Portland, Maine: Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) today announced a celebration of the graduating Class of 2020 and shared plans to welcome students back for Summer and Fall academic programs.

Work by Michael Carosielli ‘22, Protecting the World Starts With You, mixed media on tyvek wrap. Every spring, Textile Printing students design, print, and install huge banners in the Porteous windows as part of the Message & Monologue project. This year, the project took on a deeper meaning when students looked around their personal communities and designed messages for their neighbors. This opportunity to install their projects in meaningful personal spaces was an opportunity they wouldn’t have had on campus and students did an incredible job rising to the occasion to speak to their communities.

Graduating Class of 2020

To recognize our 2020 Bachelor in Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts, and Master of Art in Teaching graduates, MECA&D will be celebrating their accomplishments with a Virtual Ceremony on Saturday, June 6, 2020. Members of the Class of 2020 are also invited to participate in a joint Commencement in May 2021 for the Classes of 2020 and 2021. Graduates of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies participated in a Virtual Ceremony on May 6, 2020.

In lieu of a traditional Thesis Exhibition, MECA&D is producing a catalog featuring the work of BFA, MFA, MAT, and Salt Class of 2020 graduates. The catalog will be published digitally in June and a printed version will be available in the fall.

“I want to thank each of our community members for your support of MECA&D’s mission of educating artists for life,” shared President Laura Freid. “With the guidance of MECA&D faculty and staff, our students successfully completed their spring semester -- their work is captivating, provocative, and creative, and will serve as a visual journal of these times. This is a moment in time that is like no other we have experienced and the creative response is heartwarming, poignant, and an inspiration to us all.”

Reopening Plans

MECA&D’s reopening plans will continue to develop as we monitor health conditions and assess how quickly innovations in testing, contact tracing, and treatment occur. Several planning groups are convening regularly to prepare us for the summer months, the fall semester, the implementation of COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and our long-term strategy post-COVID. We are working with an infectious disease specialist who will continue to consult with us and offer guidance on the safest way to have students on campus. We will work with the Maine CDC for appropriate contact tracing as needed and take every measure possible to provide access to testing for our community.

We are currently preparing to safely welcome back a small cohort of MFA and MAT students this summer and plan to welcome our BFA students back to the classroom after Labor Day. Assuming there are no additional emerging health or safety issues, we will provide in-person instruction with full access to the studios and instructional spaces. We will be following all federal and state public health guidelines, including quarantining upon arrival from out of state, maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, handwashing, disinfectant cleaning, and adapting our dining protocols. While we hope to be able to maintain in-person learning, we will adjust our plans as conditions may dictate, following any guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Maine CDC, and/or Governor Mills. If needed, we can offer delivery of our academic experience and student support resources remotely and will be prepared to accommodate our students in residential housing through any Stay at Home Order.

MECA&D’s Office of Continuing Studies is launching new online classes beginning June 15th. The online catalog will offer a mix of formats including workshops, weekly classes, and intensives. Course topics include Professional Development, Creative Practice, Writing, Fashion & Textile Design, Printmaking, Podcasting, and Archival Storytelling.

Reflections from President Laura Freid

“In these times of social isolation, it is even more important that we stay connected with each other and with our community,” said President Freid. “I have every confidence that together we will be able to create a new way of working and learning. With each day we are becoming more aware of ways to navigate our lives during this pandemic.

Each of us has a role to play. What role do artists have in these times? Should we abandon our work? The answer is no. These times challenge us to make art even more intensely, more passionately than ever before. I encourage all our students, graduates, and faculty to keep creating, keep asking questions, keep presenting perspectives, keep challenging us. Your work cannot change the course of events, but as the composer Lenard Bernstein reminded us years ago, art has the power to influence people so that they are changed and empowered. Then, ‘they can act in ways that may change the course of events...by the way they behave, the way they vote and ultimately the way they influence our world.’

Congratulations to our graduates. I look forward to seeing everyone virtually and in person in the coming months back at MECA&D.”

Contact: Leah Igo Brooks, Director of Marketing & Communications, ligo@meca.edu.