BIDDEFORD WELCOMES THE HEARTWOOD COLLEGE OF ART
by Jamie Thompson
The Pepperell Mill Campus in Biddeford, Maine was already home to several artists’ studios and galleries — now, it has an art school as well. Last summer, the complex welcomed Heart- wood College of Art as the 20-year-old college embarks on a new chapter.
“The impetus behind the move to the mill in Biddeford was multifaceted,” explained college president Berri Kramer. “The most pressing concern was to relocate from a rural location to a more vibrant urban community, a better fit for an art school.” There was also an interest in downsizing.
Heartwood’s MFA program is low residency, giving students the flexibility to complete their degrees while working. All of the MFA students work from their own studios. “Heartwood College was established in 1993 in an old grange building that was once the center of community life in Kennebunkport, Maine,” Kramer said. “In 2003, Heartwood was approved for a fully licensed BFA and applied for MFA status, which was received in 2008. The first MFA class will graduate in December 2014.”
A broken pipe in the old building caused major flooding and major headaches. “It gave us time to pause and reinforced the idea that we needed to be part of a larger community of resources, potential students, and like-minded artists and galleries,” Kramer said.The Biddeford area is an up-and-coming locale, attracting a more urban crowd interested in the visual and performing arts, live music and fine dining. Kramer joked that Biddeford could be “the next Brooklyn.” It may not become as iconic as the New York City borough, but it does share similar qualities. Biddeford’s Pepperell Mill Campus is certainly geared toward that demographic.