Alexandra Silverthorne MFA '10 will exhibit selections from her series A Building in Which… in a three-person exhibition at the BlackRock Center for the Arts. In addition she is finishing a book of photographs and short writings from her MidNights series. The book features an essay by Jayme McLellan, Director of Civilian Art Projects, and a discussion with Montreal-based curator Rebecca Duclos. The book will be published in Summer 2011. In August, Silverthorne will participate in HiFi vs. LoFi at Lala Gallery in Lafayette, Indiana.
Image: Photos from Silverthorne's thesis exhibition at the ICA at MECA in 2010.
MECA to Participate in Press Conference and Public Forum on Mural Removal
Maine College of Art is one of the sponsors of the press conference in Augusta to speak about the need to return artist Judy Taylor's mural to the Department of Labor in Augusta. MECA President Don Tuski will give brief remarks. The press conference and rally will take place in the Hall of Flags in Augusta at noon on April 4.
In addition, the College is one of the sponsors of the public forum entitled “Whose Art Is It?” at the Portland Museum of Art. This will be a round-table discussion about public ownership of public art and the controversial removal of the mural from Maine’s Department of Labor. Participants will include: Mark Bessire, Director of the Portland Museum of Art; Sharon Corwin, Director and Chief Curator of the Colby College Museum of Art; Christina Bechstein, Sculpture Professor and Director of Public Engagement at Maine College of Art; and Chris O’Neil, Government Relations Consultant for the Portland Community Chamber. Invitations were extended to Governor Paul LePage, who is unable to attend and to artist Judy Taylor, who has respectfully declined. A moderator for the forum will be announced next week. This free event is co-sponsored by the Portland Museum of Art, Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin college art museums, and the Maine College of Art. The discussion takes place at the museum on Friday, April 8, from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Visiting Monks to Construct Sand Mandala for Compassion
The Joanne Waxman Library is honored to host Geshe Gendun Gyatso, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, and Sonam Dhargyal, a former monk and mandala master, while they create "A Sand Mandala for Compassion." Co-sponsored by MECA and the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine and coordinated by Joan Uraneck in her role as MECA's Intern Chaplain, this event involves the creation of multi-colored sand mandala in the library. The schedule of activities from April 11 to April 17:
Opening ceremony and prayers for peace April 11th at 2 pm
Daily schedule for April 12 -16 Morning prayers: 8:30am Mandala creation: 9 am to 4:30 pm Evening prayers : 4 pm Dharma talks: 7 pm in Osher Hall
The Closing ceremony and procession to the sea April 17th at 2 pm: outside the library
MECA Responds to Mural Removal
Maine College of Art believes that art and artists play a critical role in society. The removal of the mural from the Department of Labor in Augusta illustrates just how powerful art can be: it can incite controversy, galvanize communities, inspire dialogue, and serve as a catalyst for social change.
As part of their arts education at MECA, our students learn to understand and respect process because it is a crucial component of any civil society.
Governor LePage’s demonstrated lack of respect for the process of commissioning artwork is an act of censorship.
In the original call for art, the Department of Labor asked for a mural in which “the value and dignity of workers and their critical role in creating the wealth of the state and nation should be emphasized. In essence, Maine workers should strongly be portrayed as more than an ‘impersonal cost of production.’” It was the responsibility of the art review committee, consisting of representatives from the Department of Labor, to select the proposal which best met these criteria. They selected Judy Taylor who created the site-specific artwork depicting the requested theme.
Four years later, newly elected Governor LePage reacted to the content of the mural calling it “one-sided” and had it removed it from the lobby of the Department of Labor and asked instead for a neutral decor. Art is not decoration, nor is it neutral. It is provocative and should elicit a response from individuals. It is not created to please all who view it. Art, like democracy, allows for differing opinions, for discourse, for expression of personal beliefs.
Art serves as a mirror that reflects a moment in time. This mural captures a piece of history. Governor LePage did not like what he saw. By removing the mural, he smashed that mirror – an attempt to rewrite history.
This public mural is meant for the people of Maine. Maine College of Art requests that Governor LePage respect the process by which the artwork was selected and installed. Put the mural back.
Donald L. Tuski, Ph.D. President Maine College of Art Portland, Maine