IN FOCUS: Southern Maine Community College, South Portland

Southern Maine Community College is Maine’s largest, oldest, and most diverse community college. Its art program is designed to prepare students for a career in the arts. Working in scenic studio facilities and guided by practicing professional art faculty, graduates from the program earn a two-year Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies degree with an Art Focus. From there, they generally transfer to 4-year degree programs and careers in the arts.

The core of the visual arts program is based on a traditional foundations program, with required courses in drawing, design, and art history. The program also offers more than 40 elective courses in studio art, art history, theater, and dance. Popular courses include Woodworking, Sculpture, Metal Arts, Ceramics, Photography, and Comics & Sequential Art. The Fine Arts department works cooperatively with the Communications New Media program, which allows SMCC students to also take classes in print and web design, digital media, and film. In addition to art classes, the structure of the Associate of Arts degree program includes a wide spectrum of courses from across the curriculum, offering students a broad liberal arts education.

IF SMCC 6 Facultyshow

Faculty Show at Portland Public Library, 2014
The Art Department at SMCC was born when the college transitioned from a technical college to a community college in 2003. To celebrate the remarkable growth of the department, the college mounted a faculty exhibition at the Portland Public Library.


In 2016, the college launched the Global Studies Center, which offers short-term, faculty-led study abroad programs. To date, SMCC art students have had the opportunity to travel to Italy, Spain, and Iceland. Upcoming 2020 programs are also planned for Barcelona and Cuba. Additional student opportunities include the Art Club, which takes regular gallery tours of Portland and Boston, and the Senior Portfolio class which primes and prepares students for professional gallery exhibitions.

Jeff Badger, Co-Chair, Fine Arts Department / Coordinator, Global Studies Center

Image at top of page: The Art Studio and Printmaking Studio on Spring Point on SMCC’s South Portland campus.
SMCC has three dedicated studio buildings on Spring Point on the South Portland campus. The school also runs art courses in other shops and lab spaces in South Portland, Brunswick, and other satellite locations in Southern Maine