We sat down with some student tour guides to ask them a little bit about why they chose to attend Maine College of Art & Design. Here's what they had to say.

Q: What made you choose MECA&D?

Fairen, third-year Illustration major from Vermont: The community and the location really drew me to come to MECA&D. Once I visited the school and got a feel for the environment, I knew that this was somewhere I could thrive and feel like I belonged.

Elli, fourth-year Animation and Game Art major from Connecticut: The most appealing aspect of MECA&D to me is the sense of community. We're constantly collaborating with each other, and everyone knows your name by the end of the first semester! 

Q: What has made Portland feel like home? Any advice for someone moving here?

Fairen: The college is located in the center of everything, so I was able to get accustomed to the city really quickly. It’s not too big or overwhelming, and Portland really feels like a small town sometimes. Walk around to get to know how the city is laid out, and go on walks to places you’ve never been before. You might discover a new favorite park or place to get coffee. Walk to the ocean! It’s so close.

Q: What has been your favorite class or project?

Elli: Animation & Game Art's Collaborative Productions session offered a first-hand insightful look as to what working in the production pipeline for a studio is like and how to manage a team with various skill sets. 

Fairen: I really loved the Storybook Illustration class. We worked on illustrations for one children’s book for an entire semester, and I learned so much about character design, storytelling, world-building, and book design, as well as really helpful information about the publishing industry and the work that goes into illustrating a children's book professionally. 

Kia, third-year Illustration major from Maine: I’m currently taking a class on the history of pirates around the world, and it’s been fascinating to learn the true history of piracy! Plus it’s a fun way to get my world history credits done!

Bella, second-year Graphic Design major from New Jersey: My favorite class I have taken was Introduction to Ink for Illustrators (though you do not have to be an illustrator to take it). This class covers line work, mark making, and traditional pen and ink in illustration. This class is the reason I chose to major in Illustration!

Q: What do you like to do for fun in Portland?

Kia: I go to a LOT of concerts — there are a ton of venues around that get a huge variety of live events, everything from metal music to standup comedy! I also love walking: the Old Port is a great place to walk, and there are lots of stores and coffee shops around! 

Fairen: I really enjoy long-boarding on the Eastern Prom. I also love taking day trips to Peaks Island. Going to the farmers market is also so nice! 

Q: Has your college experience been different than expected? How?

Elli: I arrived at MECA&D with the intention of becoming a Graphic Design major before quickly changing my mind to join Animation & Game Art. Many here have a similar story while exploring during their foundation year. Growth and change is expected and encouraged here.

Bella: My college experience is extremely different from the one I had imagined growing up. I had imagined huge lecture classes and a professor who is 30 students away from you that you would never get to know, a dining hall too overwhelming to sit in, a confusing campus I would get lost on, and so many more ideas that come about college life. But MECA&D's environment is the opposite of all of that: you will know all your professors personally, and small classes will allow for that personable relationship to prosper. You and your peers will be very close by the end of every class. The dining hall here is called our Cafe, and it is the sweetest place — everyone is always inviting others to sit with each other and hang out. Something super unique about MECA&D is also its two-building campus! The main building is six floors and houses almost all of your classes, and the other building is one floor and holds some additional classes right across the street! MECA&D was not what I pictured for a college experience, but I could not have picked a better one than this.