ROCKPORT, MAINE – March 3, 2007 Maine Media Workshops (MMW), announced today the acquisition from David Lyman of the working assets of the Maine Photographic Workshops, the International Film and Television Workshops and Rockport College (the Workshops). The acquisition is expected to close early next week. A group of concerned local business and cultural leaders established MMW in August specifically to aid in the transfer of these institutions to nonprofit status. David Lyman, founder of the 34-year-old institutions, will consult with the new entity on off-site programming. The price of the transaction was not disclosed. The schools will continue to do business under their original names and with most of the same staff. Classes are planned on the Rockport campus and/or in Midcoast communities this summer.
“This is the best possible outcome,” said Lyman. “The legacy of the Maine Photographic Workshops will continue under the direction of the new nonprofit organization.” Joyce Tenneson, world-renowned photographer and Vice Chairman of the Board of the new entity said, “We are thrilled to have been able to come to an agreement that will allow these institutions to continue. They are such an important part of the local cultural community as well as the photographic community worldwide.” The Workshops annually adds over $2 million to the local economy with an estimated additional $1 million being spent by the more than 3000 students, faculty and visitors that come to the Workshops each year.
Other members of the Board include Chairman and Treasurer John Claussen, who is also Treasurer and Executive Board member of the Environmental Law Institute and a State Trustee of The Nature Conservancy. Secretary Peter Ralston co-founded the Island Institute in 1983 and currently serves as its Executive Vice-President. He has contributed most of the photography and served as art director for the Institute's Island Journal since its inception. Betsy Cohen is the Chief Executive Officer of The Bancorp Bank. She has over 30 years experience in banking, real estate and financial law, as well as real estate lending, investing and development. Barbara Goodbody is a photographer, philanthropist and community leader. She is on the Board of Trustees of the Santa Fe Center for Photography and the Board of Advisors of Folk Arts Rajasthan. Joan Welsh is currently Deputy Director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. In the past she was Academic Director of Rockport College and President of the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School. A National Advisory Council has also been formed with experts in the fields of arts and education.
Charles Altschul has been named Executive Director and will oversee day-to-day operations of the institutions. He said, “We are looking forward to developing new programs in response to changes in the field and to becoming a more active participant in Maine’s cultural environment.” Altschul is a photographer and graphic designer and has been involved in arts education at several institutions including the Cooper Union in New York City and Yale University in New Haven, Conn. He moved to Camden, Maine in 1991 to become Director of Education at the Kodak Center for Creative Imaging. He has resigned his position as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine to devote fulltime to this endeavor.
“The excitement surrounding this transition is palpable,” said Elizabeth Greenberg, long-time Director of the Photography Program at the Workshops. “So many photographers and filmmakers want to be a part of this renaissance; this will be a great summer for us.” Catalogs for both the photography and film programs are currently in distribution. They include over 360 one- and two-week summer workshops in photography, film and digital media as well as longer-term programs for artists at all levels from high school to graduate students, amateurs and working professionals. This summer’s offerings include a major photographic symposium and exhibition on contemporary photojournalism featuring the renowned VII Photo Agency. The free program will also include a screening of the award-winning film, “Thin” by Lauren Greenfield. Catalogs can be downloaded and further information about these and other programs is available at: www.theworkshops.com.
Lyman founded The Maine Photographic Workshops in 1973 as a summer school for photographers. In 1975, he added The International Film Workshops attracting Academy Award winning filmmakers as faculty, and a worldwide enrollment of professional and student filmmakers. In 1980, The Workshops entered into a partnership with the University of Maine at Augusta that lasted until 1996 when Lyman founded Rockport College. The College is authorized by the State of Maine to confer the Associate of Arts degree, as well as the Master of Fine Arts degree and Professional Certificates in photography, film, video and digital media. In addition to his consulting role at the Workshops, Lyman will spend most of the next year writing, lecturing and sailing with his family.
At the closing in Camden this afternoon, Claussen said, “It has been my great pleasure to work with David [Lyman], our Board of Directors, the staff at the Workshops and many other interested parties to make this transition happen. We now look forward to continuing the magic that David conceived of 34 years ago and building a framework that will sustain this invaluable institution for generations to come.”