MECA’s Visiting Artist and Guest Lecturer Series invites professional artists, educators, curators, thought leaders, and creative entrepreneurs to present on topics of interest and importance to the MECA community. All lectures in this series are open to the public at no charge.

Seating is limited. Call 207.699.5010 for more information. Supported in part by the Gene R. Cohen Charitable Foundation, the Isabel K. Pease Trust, and friends of the College through the Osher Chair Naming Program.

2.13 // WEDNESDAY 12:00 – 1:20pm


Anna Von Mertens superimposes layers of meaning and themes into her quilts, which resemble color field paintings or sculptures.  Using a computer to design her richly complex work, she painstakingly hand dyes her material and uses a stitching pattern that can incorporate as many as 100,000 stitches in one piece.  She was the recipient of a 2010 United States Artists Simon Fellowship and a 2007 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award and currently lives in Peterborough, NH.

Sponsored by Metalsmithing & Jewelry

| I Want Sex

Derek creates narrative portraiture that is rooted in performance, blurring the line between documentary and fantasy. His technical role is often that of a mediator, with photography being the initial point of contact in a process that may include painting, drawing, installation, video, and live performance.

Sponsored by Public Engagement

2.21 // THURSDAY 12:30 – 1:30pm

BEN SEVERNS MFA ’13 | Our Kind Will Be the First to Blaze a Trail Into a New Life

Ben Severns’ sculptures, installations, performances, photographs, videos, and sound sculptures are meant to mark the divide between what is and what could be as he strives to build a more perfect world. He was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, earned his BFA at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and is an MFA student at MECA.  He has worked with galleries in Minnesota and Maine, as well as with the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Walker Art Center’s Open Field project.

Sponsored by MFA Program

2.28 // THURSDAY 12:30 – 1:30pm

ADAM DEGRANDIS ’05 | The Art of Play

MECA alum Adam deGrandis has worked at game development studios across the country and has been involved with the production of award-winning games for PC, Mac, web, mobile, and console platforms. He currently lives in Portland, Maine, where he teaches at MECA and works a freelance game artist, catering to the growing community of small, independent game developers. In 2012 he acted as principal artist on the eagerly awaited co-op heist game, “Monaco,” which is set to be released this spring. and

Sponsored by New Media

3.7 // THURSDAY 10:30 – 11:50am

TONI JO COPPA MFA ’13 | On the In-Between

Toni Jo Coppa is a MFA student at MECA who is primarily a painter, in love with the figure and psychological scenarios.  She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was awarded a Zorach scholarship to attend a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has exhibited her work at the Knoedler Gallery in New York City, and has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Puffin Foundation.

Sponsored by MFA Program

3.19 // TUESDAY 10:30 – 11:50am

CHIE FUEKI (Artist in Residence) | Artist Talk

In her intricate and colorful works, Chie Fueki interweaves her exposure to diverse customs with an outsider’s fascination toward American popular culture. Divining a subject archetypically American, Fueki explores the ceremonial, ritualistic, and seasonal occurrence of team sports. The superhuman status of players, the tribe mentality of spectators, the spiritual and mythological connotation of animal mascots, and the symbolic use of color and numbers are all made palpable within a disciplined structure that is itself reminiscent of the game. She is represented by Mary Boone Gallery in New York City.

Sponsored by the Painting Department

3.20 // WEDNESDAY 12:00 – 1:20pm

EMILY ZILBER | Curator’s Talk

Emily Zilber joined the  Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in the fall of 2010 as the first Ronald L. and Anita C. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts. She is responsible for the MFA’s vibrant program of contemporary decorative arts, including guiding acquisitions and developing a presence for craft and design throughout the museum. She also oversees the Daphne and Peter Farago Gallery, a dedicated space for modern and contemporary craft, design, and decorative arts, which opened in September 2011.  Her current projects include the exhibition New Blue-and-White, which focuses on contemporary interpretations of ceramic history

Sponsored by Metalsmithing & Jewelry

3.21 // THURSDAY 12:30 – 1:30pm

AARON PATRICK DECKER ’12 | Constellation: A Group or Cluster of Related Things

Recent Windgate Fellowship award recipient and MECA graduate Aaron Decker discusses the research he conducted on groups of jewelry artists, gallerists and curators within Portugal and Estonia.  Inquiring into the origin and the cultural identity of the work from each respective country, Aaron conducted and catalogued interviews that are being published by Art Jewelry Forum, a nonprofit contemporary jewelry organization.   His work is based around a variety of questions, including, “ Is art identified as ‘art’ everywhere one goes? What happens when the ink on paper bleeds across cultural lines, and these intricacies which once separated us, begin to break down into new formations?” and

Sponsored by Artists at Work

3.28 // THURSDAY 12:30 – 1:30pm

SYLVIE ROSENTHAL | Minor Architecture and the Lower Astronomy

Sylvie Rosenthal started building at age six, making circuses, catapults, rockets, and robots at the Eli Whitney Museum, where she was introduced to the work of inventors and artists such as Alexander Calder, Leonardo da Vinci, and A.C.  Gilbert. Her formal study of traditional European woodworking at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts (BFA ’03) tempered these explorations and instilled a dedication to craftsmanship. Over the last ten years, she has gained recognition for her intricate and detail-oriented furniture, sculpture, contraptions and art objects that are infused with humor and steeped in the impossible. She is pursuing a Masters Degree in Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a former Windgate Fellowship recipient..

Sponsored by Woodworking & Furniture Design

4.4 // THURSDAY 12:30 – 1:30pm


Nina Schwanse’s video and live works frame performance as a comic, mimetic, melancholy, hideous, and deeply unreliable form of communication. Her invocation of generic D-list celebrities, notorious cultural figures such as Amy Fisher, confused anchorwomen, morbidly obsessed football fans, and swamp people “refresh the typically didactic terrain of mediated female objectification with verbal and visual wit,” writes critic Kevin McGarry.  She was the 2009 recipient of a full fellowship at the University of New Orleans MFA program, and is currently a member of Good Children Gallery, an artist-run collective. She lives and works in New Orleans with her cat.

Sponsored by Visiting Artist Committee

4.6 // SATURDAY 8:00 – 9:30pm

JOHN FIREMAN | An Evening with John Fireman

John was born and raised in New York City. He earned his BFA in Film Studies from Yale University, after which he worked as a story editor and producer at New Line Cinema. John’s primary focus is feature-length experimental documentary films, though he also works with video, video/sound installation, photography, electroacoustic music composition, and performance. His work was included in Perfoma 2011, and has been presented at the Abrons Art Center and the Museum of Art and Design, both in New York City. Holland Cotter, art critic for the New York Times, called John’s documentary work “very funny.”  In the fall, John will show an interactive video work at FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française – NYC) as part of the “Crossing the Line” series.  

Sponsored by MFA Program

4.18 // THURSDAY 12:30 – 1:30pm

PILAR NADAL MFA ’13 | Up Until Now

Pilar Nadal currently lives and prints in Portland, Maine as she pursues her MFA at MECA.  She combines all the skills gained in her past careers as an art teacher, ice-cream truck driver, and sign-maker into a super powered art maker, especially through Tired Press, the portable printmaking project she takes out into the community. Primarily a printmaker, Pilar is also interested in education and public engagement.

Sponsored by MFA Program