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January 11, 2022

Q&A with Chris Stiegler

Maine College of Art & Design

Greta Bank, Parasitic Honeyshoes, 2019. Photo: Kyle Dunbay.

Behind the scenes look at Maine College of Art & Design MFA program. Meet Chris Stiegler.

Chris Stiegler, Program Chair of MFA in Studio Art, Visiting Assistant Professor at Maine College of Art & Design, is an art historian, curator, and educator. As a teacher, Stiegler focuses on historiography, criticism of the contemporary, and 20th century art history.

Stiegler founded the projects Town Hall Meeting—a collaborative effort that produced symposiums, museum tours, and lectures—and Institute for American Art—a curatorial project that situated works of art and objects of culture within a residential setting. Chris holds BAs in art history and printmaking from the University of Delaware, and a Master of Modern Art in connoisseurship, market history, from Christie's Education.

Tell us about your background and artistic philosophy.
Art and its histories connect us with our futures as well as our pasts. How we make something is often in honor of those before us or to push a boundary forward. As an art historian, I was taught systems of valuation, connoisseurship, and power. As an art educator, I am constantly learning how artists engage with these dynamics, how they honor the dead, and what questions concern them.

What made you want to be a part of the Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) community?
This college has a long tradition of being a participant within the regional artist community, having trained so many creative forces that shape Maine and the rest of New England. Being a part of that history and future is both an exciting way for me to engage with the community around me while also being an important responsibility.

What major shift have you seen in art coming out of the MECA&D MFA program over the past few years?
Our graduates are deeply concerned with the impact humanity has had on our planet. To confront these issues head-on, many of our students and alumni are actively challenging their priorities and ethics as they work to live and create sustainably.

How does the College continue to engage MFA graduates after they leave your program?
The network of MFA alumni is vast, and our connections are now excitingly global. MECA&D has a few different ways to stay in touch with our alumni, but regional residency opportunities are particular highlights.

What is the most important thing for emerging artists to keep in mind as they move forward in their careers?
Find mentors and contemporaries that challenge you and whom you trust. Then, keep them around. These honest and caring voices will sustain your creativity. Graduate school is a great way to expand your peer network and to find some of these people.

Graduate programs at Maine College of Art & Design
Maine College of Art & Design offers a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art (MFA), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), and a Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies. MECA&D’s community is diverse, and each new student adds immeasurably to the vibrancy of our community. Applications are evaluated individually, with consideration given to the strength of the portfolio and academic achievement.

Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art
Supported by renowned local, national, and international faculty, visiting artists and carefully selected graduate advisors, the MFA in Studio Art curriculum emphasizes the intersection of production, individual research, and critical analysis. Students choose either a Low or Full Residency option. MECA&D’s Full Residency MFA provides 24/7 access to private studios and staffed fabrication facilities where students work alongside peers and with local faculty. Among the first programs in the country, MECA&D’s low residency MFA combines intense periods of on-campus instruction with the freedom and independence of working from any home location, anywhere in the world.

Summer 2022 application deadlines
Full Tuition Scholarship: January 21, 2022 / Priority: February 25, 2022 / Rolling admissions through May 2, 2022, as space permits.

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