Friday, April 7 - Sunday, April 16, 2023

Resilience Week focuses on supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) students, faculty, staff, and members of the greater Portland community, as well as creating a school-wide culture that celebrates the lived experiences and individual stories that contribute to the vibrancy of the College. Created by the Students of Color Coalition (SCC), Resilience Week features public and private events centered on important conversations about diversity, intersectionality, identity, and social change. 

As artists, we learn by making, by doing, and by collaborating. This year's theme of Healing, Self-Care, and Community encourages a sense of empathy and belonging by bringing students together to ply their craft, share their stories, and affect change on campus and beyond.

We invite you to join us. If you can come to campus and admire the week-long exhibition, we warmly encourage you to do so. If you wish to offer your support from afar, follow along with Resilience Week on Instagram, where you can also keep up to date with information about events that are open to the public.

2023 Workshops & Events

Friday, April 7 - Saturday, April 15, 2023

Resilience Week Exhibition

Presented by Students of Color Coalition (SCC), MECA&D Staff and Faculty, and our community of local artists

Location: 49 Oak
Hours: Opens Friday, April 7, 5-8pm (additional dates below)

The Students of Color Coalition is hosting a Resilience Week Exhibition showcasing BIPOC artists within the MECA&D community. The art on display will embody the 2023 Resilience Week theme of Healing, Self-Care, & Community. The exhibition opens Friday, April 7 and will remain on display through Saturday, April 15 at 49 Oak, our new street-level gallery and exhibition space.

Hours for the Resilience Week Exhibition:

  • Friday, April 7 (5-8pm)
  • Saturday, April 8 (12-3pm)
  • Tuesday, April 11-Friday, April 14 (12-6pm)
  • Saturday, April 15 (12-3pm)

Resilience Week Exhibition Artists:

  • Johanna Brooks-Tait '25
  • Jordan Carey '19
  • Ollie Case '25
  • Gaby Cherres '25
  • Momo Ehiwe '24
  • Jakob Flores Figueroa '26
  • Jada Harvey '26
  • Amberly Kahapea '26
  • Melanie Kim '23
  • Julio Rivera '24
  • TJ Santana '24
  • Bessa Smith '25
  • Tristyn Stone '23
  • Marcus Truong '25
  • Joel Tsui, MFA '19

Monday, April 10, 2023

Celebration & Kickoff

Location: Porteous Lobby
Time: 11:15am - 11:55am

Celebrate the beginning of Resilience Week 2023. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to our Porteous Lobby for opening remarks from Laura Freid, President of Maine College of Art & Design; Julio Rivera, President of the Students of Color Coalition; and Mercedes Garcia, Assistant Director of Student Life.

This event is open to the MECA&D community.

Latin American Songbook: Juan Carlos Ruiz

Location: MECA&D Cafe
Time: 2:00pm-3:30pm

Juan Carlos Ruiz an emerging Venezuelan artist based in Boston, comes to campus to kick off his latest project, The Latin American Songbook. Inspired by his recent Global Music Award-winning album Venezuelan Songbook, Ruiz's new project contains seven traditional Venezuelan songs translated into English as an homage to the welcoming of Venezuelan immigrants into the United States.

This event is open to the MECA&D community.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Peace By Piece: Community Quilt

Presented by Loquat

Location: Room 509
Time: 12:30pm-3:30pm

Facilitated by Textile & Fashion Design alum Madison Poitrast-Upton '20, participants will collaborate to make a community quilt where each square is created by a different member of the College community. In keeping with this year's Resilience Week theme, participants are encouraged to ask themselves, “what does healing, self-care, and community mean to you," and find a digital image they would like to print on their quilt square.

This event is open to the MECA&D community; feel free to join anytime between 12:30 & 3:30.

Setting the Table: What Does Community Mean to You?

Location: Ceramics Studio Room 501
Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm

This event engenders a sense of community through artistic collaboration. Facilitated by SCC Vice President Andrew Almas and assisted by Associate Professor of Ceramics and Program Chair Patrick Coughlin, participants receive a bisque-ware plate to decorate using ceramic underglazes. The finished plates are food, microwave, and dishwasher-safe.

This event is open to the MECA&D community. Sign up through this form while space is available.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Art Workshop

Presented by Love Lab Studio

Location: Love Lab Studio
Time: 9:30am-11:15am

In collaboration with Christina Bechstein, Director of Love Lab Studio, students from the College lead an art workshop for a 1st grade class from Reiche Community School, where more than 64% of students are students of color. This event is an opportunity for grade school students to collaborate with MECA&D students of color and gain inspiration from these working artists. All student participants will take home art kits to use during their April break.

This event is open to MECA&D students of color. Sign up through this form while spots are available.

BIPOC Student Affinity Space

Presented by Innergy Counseling

Location: Room 007
Time: 3:30-5:30pm

Luzelly Frias, clinical social worker and founder of Innergy Counseling, will lead a virtual group session for MECA&D students of color. A safe space will be provided to engage in a group discussion about experiences, culture, and identity in the context of attending a predominantly white institution. Students will use grounding exercises, journaling prompts, and self-reflection to assist them in regulating their nervous systems while navigating conversations about experiences that have caused harm.

This event is open to MECA&D students of color. Sign up through this form while spots are available.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Multicultural Lunch

Presented by Students of Color Coalition (SCC), Pam Ryder, and the MECA&D Cafe staff

Location: MECA&D Cafe
Time: 11am-1pm

Food is not simply a source of nourishment; it is love, culture, tradition, memory, and medicine. Students of color share their favorite cultural and family recipes with the cafe, where those recipes are transformed into delicious dishes to be shared by the College community. This meal is not simply an opportunity to try new food, but to share and appreciate each other’s culture.

This event is open to the MECA&D community. Meals are free to all students, faculty, and staff. Individuals of color who would like to submit a recipe may fill out this form by March 31.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Day of Silence

Presented by MECA&D’s Queer Alliance

Location: Joanne Waxman Library (TBD)
Time: All-day, w/scheduled pauses

As described by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), "the Day of Silence is a national student-led demonstration where LGBTQ+ students and allies all around the country—and the world—take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ+ people in schools.” Friday morning before classes begin, students are invited to stop by Student Life Room 207 for a silence pass--which will allow them to maintain their silence and explain its purpose to friends, faculty, and staff. Students are invited to join MECA&D’s Queer Alliance in the Joanne Waxman Library at 11am for a pause of silence and at 6pm for the break of silence.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Writing Workshop with Signature Soul

Presented by Signature Soul

Location: Mechanics' Hall Library
Time: 10:30am-12pm

Signature Soul facilitators Marco Soulo and Signature Mimi will explore the theme of resilience through journaling and vision booking. There is space to check-in, write and share, stretch, and be in sweet community with other writers. Please bring your own journal and a magazine that you don’t mind cutting up. Additional materials will be provided.

This workshop is open to all MECA&D students. Sign up through this form while spots are available.


Location: Mechanics' Hall Ballroom
Time: 7:30pm-10:30pm

Dancing provides an important social ritual of embodiment and release. Beneath these rhythms is a rich history of Black, brown, and queer bodies connecting and creating community through dance music. Club MECA&D is an event which pays homage to the rich history of dance music, allowing the music from the past to speak to the future. DJ Ben Spalding will take us on a journey through a number of musical genres ranging from early house music, diva-heavy disco, techno, and contemporary releases. We are looking forward to seeing you on the dance floor!

This event is open to all MECA&D students. Bring your student ID for entry.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Critique Crunch Brunch

Location: Room 264
Time: 10:30am-1:30pm

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 Students of Color Coalition will host a BIPOC-centered critique environment.

Students of color can use this form to sign up for a 25-minute session where their artwork will be discussed in a safe and generative environment by other BIPOC artists. This is an opportunity to expand the conversation surrounding students' work from one focused on explaining content, to one exploring it. Students must RSVP by March 31, 2023.

Facilitators & Guests

Juan Carlos Ruiz’s story begins with the study of Venezuelan folk music. Later, as a violist, he was a founding member of the Youth Symphony Orchestra "Raimundo Pereira" (of “The Sistema”) in Venezuela. He studied lyrical and popular singing with William Alvarado and Inés Feo La Cruz. He has two records, the first, named Por el Medio Oriente, it is an incredible musical project that fuses the sounds and rhythms prevalent in Middle Eastern music and culture and the second named Prelude and Coda, a romantic CD. He has performed concerts in several cities in the USA and other countries. He has been a performer of the Rumbarroco Ensemble in Boston. 

Juan Carlos is also an Economist, a Master in Science in Operation Research, Master in Business Administration, and TEDx Talk Speaker.

Madison Poitrast-Upton: is a fashion and textiles artist located in Portland Maine. She recently graduated from Maine College of Art, earning her BFA in fashion and textile design (2020). While there, Madison focused on female performers, their comfort and style. This was inspired by her love of music, performance and fashion and her need to take these important parts of her life and mold them together. Having been a thespian herself for many years she was familiar with the all too often un-empathetic and sexist approach toward costume design. Now as a graduate, Madison is dedicated to the advancement of women and people of color through clothing and design.

Christina Bechstein is a mother, artist and educator and Lead Director of Love Lab Studio, a children’s art studio located in the West End of Portland. A former associate professor at MECA&D, she has taught and learned from community mentors in Detroit, Boston and now Maine. She has a background in textiles, sculpture and public art from studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture and Weimar Jena Akademie and has experience with collaborative leadership work as a facilitator, consultant and co-creator in the fields of creativity, teaching and service/public engagement.

Christina was the Associate Professor of Sculpture and Director of Public Engagement at Maine College of Art & Design 2004–2013.

Luzelly Frias is a licensed independent clinical social worker in MA and NC. She is a first generation afro-latina of Dominican descent and the founder of Innergy Counseling where she offers a safe space for Black, Indigenous, and people of color seeking support and guidance through counseling. Frias also provides consultations  to organizations surrounding wellness, self-care, and mental health and clinical supervision for associate therapists. She is passionate about bringing mental health awareness and support to historically marginalized communities.

A fusion of reason, rhythm and rhyme made up of the eclectic hip hop and spoken word duo Marco Soulo and Signature Mimi, creating art, music, poetry and vibes together since 2013.





Benjamin Spalding is an interdisciplinary artist and DJ based in Portland, Maine. Taking inspiration from his Puerto Rican grandfather’s profession as a big band leader, Spalding’s practice is preoccupied with movement and the pageantry of the body, weaving together elements of club culture, sports, and nature with family narrative.



Crit Crunch Facilitators

John Portlock
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Academic Studies

John is an American historian with particular interest in the African-American experience. His dissertation, recently completed at the University of Rochester (NY), paid special attention to those twentieth-century civil rights figures who opposed American wars. John has presented his work at New York City’s Schomburg Center, as well as at Bowdoin College. His written work has appeared in the Journal of African American History, and he has contributed chapters to anthologies on the black freedom struggle. As a professor, John has taught widely, including classes on early American history, on the history of American racial violence, and on the social and political upheavals of the 1960s. He relishes the chance to learn from and work with MECA&D students on the problems and possibilities inherent in the humanities.

Jenny Ibsen

Jenny is a relief printmaker, ceramicist, storyteller and restaurant worker based in Portland, Maine. Jenny's pieces illustrate nostalgic stories of food. Harvesting and nurturing, preserving and processing – her work often centers these slow and meticulous transformations. Kitchen scenes capture such moments, and the physical process of printmaking (and recently, ceramics and wreathing) mirrors it. Knives become tools of transformation, reimagining blank canvases, while visible hands suggest our own labor as crucial to the process. Weaving these motions together, Jenny finds comfort in the repetitions of each step – carving and chopping, printing and cooking. The acts themselves are healing and regenerative, and finding content-ness in the process itself feels as important as the motions.

Ashley Page

Ashley is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Portland, ME. She holds a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in Public Engagement from Maine College of Art & Design, where she was a Warren Public Engagement Fellow and received the Heart and Soul Student Award from Maine Campus Compact. More recently, she was awarded the 2022 Amelia Peabody Award for Sculpture by St. Botolph Club Foundation. In 2021, she participated in a Maine Craft Association Apprenticeship under the mentorship of Lissa Hunter. Page is presently the Studio and Programs Coordinator at Indigo Arts Alliance, where she works within the intersection of art and activism. Her curatorial and studio practice has been seen in the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, The Abyssinian Meeting House, The Portland Museum of Art, Congress Square Park, Able Baker Contemporary, New Systems Exhibitions, and more.