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Chinese Artist Mei Selvage Library Exhibition Expresses Wisdom in Visual Storytelling

Posted: 2015-02-27

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(PORTLAND, MAINE) Portland-based artist Mei Selvage is exhibiting her recent acrylic and mixed-media art at

Joanne Waxman Library of Maine College of Art (MECA) through March 14, 2015.


Through art, Mei Selvage embodies and expresses Dharma (wisdom). The results are narratives on personal and

universal levels.


“Art is my way to tell stories,” she says. “I love to use words, colors, and images to reveal the interplay of hidden

and perceived realities. Art empowers me and enables me express the ancient wisdom.” In February’s Maine

Natural Awakening Magazine, Amy Paradysz—a writer based in Scarborough, ME—highlights Mei’s embrace of

Chinese “accent” in her work.


The exhibition marks a celebration of Chinese New Year, which officially begins Feb. 19. Moira Steven, Library

Director at MECA Library, is pleased to promote cross-cultural exchanges. MECA kicked off several important

partnerships with Chinese art academies and cultural institutions in 2014.


About Mei Selvage:

Mei is a visual artist who was born in Sichuan, China, and moved to the U.S. in 1997. She creates artworks in acrylic

painting and mixed-media. Her inspirations come from classical Chinese art, literature, and philosophy. As a co-

founder and curator of Ya Ji East/West Cultural Gatherings, Mei brings a genuine artist spirit and her vision for an

East/West creative hub in the New England. Mei spends her days as a research director at Gartner and co-invented

more than 30 patents during her twelve-year career at IBM. For more artist information, visit

www.meiselvage.com

About MECA Joanne Waxman Library:

Maine College of Art’s library is located on the second floor of the Porteous Building in downtown Portland, Maine.

As a full-service library, it serves as the main research center for the college community and the general public, as

well as providing exhibition space for student and faculty work. It collects over 40,000 books and subscribes to 108

print magazines. For more information, visit library.meca.edu

###

Professor Matt Hutton Recognized by American Craft Council

Posted: 2015-02-26

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Matt Hutton, Associate Professor of Woodworking and Furniture Design at Maine College of Art is being recognized by the American Craft Council (AAC) in their new Emerging Voices Award. The award recognizes one emerging artist, four shortlisted artists, and one emerging scholar. In addition to cash prizes, all artists and scholars will be featured in the June/July issue of American Craft.

This is the first year that the Emerging Voices Award is being presented and will be presented biennially in recognition and support of the next generation of makers and thinkers in the field of contemporary craft.

Matt Hutton earned his BFA at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana and an MFA from San Diego State University. He started working at MECA in 2002 as a Professor of the woodworking program. The Woodworking and Furniture Design program at MECA is designed to teach students to move beyond basic woodworking skills and take their concepts from sketches, to technical drawings, to finished pieces. The program takes advantage of using both classic and modern tools such as the CNC router, a machine that Matt Hutton often uses in his precisely crafted work.

To learn more about the other winners of the Emerging Artist Award read The American Craft Council’s press release here.

See more of Matt Hutton's work here.

2015 MAMM SLAM Winners Receive Opportunity to Earn Up to a $16,000 MECA Scholarship

Posted: 2015-02-25

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Portland, Maine  - The Maine Academy of Modern Music (MAMM) and Maine College of Art (MECA) have some exciting news to share with young aspiring musicians around the State of Maine:

MECA will be partnering with MAMM for the 2015 MAMM SLAM by offering scholarships to MECA of up to $16,000 a year to each member of the winning band.  

This is in addition to an already robust prize package which includes a $1000 cash prize sponsored by The Rusty Rocket Music Fund, free recording time in a professional studio, premiere gigs including a performance spot at the MAMM Stage at the 2015 Old Port Festival, a tour of Gateway Mastering studios, and much more.

Because of this exciting new development in the competition, MAMM is extending the 2015  MAMM SLAM registration deadline to March 21st so that more students can try to take advantage of this opportunity.  Students can register at www.mainetoday.com/mammslam.  The Preliminary Rounds will start on April 11th at Bayside Bowl.  Finals are May 9th at the Asylum in Portland.  Both venues are generously donating the use of their space for the programs.

With this generous scholarship, young Maine musicians will be able to help shape the future of MECA and it’s involvement with the musical arts through the new music program starting this upcoming fall.  This music program will be the first of it’s kind in the country and will provide a unique learning experience for those who are both artistically inclined and musically gifted.  This program is made possible by an extremely generous donation of $3,000,000 from the Bob Crewe Foundation and is being facilitated by new additions to the school that will include spaces for both learning and recording.  

MECA President, Don Tuski, Ph.D said “We are thrilled to be able to offer this incentive to the winners of MAMM SLAM 2015. We hope that our newest academic program that is dedicated to exploring the intersection of art and music will attract the best and brightest of Maine’s creative scene and beyond. Partnering with MAMM Slam provides us direct access to some of the best high school talent around the State of Maine.”

ABOUT THE MAMM SLAM:

The MAMM SLAM is a yearly contest and opportunity for Maine’s high school-aged musicians of all backgrounds and styles to showcase their skills and talent.  Giving teen bands and solo performers (singer/songwriters and DJ’s) a chance to compete in showcasing their songwriting, performance skills, web presence, marketing, and other aspects of being a professional touring and recording musician.  None of this would be possible without the generous sponsorship and support of MaineToday.com, The Rusty Rocket Music Fund, freezingprocess.net, Coffee By Design, Asylum, Bayside Bowl, Crooked Cove, State Theatre, Gateway Mastering, WCYY, WBLM, Maine Magazine, WPXT-TV and MECA.

For more information or to register for the 2015 MAMM SLAM visit the official page on the MaineToday website at www.mainetoday.com/mammslam.

 

ABOUT MAMM:

If you are interested in The Maine Academy of Modern Music and their programs and other upcoming events such as those with MYRO (The Maine Youth Rock Orchestra) you can visit their website or facebook page, or contact them directly by phone or email:

207.899.3433

info@maineacademyofmodernmusic.org

www.facebook.com/MAMMRocks

www.maineacademyofmodernmusic.org

FORAGED: Films about Food and You

Posted: 2015-02-20

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Sunday, March 1, 4pm Foraged: Films about Food and You at Osher Hall in MECA

FREE ADMISSION

Post film discussion and snacks provided by Rosemont Market and Bakery. Seating limited. To reserve a spot go to: brownpapertickets.com/event/1321362 

Join us for an exciting documentary about the future of agriculture in America, and the impact it will have throughout the nation.

About the film:

MY FATHER'S GARDEN  

Two farmers explore the impact of synthetic chemicals used in agriculture. My Father's Garden is an engrossing, emotionally charged documentary about the use and misuse of technology on the American farm.
 
More than a cautionary tale, My Father's Garden is a one-hour documentary that tells a story of hope. The memories of the past serve to teach us that we do not have to repeat the mistakes of our fathers. The present is given direction through the explanation and practice of the philosophies of sustainability. Food cannot grow forever on a damaged earth, but we can bring health and beauty back into the Garden, if we are willing to cooperate with nature's infinite intelligence.  This wisdom holds the secret to our children's future.

President Don Tuski Speaks at Eggs & Issues

Posted: 2015-02-18

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Maine College of Art's President Don Tuski Ph.D. spoke at The Portland Chamber's Eggs & Issues event on February 10, 2015. Tuski's talk was titled "Why You Might Be Crazy If You Don't Go To Art School" and he spoke about how artists make cities better and how MECA has positively influenced our community.

Geary's Summer Ale Package Design Winner Annouced

Posted: 2015-02-05

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Congratulations to RJ Condon, a junior in Graphic Design, winner of the annual Geary's Summer Ale package design competition open to all MECA undergraduates. His design will be featured on nearly 1 million bottles of beer and he receives a prize of $5,000 cash.

See other entries

Foraged: Films About Food and You Presented by Continuing Studies

Posted: 2015-01-27

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FORAGED: Films About Food and You

Continuing Studies at MECA, in partnership with Rosemont Market & Bakery and Cultivating Community, is proud to announce…

A Sunday afternoon film series exploring the origins, challenges and triumphs of the local foods movement. These films will investigate how new approaches to growing and eating food are changing our relationships with one another, as well as our region, our country and the world.

 

FILM - TALKBACK - SNACKS

Sundays at 4:00pm in Osher Hall at Maine College of Art

Free; suggested donation $5

The films will be followed by a facilitated discussion and locally sourced, seasonal snacks provided by Rosemont Market & Bakery.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Future of Food

Genetic engineering of food crops is as controversial as ever, as many large agro corporations position themselves as the answer to the world food crisis. But are they?

 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Father’s Garden

Two farmers explore the impact of the synthetic chemicals used in agriculture. Can food grow forever in damaged soil? Does farming still require cooperation with nature’s infinite intelligence?

 

Sunday, March 26, 2015

The Real Dirt on Farmer John

A maverick Midwestern farmer becomes an outcast before gradually transforming his land into the birthplace of a revolutionary farming community.

 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

In Organic We Trust

This film digs deep to explore the true meaning of the organic label. What is organic food? Is it better? Why?

Razzle Dazzle Sis Boom Bah Opens in the ICA

Posted: 2015-01-21

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Razzle Dazzle Sis Boom Bah featuring canadian artist Karen Kraven and curated by Nicholas Brown. This show is coming to the ICA from Fonderie Darling in Montreal.

The show will be open from January 21st to April 5th, 2015

The opening reception is on Wednesday January 21, 6–8pm featuring an artist talk with Karen Kraven and curator Nicholas Brown at 6:30pm.

Curator's Statement

Karen Kraven - Razzle Dazzle Sis Boom Bah 
Curated by Nicholas Brown

Razzle Dazzle Sis Boom Bah elicits a boisterous form of misdirection. The first half of the exhibition’s title references organized sports and warfare, strategies designed to confuse the opponent through aggressive motion and dramatic flair. Equally boisterous, Sis Boom Bah is the prototypical cheerleading chant that describes a fireworks display. Together, these words convey the enthusiastic subterfuge of Karen Kraven’s new exhibition at ICA @ MECA.

Karen Kraven’s works set up unexpected encounters between sculptures and images, uncanny resemblances and misleading juxtapositions. Like a stage or film set that’s been frozen in time these spaces confound and delight, borrowing the tactics of a con artist. Kraven exploits the illusion and attraction found in such pursuits as horseracing, hunting and fishing, and counterfeiting. These motifs take the guise of everyday items, handmade surrogates and decoys. Shifting and mutating, they collapse upon one another, mesmerizing us as they reappear enlarged, divided, transubstantiated, inflated, and flattened.

First presented at the initiative of Montreal’s Darling Foundry in 2014, Razzle Dazzle Sis Boom Bah has been reconfigured and expanded with new work produced onsite at MECA.

Born in London, Ontario, Karen Kraven holds an MFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she was the recipient of the Dale & Nick Tedeschi Fellowship. Based in Montreal and represented by Parisian Laundry, she has also exhibited at Centre Clark, Montreal, Leonard & Ellen Bina Gallery, Montreal, Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga, and Neubacher Shor Contemporary, Toronto. She is in residence at the Darling Foundry’s Montreal Artist's Creation Studio (2013-2016).

Nicholas Brown is a Canadian curator recently based in New York. He was one of the curators of the multi-site exhibition “Shaping Community” at Yale University in 2012. Nicholas curated "You had to go Looking for it" in Toronto's financial district for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2011. He was the founding Director/Curator of Red Bull 381 Projects in Toronto (2008-2010). Nicholas has contributed essays and reviews to Fillip, Hunter and Cook, and Cura. In 2012, he was awarded the Darling Foundry’s Residence of the Americas, sponsored by the Conseil des Arts de Montréal.

MECA and Portland Stage Announce New Partnership

Posted: 2015-01-15

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PORTLAND STAGE + MAINE COLLEGE OF ART ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERSHIP


Portland, Maine -  Portland Stage and Maine College of Art (MECA) have recently announced a new partnership to offer a Theater Arts Track during MECA’s three-week residential Pre-College Program. Running July 12 – August 1, 2015, Pre-College is an immersive creative experience for High School Students with a passion for the performing or visual arts. Registration is now open for applications with a deadline of April 20th at meca.edu/precollege.

 

MECA’s Maine College of Art's 3-week residential Pre-College program in the Visual Arts has run since 1980 and provides high school students with an immersive and authentic experience of being an art school student. The program attracts students seeking an opportunity to enjoy creative freedom in a setting that is rigorous, fun and challenging-- both personally and professionally. Guided and mentored by accomplished MECA faculty, Pre-College students are passionate about their creative expression and eager to achieve new artistic heights, regardless of form or medium.

 

This year PSC is collaborating with MECA to develop the MECA Pre-College Theatre Arts track designed to expand the outreach of the original Pre-College Program.  Carmen-maria Mandley, Education and Literary Manager says “Portland Stage’s immersive theater training program applies a storyteller’s approach to: the actor, the audience, the text, the room.  Participants will focus on the relationship between the actor and the audience, the resonant voice, a heightened sense of play, and an active body.  Classes will include Kristin Linklater’s voice progression, movement work, stage combat, theatrical clown, scene study, design, audition techniques and more.”  This track will culminate in two 30 minute Shakespeare ‘Bare-Bard’ performances.

 

“We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership and the opportunity to work as a team with the faculty of MECA in the Theater Arts Track.  It is a wonderful collaboration,” says Executive Artistic Director Anita Stewart. Theater students will work daily at Portland Stage, a three minute walk from MECA, while housing, meals and all extra-curricular and weekend workshops will be provided on the MECA campus.


This unique partnership between two great Portland arts institutions will bring together students from the visual and performing arts, creating cross-pollination through interdisciplinary evening workshops, shared downtime and weekend activities. Courtney Cook, Director of Continuing Studies says “We believe at this age, the creative impulse should be allowed to inform-- and be informed by-- other areas of artistic expression, capitalizing on the creative synergy that exists between the two art forms.” High school students who complete Pre-College acquire the skills to embark on a rigorous study of the arts.

 

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Eileen Phelan, Marketing Director at Portland Stage: 207.774.1043 (ext. 108) or ephelan@portlandstage.org.

MAT January Open House

Posted: 2015-01-08

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On January 28th at 6:00pm MECA will open it's doors for a Masters in Art and Teaching Open House. These events are great opportunities to see the campus in person and experience all it has to offer. We encourage you and your family to come tour our facilities, walk through our studios and talk with our students and faculty.

To RSVP contact caitlin.alger-staff@meca.edu

For more information on our MAT program visit meca.edu/mat

CTN Member Highlight On Maine College of Arts Music Integration Program

Posted: 2015-01-07

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VP of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Ian Anderson discusses the Music Integration Program in this CTN Member highlight.

FY-In Public Engagement Students Make Work From Climate Change Research

Posted: 2015-01-05

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Student artists at MECA make work from climate change research

Read full article  

By NICK SCHROEDER  |  Published in digportland on December 18, 2014

Macpage llc. Celebrates 27 Years of Supporting MECA

Posted: 2014-12-22

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Recognizing MECA's Contributions to Portland, ME

MACPAGE LLC, an accounting and consulting firm with offices in South Portland, Augusta and Marlborough, MA, has a 27-year history of supporting MECA. Managing Director Tom O’Donnell feels strongly that MECA enriches Portland’s downtown, anchoring the arts community, and serving as an economic driver for the region. His wife Judy is an artist who has taken many courses through MECA’s Continuing Studies program. “Maine College of Art popularizes the arts,” Tom notes.
“For many people there is a notion that the arts are inaccessible. MECA has helped to make the arts more mainstream.”
 
Marketing Manager Bethany Mitchell, who graduated from the University of Southern Maine with her BFA in Studio Arts, has been overseeing Macpage’s art exhibitions for the past two years. The art shows started as the result of a conversation between Tom and his wife Judy as they reflected on the firm’s stock artwork and typical office decor. Now into their fifth exhibition, the shows have freshened up the walls and brought many new faces through their doors. “We’ve enjoyed the transformation of watching a bunch of
accountants develop an appreciation for the arts,” says Chief Operating Officer Ralph Hendrix. “And the artists themselves have brought a lot of diversity to the office.”
 
“Conversations” is the theme of their current exhibition, which was curated by a committee including MECA Continuing Studies faculty member Diane Dahlke, who is a featured artist in the exhibition. Several employees at Macpage have purchased work from the exhibitions, and Macpage itself has acquired a number of pieces, some of which are retained in-house as the start of a permanent art
collection, and some of which they purchase to donate to other nonprofits to be used in their fundraising efforts.

In addition to supporting MECA’s annual fund each year, Macpage also serves as a sponsor for fundraising events. This year, Macpage sponsored MECAmorphosis, the College’s spring gala. The event raised critical scholarship dollars to support current undergraduate students. “It’s nice to be able to help out,” Ralph explains modestly. “MECA is a big part of what makes Portland such a nice city.”

 

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Managing Director Thomas C. O’Donnell, Marketing Manager Bethany R. Mitchell, President Graham M. Smith,
and Chief Operating Officer Ralph R. Hendrix in front of a painting from their summer exhibition.

MAT Students at MECA Inspire and Heal Through Teaching Visual Art

Posted: 2014-12-22

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Portland, Maine ~ Making art transports the mind, body and soul to places of imagination and inspiration. While the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Maine College of Art primarily prepares teacher candidates to teach in K-12 public schools, opportunities for teaching art in local community-based settings abound. As part of the Alternative Settings class with Kelly McConnell, a group of four MAT candidates selected a placement at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland.

The group shared their enthusiasm for collaborative and individual art making by planning a group activity, followed by one-on-one projects tailored for each person.

 puzzle.jpg

 Shaun Aylward, a member of the MAT cohort, began the idea of making puzzle pieces with one common line to unify their creation.

 
As teachers in training, Adrienne Kitko, Lia Petriccione, and Tess Hitchcock set up a station for the children to learn and explore. Their lesson plans included providing the young patients with various paints, colors and brushes to design unique puzzle pieces that would form a whole. “We anticipated a low number of children to attend this activity,” Kitko said, “because it started at 6:00pm and our hospital contact mentioned that the children had a long day and are usually tired around that time. This was not the case for us; we had 10 energetic, excited children who couldn’t wait to sit down and start painting. Kitko further explained their planning process, “We chose the puzzle painting project because we knew we would be teaching a group of children who are sick and may not have the opportunity to meet each other during their stay at the hospital.  The project encouraged children to come together and participate in a fun and engaging activity. Our hope was for the children to get to know one another, make a friend or two and realize they are not alone. Our hopes were exceeded when we had more children than we expected and their family members participated in the painting, laughing, and playing around with the puzzle pieces.”

After the puzzle activity, the MAT teacher candidates worked with individual students, designing lessons that focused on art skills that would bring out personal expression and be fun to do.  Each teacher candidate used a medium that the children wanted to learn something more about.

When describing the experience, Tess Hitchcock noted, “Ashleigh wanted to learn how to paint, so I brought watercolors and a smile to the hospital one Saturday morning.” Hitchcock’s lesson built on Ashleigh’s desire to paint and extended her thinking by posing age-related provocative questions about art making like, “Is it okay to make a mess?” “Does your painting have to look like something real?”

ashleigh.jpg 

Tess Hitchcock worked with Ashleigh to learn about basic watercolor technique and to experiment with abstract design.

 

Adrienne Kitko’s reflection on the hospital experience sums up the artistic and emotional aspects of their placement.

“Tess, Lia, and I got to the hospital early to set up. While we were waiting at the nurse’s station, I heard doors slowly open, and saw tiny eyes peering at us through the sliver of the open door. We put our stuff down and immediately a curious little girl came up to us, exclaiming that she loves to paint, but only had 10 minutes before her next IV treatment. We all reacted quickly and set this little girl up with a palette of various colors of paints, brushes, a water cup, and let her pick out her own puzzle piece.

Some children collaborated on their puzzle piece together, furthering the community aspect of our project. One mother was sitting and painting with her son. Her husband was running around the ward with the other children, a 20 month-old baby among them. I had no way of knowing which child was sick, but the mother’s face and body language told me all I needed to know as she kept glancing over to the baby. At the end of the night, the family had to say goodbye to the baby and put him in a little metal crib. They thanked us profusely for giving them a night to collaborate with their children through art. That moment is when I realized why I was eager to select this teaching opportunity. 

The next day was my one-on-one lesson with a year old boy named Collin. I had met him the night before and he seemed enthusiastic about art and had some art terms under his belt. I decided to explore the subtractive and additive processes of monotype printing with him. He was shy and not as talkative as I am use to, however he was ready to learn and get his hands messy from the get-go.  He used every tool I brought to experiment with mark making and was very interested in writing “I <3 you” to his mother because he learned one has to write backwards while making a print. Collin made his print by adding paint to an inking plate and using various tools to subtract and explore line qualities and mark making.The best moment of the monotype printing-pulling lesson came when he pulled the paper back to reveal his print.”

 

sand monster.jpg

 Colin titled his monoprint "Sand Monster.” 

Maine College of Art’s nationally accredited Master of Arts in Teaching program is designed to prepare artists to recognize how their personal attributes and talents enhance and strengthen the learning environment. It is an intensive, ten-month program that blends the worlds of art and education.

Learn more about MECA's MAT program.

 

Contact: Raffi Der Simonian
Director of Marketing + Communications
rdersimonian@meca.edu
207.699.5010

 

MAT Students at MECA Inspire and Heal at Barbara Bush Children's Hospital

Posted: 2014-12-22

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Portland, Maine ~ Making art transports the mind, body and soul to places of imagination and inspiration. While the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Maine College of Art primarily prepares teacher candidates to teach in K-12 public schools, opportunities for teaching art in local community-based settings abound. As part of the Alternative Settings class with Kelly McConnell, a group of four MAT candidates selected a placement at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland.

The group shared their enthusiasm for collaborative and individual art making by planning a group activity, followed by one-on-one projects tailored for each person.

 puzzle.jpg

 Shaun Aylward, a member of the MAT cohort, began the idea of making puzzle pieces with one common line to unify their creation.

 
As teachers in training, Adrienne Kitko, Lia Petriccione, and Tess Hitchcock set up a station for the children to learn and explore. Their lesson plans included providing the young patients with various paints, colors and brushes to design unique puzzle pieces that would form a whole. “We anticipated a low number of children to attend this activity,” Kitko said, “because it started at 6:00pm and our hospital contact mentioned that the children had a long day and are usually tired around that time. This was not the case for us; we had 10 energetic, excited children who couldn’t wait to sit down and start painting. Kitko further explained their planning process, “We chose the puzzle painting project because we knew we would be teaching a group of children who are sick and may not have the opportunity to meet each other during their stay at the hospital.  The project encouraged children to come together and participate in a fun and engaging activity. Our hope was for the children to get to know one another, make a friend or two and realize they are not alone. Our hopes were exceeded when we had more children than we expected and their family members participated in the painting, laughing, and playing around with the puzzle pieces.”

After the puzzle activity, the MAT teacher candidates worked with individual students, designing lessons that focused on art skills that would bring out personal expression and be fun to do.  Each teacher candidate used a medium that the children wanted to learn something more about.

When describing the experience, Tess Hitchcock noted, “Ashleigh wanted to learn how to paint, so I brought watercolors and a smile to the hospital one Saturday morning.” Hitchcock’s lesson built on Ashleigh’s desire to paint and extended her thinking by posing age-related provocative questions about art making like, “Is it okay to make a mess?” “Does your painting have to look like something real?”

ashleigh.jpg 

Tess Hitchcock worked with Ashleigh to learn about basic watercolor technique and to experiment with abstract design.

 

Adrienne Kitko’s reflection on the hospital experience sums up the artistic and emotional aspects of their placement.

“Tess, Lia, and I got to the hospital early to set up. While we were waiting at the nurse’s station, I heard doors slowly open, and saw tiny eyes peering at us through the sliver of the open door. We put our stuff down and immediately a curious little girl came up to us, exclaiming that she loves to paint, but only had 10 minutes before her next IV treatment. We all reacted quickly and set this little girl up with a palette of various colors of paints, brushes, a water cup, and let her pick out her own puzzle piece.

Some children collaborated on their puzzle piece together, furthering the community aspect of our project. One mother was sitting and painting with her son. Her husband was running around the ward with the other children, a 20 month-old baby among them. I had no way of knowing which child was sick, but the mother’s face and body language told me all I needed to know as she kept glancing over to the baby. At the end of the night, the family had to say goodbye to the baby and put him in a little metal crib. They thanked us profusely for giving them a night to collaborate with their children through art. That moment is when I realized why I was eager to select this teaching opportunity. 

The next day was my one-on-one lesson with a year old boy named Collin. I had met him the night before and he seemed enthusiastic about art and had some art terms under his belt. I decided to explore the subtractive and additive processes of monotype printing with him. He was shy and not as talkative as I am use to, however he was ready to learn and get his hands messy from the get-go.  He used every tool I brought to experiment with mark making and was very interested in writing “I <3 you” to his mother because he learned one has to write backwards while making a print. Collin made his print by adding paint to an inking plate and using various tools to subtract and explore line qualities and mark making.The best moment of the monotype printing-pulling lesson came when he pulled the paper back to reveal his print.”

 

sand monster.jpg

 Colin titled his monoprint "Sand Monster.” 

Maine College of Art’s nationally accredited Master of Arts in Teaching program is designed to prepare artists to recognize how their personal attributes and talents enhance and strengthen the learning environment. It is an intensive, ten-month program that blends the worlds of art and education.

Learn more about MECA's MAT program.

 

Contact: Raffi Der Simonian
Director of Marketing + Communications
rdersimonian@meca.edu
207.699.5010

 

MECA Alum Designs Kinetic Rooftop Sculpture for Coffee By Design

Posted: 2014-12-17

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On December 15th Coffee By Design on 1 Diamond Street installed and unveiled their large kinetic rooftop sculpture. Jac Ouellette who earned her BFA with honors at Maine College of Art in 2002 designed the sculpture, which was fashioned out of aluminum and steel. The sculpture weighs in at 1000 pounds and was lifted onto the roof of the building with help of a construction crew.

Coffee by Design owners Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear worked closely with Ouellette to collaborate on ideas for the piece. Ouellette would put together mockups on a small scale to test the kinetic nature of the piece, and after many rounds of designs a final one was chosen. Spears spoke about the process coming together, “It’s incredible to finally see the sculpture where it was designed to stand… This project was a true collaboration between so many people who turned our dream into a reality.” Lindermann also commented on the sense of community the sculpture brings to their newest location,  “Everything we do is about our love for coffee, our coffee farmers and their families, local artists and organizations and most of all, our customers. Jac’s sculpture is the next step for Coffee By Design.”

Graphic Design Students Design A Limited Edition T-Shirt For Maine Red Claws

Posted: 2014-12-10

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Autumn Frantz, Junior in Graphic Design with Dajuan Eubanks, President of the Maine Red Claws. Photo by Michael McSweeney 

On Friday, November 21, students in Design Workshop attended the Maine Red Claws home opener. The class, taught by Professor Samantha Haedrich, spent part of the fall semester designing a t-shirt for the NBA D-League team to commemorate fans as they enter their sixth season. 

 
The group of nine junior and senior design majors met with Red Claws president Dajuan Eubanks and his marketing team throughout the process. Eubanks decided to approach the College because, “We wanted to engage the students at MECA in some real life experience to help design our opening night t-shirt that we give out. Needless to say, we were very excited about the result. The students came up with terrific and creative ideas, and responded well to our critique and input.” 
 
Each student had the opportunity to present two design concepts that embodied the idea of the fan’s representing the team's “sixth man.” The final t-shirt, designed by junior Autumn Frantz, was given away to the first 1000 fans who attended Friday’s game. It featured typography in the shape of the state of Maine, with the largest text reading: You are the Reason. Autumn said of the experience, "It was wonderful working with an organization that greatly cares about Portland's community, plus it was a valuable opportunity to work with a real client to gain experience. The icing on the cake was seeing my design on t-shirts the fans received at the game we attended.”

MECA Gets Snaps from Sharon Butler's TWO COATS OF PAINT Blog

Posted: 2014-11-24

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>> Read Sharon Butler's Full Blog on Two Coats of Paint


Snaps: A visit to Maine College of Art

 

Readers may have noticed that posting slowed down a little last week. I spent a few days up at the Maine College of Art (known as MECA) in Portland, where I gave a  presentation about my work and enjoyed visiting studios of talented graduate and undergraduate students. Business Insider recently named Portland one of the top places to travel, calling it a "funky low-key destination that prizes quality food and cutting-edge art," and I sampled both on my short trip. Amid presenting, dining, drinking, and talking with students about their projects, I managed to wedge in some visits to faculty studios. 

[Image at top: Snap of work-in-progress in Prof. Gail Spaien's campus studio. ]

 Gail Spaien, Still Life #7, 2014, acrylic on linen, 38 x 40 inches. 

Chair of the Painting Program, Spaien paints delicate, finely detailed images of flowers in vases. I'm looking forward to her March 2015 exhibition at the Anthony Giordano Gallery at Dowling College on Long Island. 


In one of the undergrad studios, I was delighted to find images of Sarah Faux's paintings tacked to the wall.
 

Each morning on my way to much-loved Marcy's Diner where a single order of bacon consists of a heaping plateful and a pancake is larger than a Frisbee, I passed this chunky Anthony Caro sculpture displayed on the lawn at the Portland Museum of Art. 

Leslie Murray, Clover Explosion, 2014, 36 x 42 inches.
 
My first faculty studio visit was with Leslie Murray, who earned her undergraduate degree from MECA in 2008, then moved to NYC where she got her Masters at NYU. Now she's back at MECA as a part-time faculty member and painting facilities manager. Her sunny studio is on the top floor of a nearby office building where space costs a mere $295 per month. She recently had a solo show at Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts.


Murray makes objects like these black sparkly rock-like forms, which she then uses as subjects for her  paintings.

 Leslie Murray, work in progress.

I gave my presentation on Thursday afternoon to a full auditorium (thanks everyone for coming!), and was pleased to see some familiar faces. Naturally we took a few selfies. To the left is Martin Mugar, the artist and blogger who coined the term "Zombie Formalism." To the right: Mark Wethli, an old Facebook friend, also stopped by. He's on sabbatic leave from his teaching position at Bowdoin College this semester.



Here is Prof. Honour Mack's spacious studio in the renovated attic of an old Victorian house. She, too, is on sabbatical, and has just started wrestling with a new series of abstract paintings that engage the circle inside the square. Some of her older work on paper is on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Portland through December 22.


Working horizontally on a tabletop, she pours fluid paint and lets it pool and blend in unexpected ways.


Maine is a good place to buy warm boots. Plenty of styles are on view at Reny's, a discount department store that specializes in hunting and adventure gear, right next door to MECA. If you need Carhartt or camouflage, this is the place. MECA's spacious, elegant building, on the main street in downtown Portland, was once a department store.


I visited grad student Tessa O'Brien at a building that used to house a restaurant. She paints murals on the outside and uses the inside to mix her paints and prepare her spray gun. The restaurant owner used to have copies of his favorite paintings made in China. Here's a Frida Kahlo portrait (above) that still hangs in the restroom.

 One iteration of Tessa's building.


Professor Philip Brou works in a well-organized basement studio located very near Winslow Homer's studio at Prouts Neck. Brou (pronounced "brew") has been working on a series of paintings that depict actors who play extras in movies and on TV shows. He contacts talent agencies in NYC, chooses the actors and actresses from head shots, then sets up photo shoots in the city. The photographs become the basis for his remarkable paintings.


Brou's solitary figures surrounded by a rich black paint remind me of NYC painter Matthew Miller's self-portraits, although Miller's work seems more rooted in American colonial painting while Brou's recall the flat existentialism of late1960s photorealism.


Another MECA faculty member who is working on interesting projects is art historian, curator, and Fluxer Chris Stiegler. His two main projects are Town Hall Meeting and The Institute for American Art, a curatorial project that he maintains in his Portland living room. Currently Stiegler has an installation by Sebastian Black on view (pictured above).


When I visited the Portland Museum of Art, I was greeted by large-scale Katherine Bradford, Alex Katz, and Chris Martin paintings in the lobby. Further inside,  I found other gems, including Storm, a juicy 1996-97 painting by Sir Howard Hodgkin in the "Treasures of British Art" exhibition.


In the Early American wing, which had recently been rehung, I found many sublime landscape paintings by Fitz Henry Lane, Frederick Edwin Church, and their talented cohort, as well as this little charmer, The Letter, an 1837 painting by Amasa Hewins. Doesn't it look like a colonial rendition of a Vermeer?

The Business Insider is correct about both the art scene and Portland's fantastic culinary culture. The MECA crew took me to Empire Chinese Kitchen, which specializes in Dim Sum, and Caiola's Restaurant, which features inventive cooking with locally grown ingredients. I highly recommend both.

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Faculty Spotlight on Art Education (MAT) Chair, Fern Tavalin

Posted: 2014-11-24

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Faculty Profile

Fern Tavalin, Professor of Art Education

 

How did you get from a B.A. degree in Economics from Franklin & Marshall to being a professor in the field of Art Education at MECA?

F&M is a liberal arts college. So, while my major was economics, I took several fine arts, language arts and foreign language classes. I especially enjoyed the sculpture studio and metal sculpting in particular. Also, I lived in Belgium and attended a Flemish high school for one year, with a heavy emphasis on aesthetics. The year after I graduated my college built a state-of-the-art photo lab and extended its use to alumni. There, I found a life-long love for photography and subsequently video.

 

What is the most challenging teaching experience you have had? What did you learn from it?

The toughest challenge I had as a teacher was analyzing student performance in social studies and realizing that my methods did not work. It was with that awareness that I turned to integrated arts and hands-on learning. I still required essay exams, so the tests did not change, but my method of teaching and learning shifted radically. As a result, student learning and engagement improved dramatically. From this experience I became an active proponent of arts integration and project-based learning.

 

Much of your professional life has been dedicated to the use of technology. Studio art classes, currently, are tactile experiences. Do you see any change in this facet of art education in the future? Are campuses becoming irrelevant?

Your question begins with a common, mistaken assumption. My approach to technology is to use tactile processes alongside virtual experiences. For instance, when I designed technology-based summer institutes, they included workshops in book arts so that there was literal copying and pasting alongside the virtual. I stressed stop-motion animation so that students could still learn about the properties of clay and other materials along with the subtlety of movement that stop-motion requires. Artists worked with teachers to build plaster body casts to project words from found poetry, generated from personal narratives. These skills and processes, when used in tandem with planning items such as sketching and storyboarding, foster the type of critical thinking and problem solving that embody new standards for student learning. Are campuses irrelevant? It depends upon how they are used. Our MAT candidates need on-site mentoring for the first semester. Student teaching is another matter, though. This year, we sent three people out of state, one as far away as San Francisco.  Given the current state of telecommunication, distance supervision works, and having classroom experiences in other locations enhances seminar discussions.

>>Learn More About Our MAT Program

Holiday Sale and First Friday (December 5 + 6)

Posted: 2014-11-18

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Portland Maine ~ The 2014 MECA Holiday Sale will take place during the December First Friday Art Walk and will run from 5pm to 9pm. The sale is open to the public and all ages are welcome to stop by on December 5th. The vendors, most of which are current students or alumni, line the halls of the school to sell their original art. The Holiday Sale is open the following morning, Saturday December 6th, from 10am until 5pm.

Creative Portland teams up with Portland’s Downtown District to close Congress Street for the Art Walk. On December 5th starting at 5pm Congress Street will be closed from State Street to Monument Square, with High Street remaining open. The December First Friday Art Walk brings in visitors far and wide to see the many galleries and artists who setup along Congress Street, even in the cold weather.

The sale takes place on the first three floors of the MECA Porteous building.

Contact: Raffi Der Simonian
Director of Marketing + Communications
rdersimonian@meca.edu

207.699.5010

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