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April 29, 2014

MECA gets $3M for music program

The Maine College of Art is launching a new program that will teach about the intersection of music and art, thanks to a $3 million donation from a retired songwriter.

The Portland Press Herald reported the program is likely to start this fall after the Portland college received a $3 million gift from a foundation for Bob Crewe of Scarborough, a retired songwriter who penned hit songs like Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" and Frank Valli's "Rag Doll."

The $3 million, which is the largest monetary gift in the college's history, will be donated in annual installations of $300,000 for 10 years to help grow the program, which will offer music classes, including a songwriting course, as part of the college's existing fine-art degree programs.

Beyond helping start and grow the program, Crewe's donation will enable MECA to construct a sound stage, gallery and practice spaces in the college's main building on Congress Street. Another portion will be used to create an endowment for scholarships. The gallery will hold Crewe's paintings, gold records, other music memorabilia and student art in the future.

Don Tuski, MECA's president, told the PPH that combining art and music for a program could enhance Portland's music and arts scene, with more musicians and artists combining their work for multimedia performances.

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