Maine College of Art to Host Annual Resilience Week, A Series of Events to Support Conversations Around Race and Inclusion

Maine College of Art is proud to announce its second annual Resilience Week, scheduled for February 22 through February 26, 2021. Brought to you by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Students of Color Coalition, the Diversity Committee, and campus partners, Resilience Week is dedicated to our mission of racial, sexual, and gender inclusivity at MECA.

“Through Resilience Week’s programming, we provide a network of support for those committed to fostering change here at MECA,” said Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Margaret Brownlee. “By organizing these workshops and events, we encourage students, faculty, staff, and community members to engage in conversation about global diversity, racial justice, and inclusion. Our goal is to carve out space where Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) don’t just survive—they thrive.”

Resilience Week will kick-off with a community conversation on How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi on Monday, February 22, 2021, and a virtual film screening of Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

“Promoting a culture of social change, racial justice, and inclusion at MECA is one of the top priorities of our 2020-2027 Strategic Plan,” said President Laura Freid. “We are committed to a world enriched by the creativity of artists and designers whose diverse perspectives are empowered and celebrated. The breadth of events and programming that our Diversity Committee and Students of Color Coalition have brought to Resilience Week and to MECA is impressive and I encourage our students, faculty, staff, and community members alike to join us in these critical conversations about identity, race, and representation.”

Resilience Week will feature nine events, most of which are free and open to the public by Zoom. Other event highlights include: A People's Virtual Guided Walking Tour of Portland's Old Port, on Thursday February 25th, offering a discussion on Portland’s history with European colonists, the relationship between Indigenous and African slavery, Portland's historic black community, and the Underground Railroad and Abolition Movements in Portland; and Resilience Radio: from Marvin Gaye to Public Enemy, an hour of protest music spanning decades, borders, and genres on Friday, February 26th.

“In an effort to combat the “room of silence” that students often encounter when presenting work for critique that deals with issues of diversity, race, and identity, one of the events we are hosting is a BIPOC-centered critique environment,” shared student leader Aminata Conteh '21 about the private Resilience Week Critique (CRUNCH), scheduled mid-week on Wednesday February 24th.

A full listing of Resilience Week events can be found below:

Resilience Week 2021 Workshops + Events

1. Developing A Culture: Shared Book Read and Conversation
Presenters: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer & Learning Support Coordinator Margaret Brownlee; Director of the Joanne Waxman Library Shiva Darbandi, Graphic Design Program Chair Charles Melcher; ICA Director of Exhibitions Julie Poitras Santos; and Program Chair of MFA in Studio Art Chris Stiegler
Monday, February 22nd at 12pm -- Free and Open to the Public.
https://zoom.us/j/96068059714

Developing a culture of social change, racial justice, and inclusion is part of the Strategic Plan for Maine College of Art. The MECA community strives to provide an environment where everyone is welcome and we are excited to offer our community an opportunity to start this process -- to learn together, create a common knowledge base, a common vocabulary, and create a collective experience within our community -- by participating in a shared read with faculty and staff. The book we have chosen, How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, is a New York Times best seller. Register by clicking here.

2. Preview: Daughters of the Dust (A film by Julie Dash)
Presenters: Liz Rhaney '20
Tuesday, February 23rd at 12pm (Preview) -- Free and Open to the Public
https://zoom.us/j/98593518891

Join us for a conversation about Julie Dash’s 1991 classic Daughters of the Dust, a film set in the Sea Islands of the Southeast coast that is about generations of women in the Peazant family as they walk between the traditions of the past and hope of the future.

3. Film Screening: Daughters of the Dust (A film by Julie Dash)
Presenters: Liz Rhaney '20
Tuesday, February 23rd at 6pm -- Free and Open to the Public
https://zoom.us/j/92861315759

Daughters of the Dust, is a portrait of the women in the Peazant family, who belong to the creole Gullah culture -- former slaves living in the Sea Islands who have been able to preserve much of their African cultural heritage. It is a post-slavery narrative about cultural memory, notions of home and belonging, and conflicts of Black female identity.

4. Resilience Week Critique -- CRUNCH
Presenters: Aminata Conteh '21 and Special Guests
Wednesday, February 24th at 10:30am to 1:00pm -- Private MECA Campus Event

In an effort to combat the “room of silence” that students often encounter when presenting work for critique that deals with issues of diversity, race, and identity, the Resilience Week Committee, Diversity Committee, and Students of Color Coalition are hosting a BIPOC-centered critique environment. MECA students can sign up for a 25-minute slot where their artwork will be discussed in a safe and generative environment. This is an opportunity to expand the conversation on your work where the attention is focused on an exploration of content and not an explanation of content.

5. What Is Resilience?
Presenters: Evelyn Wong MFA '19, Dulce Garcia MFA '21, and Ashley Page '20
Wednesday, February 24th at 12pm -- Free and Open to the Public
https://zoom.us/j/99536156295

What is resilience? Resilience brings together students, faculty, staff, alumni, Trustees, and community members to broaden the narrative of artists of color. Join us for a conversation with: Chinese-American artist Evelyn Wong MFA '19, a survivor of multigenerational abuse and developmental trauma; Ashley Page '20, Studio and Program Coordinator at Indigo Arts Alliance; and Dulce Garcia MFA '21.

6. A People's Virtual Guided Walking Tour of Portland's Old Port
Presenters: Adjunct Instructor of World History Seth Goldstein & Dr. Meadow Dibble
Thursday, February 25th at 9:15am -- Free and Open to the Public
https://meca.zoom.us/j/94680149892

Historian Seth Goldstein will take you on a virtual walking tour of Portland's Old Port Neighborhood. Topics discussed will include the Indigenous People of the region and their early conflicts with European colonists, the relationship between Indigenous and African slavery, Portland's historic black community, and both the Underground Railroad and Abolition Movement in Portland.

7. Embodied Equity Consulting
Presenter: René Goddess Johnson
Thursday, February 25th at 12:00pm- free and open to the public
https://zoom.us/j/96714049265

René Goddess Johnson is a dance artist who has extensive experience in performance, teaching, choreographing, and academia. She brings a multitude of skills into any project. In this workshop, students, faculty, staff, alumni, Trustees, and community members will explore how factors such as race, religion, state, the country you live in, and love in, and family do shape a person’s personal identity. We reflect on this question through experiential art -- exploring improvisation, movement, discussion, instinct, writing, meditation, reading, music, and dance. This is a fully embodied experience of personal transformation through physical pleasure and personal challenges.

8. Visiting Artist Talk with Cristóbal Martinez,
Presented in conjunction with MECA’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series
Presenters: Cristobal Martinez & Assistant Professor of Metalsmithing and Jewelry Kyle Patnaude
Thursday, February 25th at 5:30pm- free and open to the public.
https://meca.zoom.us/j/85121481527

Cristóbal Martinez is a Chicano artist, publishing scholar, and Chair of the Art and Technology Program at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2003 he co-founded the artist-hacker performance ensemble Radio Healer; together the participants create indigenous electronic tools from hacking, recycling, and adaptive reuse to perform indigenous ceremonies based on their imagination. In 2009, he began working in the interdisciplinary and internationally acclaimed artist collective Postcommodity. In collaboration, he and his fellow artists position generative metaphors to aestheticize and mediate complexity at locations of dromological, spatial, social, cultural, political, ecological, and economic anxiety. Cristóbal has exhibited work in prominent national and international museums, exhibitions, and festivals, including the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Museum of Modern Art, and many others. cristobalmartinez.net

9. Resilience Radio: from Marvin Gaye to Public Enemy
Presenters: Adjunct Instructor of World History Seth Goldstein, Liz Rhaney '20, Coordinator of the Bob Crewe Program in Art & Music Steve Drown, and Benjamin Spaulding MFA '17
Friday, February 26th at 12pm -- Free and Open to the Public
https://zoom.us/j/92982876551

Music is a necessary facet of resilience. Rhythm, melody, lyrics are transformative. Music can conjure a spark of memory, the ability to stay focused, allow us to move our bodies and release emotion. Think about it as Resilience Radio, where we ask members of the MECA community to supply songs and sounds that are part of their story, music that has aided in their own feelings of expression, empowerment and groundedness during a strange cultural moment. These songs will be combined in a larger mix, available for the entire MECA community to enjoy. Listen to songs of protest, love, and power as we span decades, borders, and genres. These songs will inspire, rejuvenate, and re-imagine your future to resist. Join us for an hour of protest music.

MECA would like to acknowledge the time and energy of the Resilience Week Planning Group, whose leadership and vision has helped shape programming and ongoing dialogues.

Margaret Brownlee
Liz Rhaney MFA '20
Aminata Conteh '21
Shiva Darbandi
Jenna Crowder '09
Jennifer Doebler
Steve Drown
Julio Rivera '24
Eddie Dechaine '21
Ling-Wen Tsai
Seth Goldstein
Nikki Rayburn
Kyle Patnaude
Julie Poitras Santos
London Dupere '08
John Portlock

For more information about Resilience Week, please visit: https://www.meca.edu/artists-at-work/public-engagement/resilience-week/.