News + Events
Chinese Delegation of Art Educators Visit MECA This Spring
Chinese Delegation of Art Educators Visit MECA This Spring
March 31, Portland, ME—This spring, Maine College of Art will be welcoming an incoming delegation from the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts (XAFA) in China. The delegation marks the developing relationships that MECA is forging with several leading art academies in Greater China.
The President’s Delegation from Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts will arrive in Portland on April 14th and includes Professor Guo Xianlu, President; Mr. Wu Shunong, Director of International Cooperation & Exchanges Office; Professor Shi Cun, Director of the Post-Graduate Office; and Ms. Chen Tianqui, International Relations and Contracts. They will stay until April 16th, and will spend the time touring the college, meeting students and faculty, and discussing the exchange program launched between the two colleges. President Guo Xianlu will also deliver a public lecture on April 15th titled, ‘Traditional Chinese Decorative Art & Design.’
This is one of three institutional relationships that MECA has formed with China in the past year. The relationship began in the spring of 2013 when MECA President Don Tuski traveled with Suzanne Fox, President of Fox Intercultural Consulting and Professor Gan Xu of MECA to Xi’an to visit the college’s campus and meet the faculty. Located in Western China, Xi’an is one of the most historically rich regions in China, famed for its Terracotta Warriors and its location on the edge of the Silk Road.
MECA has also formed partnerships with several other art academies in China this past year, including the Academy of Visual Arts (AVA) at Baptist University in Hong Kong. Professor Tricia Flanagan of the AVA traveled to MECA from Hong Kong in March 2014; she spent time with numerous departments, spoke to MECA students who are keen on traveling to Hong Kong—and offered a public lecture on her artistic practice and her running of the innovative Wearables Lab at the AVA in Hong Kong.
In 2014, we are kicking off our long-term partnerships with Chinese art academies and cultural institutions with a calendar of events, talks, and East/West journeys.
China has become a major superpower. In the coming decades, we will start to see significant cultural influences emerging from the country. There are an astonishing number of museums being built in Greater China and the wider Asian region—and the art markets have firmly planted themselves in Beijing and Hong Kong. For MECA to connect with this rapidly growing cultural economy will bring long-term benefits in the future—from student recruitment to institutional connectivity, and a greater awareness among students in the globalized era.
In the past year, MECA has set up partnerships with three leading art colleges in Greater China. These partnerships offer an excellent way to forge long-term connections with China, place MECA on the map globally, bring artists from China to Maine, and offer students and staff at MECA an opportunity to travel abroad and connect with global art and cultural shifts.
Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, Xi’An (XAFA)
Following the delegation of Don Tuski, Suzanne Fox and Professor Gan Xu to Xi’An in March of 2013, we are building connections with this respected Chinese art academy. There will be an incoming delegation from XAFA to Maine in April 2014.
Academy of Visual Arts, Baptist University of Hong Kong (AVA)
Hong Kong is emerging as a major arts center in Asia. Don Tuski and Suzanne Fox visited the AVA in Hong Kong in March of 2013 and then welcomed a visit from John Aiken, Chair of the Academy (and former head of the Slade, in London) when he visited Portland in June and signed a student exchange agreement. In March of 2014, we welcomed Tricia Flanagan, who heads the international exchange program for AVA and is a respected artist and educator on fashion design and public art.
China Academy of Art, Hangzhou (CAA)
China Academy of Art is one of the most famous art colleges in China. Based by the serene lakes of Hangzhou, just 40 minutes by bullet train from Shanghai, it is a stunning campus that combines the ancient literati elements of classical Chinese art with cutting-edge innovation. Following Don Tuski and Suzanne Fox’s visit to CAA in 2013, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CAA to open up possibilities for partnership and exchange.
Spring 2014 Lecture Series Announced
Graphic Designer Dan Michaelson
March 20, 2014, 12:30pm, Osher Hall
Linked by Air: "They sorta kinda fixed it!"
Past Spring '14 lectures
February 6, 2014, 12:00pm, Osher Hall Multi-disciplinary artist Jenna Crowder '07 sponsored by Artists at Work
Visual artist and designer Jenna Crowder has attended a number of residencies and has lived and worked internationally. Her work includes Public Space: Cairo, a collaborative workshop-based project for engaging with art and design in public spaces, which took place in downtown Cairo, Egypt; design work for 826, a national youth literacy organization launched by Dave Eggers; and design work for clothing designer Jon Wye in Washington, D.C. At this lecture she and writer Douglas W. Milliken will discuss the collaborative process and influences behind a series of recent performative installations.
Friday, February 7, 2014, 7:00pm, ICA at MECA | Photographer Bryan Graf sponsored by the ICA at MECA
Bryan discusses work featured in Bryan Graf: Across the Interior, an exhibit that runs January 22 through April 6, 2014 at the ICA at MECA. His inventive and playful photography turns the prosaic New Jersey landscape into a canvas for darkroom experimentation and mystic revelation. Created in part by sandwiching B/W negatives with exposed, or partially fogged color film, the images channel the landscape’s hidden ghosts to hallucinatory effect.
Eco-artist Tim Gaudreau is passionate about the environment and the interconnections between people and nature. His work combines humor and irony with photography, video, new media, graphics, and sculpture to create collaborations that advocate for a greater awareness of eco-issues, initiating dialogue about social and environmental issues and serving as an entryway to improve our relationships with nature. Numerous awards, fellowships, and commissions have given him the opportunity to create public art projects that stimulate collaboration and interaction while challenging conventional thinking. He has participated in residencies ranging from California to India.
February 20, 2014, 12:00pm, Osher Hall | Ceramic artist Susan Dewsnap sponsored by the Ceramics Department
Susan Dewsnap’s ceramic studies began at a community clay studio in Boulder, Colorado and matured through intensive summer workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine and Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. She earned her MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she taught from 2008 through 2012, and is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. She has exhibited her ceramic work internationally and has received awards from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Biennial, the World Ceramic Biennale Korea International Competition, and the Strictly Functional Pottery National Exhibition.
Reenie Charriere’s installations, drawings and photographs evolve from a practice triggered by expeditions along everyday paths. Her current work includes photographic documentation followed by spotlighting the situation through fabricated sculptural installations created out of discarded packaging materials -- particularly plastic, fabric, paper, and cardboard. By sewing, cutting, fusing, reshaping, dangling, and weaving, she transforms the material into atmospheric and surprisingly organic-like structures. Her choice of materials reflects a collision of clumsiness and grace and questions how consumerism drives the world. She was recently awarded a residency by SF MOMA in San Francisco and has been awarded full fellowships by La Napoule Foundation in France and Can Serrat in Spain.
A former fashion and costume designer, Tricia Flanagan has been a practicing artist since 1996. Since earning a Master of Arts in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from Bauhaus University in WEimar, Germany, her practice has focused on working in the public sphere, including site-specific sculpture, social sculpture, sounds sculpture, sculptural installation, wearables, and performance installation. Artwork is often created on location or developed in workshops. She currently runs the Wearables Lab at the Academy of Visual Art HKBU and lives and works in Hong Kong. For her project “Transit Textiles,” she engaged eight artists from various disciplines and backgrounds, mapped their movements throughout the city of Hong Kong, and created wearable textile maps, stiching their networks of movement into the cloth.
So Percussion: "Where (we) Live"
Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Performing in conjunction with Bryan Graf’s exhibit, So Percussion has been praised by The New Yorker for their “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” redefining the modern percussion ensemble as a flexible, omnivorous entity, pushing its voice to the forefront of American musical culture. Part experimental music gig, part multimedia rock show, part happening, Where (we) Live is a freeform investigation of the places and spaces we call home.
Assistant Photography Professor Cheryle St. Onge NYC Exhibit
"Not Long Hidden"
The work of MECA assistant professor of photography Cheryle St. Onge will be exhibited at Rick Wester Fine Art in New York City. The show titled "Not Long Hidden" is a collaboration of five different photographers' work and interpretation of summertime light, color and tones. It is a refreshing show to view during this frigid season and was (unsurprisingly) put together to be "a visual antidote to Seasonal Affective Disorder" (more here). The show will be on exhibit now through March 1, 2014.
MECA Celebrates Chinese New Year with Insights Into Year of the Horse
Fox Intercultural Consulting & Maine College of Art Present:
The Year of the Horse
With Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith
Thursday, February 13, 12.00pm-1.30pm
ICA, Maine College of Art
Free and Open to All
Portland, Maine ~ To celebrate the dawning of Chinese New Year and the launch of MECA’s Year in China, we are welcoming two distinguished figures from the Chinese-American cultural scene. Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith, authors of the Pocket Chinese Almanac series, will be offering audiences insights into the Year of the Horse.
The traditional Chinese almanac, also known as the Tong Sing or Huang Li, is a centuries-old repository of cultural information from household tips to general medical remedies. But it's the almanac's predictions of which days are auspicious or ominous for a wide range of activities that has made the annual publication a mainstay in Chinese homes. For five years now, Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith have translated and decoded the almanac's predictions.
About The Speakers:
Joanna C. Lee is the founder of Museworks, a consultancy for performing artists eager to explore links between Asia and the West. Her clients include the San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, the Leonard Bernstein estate, San Francisco Opera, Carnegie Hall, Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Boston Symphony Orchestra. She has also devised publicity, translation or educational outreach projects for the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, Holland Festival, Sydney Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Asia Society, Taiwan Contemporary Legend Theater, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong New Vision Arts Festival, Sotheby’s HK, Beijing Music Festival, Habitat for Humanity, National Geographic, architecture historian Victoria Newhouse and the New York Asian Film Festival.
Journalist and author Ken Smith has traveled widely, covering music on five continents for a wide range of publications including the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Opera News and Time Out New York. He currently divides his time between New York, where he writes for Gramophone magazine, and Hong Kong, where he is the Asian performing arts critic for the Financial Times of London. A featured columnist for China’s Opera magazine, he also covers Western opera in China for the London-based magazines Opera and Opera Now. He had an active role in the Chinese music research for author Amy Tan and composer Stewart Wallace in their opera The Bonesetter’s Daughter based on Tan’s novel, an odyssey he chronicled in his 2008 book Fate! Luck! Chance!. He is also a cultural advisor to David Henry Hwang’s bilingual Broadway comedy Chinglish and the Bruce Lee musical Kung Fu at New York’s Signature Theatre.
In addition to the annual publication of the Pocket Chinese Almanac, they are also authors of The Pocket Confucius, The Pocket Tao, and The Pocket Te. Read more: http://asktongsing.com
Fox Intercultural Consulting promotes intercultural understanding between the United States and China through a diverse range of educational and cultural programs. Headquartered in the pristine setting of Portland, Maine, with teams in Shanghai, Chongqing and Hong Kong, we build bridges between the people of these two vast countries: www.foxintercultural.net
Maine College of Art delivers a demanding and enlivening education in visual art and design within an intimate learning community. We teach each student how to transform aspirations and values into a creative practice that serves as the foundation for a lifelong pursuit of personal and professional goals. Founded in 1882 and located in the heart of Downtown Portland's thriving Arts District, MECA offers BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in 11 studio majors, MFA (Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art), and MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) degrees. Pre-College and Continuing Studies programming are available for adults and youths. The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at MECA, Joanne Waxman Library, and Visiting Artist and Guest Lecture Series are free and open to the public.
With thanks to our sponsors:
The Chinese & American Friendship Association of Maine provides forums and outreach to promote awareness of and appreciation for Chinese culture. cafammaine.org
Creative Portland was founded by Portland City Council in 2008 to grow and support the local creative economy. Major programs include LiveWork Portland, 2 Degrees Portland, and the First Friday Art Walk, among others
LOVAPALOOZA 2014 Printmaking Valentine Exhibition and Sale
Beginning next week, MECA's Printmaking Department will host an exciting new event called LOVAPALOOZA!
LOVAPALOOZA is Valentines day themed sale of handmade cards, posters and prints created by Maine College of Art's Printmaking majors and Introduction to Relief class. All proceeds from the event help to fund the Printmaking majors attendance to the Southern Graphics Council Conference in San Francisco of March 2014. Children friendly activities, raffles, food and fun will be of no shortage. The exhibition and sale will take place in Artists at Work. So come on in and feel the love!
LOVAPALOOZA will be on display M-F, February 3 - February 14. Open 9-5PM
First Friday Art Walk Event and Sale - Friday, February 7th, 5-8PM
Children's Workshop - Saturday, February 8th, 1-3PM (Valentine making station, face painting and button making)
Author Peter Korn Speaks at MECA on Thursday, January 30 at 7pm
Peter Korn: Why We Make Things and Why It Matters
In this moving account, Korn explores the nature and rewards of creative practice. We follow his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer/maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching and administration at Colorado's Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and finally founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected, non-profit institution.
This is not a 'how-to' book in any sense. Korn wantsto get at the why of craft in particular, and the satisfactions of creative work in general, to understand their essential nature. How does the making of objects shape our identities? How do the products of creative work inform society? In short, what does the process of making things reveal to us about ourselves? Korn draws on four decades of hands-on experience to answer these questions eloquently, and often poignantly, in this personal, introspective, and revealing book.
Join us for an evening with Maine craftsman and author Peter Korn to discuss his book and share your thoughts on the creative process and get your books signed.
Photography Professor Bryan Graf Hosts Show at ICA
MECA photography professor Bryan Graff opens a new show tonight at the ICA. The show titled "Moving Across the Interior" will be featured at the ICA from now through April 6.
MECA Announces New Student Resource: PHOTOBOOTH
What is PHOTOBOOTH you ask?
PHOTOBOOTH is a new campus-wide resource for documenting student work, events, and aspects of MECA’s educational experience. Aligned with the philosophy ofArtists at Work, PHOTOBOOTH promotes the importance of professional documentation.
The mission of PHOTOBOOTH is to:
STEP 1.) Reserve Time on the PB Calendar
STEP 2.) Submit Online Form to Schedule PB Session (see below)
STEP 3.) Get Your Work Shot Professionally in the Lighting Studio
STEP 4.) Use digital images of your artwork to build your portfolio, promote yourself as a professional artists, and advance your career!
Where is it located?
PB is located in the Photo Lighting Studio (3rd floor adjacent to Photo Lab)
For questions or more information, please contact:
Illustration Alumn Hannah Rosengren's Print Goes Viral
An illustration by MECA 2013 grad Hannah Rosengren has gained a lot of attention online over the last several months. When Hannah first shared her illustration "Plant These to Help Save Bees" on her Tumblr last November, it didn't get many hits. But when a nonprofit based in Valencia, Spain got a hold of the image, the illustration was shared over 14,000 times in one night. Since then Hannah has received hundreds of emails from around the world regarding the print and her Etsy account has been so overwhelmed with daily purchases that the young artist has trouble keeping up with them.
"I think people have been so attracted to the image and so inclined to share it because it's something useful and informative" Hannah explains "I wanted to not only make pieces that were aesthetically interesting, but were meaningful to me personally. My growing understanding of colony collapse disorder and an interest in botanical illustration led to "Plant These to Help Save Bees."
Want your own copy of the print? Check out Hannah's Etsy account here.
Illustration Professor Rob Sullivan Hosts First Solo Show in NYC
"A Troubling Calm: The Recent Works of Rob Sullivan"
This Thursday, January 23 (6-9pm), MECA Illustration professor Rob Sullivan opens a new show at the Good Question Gallery in Chelsea, New York. The show titled "A Troubling Calm" will be featured in the main gallery space through February 22, 2014 and is Sullivan's first solo show in the Big Apple.
538 West 29th St.
New York NY 10001
Nicole Holmes '14 Wins Geary's Competition
Congrats to Graphic Design Senior, Nicole Holmes, for winning the 2014 Geary's packaging competition!
In conjunction with the release of the Summer Ale this spring, Artists at Work will host an exhibition of the entries. More details forthcoming.
Thanks to all students who participated in the 2014 Geary's Summer Ale packaging competition.
MECA Public Engagement students forge connections with Avesta Housing Community
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.
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.”
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.