Downeast, in Rockport, the Maine Media College offers one-year certificate programs, a low-residency Master of Fine Arts degree, and hundreds of shorter workshops in photography, multimedia design, and filmmaking. The workshops cater to everyone from young students to industry professionals, artists, journalists, and documentarians.
"Despite the fact that it is nestled in the woods of Rockport, MMW offers grade-A, state-of-the-art equipment for their students to work with as well as well-educated professionals to learn from," says Hannah Moorish, a 19-year-old Portlander who attended the basic grip and lighting and cinematography workshops in 2009. "I came out of my experience in Rockport with a huge network, hours upon hours of hands-on experience, so much more knowledge of the craft, and a bit of a sunburn."
Graduates of the 15-week Salt Institute program, which teaches documentary photography, writing, and radio, are equally laudatory. "I loved being around all sorts of story tellers — and that all of our material was about Maine," says Bostonian Danielle Connor, who completed the program in 2006. "Now I have a deeper sense of discovering a place, and I think that's where the best stories come from — immersion in a topic and the patience to see it emerge. Salt felt like an intense working-retreat, and I left more determined on my path to write and explore media."
• Maine Media College | Admission process: Application, transcript, letters of recommendation, portfolio, essay | Duration: Workshops are several days long; one-year professional certificate program, or 3-5 years for an MFA | Tuition: $100-1000 for workshops; $6000 per term for certificate; $475 per credit hour for MFA, with scholarships and work-study available | 70 Camden St., Rockport | 877.577.7700 | TheWorkshops.com
• The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies | Admission process: Application, transcript, letters of recommendation, portfolio, essay | Duration: 15 weeks | Tuition: $9600, with financial aid and scholarships available | 561 Congress St., Portland | 207.761.0660 | salt.edu
A natural education
Many of us, in our quest for more sustainable, less "plastic" lives, seek more natural healing methods, too. Some want to practice what they preach.
Homeopathy, in the simplest terms, is a type of alternative medicine that treats patients' symptoms with remedies that mimic those symptoms. The general philosophy has been described as "like cures like." As medical professionals, homeopathic practitioners must go through rigorous training. To that end, registered homeopathic clinician Nancy Frederick runs BAYLIGHT HOMEOPATHY, a four-year curriculum that models itself after the international Luminos Homeopathy program. Participants learn scientific basics like human anatomy and physiology, as well as how to group and prepare remedies, take cases (one of the cornerstones of homeopathy is an intensive "intake" that feels much like a therapy session), and manage a successful practice. "I'm consistently amazed at her ability to make homeopathy so relevant," former Portland resident Andrew Frederick, who is currently enrolled in the four-year program, says of Nancy Frederick (yes, she also happens to be his mom). "Every time a question is asked during the class she manages to answer it with connections to myriad influences . . . combining politics, botany, social movements, weather. Homeopathy becomes this lens through which you view the world, not just a footnote to your knowledge of that world."