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.
Chloe Beaven and Caitlin Ervin Public Engagement Fellows for 2014-2015
Senior Chloe Beaven and junior Caitlin Ervin are the Public Engagement Fellows for 2014-2015. Sophomore Hannah Howard is the Project Assistant. They will receive a financial scholarship and academic credit to design and lead projects and initiatives that focus on building relationships between campus and community. The fellowship is supported with a grant from the Helen and George Ladd Foundation.
Chloe Beaven, a senior in the New Media program, will be partnering with MECA, Seeds of Peace, and Waynflete School in order to increase understanding and support of diversity (especially issues involving race), elevate and further contemplative dialog, and broaden student civic responsibility at MECA. Her projects will include implementing the Big Think Series, monthly dialogs hosted by an artist or academic within the field of socially engaged art or social justice; revitalizing the MECA C.A.R.E diversity group; inviting high school students to work on the Other Side of Shade workshops with the Seeds of Peace students, and develop an annual student exhibit focusing on issues of race; establishing the VIP Vote, an annual early Vote Day at MECA; and increasing programming around MLK day and the attendance at the MLK Breakfast.
Caitlin Ervin, a junior in the Sculpture program, will be partnering with Environment Maine and the MECA Trash Talkers group to focus on environmental projects and sustainability within MECA and the Portland community. Her projects will include assisting with community partner logistics and taking on leadership for Envisioning a Sustainable Society with Professor Dana Sawyer; partnering with and assisting with group projects in Paul Gebhardt's FY-IN class; and co-leading and coordinating environmental programs in MECA's residence halls.
Hannah Howard, an undeclared Sophomore, is also partnering with Environment Maine to work on environmental projects and sustainability within MECA and the Portland community. She will be assisting with all of Caitlin Ervin's projects, in addition to continuing her role as a Resident Assistant in MECA's residence halls.
The Public Engagement program has several community partners, including: Portland Trails, The Island Institute, Bicycle Coalition of Maine, Environment Maine, Camp Susan Curtis, Portland Brick, Avesta Housing, King Middle School, and Seeds of Peace. There are also three Senior Capstone Project Partners, including Planned Parenthood, Waynflete School's Racial Awareness student group, and Portland Brick. Jon Rubin will also be a visiting artist for Public Engagement.
MECA Alum Hannah Rosengren Designs for Greenpeace
MECA graduate Hannah Rosengren recently worked with the environmental organization Greenpeace to promote their campaign about the Tongass National Forest. Rosengren created an important informational poster which highlighted the diverse ecosystem of the forest with an emphasis on the Alexander Archipelago Wolf. Greenpeace has recently petitioned to protect this species under the Endangered Species Act, and this poster will be mailed out to their numerous supporters.
Maine College of Art and The Bob Crewe Foundation Sign MOU And Begin Planning Curriculum for New Music Program
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 24, 2014
Maine College of Art and The Bob Crewe Foundation Sign MOU
And Begin Planning Curriculum for New Music Program
Portland, Maine ~ Last Wednesday, June 18, Maine College of Art worked alongside The Bob Crewe Foundation and local thought leaders to sculpt a curriculum for the new area of study that will explore the intersection between music and art, which will be implemented later, in the 2015 acedemic year. During the meeting, the participants discussed what the new program would look like. An official signing of a MOU with President Don Tuski and Dan Crewe followed the meeting.
Those in attendance were Dan Crewe (President/Chairman of the Bob Crewe Foundation and Independent Music Professional), Don Tuski (President, MECA), Ian Anderson (Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, MECA), Spencer Albee (Musician, Singer and Songwriter), Adam Ayan (Master Engineer, Gateway Recording; Adjunct Faculty at USM’s School of Music), Bob Ludwig (Mastering engineer/Owner, Gateway Recording), and many more.
The new program is possible due to a generous gift given to the college by The Bob Crewe Foundation in April. The curriculum will explore a wide range of topics and subject matter relating to the interplay between music and art. A sampling of courses for the new minor include History of Contemporary Music, Applied Theory Through Composition, Music Business and Management, Ethnomusicology, and experimental courses like Sound and Color.
Dean Anderson believes that MECA may be one of the first art colleges to explicitly engage in combining the study of contemporary art and design with music; he says, “MECA is uniquely positioned to develop this area because of our size, history and willingness to experiment. This is an exciting period of growth and innovation here at the college.”
MECA Announces 2015 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients
Thomas Moser, Founder of Maine’s Thos. Moser, Cabinetmakers to Address Newest Crop of MECA Grads: Honorary Degrees Granted to Ashley Bryan and June Fitzpatrick
Portland, Maine - Thomas Moser, Founder of Maine’s Thos Moser, Cabinetmakers will deliver the Commencement address at Maine College of Art’s 104th Commencement, which begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 9 at the State Theatre at 609 Congress Street.
Formerly a Bates College professor, Tom Moser left teaching in 1972 to restore the lost art of fine woodworking by making one-of-a-kind furniture in an old Grange Hall in New Gloucester, Maine. Throughout his life he had always been making things out of wood and after 15 years decided to leave academia to devote himself to his true passion, woodworking. Moser notes, “If you enjoy what you do, you never work a day in your life.” During the last forty years, the company has grown from a one-man operation to nearly 70 cabinetmakers (about half men and half women), with clients and collectors around the world. “For Maine College of Art students to hear from one of Maine’s best creative entrepreneurs as they graduate and embark on a career as an artist is a great opportunity,” said President Donald Tuski. “Tom’s career demonstrates how art, craft, design and entrepreneurship can come together.”
Thomas Moser: Legacy in Wood opens in MECA’s ICA on July 22 and runs through September 21. The exhibit surveys Thos Moser, Cabinetmakers 44 years of engagement with wood. The work included in the exhibition spans four decades; in many instances walking the viewer through the growth of a chair from early design iterations through several design changes or variations on a central theme, always returning to what Moser via Plato calls "ultimate chairness." This Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art retrospective is the first exhibition to examine the central importance of Thomas Moser to the world of fine furniture craftsmanship.
The college will also confer honorary degrees on Ashley Bryan and June Fitzpatrick.
Writer, poet and illustrator of children’s books, Ashley Bryan doesn’t speak his stories, he sings them, fingers snapping, feet tapping, his voice articulating. Born in 1923, Ashley entered the tuition-free Cooper Union School of Art and Engineering, having been denied entry elsewhere because of his race. Following service in World War Two and a career of teaching art at several schools and universities, Bryan retired in the 1980s to Maine’s Cranberry Isles as professor emeritus of Dartmouth College. He continues to paint, write, and illustrate at 92.
June Fitzpatrick owns the independent June Fitzpatrick Gallery housed within Maine College of Art, which holds a central position in the heart of Portland’s Arts District and is a destination point for local, regional and international collectors. June supports MECA students and alumni with annual exhibitions, including Ten Years After, which showcases MECA painting majors one decade after their graduation, the annual BFA Thesis Exhibition, and MECA’s annual staff show.
Donald Tuski, Ph.D, president of MECA, will confer the honorary degrees. “It is a profound honor to recognize the accomplishments of these distinguished individuals and welcome them to our alumni ranks,” said Tuski.
Located in the heart of the Portland Arts District, MECA offers a BFA degree in 11 studio majors, an MFA in Studio Arts, the MAT and continuing studies for youths and adults. The Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA and the Joanne Waxman Library are free and open to the public. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.