March 29, 2020

Dear MECA Community Members,

I hope you are reading this from a safe place and that you and your friends and family are well.

In my last message to our community, I shared the news that Maine College of Art will be delivering the remainder of our Spring ‘20 curriculum remotely. As you might imagine, it has been an incredibly busy week preparing to transition to an online learning environment while helping our residential students safely depart from campus, all while the majority of faculty and staff are working remotely. Despite these significant challenges, the strength and resiliency of our community continue to prevail, and time and again this month our faculty and staff have addressed problems together with grace and grit as the crisis evolved.

Spring ‘20 Online

On Friday, MECA announced the launch of new “Front Door” pages for every spring course -- individual documents that provide students with the critical details they need to know to continue their coursework remotely. These documents include everything from faculty contact info and office hours to revised assignment due dates and modified projects, as well as general information about how students will proceed with their learning for the duration of the Spring 2020 semester. I am extremely impressed with all the work our faculty and staff have done individually and collectively to facilitate this rapid transition to distance learning. I know it will be a great opportunity for our students to get back to work, even though it is not how they envisioned completing the spring semester.

#mymecacommunity Campaign

As we prepare to resume classes on Monday, I wanted to share a video snapshot of many of the faculty and staff who have been busy behind the scenes preparing for our transition to online learning. We created the #mymecacommunity video campaign to reassure students that although we can’t be there with them in person, we are all still here to support them when they need us. It is an incredible message that applies to all of our community members - students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, friends, and partners - in this new remote reality: MECA is here for you when you need us. You can view the video on our website at meca.edu/mymecacommunity, and it is also being shared on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Students are already starting to use the #mymecacommunity hashtag on Instagram to share their work and remote workspaces, and we encourage all MECA community members to do the same!

MECA’s Commitment

These are extraordinarily trying times and during the past few weeks we have all been required to take extraordinary measures and make real sacrifices. I wanted you to know that although this global crisis has presented many unprecedented challenges for colleges like MECA, we are doing our best to keep College operations moving forward and to keep all student workers, faculty, and staff employees on our payroll. The next few months will be challenging, but I know that we will prevail and I am confident that together we can accomplish a lot more than we thought we could just a few weeks ago. Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Even though we may not be gathering physically as planned this spring, either in classrooms or at special events, I want to remind you that you are part of a thriving and healthy MECA community. We are forging ahead in many directions, including resuming classes remotely Monday, preparing virtual programming from the ICA at MECA, and continuing plans for our annual COLLECT art sale to continue - online!

Until we are able to gather again in Portland, I hope you will follow and use the #mymecacommunity hashtag to contribute to and participate in the MECA community from wherever you are. We will continue to update you on our journey. Please keep in touch, be well, and stay safe.

With appreciation,
Laura