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UMaine dedicates IMRC Center

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IMRC Center IMRC Center

ORONO – There are few things more important to the vibrancy and viability of an academic institution than the fostering of creativity, collaboration and innovation.

The University of Maine is continuing to bring those tenets to life on its Orono campus. The University marked yet another step toward realizing those ideas with the official opening of the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center (IMRC) on Jan. 9.

The IMRC Center is over 15,000 square feet devoted to creative exploration and innovative entrepreneurialism. The space contains a number of Intermedia graduate labs – part of UMaine’s Intermedia MFA program – and a pair of computer/technology classrooms. There are a number of other cutting-edge labs as well, devoted to electronics, prototyping and fabrication among other pursuits. Additionally, the building features studios devoted to audio, video and film production, as well as a number of editing suites. The IMRC also offers a number of flexible, innovative presentation environments and performance spaces.

In short, it’s a place that welcomes creators of every ilk.

As part of introducing the IMRC Center, the building played host to a conference: “IMRC Maine: Celebrating Creative Innovation.” The conference included a number of seminars and a presentation of “eStranged,” a telematic, multi-media performance piece – based on Albert Camus’ “L’Etranger” - written and directed by N.B. Aldrich and David Kaye. The keynote speaker was designer and entrepreneur John Bielenberg.

The dedication ceremony itself featured a number of speakers prominent in both the University community and the community at large. They included Professor Owen Smith, director of the Intermedia MFA program; State Senator Emily Cain; Bob Martin, president of the Maine Technology Institute; Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce; and Paul Ferguson, University of Maine president. The program was led by UMaine Provost Jeffrey Hecker.

Whether it was Smith relating his lengthy history with the University and the notion of creating this facility or President Ferguson offering thoughts on how the IMRC fits into the mission of the University, Senator Cain noting the importance of collaborative efforts such as this one or Martin and Connors each acknowledging the power of being able to tell one’s story, whatever that story might be, it was clear throughout the dedication that everyone involved in this project recognized the wide-reaching nature of its potential benefits.

In addition, the flexible performance space in the IMRC – affectionately dubbed “The Sandbox” – was dedicated to Allen and Sally Fernald, two notable UMaine alumni who have long been active and interested supporters of the University and its ability to help its students find and mine their creative and innovative potential.

The IMRC Center is a facility that has been years – more than a decade, all told - in the making, with a number of people working very hard for a very long time in order to bring the concept to fruition. It is a fallow field awaiting its full creative cultivation. Many of these students have already begun planting the seeds and tending the crops, so sit back and wait for the inevitable plenty of vast and varied harvests.

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