On view from October 6 - December 15, 2023

PORTLAND, ME August 24, 2023The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design (ICA at MECA&D) is pleased to announce the opening of Liveable Worlds, on view from October 6 to December 15, 2023. A public performance will be held by Futurefarmers artist collective Friday, October 6 from 12:00-4:00pm, followed by a public reception in the ICA from 5:00–8:00pm.

Curated by Julie Poitras Santos, Associate Professor of MFA, and Sabine Malcolm, Assistant Professor and Chair of Sustainable Ecosystems in Art & Design at Maine College of Art & Design, Liveable Worlds is an exhibition that uses environmental art and design as a starting point for imagining how we can make liveable worlds in challenging conditions. The exhibition presents the work of nine artists who work in painting, sculpture, photography, video, performance, public projects, and installation. Parallel to the exhibition, Liveable Worlds will host events focused on community engagement surrounding environmental justice, on regional and global scales.

“By any measure, our world is becoming increasingly unliveable,” writes co-curator Sabine Malcom. “Liveable Worlds turns our attention to practices of repair, strategies of adaptation, and world-building. The exhibition asks: what forms of visualization, survival, collaboration, and community appear when climates and environments approach conditions that seem unliveable?”

The works in the exhibition argue that to create in a time of environmental disruption is primarily to reimagine and rebuild. Be it by splicing salvaged rope with many hands, imagining a reclaimed landscape, invoking utopian communities, or thinking about one’s mind as an earthly topography, Liveable Worlds engages with both common and conflictual histories of land, water, and air to consider how we can make our worlds liveable.

The ICA will host public art and cultural events associated with the exhibition, including the symposium Making Liveable Worlds: Climate, Community, and Art on November 3-4, 2023. “Crucial to the ideas explored in the exhibition are the creative efforts of our local community members to make our worlds more liveable,” states co-curator Julie Poitras Santos. “In the context of the exhibition, artists, environmental justice organizations, and climate activists will share challenges and successes, highlighting our collective endeavors and strengthening connections between organizations and individuals”. 

Sky Hopinka, Sunflower Siege Engine, (still). HD video, 16mm to HD video, stereo, color. 2022

On Friday, November 3, Mary Mattingly will kick off the weekend symposium with an Artist Lecture. On Saturday, November 4, community organizations will gather in the ICA to collaborate with the sentiments and aims of the exhibition. These organizations are oriented to social justice, and their practices are part of an effort to make our city and our state more “liveable.” During the afternoon, a series of hands-on workshops will be offered to participants. The intent is that audience members will leave with a new form of knowledge that they can implement and disperse into their own environments. The symposium is free to the public, and registration is requested. 

Participating artists include:

  • Futurefarmers
  • Sky Hopinka
  • Athena LaTocha
  • Patte Loper
  • Mary Mattingly
  • Pamela Moulton
  • Oscar Santillán
  • Cauleen Smith
  • Will Wilson

Participating community organizations include:

  • Greenhorns
  • Bigelow Labs
  • Fresh Food Gardens
  • Wild Seed Project
  • Plant Office
  • Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions

Liveable Worlds encompasses a number of events that are free and open to the public:

  • October 6, 12:00pm — Futurefarmers Procession, East End Beach to the ICA
  • October 6, 5:00-8:00pm — Opening Reception for Liveable Worlds, [ICA at MECA&D]
  • October 16, 12:00-1:00pm — Visiting Artist talk, Athena LaTocha, [Osher Hall, MECA&D]
  • October 19, 5:30pm — Friends of Casco Bay, Water Reporters Program, [ICA at MECA&D]
  • November 3, 5:00pm — Keynote Speaker, Mary Mattingly, Making Liveable Worlds: Climate, Community, and Art [ICA at MECA&D]
  • November 4, 9:00am-4:00pm — Symposium, Making Liveable Worlds: Climate, Community, and Art [ICA at MECA&D]

Generous support for the exhibition is provided by the Jeremy Moser and Laura Kittle Fund, and by Robert W. Burgess, Jr. and Mrs. Barbara Rose Burgess.

For more information about the exhibition and accompanying events, please visit the ICA website.

# # #


The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), cultivates engagement and dialogue regarding contemporary visual art practices, aiming to foster discourse regarding the critical conversations of our time, and to enhance understanding of visual culture. Located in stunning galleries in Maine College of Art & Design’s landmark Porteous Building, the ICA presents an exhibition calendar of ambitious work by living artists, operates as a learning laboratory for students, and as a center for public programming regarding contemporary art that engages with the local, national and global art community.

Hosting five exhibitions each year accompanied by a dynamic series of public events and artist talks, the ICA also supports Maine College of Art & Design graduate student exhibitions and events. The ICA is dedicated to working across platforms collaboratively and thinking with others to inspire creative action, reimagine our future, and create compassionate communities together through visual art.

The ICA is open Wednesday–Sunday, 11:00am–5:00pm, and Thursdays until 7:00pm. Exhibitions at the ICA at Maine College of Art & Design are free and open to the public.


For 140 years, Maine College of Art & Design has activated students of all pursuits to make art, make an impact, and inspire change. 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 the College the right place for students who want to make their mark and be seen. Maine College of Art & Design 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. Follow us at @mecaart.