Maine College of Art Artists at Work Brochure

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Cover art by Michael Byers.


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Rachel Adams Hanji Chang Ebenezer Akakpo

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Bradly Werley Lewis Rossignol Sean Wilkinson


It’s a campus-wide philosophy to help students understand how they can put their creativity to use in the world. With our close-knit community of 500 students, faculty and staff work one-on-one with you to achieve personal and professional goals. We work inside and outside the classroom to provide opportunities for applied problem-solving and skill development. Throughout the four year curriculum, students learn about how their studio practice can translate into making a difference and making a living. Our support doesn’t end at graduation. We are here for all of our alumni. As their careers grow and change, we grow with them. From residencies and grants, to job applications and public art proposals, we are committed to helping you be an artist for life.

Jessica Tomlinson, Director of Artists at Work with alum, trustee, and donor Ed Friedman ‘08. After a successful career in the medical profession, Ed came to MECA to pursue his passion for sculpture. His experience inspired him to get more involved by joining the Board and creating an endowment for Artists at Work that provides funds for paid internships, student grants, and professional development workshops. Paintings in the Artists at Work gallery by alum Kimberly Convery ‘05. The artwork was purchased by Avesta, meeting their mission to include local art in affordable housing.




EBENEZER AKAKPO Founder, Akakpo & Co.

* Born in Ghana * Graduated from MECA with a bachelor’s degree in Metalsmithing and Jewelry * Graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a master’s degree in Industrial Design * Partnered with a nonprofit to create the Better Water Maker * Developed a jewelry line using metals and recycled plastics * Donates proceeds from jewelry sales to support clean water access in Ghana * Mentee for the Indigo Arts Alliance partnership * Designed public art for bus shelter in Portland’s Arts District

“It is my mission to use design as a tool to solve problems.”




SEAN WILKINSON Principal and Creative Director, Might & Main

* Born in Maine * Graduated from MECA with degree in Graphic Design * Moved to Seattle, 9/11 happened, worked at a glassblowing studio, video store, doing odd jobs * Back to Maine for design jobs at a print shop, an alternative newspaper, small agencies * Quit a salaried agency job to work on a smack boat selling bait to island lobster men and ferrying lobsters * Started The Bollard alternative newspaper * Started the Picnic Music and Arts Festival * Hired at Puelle Design with former professor and fellow alum David Puelle ‘90 * Launched the design firm Might & Main, employing MECA interns and graduates * Served as President of the Maine Chapter of AIGA

“I’ve made a career path out of not settling.”





* Years of crappy jobs * Enrolled at MECA at age 33 * Won the Geary’s Summer Ale design competition * Received an Above and Beyond grant to support Instagram marketing * Graduated * Currently at 120,000 Instagram followers * Sold artwork in more than 100 countries around the world * Published four books * Commissioned to do album cover art for Tyler, the Creator





Founder, Director and Animator at Puckerbrush Animation * Taiwanese – Korean artist who grew up in South Africa and Taiwan * Founder, Director and Animator at Puckerbrush Animation * Skates in roller derbies wearing a kilt * Co-founded O’Chang Comics * Turned a class assignment on climate change into a series of animations funded by Sea Grant and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration * Faculty member in Animation & Game Art Department at MECA


BRADLY WERLEY Puppet Mold Maker and Caster, Netflix * Wanted to be a stop motion animator since he was a little kid * Graduated from MECA with a BFA in New Media/Stop Motion Animation * Moved to the West Coast to land his dream job with Laika Studios * Landed dream jobs at Laika: Development Fabricator, Character Design Coordinator, Puppet Mold Maker, Art Department Mold Maker (The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Missing Link) * Moved to ShadowMachine as Head of Puppet Head Mechanics for Adult Swim’s stop motion series, The Shivering Truth (Season 1) and for the animation in the film, Booksmart * Helped build a mold making and casting department for the upcoming Jordan Peele + Keegan Michael Key Netflix Original film, Wendell and Wild







* Interned as a studio assistant with artist Karen Gelardi * Featured on Design Sponge for thesis work done in 2009 * Exhibited at Talent | Agency, curated by faculty member Adriane Herman * Gallery Assistant Boston ICA * Director of Center on the Common * Owned “Art and Cloth” Afterschool Program and taught art for kids * After MECA, worked at DesignTex with Karen Gelardi on surface design * Became Project Manager at DesignTex * Collaborated on textile project for Making Magazine with Karen Gelardi * Curated and exhibited artwork throughout Portland * Became co-owner of Better Letter Designs, with alum Tessa Green O’Brien * Launched the textile company TACHEE * Collaborated with fellow MECA alum Ashley Page on Portland mural

Students are highly encouraged to do at least one internship for academic credit. These real-world experiences can take place in Portland during the school year and anywhere during the summer. Individualized counseling sessions provide customized assistance with placement from Hasbro and Converse to Bread and Puppet and L.L. Bean.

Classes provide access to envisioning a life after MECA. Students learn about budgeting and marketing in The Art of Business as well as contracts and public speaking in Professional Studio Practice.

Classroom partnerships connect faculty and students with local and national artists. Projects result in public exhibition and distribution, from designing condom packaging to making documentary videos of immigrant women cooking their favorite recipes. Pictured: Students in the Fashion and Textile Department worked with Machine Dazzle during an on-campus artist residency. As a collaboration with Portland Ovations, they created a costume design for Taylor Mac’s performance in Maine. Photo courtesy of Portland Ovations.

Students work with community partners to solve and address real, complex problems in our project-based courses. Utilizing planning and best practice collaborative models, our students take action as citizens, artists and designers.

Through experiential courses, client projects, internships, workshops and community partnerships, students develop a range of skills to launch and successfully grow their entrepreneurial endeavors. Fashion and Textile Design student Erin Gamache at Anna Sui in New York, Photography student Nichole Mastroviti at David Paul Larson in New York.

Pickwick Independent Press is a member-based printmaking shop started by Lisa Pixley ’07 and currently owned by faculty member and alum Pilar Nadal MFA ’13. Each year the College funds a fellowship for a graduating senior to continue their studio practice. Fellows participate in collaborative community projects and pursue their own work utilizing the print facilities.

The Indigo Arts Alliance uses a Black-led, multiracial approach to the rich intersections of citizenship, community-building, and creativity. MECA’s partnership with Indigo includes paid internships and paid mentor connections for students of color. Left: Indigo Arts Alliance co-founder Marcia Minter with student intern Aminata Conteh ‘21. Right: Postcard produced for MECA by Pickwick Fellow Aeron Metzger ‘19.

On the College’s website, students and alumni have a dedicated space for their art and design portfolios. Employers, curators, and recruiters use this resource for selecting artists for jobs, exhibitions, and commissions.

Each year, industry professionals review the portfolios of juniors and seniors to give them feedback. Creative directors, publishers, and gallerists provide insight on expectations from the field.

Professional, quality images of your artwork are critical to the success of an artist. Therefore, the College dedicates resources to ensure you have documentation of your work at no cost. Students at Portfolio Day meeting with creative professionals for feedback on their work.

Students are able to sign up for the job board in their freshman year and continue to have access as alumni. Many postings are exclusively posted here as employers seek out the reputation of MECA talent.

Residencies provide artists with time and space to make work. The College operates three residency programs of their own and partners with others to create dedicated slots for the MECA community. An informational workshop held annually brings program directors on campus to answer questions and meet artists.

The Above and Beyond grant provides current students with funds to pursue supervised professional development opportunities outside the classroom. The application process includes a required workshop on grantwriting. The Belvedere Grant provides recent alumni with funding to pursue their goals in the field of Craft. Left: The studio space at the Pace House. Right: The Pace House Residency is a ship captain’s home in Stonington, Maine. Students use the space in the fall with faculty. Alumni apply for summer residencies.

Throughout the year, students have multiple opportunities to exhibit and sell their work at venues that range from student exhibitions to pop-up shops on campus to local festivals.

Students and alumni participate in the MECA Holiday Sale, the Collect Art Sale, and Project Project where artwork is exhibited digitally throughout the city.



COVER ARTWORK: Michael Byers PHOTO CREDITS: Kyle Dubay '18

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