Our current exhibition Momentary Certainties features work by Megan Magill and Sal Taylor Kydd, who are both recent graduates of the MFA program at Maine Media Workshops (in Rockport, Maine). PhoPa is closely affiliated with Maine Media and we love showcasing work by Maine Media's students, faculty and alums. We've found that most gallery visitors know of the week-long workshops Maine Media offers but are less familiar with the longterm programs, so we wanted to take a closer look at the MFA program, and hear directly from Megan and Sal about their experiences.
The MFA program is a low-residency program geared toward artists interested in engaging in a rigorous educational experience in the media arts fields of photography, filmmaking, and multimedia. The MFA program typically take three years to complete and is based on a strong system of mentorships, biannual retreats, and intensives. See here for more specifics.
Q&A with Sal Taylor Kydd:
1) What made you choose Maine Media's MFA program over a more traditional MFA program?
I chose the MFA program at Maine Media largely because I was so impressed with the faculty and teachers. I had gotten to know some of the faculty through workshops and in talking with them about the program I was struck by their intuitive understanding of what I was trying to convey with my work. I was looking for a low-residency program rather than a more traditional program as I needed something that would be flexible with my schedule, I found the description of the mentoring program within the MFA very appealing.
2) What stood out to you about the program?
One of the best things for me about this program is that although my focus is photography, I was able to explore a variety of media that I hadn’t even considered before. Working with my writing and developing my skills in book arts has really deepened my work and provided me with additional avenues for expression that has only enhanced my photography.
3) What was your favorite class to take at Maine Media?
The alternative process workshop with Brenton Hamilton was a turning point for me during the program. I had been looking to improve my printing and Brenton’s class really allowed me to jump off in a whole new direction that I hadn’t anticipated at all.
4) What do you think you'll be doing next?
I’ll be continuing to make new work as always, but I also want to focus on creating a limited edition artist book for a selection of poems and photographs that I self-published last year entitled Just When I Thought I Had You.
Q&A with Megan Magill:
1) How did Maine Media help shape your work?
My advisor and mentors at Maine Media helped me to define and understand what I was trying to say in my work. They inspired me to reach farther and to take risks. They helped to broaden my understanding of the work of other artists and in general made ART a central facet of my life.
2) What role did photography play in your life before you decided to pursue an MFA?
I took a photography class at my local art center about 2 years before I applied to the program. Although my process has expanded to include printmaking, and no doubt will expand again, photography is at the heart of what I do.
3) What do you think you'll be doing next?
I recently had the opportunity to show my work twice in Chicago (winning first prize for Representational work in one) and was selected as a semi-finalist in the Print Center in Philadelphia’s International Competition among a group of artists that I really look up to. I am hoping to use these accomplishments to get my work out there even more and have applied for shows in two venues near me in Chicago (where I live ½ of the time). I would also like to try my hand at teaching.
4) Is there anything else that you'd like people to know about your experience in the Maine Media MFA Program?
I guarantee you will make great friends. This was not a goal of mine, but very happy that it turned out this way. As an artist it’s very hard to operate in a vacuum, and getting your work out there can sometimes seem very competitive. Having friends who take the time to try and understand what you are trying to say and give you their support is, in my opinion, VERY important.