THE BOB CREWE FOUNDATION AWARDS MAJOR GIFT TO MAINE COLLEGE OF ART
$3,000,000 Gift Will Establish a New Area of Study
that Explores the Intersection Between Art and Music
Portland, Maine -- The Bob Crewe Foundation has awarded a $3,000,000 gift to Maine College of Art (MECA) to develop a new program that focuses on the study of contemporary music and its relation to visual art. This transformational gift will support an innovative field of study in honor of internationally-known musician, artist, and entrepreneur, Bob Crewe, while supporting students from a wide range of backgrounds wishing to pursue a career in music, art or both.
Inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1985 and credited with a string of top ten hits including “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”, Bob Crewe’s influence went far beyond his contributions in the field of music composition, performance, and production.
Most recently, Crewe has been featured as a supporting character (played originally by Peter Gregus) in Jersey Boys, the multiple Tony Award-winning, long-running Broadway musical based on the story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons that has become an international hit. Crewe is credited as the show's lyricist.
Bob’s career in the visual arts began as a student at Parsons School of Design in New York City. After art school, Bob became one of the many musicians who also used visual art as an inspiration for his music. In addition to his countless accolades in music, Crewe has also achieved recognition as an artist, having designed a number of album covers as well as having had highly successful one person gallery showings of his paintings at the Earl McGrath Gallery, Thomas Soloman's Garage and Jan Baum Gallery in Los Angeles.
Bob Crewe’s brother, Dan Crewe, has served on MECA’s Board of Trustees since 2011. Having worked alongside his brother for many years as his right hand man and business partner, Dan Crewe is confident that this gift is the perfect way to celebrate his brother’s legacy and life-long passion as well as explore the intersection of art and music. Dan Crewe said, “I strongly believe in creativity and how different art forms interact to create something unique. I believe my brother Bob’s career demonstrates this in a powerful way. The Bob Crewe Foundation and Maine College of Art are embarking on something really special and original in academia by blending the two areas with an evolutionary design.”
President Don Tuski Ph.D. believes this gift will have a significant impact towards reinforcing much of what makes Maine, Portland, and MECA a place of true distinction: excellent creative talent and a great cultural arts scene. According to Tuski, “Recognizing the integration of art and contemporary music is not something colleges or universities have engaged with directly. However, students, musicians and artists have done so for a long time and with the help of The Bob Crewe Foundation we want to facilitate this happening more in Portland, ME. We think this is a rare opportunity to make an important contribution within a new creative frontier. By consciously focusing on art and music together, new art forms can be created and MECA will continue to create the cutting edge of society, not just be on the cutting edge.”
Tuski explained, “The program will also include The Bob Crewe Student Scholarship in Art and Music and a faculty position titled: The Bob Crewe Endowed Chair of Art and Music. Additionally, the gift will support the construction of The Bob Crewe Gallery as well as music practice rooms and a soundstage -- all located in the lower level of the Porteous Building at MECA. The Bob Crewe Gallery will feature a permanent narrative of the Bob Crewe story along with his countless musical awards and a selection of his visual art. The space will also include exhibited works from other artists who are also musicians.”
“As MECA completes its Five Year Strategic Plan, it is clear that a program as unique as art and music can have an enormous positive impact on students, artists, musicians, MECA, Maine and beyond.” said President Tuski.
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, Ian Anderson, is thrilled about the opportunity to promote the legacy of Bob Crewe to a new generation of creative entrepreneurs. Dean Anderson said “Music and visual art are intimately connected to the culture and history of every civilization. These cultural phenomena run in parallel throughout all societies and express a culture's perception of time, symbolic structure, and its social structure and norms. Our research also shows that art and design colleges like MECA have, since the 1960’s, been incubators and inspiration for dozens of successful musicians.”
The curriculum will explore a wide range of topics and subject matter relating to the interplay between music and art. A sampling of courses for the new minor include History of Contemporary Music, Applied Theory Through Composition, Music Business and Management, Ethnomusicology, and experimental courses like Sound and Color.
Dean Anderson believes that by creating curricular and co-curricular experiences for students in art and music, MECA can be the first art college to explicitly engage in combing the study of contemporary art and design with music. He said “MECA is uniquely positioned to develop this area because of our size, history and willingness to experiment.”
Anderson said, “One of the things that makes MECA unique is its ability to combine, integrate, and synthesize multiple disciplines. I see ways in which all of our eleven undergraduate majors and two graduate programs will overlap and integrate with The Bob Crewe Program in Art and Music. This is an exciting period of growth and innovation here at the college.”
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Raffi Der Simonian (Director of Marketing & Communication) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207.699.5010.
Click here to watch '207' interview (WCHS 6)
MECA President Don Tuski Ph.D. with Dan Crewe
MECA President Don Tuski Ph.D. with Dan Crewe
MECA Sr., Savanna Pettingil '14 (Photography) speaks about student impact of major gift.
Mayor Michael Brennan speaks about the impact this gift will have on the City of Portland and State of Maine.
MECA’s mission is to educate artists for life. We believe in the transformational power of an arts education to serve as the foundation for a lifelong pursuit of personal and professional goals. Our educational philosophy recognizes the growing demand for creative problem solvers. We combine a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum, immersive studio practice, and wealth of professional development opportunities to provide an educational experience that embodies artistic excellence, creative entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. MECA has invested $20M in downtown Portland to attract over 400 students annually to the BFA, MFA, and MAT programs. Over 40% of degree-seeking students are from Maine and 60% of alumni remain in Maine, making the college a net importer of young people to the State. Additionally, 1,200 Continuing Studies students annually, ranging in age from elementary school children to teens, adults, and elders take studio courses for professional development and personal enrichment; over 50 Maine nonprofit and school community partners work with our Public Engagement curriculum; and the public is served through programs free of charge in the Institute for Contemporary Art; the Visiting Artist Lecture Series and the Library.
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