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Maine College of Art

Located in the heart of the Portland Arts District, Maine College of Art offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts, a Master of Arts in Teaching as well as Continuing Studies for adults and youths, including a Pre-College intensive for high school students.

The College has transformed a former department store into the main campus building with vibrant classrooms and studios that are open 24/7. Also located in the Porteous Building, the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA serves a critical regional role in its commitment to presenting contemporary, provocative work by living artists from Maine and around the globe. The Joanne Waxman Library is one of the largest independent libraries in Northern New England and a major resource for the region.

At MECA, undergraduate students spend the first year developing a foundation and the second year exploring a variety of media. At the start of junior year, students declare a major and spend the next two years working within their discipline. MECA offers 11 majors in the BFA program: Ceramics, Graphic Design, Illustration, Metalsmithing & Jewelry, New Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Textile and Fashion Design, and Woodworking & Furniture. The College provides individual studios to all juniors and seniors. MECA is part of a five-college alliance that allows students to access classes and resources in the surrounding area.

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Maine: A Destination of Artistic Inspiration and Creative Expression




Highlights

Bachelor of Fine Arts

The College awards the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in eleven studio majors:

Ceramics
Graphic Design
Illustration
Metalsmithing & Jewelry
New Media

Painting
Photography
Printmaking
Sculpture

Woodworking & Furniture Design

MECA offers a rigorous Foundation Program that provides intensive training in the fundamentals of drawing and design prior to the major. Required courses in Art History and Liberal Arts constitute fully one-third of the degree program, and are taught from the perspective of the artist. The academic and the creative are indivisible at the College. Programs are designed to equip students with the skills, visual insights, self-confidence, and discipline traditionally associated with the independent professional artist and
designer.

  • 24/7 access to professional quality studio space for all students
  • Individual studio spaces for all majors
  • 10:1 student to faculty ratio
  • Average class size: 17
  • Average major class size: 10
  • 370 undergraduate and 25 graduate students
  • Full-time and part-time study options available

 

Master of Fine Arts

MECA’s low-residency MFA in Studio Art is among the first of its kind in the nation and is fundamentally grounded in maintaining a vibrant studio practice. Our educational philosophy is rooted in providing each student with a transformative learning experience that emphasizes research, experimentation, reflection, collaboration, and problem-solving within a rigorous studio practice.
Graduate study at MECA offers an immersive, interdisciplinary, individual and supportive learning environment for artists who are passionate about taking risks, thinking critically, and advancing their careers. Our low-residency structure is designed to provide experienced artists the ability and independence to maintain their ongoing careers while earning an MFA. We support flexibility and the pursuit of a sustainable professional practice by offering two years of in-depth structured course and studio work with periods of on and off campus study.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Art Education

Become a skilled art educator in MECA's intensive 10-month post-baccalaureate program. Begin your teaching career, working side-by-side with certified Maine art educators in real classrooms in public and private schools, in the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA, and in community settings. Immersed in Portland's contemporary art scene, you will benefit from an extraordinary array of opportunities, including collaborations with practicing artists. Upon successful completion of the program, students are eligible for certification in Maine and all 50 states.

Maine College of Art Accreditation

  • National Association of Art and Design (NASAD) since 1973, last comprehensive review 2007
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges since 1978, last comprehensive review 2007

Mission & Values

OUR MISSION: 
Maine College of Art educates artists for life.  

OUR VISION: 
MECA will be distinguished by its focus on educating highly accomplished artists and designers who excel in their chosen field with integrity, professionalism, and community leadership.

OUR CORE VALUES: 
At MECA, we believe in the transformational power of an arts education to serve as the foundation for a lifelong pursuit of personal and professional goals. We combine a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum, immersive studio practice, and wealth of professional development opportunities to provide an educational experience that embodies artistic excellence, civic engagement, and creative entrepreneurship.

Artistic Excellence:  In the belief that learning is centered in the process of inquiry, self-discovery, and creative expression, we offer our students the environment and tools they need to take risks, think critically, and work creatively within and across disciplines.

Civic Engagement:  With a history of a commitment to the creative evolution of our communities, we focus on engaging students in the process of becoming the inventive, self-disciplined, contributing citizens upon whom our world depends.

Creative Entrepreneurship:  We teach each student the necessary professional skills to transform aspirations and values into a creative practice that will serve as the foundation for a rewarding career.

 

 

Deborah Spring Reed, Board Chair

Retired, Advertising Executive

Falmouth, ME

Joan L. Amory
Freelance Reporter
Portland, ME

 

 

 

 


Paula Crane Lunder
Vice President
The Lunder Foundation
Portland, ME

 

 




Heidi Bement
Senior Vice President
Bank of America, U.S. Trust 
Kennebunk, ME


Jane G. Briggs
Community Volunteer
Portland, ME


Ronald Buford
Regional Vice President
The Hanover Insurance Company
Portland, ME


Daniel N. Crewe
President, Bob Crewe Foundation
Cumberland, ME


Ben Devine
Principal
Devine Capital
Boston, MA

Alison Leavitt
Director of Business Development
Albatrans, Inc.
Portland, ME


Deborah H. Dluhy
Retired Dean and Deputy Director
School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Cape Elizabeth, ME


Annette L. Elowitch
Owner
Barridoff Galleries
Portland, ME


Ralph L. Harding
Director of Private Equity
Spinnaker Trust
Portland, ME 

Judith A. Kane
Card Designer, Painter
Cards by Jude’s Muse
Falmouth, ME


Erick Lahme
Consultant
Portland, ME




 


 Lynda Means, MD
Artist
Portland, ME


Margaret Morfit
Owner
Margaret Morfit Designs, LLC
South Freeport, ME



Kenneth Nelson
President, CEO and Owner
Nelson & Small, Inc.
Falmouth, ME


Dan O’Leary
CEO
Quimby Family Foundations
Scarborough, ME


Jac Ouellette '02
Artist
Anviljac Studio
South Portland, ME


Claudia C. Pachios
Owner
Claudia C. Pachios, Freelancer
Cape Elizabeth, ME

 

 

Brian Wilk '95 
Vice President Hasbro, Inc
Warwick, RI


Dan Poteet
Retired, Higher Education Executive
Bar Harbor, Maine


 

 


Katharine Watson
Director Emerita
Bowdoin College Museum
Brunswick, ME


Cynthia Thompson
Founder & Owner
Transformit
Gorham, ME




Andres Verzosa '92
Owner
Aucocisco Galleries
Portland, ME 


Paula Zeitlin
Psychotherapist
Cape Elizabeth, ME

 

Susan Schraft, MD
Radiology, Central Maine Medical Center, 
Falmouth, ME

 

William C. Thornton
Senior VP WR Berkley Corporation
Saco, ME

 

Candace Pilk Karu, Hon.DFA '13 
Consumer Lifestyle Commentator Cabot Cheese
Cape Elizabeth, ME

 

 

Betsy Evans Hunt, Hon. DFA '13
Executive Director Evans Gallery 
Cape Elizabeth ME
 

 

History

Maine College of Art (MECA) was founded in 1882 as part of the Portland Society of Art. An organized curriculum was established in 1911 and the first diplomas awarded in the 1920's by the School of Fine and Applied Arts. In 1972, the School's name was changed to Portland School of Art, and its mission redirected to educate professional visual artists. A core of highly qualified faculty was recruited and a two-year Foundation Program was developed.

The first Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees were awarded in 1975, following accreditation in 1973 by the National Association of Colleges of Art and Design (NASAD) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). In 1982, the School separated from the Portland Society of Art, which also managed the Portland Museum of Art, to become an independent organization with its own Board of Trustees. In 1983, the College purchased and renovated the Baxter Building, the former home of the Portland Public Library.

In 1992, Portland School of Art was renamed Maine College of Art to better identify its status as a degree-granting, New England institution. In 1993, the College purchased the five-story landmark Porteous Building at the center of Portland's downtown Arts District and began a phased renovation project to create updated, consolidated core facilities for the College. In 1998, an innovative Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree program was established.

In 2005, the College entered into a master lease at 51 Oak Street, an 80-bed dormitory- style residence hall and it 2006 it acquired The Shepley Apartments, a 60-bed facility. These residence halls brought 140 beds under College control and both are within a block of the Porteous Building.

In 2006, the College added a ten-month Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Art Education. Upon successful completion of the program, students are eligible for certification in Maine and all 50 states.

In 2007, the College received a 27,000-foot space at 540 Congress Street, adjacent to the Porteous Building and entered into a long-term lease for the upper floor of the Porteous Annex, also adjacent to the Porteous Building for administrative offices.

MECA is one of 37 private, non-profit, degree-granting professional art colleges in the country, and one of only 18 such colleges not affiliated with a larger academic or arts institution.

The College awards the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in eleven studio majors: Ceramics, Graphic Design, Illustration Metalsmithing and Jewelry, New Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Woodworking & Furniture Design. MECA offers a rigorous Foundation Program that provides intensive training in the fundamentals of drawing and design prior to the major. Required courses in Art History and Liberal Arts constitute fully one-third of the degree program, and are taught from the perspective of the artist. The academic and the creative are indivisible at the College. Programs are designed to equip students with the skills, visual insights, self-confidence, and discipline traditionally associated with the independent professional artist and designer.

MECA's distinctive Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree program combines on-campus summer intensives with off-campus supervised studio work. Launched in 1998, it was the first program of its kind in the country. Visiting faculty are leading artists and designers, and give public lectures.

The student body is currently approximately 350 BFA and MFA degree students. About 30% of the students come from Maine, and 70% from New England. Over 95% of undergraduates receive financial assistance.

Full and part-time BFA faculty number 65. All studio faculty are professional exhibiting artists. Full-time and visiting artist appointments are filled by national search. The College maintains a small student to faculty ratio in its degree programs, creating an intimate teaching and learning environment that allows for the individual attention required in quality visual arts training.

Maine College of Art annually serves more than 2000 adults in the region through more than 200 credit and non-credit public courses in its year-round Continuing Studies program. Over 300 teenagers and children participate in MECA's Saturday School and summer classes begun in Portland in 1973.

An Early College program begun in 1982 is a four-week summer intensive that enrolls 50 advanced high school students from throughout the country and that awards college credit.

The College's Joanne Waxman Library is one of the largest independent visual arts libraries in New England (40,000 volumes, 50,000 slides, 100 periodicals and 150 videos). It is the only year-round art library in Maine whose holdings are focused on studio art and design. Open to the public, it is a critical resource for the thriving artist, design and cultural communities in the region.

The College's Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art (ICA at MECA) presents exhibitions of leading-edge contemporary art year-round which are free and open to the public. ICA offers both adult and children's educational programs. The First Thursdays program brings together local artists, scholars and curators to address current topics in contemporary art.

MECA's public Visiting Artist Lectures Series features distinguished artists, curators, designers and scholars from across the country.

MECA TIMELINE 1882-2011