Archive for November 8th, 2012


Maine Media Workshops + College

November 8, 2012

President Meg Weston

Meg Weston, President Maine Media Workshops + College

Maine Media Workshops + College is located in Rockport and tucked away in a charming area. Since I live fairly close by I sometimes see the students who travel from all over the world to learn from the expertise that Maine Media has to offer. Students range in age and abilities when they arrive but at the end of their learning opportunity they leave wiser and more confident! If you can not visit in person I highly recommend a visit to their website – it is quite a treat! Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Meg Weston, President of Maine Media Workshops + College and Elizabeth Greenberg, Vice President of Academic Affairs. I am so impressed with what they have to offer students and excited about possibilities for the future. Thank you to Meg who kindly answered some questions for the meartsed blog to provide you with the opportunity to learn more about Maine Media Workshops + College.

  • Please tell the meartsed readers about your background before arriving at the Maine Media Workshops + College.

My career has been in the consumer photography business, media, and education. I was president of Konica’s U.S. photofinishing operations for seven years; president/CEO of PrintLife, an Israeli digital imaging company that introduced photobooks to the market in the U.S. and Japan in 2000; and president of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

In the field of education I served on the Board of Trustees for the University of Maine System including two years as chair of the board, and later held the positions of VP of Advancement and President/CEO of the University of Southern Maine Foundation. I have an undergraduate degree in communications from USM, and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University in 2008.

  • How long have you been at Maine Media and what made you choose to take on your role as President there?

I’ve been at Maine Media for just over six months now. It was a perfect fit for me, bringing together my experience in business, marketing, fundraising, and education with my passion for the art and craft of image-making. I’m excited about the future of imaging, media arts and visual storytelling.

  • Tell us a little about the programs you offer through the workshops and the college.

We offer over 250 different workshops in photography, filmmaking and design in the course of a year and have longer term programs ranging from 4-6 week intensive workshops, and 12 week residency programs, to 30 week professional certificate program, and a 3 year low-residency MFA program. There is an experience at the heart of all of our programs that encourages discovery, playfulness, creativity, and excellence.

  • This is a big year for Maine Media with the celebration of your 40th anniversary, what is included in your plans to commemorate the years?

When we began as Maine Photographic Workshops in 1973, we were the first organization of our kind offering experiential, hands-on education from leading photographers and that expanded a couple of years later to include master filmmakers. Today, our reputation as the original workshops remains strong, and our legacy as leaders in the field of imaging informs our present and our decisions about the future. For that reason, we have several plans to commemorate this milestone in our history and communicate our excitement about the future of Maine Maine Media Workshops + College. To start, we just launched our 40th Anniversary “Spirit of Place” photo and video contest. It has categories for both youth and adults, and encourages entrants to visualize the meaning of place whether it is on the coast of Maine or in other locations around the world. We have an outstanding cadre of jurors and over $25,000 in prizes to award to winners next spring. Next on our 2013 calendar is a 40th Anniversary Celebration in the newly renovated Union Hall in Rockport Village in June. In August, in collaboration with the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA), we will host the exhibition:  MENTOR – 40 Photographers , 40 Years – honoring our 40 year dedication to the spirit of mentorship. The exhibit will consist of work created by world-renowned photographers who have studied and taught at MMW over the past 40 years and the work of their students who have become starts in their own right. The MENTOR series will also showcase some major filmmakers who are associated with MMW with a film screening and presentation in August. In the Fall, we plan to bring together a panel of prominent speakers to discuss the future of visual storytelling and the convergence of visual media. It’s an incredible line-up of events that span the entire year.

  • I know that Maine Media is committed to education, please tell us about the philosophy or perhaps the opportunities that are afforded Maine arts educators, PK-12.

Many arts educators come from around the country to MMW to learn new skills, and to be inspired, refreshed, and renewed. Teachers can learn darkroom techniques, historic photographic processes, and the latest cutting edge technologies in digital imaging and video. In addition to offering workshops tailored to educators, we host educational class trips and collaborate with schools and other partners on a variety of different projects. We are currently discussing how we might employ some of the new tools for multi-place collaborations in multi-media to reach out to art educators and schools across the state.

  • What are your hopes and goals for Maine Media for the next 40 years?

We want to establish our leadership internationally as the place to learn visual storytelling.  It’s all about helping people find their voice and communicate their message using a variety of visual media, whether their message is personal, documentary, or fictional. The depth and breadth of courses we offer, the knowledge and expertise of our faculty and staff, position us well to be leaders in this era of media convergence. We are re-envisioning our long-term certificate and degree programs and integrating them more fully with our workshop offerings; working to extend our reach and enhance our programs through partnerships and collaborations; focusing on expansion of our Young Artists programs with new offerings and outreach; and investing in online technologies that will bring our unique transformative experiential learning to more students around the world.  

  • Tell us about your connection with the local community.

Our local community here in the midcoast of Maine is rich in creativity, culture and intellectual contributions.  Maine Media Workshops + College is an economic driver for the region bringing students and teachers here from over 40 countries around the world.  We are committed to partnering with other local organizations to foster and build the creative economy for Maine.

  • If you were given $500,000 how would you use it at Maine Media?

There are so many ways we can and would use additional resources such as a grant of $500,000. Maine Media Workshops + College does not have an endowment and our students do not have access to financial aid, so that would be one of my first priorities. I’d like to make it possible for more young people, who don’t have financial resources, to experience the “magic” of this place. Next on my list would be an upgrade to some of our facilities. Being a non-profit institution we’ve often boot-strapped solutions to maintain classrooms and other facilities that are adapted to the leading edge technologies that we offer. We enjoy the “rustic” Maine feel of the place, and want to maintain its character, while offering the most up-to-date technologies, classroom experiences and hospitality for the thousands of students who benefit from the Maine Media educational offerings each year.

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