When MECA&D's Continuing Studies Department held its inaugural Summer Youth Essay Contest and received over 70 submissions from young artists ranging in age from 8 to 17, we recognized there is a great desire for arts programming in the Greater Portland area and decided to make the contest an annual event. In the spring of 2015, three students were awarded  free summer arts camps based on their essays' conviction and clarity of expression. The essay question focused on students' experiences with art and applicants were asked to respond in 250-500 words to the question,“Tell us about an art experience you’ve had that you’ll never forget. How has it inspired you to want to make art at MECA&D this summer?”

The goal of the essay contest is to engage young artists in the community and to give them opportunities to expand their artistic skill-set. Many of the winning students last year spoke about how the opportunity to spend their summer at MECA&D would help them grow as people and learn as artists. Past winner Caitlyn Duffy said in her essay, “I thrive in places surrounded by other people who are just as creative as me, or more so. To have the opportunity to be surrounded by people with passion and to broaden my artistic skill would be an extremely rich experience.”

At MECA&D, we believe art is essential to a healthy society and a thriving culture. We want to empower our youth to engage in art making that changes who they are and how they see the world. Artists are innovative, hard working problem solvers who play a critical role in our society-- we want to help you get there.The prize is a full scholarship to MECA&D’s many summer youth art camps, which explore a wide range of disciplines, including painting, drawing, gaming, sculpture, fashion, animation, photography, printmaking, music composition, and more.  The 2015 contest was sponsored by York County Federal Credit Union and WJBQ 97.9.

More information on the Summer Youth Essay Contest can be found at meca.edu/essaycontest.  Or call 699-5061 with questions.

Contact: Courtney Cook
Director of Continuing Studies
Maine College of Art & Design