Portfolio Day Mixes Constructive Criticism with Recruitment

The 16th annual Portfolio Day was held on November 8 in the Student Center event room. There, representatives from 15 colleges gathered to inspect the work of WCC art majors ready to move on to four-year schools. The School of Visual Arts, SUNY Purchase and Mercy College were only a few of the institutions to which art students eagerly presented their work for potential admission or transfer.

WCC Professor Melissa Hall, Art Department Chair, started Portfolio Day as a sort of College Transfer Day exclusively for art students. “To get into an art program is different from submitting a transcript”, says Hall. “You must have a portfolio to display your work and to gain feedback.” The goal of Portfolio Day is to receive constructive criticism from college art department representatives while gaining information about the potential school of your choice.

A portfolio is a collection of artwork, usually contained in large cases to make them easy to carry. The spacious event room was lined with tables, so that each student could conveniently present their case to the admissions recruiters, and answer questions about their work and the vision they had for each painting, picture or sculpture.  The recruiters spoke with students about their school’s curriculum and made observations about each student’s work being presented.

Students came prepared to explain to each recruiter what the motivation was behind their work. What makes for a good portfolio? “The feeling you have that is most expressive to you,” said Nena Smith. “Nature and how it is incorporated with my body is the theme for my work.”

Lamont “Lucky” Stansbury, who majors in Animation Transfer, said that he was interested in attending SUNY Purchase or Mercy, with an ultimate career goal of living in California and working for Disney as an animator.

Asked what was the most difficult criticism of her work she received, Art Club president Maddie Fortuna said, “that I was holding back my full potential.”

The basics learned by an art major; drawing, design and art history, are the foundation of an art career. Portfolio Days are held in many schools across the nation, including high schools. Local high school students were invited to WCC’s Portfolio Day. Students from Preston High School and the Ursuline School in New Rochelle were among those who accepted WCC’s invitation to the event, to obtain information on schools for the future.

Information on other Portfolio Days in the area can be found by visiting feelthearteffect.org. You can be on the lookout for the next Portfolio Day by checking out WCC’s event calendar or by emailing Professor Erika Mahr at Erika.Mahr@sunywcc.edu.

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