Celeste Roberge ’79
I would encourage all alumni to begin giving back as soon as they graduate. Anyone can afford to give $10. Some people feel shy about donating such a small amount, but I know that all amounts are important. I can’t ever truly repay MECA for providing me with a deep and powerful education.
Celeste Roberge ’79 has enjoyed an illustrious artistic career, both as an artist and as an educator. Surprisingly, her own art education began somewhat inauspiciously. After earning a sociology degree, she knew she wanted to do something different. When she first applied to what was then Portland School of Art, Bill Collins, the President at the time, took a leap of faith and admitted her, despite commenting that hers was “the worse portfolio he had ever seen.” As soon as she began classes in sculpture with John Ventimiglia, however, she says, “I knew that I had found the medium for me.”
Celeste went on to pursue advanced degrees and has received two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants, among many other honors. She recently completed a three-month residency through the Kohler Arts/Industry Program in Wisconsin. She has taught sculpture for 21 years in the School of Art + Art History at the University of Florida.
About her relationship to MECA&D, she says, “From the very beginning, I was grateful to MECA&D for admitting me as a student of unknown potential. Bill Collins took a chance and his intuition proved him right. I was able to succeed given the patience of all the faculty at MECA&D who are so deeply committed to the importance of art in life.”
“MECA&D provides alumni with numerous opportunities for community, growth, exhibitions and life-long education. I have completed two artist residencies offered by MECA&D at Baie Ste Marie in Nova Scotia, which helped me to dive deep into the seaweed research that has become my passion for the past five years. I feel like I am part of the MECA&D community even though I have not lived in Maine full-time for 20 years. I want to support MECA&D because I think it is an essential and unique educational and cultural institution for Greater Portland and the state of Maine. I cannot imagine Portland without its art students. I think one of the reasons Portland is such an arty city is because of the legacy of MECA&D."
"MECA&D needs alumni support in order to succeed and thrive. As a token of my gratitude, I began donating small amounts of money to MECA&D as soon as I graduated. By small, I mean $10 or $20—whatever I could afford. As my circumstances improved, my annual donations grew. I would encourage all alumni to begin giving back as soon as they graduate. Anyone can afford to give $10. Some people feel shy about donating such a small amount, but I know that all amounts are important. I can’t ever truly repay MECA&D for providing me with a deep and powerful education.”
*Gifts to the Annual Fund are used to provide scholarships, expand our community programming, and support our future artists, designers, and thinkers. Can you help us continue our success?