Drawn by its rugged beauty and reputation for fierce individualism, artists have long favored Maine as a place of retreat and focus.

Portland is an amazing city. Located on the southern coast of Maine, it’s just the right size, easy to navigate on foot, filled with arts and culture and minutes from beaches, lakes and forests. The city is a collection of unique neighborhoods with a strong commitment to community. Between the outdoor activities, the booming local food movement, and the vibrant visual and performing art scene, Portland offers a place to live and a way of life.

MECA’s Full Residency MFA is for graduate candidates who want to relocate to Portland, Maine, with 24/7 access to 200,000 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities in Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Metals, Wood, Ceramics, Fashion and Textiles, Photography, Digital Media, Sound, and Expanded Practices.

Full Residency students work on campus year-round and undertake the responsibilities of being a Teaching Assistant for four terms. Our two-year, trimester structure emphasizes the intersection of studio production, individual research, critical analysis, and travel to inspiring and important cultural sites. Built on a rigorous curriculum and an exceptional commitment to one-on-one student mentoring by distinguished faculty, visiting artists, critics, and curators, MECA’s MFA Program offers a dynamic and supportive learning environment for artists who want to define and pursue a sustainable and attainable vision for their own art practice. Starting with the first eight-week summer intensive in Maine and culminating with the May Thesis Residency, students experience an individualized education and focus on becoming inventive, skilled makers in local communities and in the world.

  • On-site studios available year-round
  • Teaching Assistant opportunities
  • Studio Advising by Graduate Commitee
  • Summer & Winter Intensives
  • Highly Competitive
  • Full Tuition Scholarship Available

Trimester Structure

MECA’s MFA Program runs on a trimester system. The academic year begins in June with an eight-week Summer Intensive for all Graduate candidates and is followed by Fall and Spring trimesters, a Winter Intensive, and a May Residency for graduating students. Our trimester curriculum is professionally advantageous because it requires continuous studio practice combined with regular feedback. This structure promotes the development of a sustainable lifelong practice.

During Fall and Spring trimesters, MFA faculty foster rigor and consistency. Students take academic courses on-campus and online and work independently with a Graduate Advising Committee chosen to support and critique the development of your studio work. Advisors visit students individually and in groups on a consistent basis throughout the course of both semesters. Our Full Residency structure also includes opportunities to meet and work with MECA faculty and visiting artists throughout the year.

Summer and winter residencies have a different kind of rhythm from fall and spring, and provide the valuable experience of group interaction, shared studio experience, and feedback from faculty, peers, and nationally and internationally known artists, critics, curators and scholars. During the residency periods, students from both options have the chance to gather and network.

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