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MECA Faculty + Alumni Exhibit in PMA's 2015 Biennial "You Can’t Get There From Here"

Posted: 2015-10-06

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Justin Kirchoff (United States, born 1966), Sighting Noon, gelatin silver print, 20 x 24 inches.

"Opening October 8, You Can’t Get There From Here: The 2015 Portland Museum of Art Biennial highlights Maine’s artistic legacies in the making. Curated by Alison Ferris, this year’s Biennial provides a comprehensive overview of the many facets of Maine’s contemporary art scene. The exhibition will be on view through January 3, 2016."

"You Can’t Get There From Here includes established Maine artists who have created notable new bodies of work and those who have traveled outside of Maine and are becoming known outside its borders. The Biennial will also represent the first major institutional appearance for several young, emerging artists, showcasing the next wave of Maine artists and affording them the opportunity to make initial introductions to national art audiences."

Gideon Bok (attended) '88, Camden, ME
Jeffrey Clancy, former faculty, Madison, WI
Stacy Howe MFA '10, Portland, ME
Justin Kirchoff, faculty, Eliot, ME
Caroline Lathan-Stiefel MFA '01, Avondale, PA
Randy Regier MFA '07, Wichita, KS
Noriko Sakanishi '70, Portland, ME
Miles Spadone '13, South Portland, ME

Learn more about this exhibition here.

2015 Alumni Biennial "Residual Utopia" Opens Oct. 9, 5-7PM

Posted: 2015-10-02

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Please join us on October 9th, from 5PM to 7PM, for the opening of Residual Utopia; the 2015 Maine College of Art Alumni Biennial at the College’s Institute of Contemporary Art. This year our jury, comprised of alumna Jenny McGee Dougherty ’05, Dan Mills, Director of the Bates Museum of Art, and Lissa Hunter, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, has selected four artists that represent the breadth of the college’s academic programs, with representatives from our Bachelor’s Program, as well as our Master’s in Fine Art and Art Education programs.

The work that these artists produce illustrates a range of interests, practices, and levels of audience participation. In their individuated practices these artists have identified certain utopic ideologies as having been built on the ashes of that which came before. Ellen Babcock BFA ’84, Cole Caswell MFA’08, Kevin Goodrich Art Ed ’10, and Carlos Pileggi MFA ’13 are working in fields of painting, photography, social sculpture, social practice, and printmaking.

The logic at play in each of their practices showcases their ability to develop and to problem solve; two traits demanded of artists today. This development out of/away from the rules of art practice is both postmodern and contemporary, as well as decidedly anti-utopian. The parameters laid down by generations of modernists decreed the separation of artistic disciplines for the sake of their own agendas. The rigidity of these systems had within them the seeds of their own demise, and it is from the rubble of those hopes that these artists mine for material, content, audiences, and histories. We have on exhibition what they have built from the residue of their respective utopian legacies.

On view until December 18th, 2015. 

Metalsmithing and Jewelry Majors to Exhibit Nationally

Posted: 2015-10-02

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Sensorium, Betsy Lewis

Pie Server, Mary Forst

Two Metalsmithing and Jewelry majors, Betsy Lewis and Mary Forst, were accepted into national exhibitions. 

Betsy Lewis will be exhibiting in CraftForms2015 and Mary Forst and Betsy Lewis will be exhibiting in Form Forge Fabricate. Mary is also a finalist in the 2016 Niche Awards.

"Craft Forms 2015, the International Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Crafts, will be on display at the Wayne Art Center from December 4, 2015 − January 30, 2016.  This eagerly anticipated exhibition, celebrating its 21st year, is dedicated to enhancing the public's awareness of fine contemporary craft while providing a venue for established and emerging artists to share their creative endeavors.  Craft Forms is internationally recognized as one of the premiere contemporary craft exhibitions.  The finest works of ceramics, wood, fiber, metal, glass, mixed medium and 3D printing are featured, supporting the Center's mission of expanding the public's awareness of fine contemporary crafts, and significantly benefiting all educational and outreach programs for children and adults."

"Form Forge Fabricate is Southern Illinois Metalsmith’s 8th annual exhibition, just one of the activities of an ambitious weekend that includes demonstrations, a fine craft auction, and a student-juried and mounted exhibit at the University Museum of the best in metalsmithing.

SIMS is made up of graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in metal as an artistic medium.  The purpose of the group is to promote metalsmithing arts and to provide opportunities for learning and artistic expression."

"Sponsored by NICHE magazine, the NICHE Awards program began in 1989 to celebrate excellence and innovation in American and Canadian fine craft. Artists are recognized in both professional and student divisions."

Illustration Faculty Jamie Hogan to participate in "RISD READS"

Posted: 2015-10-01

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RISD READS | Children’s Book Reading and Signing
October 10th, 2015 at 2pm
Providence, Rhode Island 

Readers, writers and illustrators of all ages are invited to join award-winning children’s book creators and RISD faculty Jamie Hogan 80 IL, Joe McKendry 94 IL and Joo Hee Yoon 11 IL as they read aloud from their picture books. A book signing sponsored by RISD WORKS will follow. 

Read more about Jamie Hogan on her website.

Dana Sawyer Lecture Series — Fall 2015

Posted: 2015-10-01

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Professor Dana Sawyer will be giving a number of lectures this fall.

"The Perennial Philosophy and the Future of Religion"
"Science and Non-Dualism" conference in San Jose, CA
Sunday, October 25th

Learn more about the lecture here.

"Possible Oneness of All Religion and Spirituality"
World Parliament of Religions, Salt Lake City
Tuesday, October 27th 

Learn more about the lecture here.

Dedication Ceremony of the Bob Crewe Program in Art and Music and Grand Opening of the Bob Crewe Gallery

Posted: 2015-10-01

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Dedication Ceremony of the Bob Crewe Program in Art and Music and Grand Opening of the Bob Crewe Gallery Hosted at MECA on Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 4pm

Media Invited to Attend Ceremony and Celebration Honoring the Life and Legacy of Internationally Acclaimed Artist, Producer, Musician and Writer, Bob Crewe

Portland, Maine ~ In April 2014, the Bob Crewe Foundation awarded MECA a $3,000,000 gift to establish a new area of study that explores the intersection between art and music. Since then MECA has been hard at work building out the lower level of the Porteous Building (522 Congress Street) to accommodate this new initiative, developing curriculum, hiring faculty and preparing to launch one of the most innovative academic programs ever conceived. 

In addition to providing the first glimpse into MECA’s newly renovated lower level, attendees of the October 3 dedication ceremony will enjoy guided tours of the new facility, an official ribbon cutting, and special guest appearance from former musicians and industry professionals that Bob Crewe collaborated with throughout his illustrious career.

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 new program is the perfect way to celebrate his brother’s legacy and life-long passion. 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.”     

Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, Ian Anderson, is excited about the opportunity to promote the legacy of Bob Crewe to a new generation of creative entrepreneurs. According to Dean Anderson, “October 3rd marks the culmination of an immense effort that has transpired at MECA over the past 18 months. Thanks to the generosity and vision of the Bob Crewe Foundation, our lower level has been transformed into a state-of-the-art recording facility, classrooms and studio space. Our new recording studio will provide students a chance to learn the art of audio recording, mixing and mastering on some of the highest quality equipment found anywhere in the world.”

The curriculum will also 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 combining 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.”

President Don Tuski Ph.D. believes this new program 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.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Raffi Der Simonian at or 207.699.5010.

Faculty Michel Droge Appears as Panelist for PMA's "Communicating Climate Change"

Posted: 2015-09-25

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Richard Estes, Beaver Dam Pond, Acadia National Park, 2009, oil on board, 12 3/8 x 29 7/8 inches

Saturday, October 24, 2015
9:00am – 3:45pm
Portland Museum of Art

Join the Maine Humanities Council, the Portland Museum of Art, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center to explore one of the most contentious issues of our time. How has public conversation about climate change evolved over time? What cultural and historical factors have shaped its trajectory? How do scientists, artists, and humanities scholars infuence the way we understand and talk about climate change?

Register at Learn more about the event and schedule here.

"Michel Droge received her BA from Oberlin College and her MFA from Maine College of Art. She is the recipient of awards and grants including the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Award and a Maine Arts Commission Grant. She exhibits regularly both nationally and internationally. Droge currently teaches at Maine College of Art and maintains her studio at the Bakery Studios in Portland Maine. She is researching the impact of climate change on small Island communities. Her paintings and prints are an exploration of the environment, coastal ecosystems, and adaptation."

Mary Anne Lloyd is new Department Chair of Illustration

Posted: 2015-09-08

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Mary Anne was one of the founders of the Illustration program at MECA, along with Scott Nash and Jamie Hogan. She has worked diligently the past ten years to create a robust and rigorous curriculum. She is a Portland School of Art alumni having graduated as a Graphic Designer in 1983.

You can view more of her work online:

Scott Nash creates "Berniemoji"

Posted: 2015-09-05

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Portland illustrator Scott Nash, along with Akimitsu Hogge and Wade Brainerd, developed a mobile app that allows users to share the full expressions of 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The app is free through the Apple Store.

The app has been mentioned in The New York Times and wrote about in Bustle's "7 Ways Bernie Sanders Emojis Are Seriously The Best Way To Talk About Politics" and The Independent's "Bernie Sanders has got his own set of emojis".

Jason Morrissey '98 : Forged in Fire on the History Channel

Posted: 2015-08-10

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Forged In Fire

The bladesmiths must forge a signature weapon using everyday steel objects like ball bearings and shovels as their only source material. Who will make it through the season finale of #ForgedInFire?

Posted by HISTORY on Thursday, August 6, 2015

Metalsmithing & Jewelry alum Jason Morrissey '98 will be on the History Channel tonight!

"FORGED IN FIRE features world-class bladesmiths competing against each other to create some of the most iconic edged weapons from history. In each episode, four of the best bladesmiths in the country will come together to put both their skills and reputations on the line. Whether they are making a Japanese katana, a medieval broadsword, or an ancient throwing blade like the chakram, the weapons they forge will be fully functional and lethal works of art and war. The unique histories contained within each weapon will be creatively told during the forging process and the final weapons themselves will be assessed and ruthlessly tested by our panel of expert judges. These dynamic and explosive tests will be individually designed to push the weapons to their absolute limit. One by one, the bladesmiths will be eliminated until only one remains to be crowned the champion."

Learn more about FORGED IN FIRE here

Start Here/Go Anywhere

Posted: 2015-07-22

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Work by Alexus LaFebvre.

Start Here/Go Anywhere

Through our Masters of Arts in Teaching Program, teacher candidates may intern for student teaching in Maine or any other qualified setting across the US or around the world. Maine College of Art is listed as a participating college with the Department of Defense Schools (DoDEA) for placement of student teachers.

Upon completion, graduates are eligible to apply for certification in Maine as well as other US states, territories, the DoDEA, and the District of Columbia under their Interstate Reciprocity Agreements. Most international schools accept US certifications as well.

To learn more about the MAT Program, please visit this link. 

Mark Johnson in Pottery Making Illustrated

Posted: 2015-06-29

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Ceramics Faculty Mark Johnson is featured in May/June issue of Pottery Making Illustrated magazine. The article is entitled "Compose and Contain: Flower Rafts", which features the step-by-step process of making and glazing his work.

Learn more and buy the issue here.

Professor Jamie Hogan exhibits at Portland Public Library

Posted: 2015-06-22

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Portland, ME — In an exhibit entitled “The Storybook Waters of Illustrator Jamie Hogan” running from July 1 - September 25, 2015, in the Children’s Room of the Portland Public Library’s Main Library, Jamie Hogan’s lush pastel and colored pencil illustrations of the water and waterfront will be celebrated.
At the Exhibit Opening on Thursday, July 9th, from 5:00-7:00 PM, Peaks Island artist Jamie Hogan will speak about her illustration inspiration and process for ISLAND BIRTHDAY (Tilbury House Publishers), a children’s picture book about a Maine island by Matinicus Island's renowned essayist Eva Murray.  Hogan will also share how she paid tribute to the journal drawings of naturalist John Muir in her illustrations for JOHN MUIR WRESTLES A WATERFALL (Charlesbridge), and her research of the tidal waters of the Sunderbans for the children’s chapter book, TIGER BOY (Charlesbridge).  In support of these books and the exhibit, Jamie Hogan will appear at events in Rockland, Peaks Island, Kennebunkport, and Camden, Maine.  (A complete list of events is below.)
While Jamie Hogan strolls the beaches of Peaks Island with her dog or crosses the bay to teach Illustration at Maine College of Art, she is keeping her eyes open and camera ready for the colors and characters of Maine’s waterfront.  Each day inspires her pastel landscapes and the nine children’s books she has illustrated since 2007.  Artists across the country follow her process and rich reference on her blog at
“I grew up in the shadow of the White Mountains, skiing and hiking,” says Jamie Hogan, “but I've always been drawn to any body of water, from stomping in puddles to living in the Bay Area in California. Now I walk daily to the Maine shore during breaks in the studio. Crossing Casco Bay, especially during a full moon, thrills my soul to the bone.” 
Hogan’s children’s book illustration career began in 2005 when Charlesbridge Publishing paired her with Mitali Perkins’ children’s novel, RICKSHAW GIRL, a book recently named as one of the “New York Public Library’s Top 100 Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years.”  Other Charlesbridge titles include NEST, NOOK & CRANNY, with her charcoal drawings, and a nonfiction ecology title, A WARMER WORLD, with her pastels.  Her pastels came back into play for HERE COME THE HUMPBACKS, featuring a mother whale and her calf's journey to the Gulf of Maine. The latest partnership with Charlesbridge mirrors John Muir’s own sketchbooks—Hogan illustrated JOHN MUIR WRESTLES A WATERFALL entirely in colored pencil.
“Jamie Hogan’s art is beautiful and energetic,” says Whitney Leader-Picone, the Senior Designer at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, who art directed Jamie Hogan’s Charlesbridge books. ”She has an intuitive sense of space and composition. Her attention to detail and strong design sense bring depth and transcendence to her artwork. Jamie captures the souls of her subjects, be they plants, animals, or people, so that they come alive to the viewer.”
Robyn Holman, curator of the University of Southern Maine’s Atrium Art Gallery, has included Hogan’s work in a number of exhibitions and sees Hogan as, "one of Maine's finest illustrators, continuing to create work that is inspired, magical, and brilliant. Her work is grounded in both imagination and direct observation, resulting in thoughtful, unforgettable images that resonate with the text."
Peaks Island residents and landscapes often are reflected in Jamie Hogan’s work.  A Peaks Island kitchen appears in the opening spread of Tilbury House Publishers’ ISLAND BIRTHDAY, and the model for the Matinicus Island boy of that story lives across the street from Hogan.  Her daughter Daisy and her friends can find their younger selves pictured on the pages of SEVEN DAYS OF DAISY (Down East Books) and ICE HARBOR MITTENS (Down East Books).
“Pastels are color dust, a very direct medium that I love,” says illustrator Jamie Hogan.”To lay it down on paper to tell stories for children’s education and imagination is an unparalleled honor.”


June 27, 10:00 AM
Hello Hello Books
Rockland, Maine
Illustrator Jamie Hogan and author Eva Murray will read, sign, and hold an activity for children to celebrate their children’s picture book, ISLAND BIRTHDAY.  The book is set on Maine’s Matinicus Island.
July 9, 5:00-7:00 PM
Portland Public Library Children's Room
Portland, Maine
Opening reception and artist talk for the children’s book illustration exhibit, “The Storybook Waters of Illustrator Jamie Hogan.” There will also be a book sale and signing of Jamie Hogan’s latest children’s books, ISLAND BIRTHDAY, JOHN MUIR WRESTLES A WATERFALL, and TIGER BOY.
July 10, 6:00 PM
Peaks Island, Maine
Illustrator Jamie Hogan will join other authors and artists for “Color and Pages of Peaks Artist & Author Reception” for a book sale and signing of her latest children’s books, ISLAND BIRTHDAY, JOHN MUIR WRESTLES A WATERFALL, and TIGER BOY.
July 23, 1:00-2:00 PM
Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library
Kennebunkport, Maine
As part of the “Every Hero Has a Story” Summer Reading Program, illustrator Jamie Hogan will talk about hero naturalist John Muir and lead a children’s art activity in a association with her new picture book, JOHN MUIR WRESTLES A WATERFALL.
August 22, 1:00 - 4:00 PM
Camden Public Library
Camden, Maine
As part of “Book Fair by the Sea,” illustrator Jamie Hogan and author Eva Murray will read, sign, and hold an activity for children to celebrate the children’s picture book, ISLAND BIRTHDAY.  The book is set on Maine’s Matinicus Island.


Posted: 2015-06-19

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Fall 2015 Academic Year Welcomes Marie Shurkus as Chair of Academic Studies and Associate Professor of Art History and Joshua Reiman as Assistant Professor of the MFA in Studio Art and Sculpture

Portland, Maine - MECA will soon be welcoming a dynamic pair of new faculty hires: Chair of Academic Studies and Associate Professor of Art History, Marie Shurkus and Assistant Professor of the MFA in Studio Art and Sculpture, Joshua Reiman.

Ian Anderson, VP of Academic Affairs and Dean at Maine College of Art recently lauded the efforts of the search committees behind both positions. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcomes of these searches. Dana Sawyer, Chair of the Academic Chair Search Committee, and Sue Nutty made a great team, assisted by Rob Sullivan, Gail Spaien and Moira Steven. Co-chairs of the MFA Search Committee Gail Spaien and George Larou, along with Ling-Wen Tsai, Anne Emlein and Chris Stiegler, were no less impressive, culling through a strong pool of almost 100 applicants.”

Both of these faculty positions are pivotal in helping to shape the academic experience and future of the college.

Marie Shurkus holds a Ph.D. in Humanities Interdisciplinary Studies from Concordia University in Montreal as well as an MA in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism from the Art Institute of Chicago. She comes to MECA from Claremont, California, where she taught contemporary art history and media studies, among other subjects, at Pomona and Pitzer Colleges. One of the founders of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Marie brings with her more than 15 years of teaching experience.

Shurkus’ research interests are closely aligned with MECA’s educational philosophy and pedagogy. She explained, “My doctoral research was inspired by one of the fundamental insights that emerged from the development of digital technologies, namely that images exist separately from their material substrates. Embracing this insight, I examined the post appropriation strategies that developed in the late 1980s.” More recently, she has focused her efforts on “exploring how critical debates around representation have moved away from from a purely semiotic analysis of imagery, toward a more phenomenal understanding of the image as an immaterial form that motivates affect.” A product of this research was “Camera Lucida and Affect: Beyond Representation,” published in 2013 in Routledge’s Journal of Photographies.

Marie’s first order of business at MECA will involve an investigation into the academic side of the first-year experience. Having led the Visual Arts Program at Vermont College through both the accreditation process and the strategic plan, she is also prepared to work on assessment and the self-study. She will be reaching out to academic faculty, with whom she looks forward to collaborating and creating a seamless, rigorous liberal arts and art history core curriculum for the newly ordained (and newly combined) Academic Studies Program.

Joshua Reiman is an artist working in sculpture, film, video and photography. His work deals with themes of personal and cultural identity. He is interested in how a mythical narrative or factual history can stand in front of an artwork, and how that operates for an audience. His work involves “transforming realities and non-realities into a visual hybridation or synthesis of what is real, fake and imagined.” Josh is also a contributing writer for Sculpture Magazine; his most recent piece -- an interview with Janine Antoni -- is the cover story of the May 2015 issue.

For the last two years, Josh has been a Visiting Professor of Art in Sculpture, Installation and Site-work at Carnegie Mellon University and a Wimmer Teaching Fellow at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. Prior to that, he was a visiting part-time faculty member at SMFA and an adjunct at Syracuse University. He has also worked extensively as a consultant and fabricator for the artists Matthew Barney, Keith Edmier and Tom Otterness on large-scale, epic sculptural projects. His own work has been shown internationally.

Josh is a dedicated and committed teacher, noted by his references to bring deeply engaged learning and innovative projects to the classroom.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Raffi Der Simonian ( or 207.699.5010).


Scott Nash and Matt Barnes Create RED CLAWDE

Posted: 2015-06-18

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Illustration Program Chair and Assistant Professor Scott Nash is collaborating with Matt Barnes to create a cartoon— RED CLAWDE. It will appear as a regular feature in Down East Magazine starting in July.

Art in Exodus: Selected Works

Posted: 2015-06-04

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World Refugee Awareness week is scheduled from June 13th to June 20th.

Partners from all over Portland such as the City, Catholic Charities, Opportunity Alliance, Preble St, ILAP band together to support the event. WRD is celebrated annually on June 20th. This year to launch the event we will be having a festival at Deering Oaks Park on June 13th from 2 to 5. The family friendly event will bring people together from all over our community to engage in a community dialogue using side walk chalk, participatory events, henna, music, dance, and food.
From June 3-June 20
Porteous Front Window
Art in Exodus: Selected Works from Ali Shakir Alasadi, Eslaerides Ruiz, and Nawar Al Obaidi
Refugee Artist Reception
Friday, June 19, 5-7

Startup Weekend Women's Edition at MECA

Posted: 2015-05-28

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Startup Weekend Women's Edition

Friday, June 12 - 14, 2015 
Event starts at 5:30pm 
Maine College of Art Cafe
522 Congress Street Portland, ME 04102 

Join us to explore your talents, break the rules, and experience starting a business with a team.

Startup Weekend: Women’s Edition is an adventure where women can explore their talents, break the rules, and work with a team to develop creative ideas into successful business plans.
  • Friday night begins with an open mic for 60-second pitches that results in small teams forming around the best concepts.
  • Teams spend Saturday and Sunday focusing on customer development, validating ideas, and designing prototypes with the help of experienced mentors (our coaches).
  • Sunday afternoon, teams pitch their ideas and receive valuable feedback from a panel of judges and prizes are awarded. 

Sign up now.

MECA Hosts Panel Discussion for Maine Startup + Create Week (6.25.15)

Posted: 2015-05-27

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Design Accelerant: The Role of Art and Design in Value Creation, Differentiation and Scale

This panel brings together three talented and experienced designers who are applying their creative skills to business problems in very different ways. Brian Wilk from Hasbro develops games that mainly live in the physical world, Ben Jordan develops digital experiences for large clients, and Catherine D’Ignazio applies design and technology to improve civic engagement. Come hear where these three visionaries overlap in their approaches and experiences, and where they don’t!

Catherine D'Ignazio

Catherine D'Ignazio is an Assistant Professor at Emerson College, a Research Fellow at the Engagement Lab, and a Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab. She investigates how data visualization, technology and new forms of storytelling can be used for civic engagement. Her recent projects include the "Make the Breast Pump Not Suck!" hackathon, designing a water quality sensing toolkit for journalists, and leading performative walks to visualize climate change.

Her art and design projects have won awards from the Tanne Foundation,, the LEF Foundation, and Dream It, Code It, Win It. In 2009, she was a finalist for the Foster Prize at the ICA Boston. Her work has been exhibited at the Eyebeam Center for Art & Technology, Museo d’Antiochia of Medellin, and the Venice Biennial. D'Ignazio received her MFA from the Maine College of Art

Ben Jordan

Ben Jordan is President & Director of Experience at nGen Works. Ben has 15+ years of digital design and development expertise, and is a valued industry consultant who has been sought out for his vision by major Fortune 500 companies including Whole Foods, American Airlines, Neiman Marcus and Apple.

Prior to nGen, Ben served in several design leadership positions, including VP of Customer Experience at InVision and Executive Creative Director at Credera, where he won multiple industry awards for his work. He boasts an eclectic skill set that he puts to use everyday building meaningful digital solutions to his clients toughest challenges.

Brian Wilk

Brian Wilk is the VP of Design and Development, Games Division at Hasbro Inc.

After almost twenty years in the field, there is hardly a type of game that Brian has not worked on. Some of the brands he's been involved with include Star Wars, Transformers, GI Joe, Playskool, Play Doh, Mr. Potato Head, Monopoly, Beyblade, Furby, Marvel Comics, Kre-O, Mighty Muggs, Attacktix, Spider-Man, Starting LineUp, Jurassic Park, RescueBots, Scrabble, Sesame Street, Risk, Operation, and the Game of Life.

Brian is currently responsible for gaming development across Hasbro, and leads a large  team of the best designers and developers in the industry. His goal is to deliver the world's best gaming experiences based on customer insight, and he works with producers, writers, designers, developers, licensees, and inventors to bring Hasbro's products to market.

Brian loves his work because gaming brings play to kids and kids at heart of all ages all around the world, and is another way to tell stories and extend the experience of brands. For Brian and Hasbro, customer delight and maximum return on investment are one and the same.

SWARM — Erin Hutton + The Press Hotel

Posted: 2015-05-22

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Watch video here.

SWARM is a permanent two-story typewriter installation within the Press Hotel located in Portland, Maine. SWARM is designed by artist Erin Hutton in collaboration with Artists at Work at Maine College of Art. SWARM features sixty two vintage typewriters acquired from Tom Furrier of Cambridge Typewriters in Arlington, MA. Spanning the era of the late 1800’s to 1960’s and are mounted in a circular swarm pattern. Condensed and dark machines toward the center, and lighter in color as they appear to move and spread across the wall. The swarm protrudes out into the space as it grows out from the swarm. Steel and wood mounts angle the typewriters out toward the viewer. 


Erin Hutton '98 - Artist & Project Management
John Nelson '12 - Steel Fabrication
Nicole Farrand '11 - Wood Fabrication
Sabrina Volante '14 - Design Assistant
Matthew Doucette - Assistant

Portfolio Day 2015

Posted: 2015-05-11

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On Friday, April 10, a group of 100 creative professionals and students gathered in the ICA at Maine College of Art to participate in Portfolio Day. The event, co-hosted by MECA and AIGA Maine, was open to MECA, SMCC and USM students majoring in graphic design, photography, illustration, and new media.

The event offered students the chance to share their portfolios with a broad spectrum of professionals ranging from creative directors, to independent artists, local publishers and in-house teams. Nearly 50 reviewers participated in the event, representing forty companies from the region, including three from neighboring New Hampshire. New participants this year included the visual effects studio Infusion Studios, mobile marketing firm Liquid Wireless, and the creative agency Kingspoke.

MECA student Alexander Brooks, who participated in Portfolio Day for the first time, said, “It was a huge learning experience for me, and a great opportunity to have a dialog about my work with professionals.” Brooks, a New Media major, reflected, “The feedback I got was useful and on point, and I was able to make connections to the game industry that led to a summer internship."

Portfolio Day is an ongoing collaboration between MECA’s Artist at Work program and AIGA Maine which began three years ago. Samantha Haedrich, Education Director for AIGA Maine and a faculty member at MECA, says, “It has been exciting to watch this event grow each year. From the perspective of both organizations, Portfolio Day is an opportunity to continue to expand the conversation surrounding creative excellence within Maine. I believe that professionals can play a key role in the development of student and recent graduates – whether by participating in an event like Portfolio Day, connecting through classroom experiences, hosting internships, or becoming a mentor.” 

Gallery of images

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