The gift, the largest ever received by MECA, will support the integration of music courses into the school's established curriculum in the fine arts and also will be used to endow scholarships and underwrite the addition of a sound stage, art gallery, and practice spaces to the school’s five-story facility.
Bob Crewe, a New Jersey native living in Scarborough, Maine, created many notable pop hits of the 1960s after attending art school in New York. His biggest hits were written with Bob Gaudio for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in the 1960s and '70s, including "Big Girls Don’t Cry," "Rag Doll," and "Walk Like a Man." Crewe also produced a number of hit records, had his own record label, and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. After leaving the music business about fifteen years ago, he returned to painting. The MECA gallery will house his paintings, gold records, and other memorabilia.
"This idea is great for MECA. Music and art are immediate family. Each one feeds the other in so many ways," said Mark Curdo, a WCYY-FM radio host and original board member of the Portland Music Foundation. "Freddie Mercury (of Queen), Chuck D of Public Enemy, and Mike Stipe of R.E.M all did time in art schools. Who knows what would have become of them or their music had they not been to art school?"