Maine College Of Art Unveils New Name, Creative Identity, and the
Envisioning Our Future 2027 Strategic Plan 

  • The 140-year-old art school is now Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) to reflect its full scope of academic programs 
  • MECA&D students, faculty, staff, and alumni drove the new creative identity 
  • Maine College of Art & Design Strategic Plan: Envisioning Our Future 2027 has been tested and designed for a post-pandemic world 
  • The College will welcome a diverse group of international visiting artists and new faculty and will offer additional interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students in the upcoming academic year, also the institution’s 140th anniversary


PORTLAND, ME—August 24, 2021—Following two years of community research and a desire to be inclusive of all the academic programs that the school is known for, Maine College of Art  today announced it is renamed as Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D). The College also unveiled its Maine College of Art & Design Strategic Plan: Envisioning Our Future 2027 that defines how the school will be able to best attract, educate, and support future generations of creative thinkers. 

“During the strategic planning process we set out as a community to identify challenges and opportunities for the future of the College,” said Laura Freid, President of Maine College of Art & Design. “Together, we envisioned a world enriched by artists and designers who are empowered to create with profound and practical impact. At one point we all realized that it was time to expand our name, restate our commitment to all artists and designers, embrace our evolution, and place the value of inclusivity at the forefront of our work. I see the ‘&D’ as a symbol of that process - it reinforces our culture of shared accountability, visibility, and collaborative success.“

Design has been embedded in the College’s coursework, alongside fine arts and crafts, since the first official curriculum was launched about 140 years ago.

“We have a long history of grounding our education in the fundamentals of visual design, but it's only in the last decade we’ve seen more than 60% of our students pursue design careers,” said Ian Anderson, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. “The name Maine College of Art & Design conveys the College’s full range of offerings and is more inclusive of and comprehensively reflects all our students’ design interests from animation and game art, illustration, and graphic design to textile and fashion design and woodworking and furniture design.” 

MECA&D Strategic Plan: Envisioning Our Future 2027,
Tested For Today and Tomorrow

The Maine College of Art & Design Strategic Plan: Envisioning Our Future 2027 clearly lays out its mission to educate artists and designers for life.

In addition to updating the College’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values, the plan also outlines the following five strategic goals to guide growth over the next decade: 

  1. Advance academic excellence;
  2. Further develop a culture of social change, racial justice, and inclusion;
  3. Broaden its reach online through distance learning;
  4. Create a living and learning center; and,
  5. Commit to a sustainable financial plan for the coming decades.

“At Maine College of Art & Design we teach our students how to ask questions and solve problems to become agents of societal change equipped with the talent and the tools to make a difference,” said Freid. “This is the exact approach we took when we asked ‘how do we grow over the next decade?’ and again we asked ‘will this plan be successful in a post-pandemic world?’ We’re confident that as we head into the future anchored by our five strategic goals we will accelerate the College’s growth and be able to educate, guide, and inspire tomorrow’s creative leaders to make art, make an impact, and inspire change in the world.”

MECA&D Creative Identity:
Designed From the Inside Out

MECA&D students, staff, faculty, and alumni created the College’s new look from the inside out. 

Faculty members Drew Hodges and Steve Bowden ‘97 are the creative directors behind the new MECA&D wordmark design, with contributions from alum designer Hallie Mitchell ‘17. Founder of Drewdesignco and SpotCo, Drew is known for his celebrated work on Broadway brands, including Rent, Chicago, and Hamilton. Bowden, in addition to his roles on both the faculty and staff for the College, brought a unique perspective to the homegrown branding team as a graduate of MECA&D&D and seasoned, international graphic designer.

MECA&D’s newly branded merchandise showcases student artwork and was carefully chosen to help the College remain environmentally conscious, reflecting sustainability values held by MECA&D students. The College also benefited from its working relationship with creative agency VIA and community creative partners to help execute ideas locally. 

Year Ahead 

This fall, the College will be launching a number of new initiatives to promote the reaffirmed values, such as diversity, inclusion, and academic excellence. 

  • Visiting Artists: MECA&D will welcome a diverse group of international visiting artists and faculty to work with students this fall, including Yazan Kalili, Ghada Amer, Alyson Shotz, Lee Mingwei.
  • & Lab: MECA&D students will have access to new interdisciplinary learning opportunities, including a course called & Lab, where students collaborate from across all art disciplines to solve real-world problems, giving students practical experience. 
  • New Faculty: On the academic side, the College has recruited some notable new faculty hires, including:
    • Zenab Bastawala, an award-winning typographer and international speaker as an Assistant Professor in Graphic Design. She’ll be relocating from India. 
    • Patrick Coughlin as an Associate Professor in Ceramics. His work has been exhibited around the world, and Coughlin previously worked as a professor at Saint John’s University and the University of Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

To learn more about Maine College of Art & Design, please visit and for inspiration follow @mecaart



Maine College of Art & Design has been activating students of all pursuits to make art, make an impact, and inspire change since its founding as Portland School of Art in 1882. Located in Portland's thriving Arts District, students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, 24-hour-a-day studios, a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and a community-based Artists at Work program—making MECA&D the right-sized school in the right-sized city for every student who wants to make their mark and be seen. MECA&D offers BFA Majors and Minors, Graduate Programs, Continuing Studies, Pre-College, and includes the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and the Institute for Contemporary Art. MECA&D (pronounced: Maine College of Art and Design). Follow us at @mecaart.