps as an art educator and am grateful for how the MAT program both prepared and inspired me.

    Margaret Mountcastle MAT '16    //  High School Art Teacher  //  Winthrop High School
  • I know what I really appreciate about the MECA Music program is the openness of the department and its ability to flow with the rest of the school. It might be hard to imagine a music program at a visual arts school, but the tools in the department are versatile and the instructors open-minded, which lets my practices inform each other rather than stay separate. I have never seen another program that can accomplish that task so well.

    Frances Barker  2018  //  Eliot, Maine
  • Fifteen weeks at Salt rearranged 80% of my brain. The person I was when I arrived at Salt was not the person I was when I left. I walked away with more skills, ideas, and confidence than I could’ve ever imagined.

    Paula Mauro 
  • I often remind my students that the studio is the safest place to fail, and it is through our failures that we realize the possibility of creating truly great work. Problem-solving within the studio environment is a physical activity; thus I encourage my students to keep making and keep trying in pursuit of successful works of art.

    Nikki Farrand Rayburn '11  2011  //  Assistant Professor in WW&FD, Exhibitions Coordinator
  • My objectives were to be thrown into the depths of the metals industry. My internship gave me a sense of where I want to be in ten years. The work I did and the people I met gave me a lot of ideas about what I can do, and the kind of artist I want to be.

    Betsy Lewis '16  2016  //  Boca Raton, FL
  • I explored the world of Illustration and Design, but when it came time to chose a medium to study, I thought clay was the perfect material to start with since I wanted to bring my illustrations into three dimensions. From my time spent at MECA, I have learned persistence is very important, never give up, and that I can always improve and move forward.

    Iva Milovanovic '16  2016  //  Belgrade, Serbia
  • When I was introduced to painting, I really fell in love with the process and act itself. I realized the department was a good fit for me because I was interested in the history of discipline as much as the practice. I wanted to learn about painting's vast history and the theories we discuss in our practices. Painting is really open-ended and diverse in terms of what one can do, beyond the traditional rectangular canvas frame.

    Meg Hahn '17  2017  //  Waldwick, NJ
  • Being at MECA has changed my art drastically. I didn't have much experience in sculptural mediums prior to attending college. I feel like it opened many doors to me artistically; there are so many possibilities for my work now. It's just a matter of figuring out the most effect way to express what I want to say.

    Jackie King '17  2017  //  Tiverton, RI
  • Creating work that takes on a meaning and resonates with the world is a primary goal for makers. The Photography Program at MECA has technical resources adn faculty that will push you to become an image maker with your own voice. In my time here, I have developed a new way to see the world and now I can describe it in my photographs.

    Kyle Dubay '18  2018  //  Orono, ME