The Collect Art Show this week at Maine College of Art and Design features a wide range of work from 130 artists. Contributed / Jessica Beer

Maine College of Art and Design is holding its annual Collect Art Sale to benefit artists and the school’s scholarship fund. The show brings together current and former MECA students, as well as artists and art lovers from around New England.

A preview is available online. Sale hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 13-16.

This year’s show features 130 artists, consisting of alumni, current students, faculty, staff and friends of the college, and 425 pieces of art in a variety of mediums, from sculpture to woodworking to jewelry and paintings.

“It’s awesome to see the arts community come together to support student scholarships and recognizing how important that is,” said Jenny McGee, associate director of Artists at Work and Alumni Relations.

While there is no requirement that featured artists be affiliated with the college, the majority of them are, McGee said.

“We have a stronger faculty presence this year, as well as current students,” she said.


Since the first sale in 2013, the event has grown and transitioned from an auction to a direct sale. Since its inception, it has raised over $1 million.

“The Collect Art Sale provides a wonderful opportunity for emerging and established artists to showcase their work,” said Laura Freid, president of the college. “Collect also offers art enthusiasts the chance to explore exciting new pieces while contributing to the development of the next generation of artists at Maine College of Art and Design.”

Honeycomb earrings created by Naomi Grace McNeill. Contributed / Naomi Grace McNeill

Naomi Grace McNeill, a Portland-based alum from the Class of 2008, has been showcasing her work at Collect since it began.

“It’s a very fun show to be a part of,” she said. “There are so many different artists in one space which is awesome, and being able to fund scholarships is great, too.

“Every year the roster changes a little bit,” McNeill said. “Collectors really look forward to it.”

The event is always inspiration for her to try something different or showcase a new design, she said. She uses tools like saws and pliers and soldering to create intricate jewelry pieces.


“It’s a very meditative process and all designed to be fun to build, but also functional to wear,” she said. “It’s become a great way to express myself.”

McNeill said she enjoys the process of physically creating something that then becomes a part of people’s lives.

“It’s a true testament to what MECA has to offer … There are so many artists there that I recognize, and it’s amazing how everything comes together,” said Jessica Beer, a painter based in Kingfield who graduated from MECA in 2015.

Collect has exposed her work to art collectors who continue to come back and seek out her art, she said.

“Blue Zones” by Jessica Beer will be part of the Collect Art Sale to Thursday through Sunday at the Maine College of Art and Design. Beer is a 2015 graduate of the school. Contributed / Jessica Beer

Beer created five pieces in anticipation for this year’s show.

“They do a phenomenal job creating a cohesive show,” said Beer. “There’s such careful attention to detail in putting the show together, and it’s so fun to be involved in something bigger than you.”


Every year she runs into peers and faculty she knew from school, and gets to met new artists, alums and students.

“It really highlights the MECA community and the passion everyone has for creating art and supporting this art community,” she said. “So many talented individuals come out for this show.”

Beer’s own passions lie in what she calls “intuitive abstract art,” creating a color pallet and painting each layer, feeling out her next move as she works.

“I’m typically loosely inspired by colors and sounds and textures I experience in nature,” she said.

A lot of her work uses water application and representations of water, she said.

“I look forward to being a part of this show every year,” said Beer. “It’s one of the most exciting shows my work is a part of.”

The online sale is available for preview at

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