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Posted: 2011-07-01

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MECA ceramics professors Lucy Breslin and Mark Johnson will be featured guest artists for a summer session at the Watershed Center for The Ceramic Arts in North Edgecomb, Maine. Watershed features an internationally known summer residency program that attracts artists interested in using clay as their primary material.  The center brings together a diverse group of artists to live and work in a supportive, creative environment.

Images: (top) Lucy Breslin, (bottom) Mark Johnson

Mitchell Foundation Winner Exhibits Work

Posted: 2011-06-08

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The Joan Mitchell Foundation, in collaboration with CUE Art Foundation, is pleased to announce an exhibition of its 2010 MFA Grant
Program Recipients. Michel Droge MFA '10 is one of the 15 selected recipients and received a $15,000 grant. From June 9 - July 30, the 15 recipients will be showing current artwork at CUE Art Foundation.

The annual MFA Grant Program was created in 1997 to help MFA painters and sculptors in furthering their artistic careers and to aid in the transition from academic to professional studio work upon graduation. A complimentary catalogue, available at CUE's gallery, has been published on the occasion of this exhibition. The catalogue features works and bios for each artist and essays on their work.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation was established in April 1993 as a not-for-profit corporation following the death of Joan Mitchell in October 1992. The Foundation strives to fulfill the ambitions of Joan Mitchell to aid and assist the needs of contemporary artists and to demonstrate that painting and sculpture are significant cultural necessities.

Posted: 2011-06-07

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"Vivian Beer is fearless. That's really the best way to describe her. The 33-year-old designer/maker takes steel and cuts it. Bends it. Shapes, welds, grinds, and sands it. She transforms it - by hand and machine - from rigid raw material into impossibly curvy furniture and sculpture. And she does all of this, more or less, alone."

Read the full profile of sculpture alum Vivian Beer '00 in American Craft Magazine.

Beer's work was commissioned by the Portland Public Art Committee and is featured along the Back Cove Boulevard.

Alina Gallo MFA '08 Selected for Monhegan Residency

Posted: 2011-06-06

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Alina Gallo MFA ‘08 of Portland was named a 2011 Monhegan Island artist in residence by the Monhegan Artists’ Residency Corporation.

Gallo received a BFA from Naropa University and an MFA from Maine College of Art. She was a featured artist in the 2008 Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) Biennial and will be part of “Drawing from the Collection” at the L.C. Bates Museum this summer. In her work, she employs symbols “to relate to and deconstruct the history of Persian, Indian and Christian miniature painting.” On Monhegan she hopes to integrate elements of the island landscape into her work. 

Gallo is keeping a blog during her time on the island.

Image:  Alina Gallo, Visitation, homemade egg tempera on panel, 2011

MECA at the Maine Mall

Posted: 2011-06-03

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In partnership with the Maine Crafts Association, Maine College of Art will maintain a retail presence at the Maine Mall in South Portland now until Labor Day, September 5, 2011. The kiosk features the work of MECA alumni working in a variety of disciplines, from printmaking, ceramics, jewelry and wood. Creative Common is located in the mall's Center Court near Starbucks Coffee and GAP. 

MECA Alumni Vendors: 
Olan Boardman
Andy Cook
Mark Marchesi
Ekka Naigle
Shannon Rankin
Michelle Roberts
Patty Sandberg
Lisa Weiss
Brent Williams


MECA Demonstration Dates:
June 18 - Joe Rosshirt, 12pm-4pm, Illustrations
July 2 - Shawn Brewer, 5pm-9pm, Printmaking
July 16 - Ekka Naigle, 5pm-9pm, Ceramics
July 30 - Elise Bothel, 12pm-4pm, Felting
July 30 - Dietlind Vander Schaaf, 5pm-9pm, Collage
August 27 - Steven Anderson, 5pm-9pm, Woodworking

Posted: 2011-06-01

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Painting alum Ahmed Alsoudani '05 is one of six selected artists included in the Iraq Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale. It is the first time in 35 years that the country is represented in the international exhibit. Alsoudani was also profiled this month in the New York Times and Art in America.

Pictured: Ahmed returned to MECA in the fall as a visiting artist and met with students in the painting department.

 

About the Iraq Pavilion
Article in New York Times magazine
Article in New York Times
Article in Art in America

Alum Wins Saul Bell Award

Posted: 2011-06-01

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Metalsmithing & Jewelry alum Janice Grzyb '81 won the 2011 Saul Bell Award in the silver category. This fanciful sterling silver ring was completely hand-fabricated by the artist then sandblasted to give it a sparkling finish. The bird perches atop the ring with folded wings and two ruby-set eyes. The Saul Bell Design Award competition has both inspired and challenged jewelry designers around the globe for the past decade, and now in its tenth year, it continues to recognize artists whose work challenges traditional perceptions of jewelry design.

MECA Awards Scholarships to Congressional Art Awardees

Posted: 2011-06-01

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This year, the Maine College of Art awarded the winner and first runner up from each congressional district with its “Excellence Award for the Congressional Arts Competition.” This award provides each winner an $8,000 scholarship and each of the first runners up with a $6,000 scholarship to the Maine College of Art for each year they attend the school and remain in academic good standing. If the winning student is not a senior in high school and unable to immediately use the scholarship, the Maine College of Art will defer it and honor it for the student’s use after graduation from high school.

The Maine Congressional Art Competition is co-hosted by the Maine Arts Commission and the offices of Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree.

Maine’s winners, chosen by jurors selected by the Maine Arts Commission, have their work displayed in the halls of the U.S. Capitol for one year. Both winning students, along with a parent, will be provided tickets courtesy of Southwest Airlines to participate in an opening ceremony in Washington, D.C., in June. Finalists and runners up, their families, and art teachers are also invited to a reception at the Blaine House in Augusta where the selected students are recognized for their work by Maine’s Governor and members of Congress. Jeremy Vroom of Bangor and Whitney Wei of Farmingdale are the winners of the 2011 Congressional Arts Competition.

Image: Hallowell by Whitney Wei.

 

 

MFA Moth Press Publishes Anne West Book

Posted: 2011-05-13

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The MFA in Studio Arts at Maine College of Art is pleased to announce the publication of "Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work; An Explorative Guide to Making, Thinking, and Writing" by Anne West. In this book West describes a technique she calls "mapping through writing" that encourages visual artists to ask strategic questions, approach problems, and catalyze creative thinking. The book is structured as a series of exercises and prompts that define the mapping process and introduce methods for artists to develop, articulate, and disseminate ideas.

"Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work" was edited by Moth Press Director Katarina Weslien. According to Weslien, "Anne West has cultivated a flexible, non-linear writing approach for the artist-writer. The book introduces multiple skill sets to stimulate creative thinking, raising connection to the surface by creating visual maps of interconnecting links. It is a book supportive of the making process, an invaluable to anyone interested in articulating the layers of meaning embedded in the process of making."

West is a visiting artist in the MFA program this summer. She will give a public lecture on July 18 followed by a booksigning.

Read the interview between Weslien and West

Order the book

Students Conracted to Design Trophies

Posted: 2011-05-06

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The Maine chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness contracted with MECA students to produce trophies for the agency’s Maine Walk. Sculpture students Nathan Plourde and Evee Dupuis each produced unique works in cast bronze. They corresponded regularly with the agency, giving them drawings and written documentation, keeping them appraised of the process and progress of the work right up to completion. They were paid for their invention and labor, and compensated for the cost of materials.

Evee wrote about her design, “Liberate is a depiction of the journey to mental health. The abstract interconnected shapes which define the foundation serve as a reference to interpersonal relationships while bringing to mind the intricacies of the human body. A cage, which sprouts organically from the apex of the base, serves as a portrayal of our tendency to become imprisoned within self-constructed parameters -- the doubts, negative imagery, and detrimental thought patterns which become habitual. Songbirds, an ancient symbol of hope, hover above this visual implication of entrapment, illustrating our ability to move beyond these inhibitions and fly free."

Nathan knew instantly that he wanted to make a symbol of the Greek mythological goddess, Hygieia. His design depicts the goddess holding a basin of water with a large snake coiled up along her body drinking the water. Nathan wrote, “Hygieia, daughter of Asclepious from Greek mythology is the goddess of health, cleanliness, and sanitation.”

Thesis Exhibitions

Posted: 2011-05-02

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Graduating MFA and BFA students will mount thesis exhibitions to mark the completion of their degree programs.

The MFA Thesis Exhibition will be held in the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art from May 14-June 12 with an opening reception on May 14 from 6pm-8pm.

The BFA Thesis Exhibition will be held on the first, second and third floors of the Porteous Building as well as the June Fitzpatrick Gallery at MECA from May 6-24 with an opening reception on May 6 from 5pm-8pm. This show was curated by Sculpture seniors Alex Asplund and Liz Hardy.

Image: Sculpture by Liz Hardy '11.

Alumni Residencies

Posted: 2011-04-21

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We are pleased to announce the MECA Artists-in-Residence for the 2011 season. The College is fortunate to have access to two properties for use in summer and fall to host the MECA community as artists-in-residence. At the Stephen Pace House in Stonington, Maine: Erin Sweeney ‘94, Hannah Barnes ‘02, Marguerite Lawler, Mary Linnea Vaughan MFA’00, and Richard Abbott ‘78                

At the Baie St Marie Artist and Family Residency at the Jenny Family Compound in New Edinburgh, Nova Scotia: Stacy Howe MFA’10, Celeste Roberge ‘79, Anne Garland ‘93 & Joanne Clarey, Martha Almy ‘95, Alison Taylor ‘94 & Willamain Somma.

For more about these opportunities, see www.MECA.edu/residencies.

Image: Stacy Howe MFA'10

Posted: 2011-04-21

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For the second year in a row, the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art won the Portland Phoenix Best Art Gallery award, as determined by readers. From the Phoenix:  "The ICA had a big year. They brought in a new director (Daniel Fuller), staged impressive off-site video screenings on big screens at Portland Pirates games, and stuffed their gigantic gallery rooms with six heaping platters of conceptual art, from trippy motion-sensor mirrors, towering handblown glass statues, and one very provocative labyrinth. No gallery in Portland covers more ground, takes more chances, or appeals to a broader crowd. Best of all: it's right in the center of town."

Faculty Member Philip Brou wins PMA Purchase Prize

Posted: 2011-04-08

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At the members’ opening reception for the 2011 Portland Museum of Art Biennial on Wednesday evening, April 6, five prizes were awarded to artists in the exhibition. The Purchase Prizes were awarded four artists: Philip Brou (MECA Painting faculty) for Black Box; James Groleau for Arbil Rubia Riyadh and Sinjar Karbala Basra; Siri Sahaj Kaur for Kristie; and Don Voisine (attended ‘73) for High Time. The Purchase Prizes are chosen by select members of the Museum’s Collection Committee and will become part of the Museum’s permanent collection. The William E. and Helen E. Thon Jurors’ Prize of $4,000 was awarded to artist Michael Shaughnessy for Cascade, Current and Pool (For the Vanquished Falls of the Presumpscot River).

Biennials at the Portland Museum of Art have evolved since 1998 and have gained in popularity as one of the foremost venues for contemporary art in the state. The three jurors—Jim Kempner, Owner and Director of Jim Kempner Fine Art, New York; David Row, a painter based in New York and Maine; and Joanna Marsh, the James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.—chose 65 works by 47 artists culled from more than 900 applicants. Of the artists chosen, nine have particiapted in previous Biennial exhibitions. The 2011 Biennial is the seventh in a series that showcases the best in today’s art world by artists associated with Maine, from digital video to painting, installation to photography, sculpture to prints, and more. The 2011 Portland Museum of Art Biennial is on view April 7 through June 5, 2011 at the Portland Museum of Art. 

Image: Black Box by Philip Brou.

FOREST at ICA at MECA

Posted: 2011-04-07

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FOREST will transform the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA into a hive of activity from April 19 to 22. Visual and performing artists, students and friends will develop hands-on programs and activities to engage students and the public in unconventional and imaginative ways.

TUESDAY, APRIL 19

WORKSHOP: Fairy House Building

9am-Noon
Drop-in. All Ages.
Learn how to build small natural habitats from natural materials to attract fairies and their animal friends. Families will be provided with natural materials on site.

FILM SCREENINGS:
9am-8pm

Tree Falling in the Forest
Thomson’s Silent Film of a Tree Falling in the Forest, 2005–2006. For this work, the artist made six one-minute studies of spruce trees falling in a forest in Alberta, Canada, which he separated with lengths of blank leader film that complicate any implicit figure/ground structure. The falling-tree footage is lulling, but the tranquil space the piece creates is nevertheless unstable. It calms, then creates bristling anxieties, calms again, and then makes you anxious again.

I came here on my own
I came here on my own, their current video and performance work-in-progress. The project, which contains two discrete but related pieces, features a series of live duet performances and an accompanying multi-channel video work. Robbinschilds was formed by choreographers, Sonya Robbins and Layla Childs in 2003. The company creates performance and video works for diverse venues including the stage, gallery or "site". Focused on presenting highly visual time-based works, robbinschilds explores the juncture between architecture or place, and human interaction.

Dead River Rough Cut
3:30pm-5:30pm
Bob Wagg and Walter Lane live in a tarpaper shack, hunting, fishing, trapping and logging with oxen. They prefer the sounds of the birds to the roar of highway traffic, and scorn the money-chasing of city life. Covering a period of four seasons in the remote backwoods of Maine, Dead River Rough Cut presents a revealing look at an individual way of life. Wagg  and Lane earn a living and accept their isolation for the independence it allows them. But not everyone would want to draw water from a hole in the ice. They share their reflections about women, politics, taxes, the lone life and death. www.deadriverroughcut.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20  

FILM SCREENING: Tree Falling in the Forest + I came here on my own
9am-8pm (All Day Screenings)

SCREEN PRINTING: Raising Forests
Noon-3pm
Drop-in. All Ages.
Raising Forests is an educational interactive piece in which the public is encouraged to screen print their own ‘tree’ that will be installed in the ICA at MECA, collaboratively creating a three-dimensional forest.

VISITING ARTIST LECTURE: Cole Caswell
4pm-5pm
An artist lecture by MECA MFA Alum Cole Caswell. Cole uses forms of interpretation to understand the forest as an ecological patch, habitat, and place of exploration.
www.colecaswell.com

WORKSHOP: Permaculture Class
6pm-8pm
Join us for a free permaculture class presented by Portland’s favorite fermentation center/garden laboratory and micro apiary -
Urban Farm Fermentory.

THURSDAY, APRIL 21

FILM SCREENING:Tree Falling in the Forest + I came here on my own
9am-8pm

WORKSHOP: Woodland Crown Workshop
9am-10:30am
Drop-in. All Ages.
"Many hundreds of years ago two children discovered the secret of what the Fairies wore at their parties to celebrate the passing of the Seasons...." Come create a beautiful crown from woodland materials and wildflowers.

WORKSHOP: A Circle’s Journey
3:30PM - 5:30PM
Musicians, artists and scientists, Emilia Dahlin and Aaron Frederick have traveled the world as part of a global journey they took with the organization “Beyond Boundaries” dedicated tto experiential education, cross-cultural community exchange, leadership development and a deep personal and collective inquiry into the pressing issues and needs of our times. Through holding a circle (think: round table discussion) Emelia and Aaron will provide a space to talk about the issues of FOREST in Maine.

LAUNCH + LECTURE: Public Engagement’s Launching and Lineage with guest Khenmo Drolma
6:00PM - 7:30PM
From 6-6:15pm we will be celebrating/announcing the launch of MECA’s new Public Engagement Minor. From 6:15-7pm, Khenmo Drolma, the first Buddhist Abbess in North America started a nunnery in Vermont. She started the Public Engagement work at MECA 22 years ago and we are honored to welcome her back to speak about art, public engagement, art in the world, education and how it all began for her.

FRIDAY, APRIL 22

FILM SCREENING:Tree Falling in the Forest + I came here on my own
9am-8pm

WORKSHOP: Earthday Grow-Your-Own
11am-2pm
Drop-in. All Ages.
Head to the FOREST in the ICA at MECA for a gardening workshop that will get you ready for the springtime growing season. Get your hands dirty while starting seedlings and learn about how to grow your own indoor garden.

SCREEN PRINTING: Raising Forests
4pm-11pm
Drop-in. All Ages.
Raising Forests is an educational interactive piece in which the public is encouraged to screen print their own ‘tree’ that will be installed in the ICA at MECA, collaboratively creating a three-dimensional forest.

FOREST DANCE PARTY
8pm-11pm
The ICA at MECA opens its doors for one of the largest dance parties of the year - FOREST. Pull out your flannel, fairy wings, lumberjack gear. It doesn't matter. Just be there. Dance in trees dj’ed by Ian Paige with prizes for best costume provided by Rogues Gallery. Featuring a photo booth, costume contest, forest inspired food and drink, art making, and lots of nuts and berries.

Blue Wrap Project Runway

Posted: 2011-04-04

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MECA students in Christina Bechstein's 3-D Foundation class used their skills to transform discarded medical supplies into sculptural elements for a fundraiser. For Blue Wrap Project Runway, Partners for World Health recruited artists to create apparel and design elements for a fashion show to raise money for medications in the third world.

Participating MECA students: Liz Long, Rosie Allard, Bobbie Bennett, Sarah Capra, Casie Costanzo, Stephie Farrell, Jodi Ferry, Christina Hill, Haley Merchant, Timeiqua Nixon, Kayla Pinkham, Chris Snowman, David Twiss, Chris Vales, Josiah Webber, Charlotte Whiteley, Eric Wilbur, Gabriella Sturchio, Kyle DiMare, Laura Gertner, Madeline Gantos, Jeremiah Ray, Matt Rand, Molly McDermott, Maggie Muth, Maureen Patrick, Harlan Chrichton,Cynthia Chang, Amanda Merrill, Jessica Wheeler, Isaac Atkins, Lauren Sobolewski, Megan Anthony, Jackie Caswell, Frankie Leonard, Emily Bourne, Trystan Stofel, Lindsay Stevens, Liz Leino, Kayla Richardson, Kaitlin Callender, Cece Cassidy, Adam Schepker, Beth Schneider, Olivia Chartier, Sabrina Volante, Emmalee Dennison,  Nickola Cole, Sheridan Cudworth, Jacquelyn Eftink, Emily Henderson, David Long, Jenny Maas, Gabriel Mangold, Danya Pugliese, Amanda Reddington, Carina Romo, Allen West.
Business Partners: 
Compositions and owner James McBride
Diversified Business Communications 
MECA Alumna: Diane Wren
MECA staff and faculty: Christina Bechstein, Ling-Wen Tsai, Alex Rheault,  Kate Hassett

Article in Maine Sunday Telegram

Image: MECA students Rosie Allard, Sarah Capra, Carly Soos, Liz Long and Judi Ferry stand in front of the nature-inspired art objects they created using blue wrap.

MFA Alum Exhibitions

Posted: 2011-04-01

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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

Posted: 2011-04-01

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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

Posted: 2011-04-01

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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

Posted: 2011-03-30

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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