Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Interdisciplinary Approach image

Interdisciplinary Approach

MECA&D's MFA encourages students to think across traditional academic boundaries, expand their art practice, and challenge their intellectual curiosity.

Get curious
Full Residency image

Full Residency

24/7 access to state-of-the-art facilities & a vibrant creative community.

Work onsite
Low Residency image

Low Residency

Structure promotes flexibility and independence.

See where your art takes you
Connect with us about getting an MFA image

Connect with us about getting an MFA

Open houses, virtual info sessions, Grad National Portfolio Days, and more

Let's talk

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Work, critique, and network with artists from around the world.

Get your MFA

Whether you want to exhibit and lecture about your work, teach, write a book, or create an artist-run collective, MECA&D’s Master of Fine Arts Program encourages each student to think across traditional academic boundaries and challenge their art practice and intellectual curiosity. Studio-based, with renowned faculty, visiting artists and carefully selected graduate advisors, the curriculum emphasizes the intersection of studio production, individual research, critical analysis, and travel to important and inspiring locations. This structure promotes the development of a professional lifelong practice. From the first moment of your first eight-week summer intensive, you will experience a truly individualized education and focus on becoming an inventive, skilled, self-disciplined, engaged maker in the world and in your own community.

Choose from our Low or Full Residency options and base your studio wherever you decide— whether it’s on campus or anywhere your art takes you in the world.

View the Graduate Viewbook here

 

Artistic Excellence

View all stories
  • Parallels in the movement of humans and nature

    Brian Smith MFA '20 parallels the movement of humans and nature with Schooling Fish 
    Read Story
  • Roberta March MFA ’21 opens Em Movimento (In Motion) in Houston, TX

    Roberta March MFA '21
    Read Story
  • Sharon Shapiro MFA ’19 confronts racial and climate crises through utopian and dystopian lenses

    Sharon Shapiro MFA '19
    Read Story
  • Nancy Nesvet MFA ’04 chosen to curate From Palestine With Art exhibition at La Biennale d’ Arte, 2022

    Nancy Nesvet MFA '04
    Read Story
  • Ling-Wen Tsai’s Quiet Voids opens Friday March 11 at SPEEDWELL projects

    Ling-Wen Tsai
    Read Story
  • Golaleh Yazdani MFA ’18 receives the Lunder Insitute Residential Fellowship

    Golaleh Yazdani MFA '18
    Read Story
  • Randy Regier MFA ’07 brings to life an imaginary toy store

    Randy Regier MFA '07
    Read Story
  • NCECA Graduate Student Fellowship Grant

    Anna Valenti MFA ’20
    Read Story

FAQs

  • What is the difference between the Full Residency option and the Low Residency option?

    Students who choose the Full Residency option move to Portland, may have a studio, have consistent 24/7 access to MECA&D facilities and the activities that occur that happen in the College and around Portland during the school year. They are also able to take advantage of graduate electives and Teaching Assistantships. Our low residency MFA combines intense periods of on-campus instruction in Maine with the freedom and independence of working from any home location. Our low-residency structure is designed for experienced artists who want the ability and independence to maintain their ongoing careers while earning an MFA. Both MFA tracks offer an interdisciplinary approach that encourages students to think across traditional academic boundaries to challenge their art practice and intellectual curiosity.

  • What is the low residency structure?

    While most low residency programs offer 1-2 week on campus intensives, MECA&D is unique in offering an 8-week summer intensive trimester and a full fall and spring trimesters. The Summer Intensive trimester allows students a full on-campus experience each summer, while the Fall and Spring trimesters offer an academic year of studio and coursework from a student’s home studio. Short Winter and May residencies (for graduating students) complement the fall and spring trimesters. The low residency structure features year round contact with core faculty and a local studio advisor who meets with each student in their home studio during the fall and spring trimesters. Studio time is complemented by a rigorous program of online coursework. The MECA&D MFA low residency track is a full-time 60 credit program of study.

  • When does the program begin?

    The academic year kicks off annually with an eight-week Summer Intensive in Portland, Maine. The Intensive begins in early-June and runs through early August. See the Academic Calendar for more information.

  • How do I request program materials?

    You may request a catalog by emailing admissions@meca.edu

  • What advice would you give about submitting my portfolio?

    Documentation of your work should be of professional quality. Choose images that best represent you as an individual. You may submit up to twenty images but we recommend that you thoughtfully edit the selection to support the ideas communicated in your letter of intent.

  • What should I put in my letter of intent?

    Describe your intended field of exploration to show us what materials, ideas, and approaches you are ready to embrace as part of your graduate study. Alongside an analysis of your recent work, describe how you anticipate your work moving in new directions in the future. Tell us how you are ready to challenge yourself and why you think MECA&D’s MFA program will help you do this.

  • How do I find out more about Financial Aid and Scholarships at MECA&D?

    To be eligible for aid at MECA&D accepted applicants must have completed a FAFSA form online. Please visit the Financial Aid section for more information. All students may apply for remote research fellowships. Please feel free to contact Rachel Katz, Administrative Director of the MFA in Studio Art, at 207.699.5030 or at rkatz@meca.edu

  • Is there someone I can speak to about the MFA in Studio Arts?

    Please do not hesitate to contact our MFA point person, Rachel Katz rkatz@meca.edu

  • I decided to get my MFA here because of the trimester structure of the program and the institutional emphasis on artistic excellence. I felt that by going to MECA&D I would not only develop my work but personal routines that would help me sustain a professional practice.

    Kylie Ford MFA '18    //  College Professor  //  Fairmont, West Virginia
  • My experience at MECA&D reinvigorated my art practice and took me in directions I never anticipated. The artists, writers, and thinkers I was introduced to there empowered me to investigate my work in ways that reached out as well as back. I emerged from the program a much more complete artist and thinker with a peer group that continues to enrich my work.

    Jonathan Wayne MFA '08    //  Cleveland, Ohio
  • Being at MECA&D gave me chance to experiment and grow with my work, to create a network of peers and friends, and to interact with and learn from a fantastic group of artists. Since graduating, I have coordinated the MFA Alumni Residency Program, which allows alums to return to campus in the summer and work alongside the current MFA students and faculty.

    Alexandra Silverthorne MFA '10    //  Washington, DC
  • I only applied to one grad school, because I knew it was the perfect balance of theory and practice for me. Little did I know that Maine College of Art & Design would wreak havoc on my art practice and all my preconceived notions about art-making. The MFA program opened up a landscape of contemporary theory, practice, and possibility.

    Catherine D'Ignazio MFA '05    //  Waltham, Massachussetts
  • Maine College of Art & Design gave me the critical thinking skills I need as an artist working in a solitary, isolated atmosphere. The inner dialogue I developed in the program continues to guide me as I move forward in my work.

    Maysey Craddock MFA '03    //  Memphis, Tennessee
  • This MFA program affirms how the unforeseen emerges in the repeated chances we take with the structures and gestures that inspire us. Therefore, art is never done.

    Elaine Angelopoulos MFA '09    //  Brooklyn, New York
  • The MFA Program completely reinvigorated my art practice. I was more ready; every moment was like being inside a diamond—it was synergistic. Now I am not afraid to take on any kind of project, large or small, community-oriented, or very personal. I make whatever the moment calls for: interactive immersive video and sound installation or apple pie.

    Susan Bickford 
Parallels in the movement of humans and nature image

Parallels in the movement of humans and nature

Brian Smith MFA '20 parallels the movement of humans and nature with Schooling Fish 

Brian Smith MFA ’20, Schooling Fish, Plywood, paper pulp, pigment, enamel, 21' x 13', 2022.

Between ticketing and baggage claim at the Portland International Jetport this tourist season, visitors have the chance to get a glimpse of the creativity and artistry for which our city is known.

On view until November 2022, Brian Smith’s MFA ’20 Schooling Fish installation isolates similarities between humans and other creatures while drawing parallels between the way people navigate the concourses and fish move through the local bodies of water.

Smith, a sculptor interested in queer ecology philosophies and the human relation to nature, intends for the work to be and feel specific to Maine by drawing inspiration from the dark blue teal color of the icy surf just beyond the Jetport’s walls. His content translates a yearning to reconnect with the natural world and make sense of it through the language of reflection and awe.

Today, Smith teaches as an adjunct professor at our College. He has exhibited in group shows in Maine, Antwerp, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and Montana. He has been written about in the following magazines: The ChartFloorrDivide, and Working Artists. Smith has spent time at Hewnoaks Artist Colony and will attend Monson Arts Residency in the fall of 2022.

Explore Smith's Work
Roberta March MFA ’21 opens Em Movimento (In Motion) in Houston, TX image

Roberta March MFA ’21 opens Em Movimento (In Motion) in Houston, TX

Roberta March MFA '21

Roberta March MFA '21 opens Em Movimento (In Motion) in Houston, TX

On Saturday, June 11, the exhibition Em Movimento (In Motion), featuring work by Roberta March MFA ’21 and fellow Brazilian-American artist Tony Parana, will open at the Monterroso Gallery (1824 Spring Street, #104, Houston, TX). The show explores how we keep moving to survive in this world.

In her pieces, March responds to the five elements of nature—earth, air, fire, water, and space—to reflect on “how we need to mold ourselves, becoming fluid to keep adapting to the new circumstances which life brings to us.”

The exhibition will remain on view until July 2.

Read more about “Em Movimento”
Sharon Shapiro MFA ’19 confronts racial and climate crises through utopian and dystopian lenses image

Sharon Shapiro MFA ’19 confronts racial and climate crises through utopian and dystopian lenses

Sharon Shapiro MFA '19

Chronicling the complexities of growing up female in the American South, I present a contemporary viewpoint on femininity and feminism.

Sharon Shapiro MFA '19 confronts racial and climate crises through utopian and dystopian lenses

Sharon Shapiro MFA ’19, Sacrifice, Collage on paper, 12”x11”, 2022

Keep an eye out for all of Sharon Shapiro MFA '19 shows coming up throughout the summer. Inspired by personal events, local lore, and pop-cultural references, Shapiro’s paintings and collage works range from fantastical, utopian subject matter to dystopian realities that confront how our current racial and climate crises are deeply linked.

“Chronicling the complexities of growing up female in the American South, I present a contemporary viewpoint on femininity and feminism. [..] I use nostalgia to simultaneously raid and revere memory in a continuing endeavor to establish a sense of place in a world where meaning shifts and recollections fail. Visual disruption and vivid color create a discordant scene that tilts the viewers' relationship to the subject.”

Solo Show: Then the dream changed - Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA
On view: April 9 - June 18, 2022

Group Show: Coined in the South - MINT Museum Uptown, Charlotte, NC
On view: March 26 - July 3, 2022

Solo Show: Fever Dream - Artisan Lofts, New York, NY 
On view: January 21 - June 16, 2022

Explore Shapiro's work

 

Header Image: Sharon Shapiro MFA ’19, Sacrifice, Collage on paper, 12”x11”, 2022
Nancy Nesvet MFA ’04 chosen to curate From Palestine With Art exhibition at La Biennale d’ Arte, 2022 image

Nancy Nesvet MFA ’04 chosen to curate From Palestine With Art exhibition at La Biennale d’ Arte, 2022

Nancy Nesvet MFA '04

The name, From Palestine With Art, may sound very simple. But upon further examination, when we use the preposition ‘from,’ it implies that there is a physical place. That it exists. That the name, and its map, and its people, conflicts with other narratives that are being pushed … It's a very subtle linguistic aspect to the show.

 

Nancy Nesvet MFA '04 chosen to curate From Palestine With Art exhibition at La Biennale d' Arte, 2022

Congratulations to Nancy Nesvet MFA '04, curator of the official Collateral exhibition From Palestine With Art at the 2022 Venice Biennale! Nesvat currently serves as Head Curator at the Palestine Museum US, the main sponsor of the exhibition.  

The exhibition features work from 19 artists living in Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora. It includes paintings, photography, installation, sound and a live olive tree on an 1877 map of Palestine reproduced on the floor, as well as catalog essays. 

Samia Halaby, Venetian Red, 2021. Photo courtesy Samia Halaby.

“I wanted to show that this is such a beautiful place that is shared by a beautiful people that is still there after 4,000 years … that despite all the violence and destruction that's going on, the connection that people have to nature in Palestine has not been abandoned,” Nesvet explained in a recent interview with the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. “The name, From Palestine With Art, may sound very simple. But upon further examination, when we use the preposition ‘from,’ it implies that there is a physical place. That it exists. That the name, and its map, and its people, conflicts with other narratives that are being pushed … It's a very subtle linguistic aspect to the show.”

From Palestine With Art

Palazzo Mora, Room 8, Cannaregio 3659

(Ca'd'Oro vaporetto stop, then follow the signs to Palazzo Mora)

VIP preview days April 20-22, 2022

On view April 23 – November 27, 2022

Organizing institution: Palestine Museum US

Curator: Nancy Nesvet MFA '04

Planning to attend the event? Nesvet’s exhibition to your list of must-sees this year! Tickets are available for all days on the La Biennale d'Arte website.

Read more about From Palestine With Art
Ling-Wen Tsai’s Quiet Voids opens Friday March 11 at SPEEDWELL projects image

Ling-Wen Tsai’s Quiet Voids opens Friday March 11 at SPEEDWELL projects

Ling-Wen Tsai

Ling-Wen Tsai Quiet Voids opens Friday March 11 at SPEEDWELL projects

Join Professor of Sculpture, Foundation, and MFA Ling-Wen Tsai (蔡姈妏) for her solo exhibition Quiet Voids at SPEEDWELL projects, 630 Forest Avenue, Portland, ME.

Interested in the nature of seeing, and how our visual experiences influence our reality, Tsai's work takes a subtle, abstract, and minimalistic approach. While remaining true to who she is as an individual, Tsai has developed an artistic approach that draws the viewers into her world while still leaving space for self-reflection.

Our surroundings, whether natural or built, have a tremendous influence on our state of mind and have the power to shape our lives. [...] During recent winters, I have had the opportunity to spend some time alone in a rustic cabin in the remote Eastern Mountains of Maine. The seemingly endless vistas of snow-covered landscapes astonished me. Quiet and untouched white terrain, devoid of auditory and visual clutter, provides a spacious dimension where I am invited to enter and to just be. 

Quiet Voids is on view at SPEEDWELL projects March 11 - May 7 on Thursdays through Saturdays (12-6pm).

Explore more of Ling-Wen’s work
Golaleh Yazdani MFA ’18 receives the Lunder Insitute Residential Fellowship image

Golaleh Yazdani MFA ’18 receives the Lunder Insitute Residential Fellowship

Golaleh Yazdani MFA '18

Congratulations to Golaleh Yazdani MFA '18 on receiving the Lunder Institute Residential Fellowship at Colby College’s Greene Block + Studios in downtown Waterville. 

Golaleh Yazdani MFA ’18, A Woman with a Long Dark Braid Sleeps, puppet theater performance still, 2018. Photo: Joel Tsui '16, Salt '17, MFA '19

Golaleh Yazdani is a mixed media artist using video, sculpture, installation, and stop motion animation as part of her studio practice. Mixed media is Golaleh’s language. She is inspired by the theater and incorporates video, sculpture, and performance in her work. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, she received her BFA from the University of Art in Tehran, and she earned her MFA at MECA&D in 2018. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Tehran, Iran, and the United States of America. 

The Lunder Institute residential fellowships provide artists with spacious studios as well as opportunities for collaboration with Colby College faculty, students, staff, and the Waterville community. This studio program encompasses artists at all stages of their careers and working in a range of artistic disciplines and mediums.

Recent recipients of the fellowship also include MECA&D Program Chair, Printmaking & Professor of the MFA in Studio Art Adriane Herman and Veronica Perez MFA '16.

Explore work by Yazdani
Randy Regier MFA ’07 brings to life an imaginary toy store image

Randy Regier MFA ’07 brings to life an imaginary toy store

Randy Regier MFA '07

My experience has been, over the last 10 years or so, just put it somewhere and leave it alone and let it do its own thing [...] The less I try to convince people to see my work and the less I try to convince them to expect something from it, the experience becomes more theirs. They take more ownership of it. I think there is something to be said for the feeling that you discovered something.

NuPenny’s Last Stand, an imaginary toy store by Randy Regier MFA '07, has found its way back to Maine after 12 years. Regier first conceptualized NuPenny while working towards his MFA at MECA&D and brought it to life in 2009 once awarded the Harry Faust Art Fund.

NuPenny’s Last Stand is art for art's sake, filled with handmade imaginary toys housed in a retro-futurism structure that cannot be missed. The piece stands aside the Thompson’s Point parking lot near Van Aken Way, behind all the commotion to create a sense of discovery and childlike curiosity.

Recently featured in a Portland Press Herald article by reporter Bob Keyes, Regier explains, “My experience has been, over the last 10 years or so, just put it somewhere and leave it alone and let it do its own thing [...] The less I try to convince people to see my work and the less I try to convince them to expect something from it, the experience becomes more theirs. They take more ownership of it. I think there is something to be said for the feeling that you discovered something.”

Read the full article

 

Photo: Brianna Soukup, Portland Press Herald

NCECA Graduate Student Fellowship Grant image

NCECA Graduate Student Fellowship Grant

Anna Valenti MFA ’20

MECA&D is thrilled to announce that MFA candidate Anna Valenti ’20 is the recipient of the 2020 NCECA Graduate Student Fellowship Grant. The fellowship is awarded to a graduate student to foster knowledge within the ceramic arts through intellectual inquiry and creative research.

Alongside the grant, Anna Valenti was accepted into the national juried exhibition Paper & Clay. The two pieces of Anna’s accepted, a terracotta lobster trap and terracotta window screen, will be on view from February 3–March 4, 2020, in the Twain Tippetts & Eccles Galleries at the USU Caine College of Arts in Logan, Utah. Announced on February 23, Anna's work Lobster Trap won first place in the Paper & Clay exhibition.

“The NCECA Fellowship Grant will further my research in hemp clay bodies and crafting breezeblock screens. My research will involve using diverse compositions of hemp fibers, mixing them at varied ratios with terracotta, and then building breezeblocks to test the structural integrity of each varied hemp clay body. My findings will evolve into a hemp terracotta breezeblock screen that free stands at 6’x1’x5’.”

Anna Valenti MFA 20

Images clock-wise, starting from top left:
- Lobster Trap, terracotta, glaze, 2019, 13"x8"x5"
- Sweetness of Doing Nothing, terracotta, porcelain, glaze, terra sigillata, fabric from my mother's childhood friend, 2019, 10’x4’x20'
- Studio of Anna Valenti
- Anchored by a Breath, porcelain, terracotta, 2018, 35.5" x 12" x 7”

Banner image: Beneath the Lath House, Porcelain stoneware, red and black iron oxide, soda ash, silk 2018

Website: annamarievalenti.com
Instagram: @annamarievalenti