Maine College of Art will host in-person commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. May 16 at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, conferring approximately 125 degrees to graduates of the college’s bachelor of fine arts, master of fine arts and master of art in teaching programs.

Artist Sonya Clark will deliver a commencement address and receive an honorary degree from Maine College of Art. Courtesy of MECA

Artist and activist Sonya Clark, perhaps best known for using human hair in her artworks about race and class, will deliver remarks. MECA will give honorary degrees to Clark, a professor of art at Amherst College in Massachusetts and visiting artist at MECA, and to philanthropist Daniel N. Crewe.

“During her time as a Visiting Artist at MECA, Professor Clark inspired our students with her vision and talent, as well as her ability to transform everyday materials into a lens through which to examine history and identity,” MECA President Laura Freid said in a statement. “Professor Clark shares MECA’s commitment to utilizing art to spark conversations about issues of social justice, institutional racism, and racial inequality.”

Clark is a widely decorated artist. She is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner award, an 1858 Prize, an Art Prize Grand Jurors Award and an Anonymous Was a Woman Award, and was an inaugural recipient of the Black Rock Senegal Residency Fellowship. She has had numerous artist residencies around the world – at the Red Gate Residency in China, the BAU Camargo Residency in France, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency in Italy, and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in Washington, D.C., among others. She has received the Rappaport Prize and was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Craft Council.

Crewe has been a member of MECA’s board of trustees since 2011 and is chair of the advancement committee. He has long supported the arts, education and human rights, including LGBTQ rights, with his philanthropy. He is the president and chair of the Crewe Foundation, a member of the ACLU of Maine board and a Portland Symphony Orchestra trustee. He chairs the USM Foundation and Great University campaign, and in 1992 he co-founded Gateway Mastering Studio in Portland.

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