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. I urge you all to enjoy the present moment and take the advice of James Joyce, who advises us to, “Hold on to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.” These words from Joyce’s Ulysses continue to have resonance today as we step from our past lives towards the future, often documenting the present without stopping to enjoy it in the moment.

Tomorrow, 148 new BFA students will enter MECA&D for orientation, joining our MAT students who are already in the fourth week of their fall semester. This weekend, returning BFA, MFA and Salt students will make their way back to campus for the official start of the fall semester. 

Our new undergraduate class represents an increasingly diverse student body, with more than 25% of those students identifying as non-white or multi-racial, and 23% identifying as genderqueer, gender fluid, or nonbinary. Almost half the states in this country are represented here.  We are all working hard to ensure that students from all backgrounds feel welcomed and supported, and this data indicates success in those efforts.

Even before classes begin, we can feel the creative energy that makes our community so vibrant. Our BFA Orientation Leadership Team and Resident Assistants, directed by Dean of Student Life Mel Adams, are putting the final touches on welcome plans for incoming students. Our resident assistants are getting ready to introduce the incoming class to our amazing facilities, including our newly renovated Cafe. Stop by and join them for breakfast or lunch next week. 

As we begin the new academic year, I hope you will join me in a moment of gratitude for all that has been accomplished during the course of the College’s 141-year history. When MECA&D 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 dynamic cultural institutions in Portland. Our faculty are leaders in their disciplines, and our graduates are working 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 that 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, their studio, their creative inspiration, and their 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 new work that will be 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 to the dedicated staff and talented 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. 




President Laura Freid