ALERT:  View MECA's 2020-2021 Welcome to Campus Plan by clicking this link.

Resilience Week at MECA
Friday, February 7 – Saturday, February 22, 2020

Click the image above for a downloadable poster of the entire schedule of events.

Brought to you by the Diversity Committee at MECA and the Students of Color Coalition, Resilience Week is dedicated to our mission of racial, sexual, and gender inclusivity here at MECA. By bringing together an exhibition, reading lists, film screenings, community meals, and workshops, we provide a network of support for those committed to fostering change here at MECA. Generating conversation and awareness of topics surrounding identity, race, representation, and justice we are carving a space where our students of color don’t just survive. They thrive.

Most events are free and open to the public. Check the calendar of events for details. Guests attending any of the events in the Porteous Building, must sign in at the front desk in the Lobby. Guests attending the Mending the Gap workshop in the Cumberland Building, must sign in at the front desk at 380 Cumberland. For updates follow MECA on Instagram – @mecaart and @mecastudentlife – tag your posts #resilienceweek!

2020 Workshops + Events

2020 Workshops + Events

Navigating the Intersection Film Festival & Panel

Click image for a downloadable poster

Saturday, February 8 from 12–10:30pm
MECA, Porteous, Osher Hall, Second floor
Free and open to the public
Navigating the Intersection takes place February 8th, 2020 from 12pm-10:30 pm in Osher Hall at Maine College of Art. The night is dedicated to exploration of the intersection between gender identity, sexuality, and race within a historical and contemporary context. Some of the media that will be screened includes Paris is Burning (1990), Tangerine (2015), Moonlight (2016), and more. Join us in expanding the conversation beyond what we know to explore the intersection of life, race, identity, and circumstance. Please view the film schedule calendar here.

Mend the Gap: A Community Blanket

Click image for a downloadable poster

Saturday, February 8 from 11am–2pm
MECA, 380 Cumberland Avenue, Portland
Free and open to the public
Participants will be making quilt squares out of upcycled textile material. The individual squares will be sewn together to create a community blanket. Focused on collective healing through the act of patching, mending, and upcycling textiles to generate conversation surrounding the topics of diversity, representation and inclusivity through art making. The final blanket will be included in an exhibition at MECA called Resilience of Diversity on February 15, 2020.

Moving Target Portland with Aretha Aoki

Sunday, February 9 from 1–3pm
Maine Mechanics Hall, 519 Congress Street, Portland (across from Porteous)
$5 for MECA Students

Moving Target Portland is a dance class series featuring a new teaching artist every week. As part of MECA’s Resilience Week, $5 discounted students tickets are generously being offered by Moving Target Portland. Join Aretha Aoki to invite the seen and unseen murmurings of past, present, and future to surface in spontaneous dancing, writing, sounding, and speaking—using the principles of automatic writing to structure improvisations that move between language and body mind.

Live Performance with Alejandro Graciano and DJ Session with Liz Rhaney

Click image for a downloadable poster

Sunday, February 9 from 7–10:30pm
Space Gallery, 538 Congress Street, Portland (down the street from MECA)
Free and open to the public

The live performance with Alejandro Graciano and DJ session with Liz Rhaney is intended to bring students together to celebrate Latin and African blues music with original poetry. The performance invites participants to explore self-expression and to experience many musical influences.

Séan Alonzo Harris: Artist Lecture

Click image for a downloadable poster

Monday, February 10 from 6–7pm
MECA, Porteous, Osher Hall, Second floor
Free and open to the public

Séan Alonzo Harris is a professional photographer and his work focuses on human experience and identity and examines how individuals visualize themselves and how they are portrayed. His images bear witness to often invisible or overlooked members of our communities, and create portraits that provide a counter-image and narrative of self-worth and personal agency.
 
Harris has received critical acclaim for his work, is a Kindling Fund grant recipient and was selected for the 2018 Portland Museum of Art Biennial. He has a BFA from the Art Institute of Boston and his professional practice includes collaborative, community-driven projects with nonprofit organizations.
 
“My work is marked by a fine art sensibility and an emphasis on environmental portraits. My creative process draws from a wide range of photographic traditions and methods and is driven by an authentic connection to my subjects and my clients. I’m genuinely curious about peoples’ lives and the experiences that shape their world.”
 
With support from Indigo Arts Alliance.

Resilience of Diversity Opening Reception

Click image for a downloadable poster

Monday, February 10 from 7:15–8:15pm
MECA, Porteous, Joanne Waxman Library, Second floor
Free and open to the public

Resilience of Diversity brings together student artists from MECA, alumni, faculty and members of the community to broaden the narrative of artists of color. In sharing the intimate pockets of the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual mind of these artists, we invite you to look beyond any preconceived ideas to explore the nuances of our stories, our work, and our experiences. As makers, as humans, as a family, we share ourselves with you to expand the conversation beyond stereotypes and ignorance. We showcase the beauty and resilience of diversity while critiquing the Western art historical canon that perpetuates racist, sexist, and exclusionary pedagogy throughout art institutions. Together, the participating artists showcase the beauty of intersectionality, vulnerability and their own cultural traditions to tell the story of community, identity, resistance, and justice.

Black Poets Speak Out

Click image for a downloadable poster

Tuesday, February 11 from 11am–12pm
MECA, Porteous, Osher Hall, Second floor
Free and open to the public

*via VideoConference

This workshop focuses on poetry’s ability to help engage communities and address social justice initiatives. As the cofounder of Black Poets Speak Out, Amanda Johnston, will lead participants through a conversation about the movement against police brutality as well as the use of art to express solidarity and transform policy.

History of Braiding

Tuesday, February 11 from 6pm–8:30pm
& Friday, February 14 from 6:30-8:30pm
MECA, Porteous, Joanne Waxman Library, Second floor
Free and open to the public

For many years, and in many cultures, braiding has been a significant way of building connections and nurturing relationships across the globe. Kris Patridge will be leading us in a conversation about the history of hair braiding and it’s significance in our modern day lives. Please come join us for this free educational and hands on event!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Crunch (Crit/Brunch)

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Wednesday, February 12 from 10:30am–1:30pm
MECA, Porteous, Administrative Wing
MECA Community Only

In an effort to combat the room of silence that students often encounter when presenting work for critique that deals with issues of diversity, race, and identity, the Diversity Committee and Students of Color Coalition are hosting a BIPOC-centered critique environment.

MECA students can sign up using this Google Form for a 25 minute slot where their artwork will be discussed in a safe and generative environment. This is an opportunity to expand the conversation on your work where the attention is focused on an exploration of content and not an explanation of content.

MECA faculty and staff are invited to observe.

Colorism

Click image for a downloadable poster

Wednesday, February 12 from 6pm–7pm
MECA, Porteous, Room 209, Second floor.
Free and open to the public

*via VideoConference

Palmira is here to elaborate on her published work “7 Ways Non-Black People of Color Perpetuate Anti-Blackness”. The lecture will be in discussion style.

Palmira Muniz is a fat, queer, Afro-boricua from The Bronx, but also raised in SoCal. Now living in Los Angeles, the UC Davis graduate works within the entertainment industry, while also working as a writer, stand-up comedian, and content creator. Palmira starred in, produced and wrote for the web series One Story Building with other Black and Brown comedians and SAG-AFTRA Horror project, Macabre. Palmira has written articles that have been featured on BuzzFeed, The Body is Not an Apology, Remezcla,Csuitemusic, currently Queen Media Collective, and has been published in university textbooks such as Pan African Spaces: Essays on Black Transnationalism. As a comedian, Palmira has been featured on the Riot Grrrl Comedy Festival, Thigh Gap Comedy, Moral Support, and most recently, the Woman of Size podcast, Militantly Mixed Podcast, En Latinidad, Bronxnet, and Latina-ishTv. After spending a lifetime writing and many years studying film and theatre, Palmira ultimately hopes to become a critically acclaimed show-runner and create media that resonates with communities of color, especially other fat Black and Latinx women.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cultural Identity Contemplations

Click image for a downloadable poster

Thursday, February 13 from 4–5:30pm
MECA, Porteous, Joanne Waxman Library, Second floor
Free and open to the public

This workshop centers on the integration of mindfulness meditation and socially-engaged spiritual practice and will include brief meditation, a short talk, some experiential exercises, and group discussion. This offering focuses on how we engage the present moment experience with collective willingness, genuineness, and integrity with our personal and social values. We will have the opportunity to engage in group practice or “social meditation” to more fully explore that kind of connection and understanding in relationships, particularly when it comes to social-cultural identity: How do I see others and how am I seen? What are the personal, emotional, and societal obstacles to authentic relationships with those different from myself? How can we use the practices of mindfulness and contemplation to realize more gentleness, openness, awareness, and honesty, even with the most unfamiliar, misunderstood, or difficult people in our lives?

Next Steps and Reflection

Thursday, February 13 from 7–8pm
MECA, Porteous, Joanne Waxman Library, Second floor
MECA Community Only

Keita Whitten will lead our community in a discussion of what has gone well this week, what hasn’t, and our hindsights for the future. As a group we will identify at least three priorities to help guide our work forward and to revisit at a future session with Keita.

Friday, February 14, 2020

West African Dance Workshop

Click image for a downloadable poster

Friday, February 14 from 3:30–5:30pm
Maine Mechanics Hall, 519 Congress Street, Portland (across from Porteous)
Free and open to the public

Come ground yourself on Wellness Friday, this is Free and open to the public! Join us in learning a folkloric dance, have fun and get swept up in the rhythms of the drums. This West African Dance Workshop is facilitated by Athena Lynch, who has been practicing West African Dance for 19 years. Held at Maine Mechanics Hall, Friday, February 14th at 3:30, please wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes. Connect to the sound of your own drum, while adding to the overall rhythm of your community!

History of Braiding

Friday, February 14 from 6:30-8:30pm
MECA, Porteous, Joanne Waxman Library, Second floor
Free and open to the public

For many years, and in many cultures, braiding has been a significant way of building connections and nurturing relationships across the globe. Kris Patridge will be leading us in a conversation about the history of hair braiding and it’s significance in our modern day lives. Please come join us for this free educational and hands on event!

Freestyle Friday

Click image for a downloadable poster

Friday, February 14 from 9:15–11pm
MECA, Porteous, Cafe, Second floor
Free and open to the public

Freestyle Friday will bring students together to practice different ways of sharing, listening, and cultivating collaboration while engaging in a freestyle creation of music. The participants will have the opportunity to explore hip-hop culture through the lens of artists in the community and get some tips to build confidence in public speaking using a mic.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Welcoming and Belonging Meal

Monday, February 17 from 11:30am–1:15pm
MECA, Café, Second floor
MECA Community Only

At the heart of community lies dialogue, generosity centered around meals that feed the souls and bodies. Within the celebration of the Resiliency of Diversity, we want to have the opportunity to have courageous conversations centered around a shared meal, that will be free and open to everyone that is a part of this MECA community. For this event, we will be switching the energy and vibe around just for lunch time, and seat individuals as they arrive from 11:30-1:15pm.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Tolerance Project: Closing Reception

Alejandro Magallaned, Mexico (cropped)

Friday, February 21 from 5–6pm
Remarks by President Laura Freid
MECA, Porteous, Lobby, First floor
Free and open to the public

THE TOLERANCE PROJECT has brought a message of social acceptance to over 100,000 people in 26 countries. THE TOLERANCE PROJECT starts a conversation about inclusion, which can only begin with a foundation of tolerance. In a world increasingly split by race, religion, sexuality, and national origin the show utilizes the unique power of design to remind us what we all have in common.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Resilience of Diversity Closing Reception

Sidney Sanchez ’21, Morelias #1 and Morelias #2, oil on linen and yarn

Saturday, February 22 from 7–8pm
MECA, Porteous, Joanne Waxman Library, Second floor
Free and open to the public

Join us for the closing reception of Resilience of Diversity, a show bringing together student artists from MECA, alumni, faculty and members of the community to broaden the narrative of artists of color. The closing reception will celebrate our artists and student curators. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

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The exhibition Resilience of Diversity brings together student artists from MECA, alumni, faculty and members of the community to broaden the narrative of artists of color. In sharing the intimate pockets of the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual mind of these artists, we invite you to look beyond any preconceived ideas to explore the nuances of our stories, our work, and our experiences. As makers, as humans, as a family, we share ourselves with you to expand the conversation beyond stereotypes and ignorance. We showcase the beauty and resilience of diversity while critiquing the Western art historical canon that perpetuates racist, sexist, and exclusionary pedagogy throughout art institutions. Together, the participating artists showcase the beauty of intersectionality, vulnerability and their own cultural traditions to tell the story of community, identity, resistance, and justice.

Resilience Week Planning Group

MECA would like to acknowledge the time and energy of the Resilience Week Planning Group, whose leadership and vision has helped shape programming and ongoing dialogues.

Aminata Conteh
Jenna Crowder
Alejandra Cuadra
Shiva Darbandi
Annika Earley
Candice Gosta

Athena Lynch
Roberta March
Kelly McConnell
Ashley Page
Nikki Rayburn
Rachel Sommerville