If it feels like Maine College of Art has been celebrating more than usual lately, that’s because it has been.
The party continues Thursday night with MECAmorphosis, a building-wide explosion of art, fashion and music.
In addition to introducing nearly 100 emerging artists graduating from the school’s bachelor’s and master’s programs, the highpoint of the evening will be a fashion runway show featuring works from the school’s textile and fashion design program.
There will be music by Emilia Dahlin and Adam Frederick, and art installed throughout the building.
Tickets for the runway show are sold out, but $25 general tickets to the building-wide gala are available. Proceeds benefit the school’s scholarship fund. MECAmorphosis replaces the school’s Art Honors dinner.
It’s a warm-up for the commencement party Saturday at the State Theatre in Portland, and continues a run of good news for the Portland art college. Two weeks ago, the school announced that one of its graduates, 21-year-old Rangeley Morton, had won a coveted $15,000 Windgate Fellowship, rewarding his accomplishments in the school’s woodworking and furniture design program.
Last week came word that the school had received a $3 million grant to create a music program.
This week, the focus is on all the students earning their degrees. Of special note is Rose Allard, a 21-year-old from Voluntown, Connecticut.
Allard is the first graduate of the school’s textile and fashion design program, which began two years ago thanks to a grant from the Quimby Family Foundation.
The runway fashion show will spotlight the work of the department’s half-dozen majors, including Allard’s senior thesis portfolio. In all, about 40 models will walk the runway. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and will last about an hour.
For her thesis work, Allard found inspiration in her Finnish grandmother (or mummu), Anja Mallinen. Allard designed a series of coats based on the colors and architectural elements at her grandmother’s house in Connecticut, where Allard spends considerable time.
“I’m obsessed with her home,” said Allard, who plans to move to Detroit to begin a studio practice after she graduates.
Allard made one coat with vinyl that resembles her grandmother’s orange Formica kitchen counter. She layered silk screen ink on the vinyl to resemble the finish of the counter.
She made a wool coat that reminds her of the siding on her grandmother’s house, and a luscious sauna coat, from blankets, that is similar to the jacket her grandmother bundles herself in after a sauna.
She made notebook sketches of the rooms in the house, then pulled design ideas from her sketches. One jacket is based on the shape of an under-stairs basement door, another on a flower pattern in the bathroom.
Allard found the design and creative process “very indulgent. This work was a chance for me to express myself as Finnish American. This is about my family and my culture.”
Her family, including her grandmother, will attend Thursday. Allard can’t wait to show off her work.
“When I am making this work, I am always thinking about the time I spent in her house, all the activities that I did,” she said.
Her professor, Anne Emlein, chair of the textile and fashion design department, is eager for people to see her students’ work. She’s proud of their accomplishments, and pleased that Allard represents the department as its first graduate.
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at: