MAT candidate Dan Toomre '22
At Maine College of Art & Design, we are proud to offer an array of programs designed to nourish emerging artists’ creativity and prepare them for professional success. One such offering is our Pre-College program. Designed for high school artists, Pre-College provides a unique opportunity to experience the rigors of an art education with support from our faculty and access to our studio spaces. The goal of Pre-College is to give students the tools they need to continue their arts education–a challenge that Dan Toomre, BFA ’22 was happy to embrace.
“Once I knew I wanted to attend Maine College of Art & Design for my BFA, I figured I'd try out the Pre-College program before committing to four years across the country” explains Dan. “I loved the idea of a program that let me try a couple different mediums instead of committing to just one.”
Dan’s path has been a unique one, filled with challenges and triumphs, and endless opportunities for learning and reinvention. Not only did Dan continue after Pre-College to earn a BFA in Textile & Fashion Design, but he also went on to enroll in our Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, which touts a 100 percent job placement rate upon graduation.
“I always knew I wanted to teach art–I love working with kids–but I didn't know what I wanted to be as an artist,” says Dan. “I was certain I'd be a painting major, but then I switched to Textiles & Fashion Design. I took lots of classes, hoping to build my skills in any medium I might want or need to teach. That was super helpful when I started the Master of Arts in Teaching program–you really need to be a jack of all trades.”
Dan credits our Pre-College program for providing a path to enrollment in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Maine College of Art & Design. “It was Pre-College that set me on this path to success,” says Dan. “I got to test out living far away from everyone I knew while focusing full time on art at a college level. I got to explore Portland, and I was able to push myself with the support of a structured environment.”
As for what advice Dan would give prospective Pre-College students, he says, “Branch out. Each class I have taken has helped inform my practice. Getting outside of my bubble and meeting other professors, guest lecturers, and students gave me opportunities I simply would not have had if I hadn't branched out.”