Behind each piece of artwork hanging in the community room at Bayside East is a story. There’s the story of the treasures brought home by a young man stationed overseas, or the story of a cultural tradition transplanted in a new community. And there’s the simple story of preserving a community’s history through newspaper clippings.
Looking at the 11 prints on the walls, the stories might not be apparent. But for the residents of the Portland senior community, the artwork represents memories of cherished items collected over the years, as seen through the eyes of local art students.
From September to December, a class of Maine College of Art students spent several hours talking with a group of residents of Bayside East and seeing first-hand the objects that hold special meaning for them. Residents brought odds and ends gathered over the years, like collections of old newspaper clippings, gifts given to them by loved ones, and even colorful traditional African clothing made by hand.
Through stories and questions, the students learned why these objects were so important to their owners. Then, they created original prints using the objects and stories as influence.
The semester-long project wrapped up in December with a potluck party at the property. The students unveiled their art to the residents and talked about their process. Each student made multiple prints so that the residents could also hang one in their apartment.
One of the residents, Bill, had showed students a geisha doll he’s had for over four decades, purchased overseas when he was serving in the Navy. The doll became a source of inspiration for one student, who made a black-and-white print of its likeness that now hangs in the community room kitchen.
“My 45-year-old gal – it’s nice to see her out,” said Bill.
This partnership is just one way Avesta has been exploring community partnerships to help enhance our residents’ sense of home through art. The importance of art goes beyond aesthetics – it’s a vital part of creating a sense of community and making our residents feel at home.
Partnerships with other organizations also strengthen relationships between our residents and members of the larger community, creating connections that can have a lasting impact. The residents visited the students in their studio to see first-hand how printmaking is done. They also got a personalized tour of the college’s facilities on Congress Street, which was especially meaningful for one resident, who used to work in the building back when it was the Porteous department store.
“It’s community development for both, for us and for (Maine College of Art),” said Bill of the project. “What it brings to the room is what we were looking for. This is extremely nice to have.”
Kate, a student, said they were all initially nervous about leaving the classroom and “stepping out of our comfort zone,” but those feelings quickly dissipated as they spent more time with the residents. “We had a really fun time, they were interested people we wouldn’t normally interact with,” she said. “They were fun to talk with – they always had something interesting to say.
“Every time you have students get out somewhere else, it’s beneficial to your art,” she added.
Maine College of Art students pose with a resident of Bayside East dressed up as Santa Claus
Rod, one of the residents, said the opportunity to interact with young people held more meaning for him now that he’s getting older and most of his own children have moved away. “Getting to know them has been really great. They’re obviously a really great bunch of kids,” he said. “I think programs like this are really great — this way, you don’t just house older people and forget about them.”
The connection that developed between the residents and the students was great to see, and I’d like to thank Professor Pilar Nadal and her students for enhancing the lives of our residents through art. And a big thank-you to Bill, Phil, Doug, Rod and the other residents who participated in this project and shared their time, energy and hospitality.
Avesta looks forward to working with the Maine College of Art to repeat the program with another group of residents next fall.
* Thank you to Pilar and her students for providing some of the photos for this blog post.
Adam Kitzerow, Every Which Way (detail), acrylic and mixed media on canvas
MECA Student Designs John Waters' Holiday Ornament
For a class assignment, Illustration student Declan McCarthy '14 drew a portrait of filmmaker John Waters. Pleased with the result, he sent it to him not expecting a response. He was surprised when he received a personal phone call from John Waters, asking to purchase the rights to the image for use on a holiday ornament. Waters is known for his holiday cards and ornaments which are a coveted item by those on the receiving end.
Dana Bell MFA '04 Awarded New York Foundation for the Arts' (NYFA) Fellowship in Choreography
THE NEW YORK FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS (NYFA)
AWARDS 91 FELLOWSHIPS TOTALING $637,000
THROUGH THE ARTIST FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
Awards made in literary, performing and
visual arts categories
The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is pleased to announce the recipients of its 28th annual Artist Fellowships Program. A total of $637,000 has been awarded to 91 artists or collaborative teams in the disciplines of Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design, Choreography, Music/Sound, Photography and Playwriting/Screenwriting. In addition to the Fellows, three Finalists, who do not receive a cash award, were named in each of the five categories. The Fellows and Finalists were selected by state-wide peer panels from 2.922 applicants. A complete list of recipients and their counties of residency follows.
The program is open to artists at all stages in their careers and each Fellow or team receives an unrestricted cash grant of $7,000 to use in any way they desire to further their creative work. As Kristoffer Diaz, a Brooklyn-based playwright whose playThe Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity was a Pulitzer finalist in 2010, noted, “It's an unbelievable honor to be selected as a NYFA Fellow. It's never easy to make a living as an artist, especially in New York; NYFA fills a huge need in letting writers write.” His remarks were echoed by Joyce Hwang, an Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design recipient from Buffalo, who said, “I am honored to be selected as a NYFA Fellow this year, and excited that the award will enable me to continue constructing an urban habitat project that I have had to put on hold until now.”
First launched in 1985, NYFA’s Artist Fellowship Program, has provided over $27 million in unrestricted cash grants to artists in 15 disciplines at critical stages in their careers. Awards are made in five disciplines a year on a triennial basis. Past recipients include the winners of five Academy Awards, five Tony Awards, eight Pulitzer Prizes and 17 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships.
“We are so grateful to the New York State Council on the Arts and our other funders for making it possible for us to administer this award which has such a significant impact on the lives of artists throughout the state,” said NYFA Executive Director Michael L. Royce. “By giving artists the support they need, we all get to enjoy, learn from and be inspired by the fruits of their labors.”
NYFA’s 2013 Artists’ Fellowships are administered by NYFA with leadership support from the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation and one anonymous donor.
The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) was founded in 1971 to empower artists at critical stages in their creative lives. Each year we provide over $1 million in cash grants to individuals and small organizations. Artspire, our fiscal sponsorship program is the largest and most established in the country and helps artists and organizations raise and manage over $3.5 million annually. Our NYFA Learning programs provide thousands of artists with professional development training and our website, NYFA.org, received over 1.5 million unique visitors last year and has information about more than 11,000 opportunities and resources available to artists in all disciplines.
FY-In Students Partner With Creative Trails Art Department on Newspaper Launch
Celebrate the launch of Sunny All Day News: Issue 3, a newspaper collaboration between MECA FY-In students in the Transporting the Intangible section and the artists from Creative Trails Art Department! The newspaper features student projects and assignments that each artist at both MECA and the Art Department created and assigned to each other. Students have also installed work from their semester long projects in the Art department storefront window and inside the gallery! The artwork will be up all month long, and the free newspaper will be available in the kiosks outside of MeCA and the Art Department December 6th...until they are gone!
First Year Students:
Nyla Wilson Josh Clark Jeff Saint-Victor Parker Anna Smedley Gunnar Johnson Jules Gabriel Willie Nelson Brendan Glass Jamie Miller Aoifa Quinn Sayre Leonard
MAINE COLLEGE OF ART HOSTS 2013 HOLIDAY SALE on DECEMBER 6 & 7, 2013
Annual Holiday Sale Features Affordable Handmade Art and Gifts from MECA Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni
Portland, Maine ~ The 2013 Maine College of Art Holiday Sale will take place on Friday, December 6 from 5pm to 9pm and Saturday, December 7 from 10am to 5pm throughout three floors of Porteous Building. This annual, curated art sale features 64 students, faculty, staff and alumni selling unique and affordable handmade art. In addition to individual vendors, ten department showcases will provide an opportunity to learn more about the various majors at the College and purchase art. Proceeds from the department showcases help students pursue professional development opportunities. Admission is free.
Recognizing the 20-year anniversary of this beloved community event, the College is holding a fundraiser, Celebrate 20, on Thursday, December 5th. This is a limited-ticket event that features a one-night only sale of higher-end priced work by selected Holiday Sale artists. Proceeds from the evening will benefit MECA’s scholarship fund. Tickets are $75 and available at meca.edu/holidaysale or call 207.699.5012.
Through an internship, Graphic Design student Cassie Amicone is building a three-dimensional visual display in the front window that builds on the two-dimensional brand that she created for the event.
Please note that Congress Street will be shut down during the First Friday Art Walk from Brown Street to High Street and shoppers should plan accordingly.
For more information, including a list of all participating vendors, please visit holidaysale.meca.edu.
Photo: Gabriella Sturchio '12 Window Design by Carrie
PROPEL After Hours Event Hosted at MECA on Dec. 3 in the ICA at 5:30