It’s National Portfolio time across the country. What does that mean for you? If you’re a high school art student contemplating an art career this is your opportunity to check out a wide variety of art and design colleges, learn about the programs they offer, and show off your own artistic capabilities.
From September through the end of January over 40 art and design institutions will host “National Portfolio Days,”which are art focused college fairs. They give prospective students the chance to meet with representatives from a large variety of colleges with strong art programs. In my neck of the woods, the Art Academy of Cincinnati and Columbus College of Art & Design are the hosts, holding National Portfolio Days on October 6th and 7th respectively. Professors from AAC and CCAD along with representatives from over 35 other schools will be on hand to meet with students.
This two-way street opportunity is so much better than a traditional college fair. Aspiring artists get to check out a variety of schools first hand, comparing various programs across the country. Simultaneously, they receive a portfolio evaluation from college art experts, which can sometimes result in encouragement to apply. Check out the National Portfolio Day website to learn about opportunities near you.
Before you go, make sure you’re prepared. Here are four helpful tips to keep in mind.
1 – Review your portfolio. Organize it so it tells the story you want to tell. Is that by medium? Subject matter? Your story = your choice.
2 – Include sketches and work in progress. Your technique and problem solving process is often more apparent in unfinished work.
3 – If some work is too large, fragile or cumbersome to carry, photograph it. With that in mind, even though we now live in a world of electronics, don’t expect every school to have a laptop handy to view your work on a cd or dvd. Bring your own, and make sure you’re battery is fully charged.
4 – Make sure to write down comments and critiques of your work. You’ll want to remember what is said, and by whom.
Presenting your work to prospective art and design schools can be intimidating. But National Portfolio Days are a win-win. You’ll learn about a variety of programs and the artistic opportunities available for your future. Breathe deep and dive in!