August 24, 2022

Dear MECA&D Community,

This is my favorite time of the year: the week we welcome our students to Portland to usher in a fresh academic year at Maine College of Art & Design. Tomorrow, 124 new BFA students will enter our College for orientation, joining our MAT students who are already in the fourth week of their fall semester. This weekend, returning BFA and MFA students will make their way back to campus for the official start of the fall semester. 

Our new students are joining us from 28 states across the country. We have an increasingly diverse student body, with more than one-third of those students identifying as non-white or multi-racial, and more than 10% identifying as transgender. We work hard to ensure students from all backgrounds with a variety of perspectives feel welcomed and supported here, and these numbers indicate success in those efforts.

Even before classes begin, we can feel the campus buzzing with the creative energy that makes our community so vibrant. Our BFA Orientation Leadership Team and Resident Assistants, directed by new Dean of Student Life Mel Adams, are putting the final touches on welcome plans for incoming students. Our tour guides are getting ready to introduce the new classes to our amazing facilities.

As we begin the new academic year, I hope you will join me in a moment of gratitude for all we have accomplished during the course of the College’s 140-year history. When the College was first founded as a part of the Portland Society of Art in 1882, no one could have imagined how many lives we would touch, how many movements artists and designers would be guided through, and how many defining moments the College would encounter along the way. Today, MECA&D is one of the most important cultural institutions in Portland and our graduates work around the world as professional artists, leading designers, contemporary storytellers, innovative problem solvers, and cultural documentarians. Our community is strong, active, and inclusive; this is the legacy we have all created together.

We are so excited to greet the new students who have chosen Maine College of Art & Design to be their home, studio, creative inspiration, and community. So many things had to go right in order for all of us to arrive at this point today. Now it is time to make great use of the education, opportunities, and resources that MECA&D offers. We cannot wait to see all of the ideas that are brought to life over the course of the upcoming academic year!

On behalf of the faculty and staff here at the College, I wish everyone in our MECA&D community a wonderful start to the fall semester. Working in a thriving arts oasis is a unique opportunity that very few people are privileged to enjoy. We are very grateful for our extremely talented and committed faculty of working artists and the dedicated staff and students who call MECA&D home. We look forward to continuing to share updates on all of the innovative work our students and faculty will be creating throughout the academic year. 


Dr. Laura Freid