May 22, 2011

Society Notebook: Successful Draw

Maine College of Art issues honors -- and gains kudos -- for making Portland a more attractive city.

By Avery Yale Kamila
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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MECA President Don Tuski, Art Honoree Betsy Evans Hunt, event co-chairs Andy Verzosa, who owns Aucocisco Galleries, and Margaret Minister O’Keefe, a partner at Pierce Atwood, and Art Honoree Christopher Hunt.

Photos by Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

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Daniel O’Leary, who heads the Quimby Foundation, Art Honoree Roxanne Quimby, and Ken Blaschke of sponsor Head Invest.

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Before the awards ceremony, I had a chance to speak with Quimby and she told me that "Portland has an enormous amount of creativity. It supports creative people and their journey. The next step is to figure out how to keep these creative people employed."

When I chatted with former MECA President Roger Gilmore, he spoke about the financial impact the college has on the community.

"I'm tickled pink that MECA's become so recognized as an important part of the economy," he told me.

He pointed out that having the college in such a central spot in Portland's downtown has helped foster the revitalization of the Arts District.

"Look at the gallery scene," Gilmore said. "There were maybe two galleries 15 to 20 years ago."

In addition to the growth in the gallery scene, Gilmore noted that MECA attracts many young residents to the area since "a lot of (MECA) students stay around because they love it here."

Not only does the college recruit more young people into the community, the college is also an important part of the creative economy, which serves to entice business professionals to locate here.

"If a community doesn't have a thriving sense of culture you're not going to keep the lawyers and accountants," Gilmore told me. "Portland is a selling point when they're recruiting."

We should all thank the four individuals awarded this year's Art Honors, because they've all played a role in making Portland such an attractive place to live and work.

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

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Additional Photos

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Rayette Hudon of Freeport, Art Honoree and artist Janet Conlon Manyan and artist Thomas Crotty, who owns Frost Gully Gallery and shows Manyan’s work.

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MECA’s Board Chair Candace Pilk Karu, center, with her son, Tim Krueger Karu, left, and his husband, Jacob Krueger Karu.

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Ernst Bachofner of Cumberland Foreside, Alice Kornhauser of the Portland Symphony Orchestra and former MECA President Roger Gilmore.

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