The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design and Indigo Arts Alliance Present

Visions for our Future; Echoes of our Past: 

Dianne Smith, Nyugen E. Smith, and Carl Joe Williams 

On view Saturday, March 26 – Friday, May 6, 2022

Carl Joe Williams, After Big Mama Passed, Family Portrait, Calliope Projects, 1955, mixed media on doors, 79" x 60”, 2022

PORTLAND, ME February 23, 2022The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design (ICA at MECA&D) and its partner Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) are pleased to announce the opening of Visions for our Future; Echoes of our Past: Dianne Smith, Nyugen E. Smith, and Carl Joe Williams, curated by IAA Deputy Director Jordia Benjamin and Studio and Program Coordinator Ashley Page ’20.

Visions for our Future; Echoes of our Past: Dianne Smith, Nyugen E. Smith, and Carl Joe Williams transforms the galleries of the Institute of Contemporary Art with storytelling, expressions of care, craftsmanship, and vibrant color. The three featured artists, all of whom are former artist residents at IAA, present works in installation, painting, collage, sculpture, textiles, video, photography, and sound. 

The curators note, “Visions for our Future; Echoes of our Past, offers a perspective into the lives, histories and experiences of Black/Brown culture and communities that are historically siloed, suppressed, and removed from the canon of art history. The exhibiting artists are examining, deconstructing, and re-inventing new ways of making in order to accurately reflect global communities. It is our hope that Black/Brown audiences continue to see themselves, their community and stories as valid, honored and valued. We strongly believe that art, along with active community engagement, is imperative to manifest change.”

IAA’s energy and ambitious vision provide critical roadmaps to building a healthy, multiracial society, one that recognizes our shared past and foregrounds black excellence, such as with the works in this exhibition. 

Since its inception in May of 2019, IAA has transformed the local and national arts landscape through its advocacy and commitment to visibility for Black and Brown artists. Dedicated to the professional development and amplification of Black/Brown artists, IAA is an innovative, Black-led studio space for artists that offers multi-faceted Artist in Residency Programs and a communal work space that invites collaboration. Its space is an environment for artwork production across all disciplines. Through its residency programs, fellowship, internships, and daily community commitments, IAA embodies the work required for the dismantling and rebuilding of cultural narratives that have shaped American culture. 

Maine College of Art & Design partners with IAA to offer paid internship and mentorship opportunities for BIPOC students, alumni, and faculty from the College. This important local partnership gives MECA&D students a chance to connect and collaborate with to established artists of color from around the world.

The exhibition is generously funded in part by The Crewe Foundation, and by USI Insurance, Hanover Insurance, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

Related programming: 

  • Thursday, April 21, 5:00-6:30 PM: Artist Talk with Dianne Smith, Nyugen E. Smith, and Carl Joe Williams, moderated by Myron Beasley (virtual)

For more information about the exhibition, 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 at MECA&D presents an exhibition calendar of ambitious work by living artists, operates as a learning laboratory for MECA&D students, and 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 at MECA&D also supports MECA&D graduate student exhibitions and Maine College of Art & Design events. We are 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.

Open Wednesday–Sunday, 11:00pm–5:00pm, and Thursdays until 7:00pm. The ICA at MECA&D is always free. - 

COVID-19 Policies: For the health and safety of our staff and visitors, we ask that all visitors to the ICA social distance and agree to wear a mask at all times while inside the ICA, regardless of vaccination status. If you are feeling unwell please stay home and plan your visit for a later date. 



Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D, pronounced "Maine College of Art and 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. Follow us at @mecaart.



Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) is an arts incubator founded in 2018 and launched in 2019, located in Portland, Maine, IAA’s mission is to cultivate the artistic development of people of African descent in connection with other artists from diverse backgrounds of the African Diaspora. 

Addressing the underrepresentation of Black and Brown artists; Maine based artists and world-wide, the IAA residency provides space for dialogue and exchange between artists of African descent and other communities of color.  The core imperative of the Indigo Arts Alliance residency program is to establish a robust and dynamic experience through creative production and intellectual engagement. To date, Indigo Arts Alliance has served 28 artists in residence. Artists came from the following cultural heritages including some of the following countries: African American/US, Belize, Peru, Brazil, Sierra Leone, Trinidad, Jamaica, Mexico, India, Ethiopia, Sudan, Barbados, Gabon, and Ghana. To learn more about our work visit our website at and follow us at @indigoartsalliance.


Jacqui Walpole, Director of External Relations