Monday, October 15, 2007

Portfolio Day at the Art Institute

Yesterday my daughter and I did portfolio day at the Art Institute. We spent four hours standing in long lines to have her portfolio reviewed by our top picks for Art schools in the country. We did this last year too. That time each school we saw gave her very conflicting advice about what they wanted to see in a portfolio. One said more drawing another said nothing but design work but they all said she had too much stuff. I kind of knew that, but she had so much good work in so many areas that I thought we should show a decent sampling of her talents.

This year we narrowed it down concentrating on graphic design work. We made sure she had a good selection of life drawing, still life’s, gestural, line, and rendered pencil drawings, a few photos, (she has an excellent eye but that is not her intended major), several logos, package designs, identity packages and several pieces that involve photo collage combined with drawing and design elements. This year the response from the schools was amazing. They all said very similar things. Every one was very positive the only suggestion was to take a couple projects to a more finished level (photographing the final product) when submitting her portfolio. We saw Otis (where I went to school), Art Center, RISD (the hugest lines), the Art Institute and then we ran out of time.

We celebrated her success with lunch at the Art Institutes museum restaurant. Yumm.

I think her first choice is Art center, followed by Otis. I don’t think any of us are ready to send her off across the country to go to school next year on her own though. So we may do a year of community college and work on getting those SAT’s taken. Then really start investigating scholarships, boy is art school expensive.


  1. Anonymous12:28 PM

    You sure hit the big ones! Congrats to Nina on all her obvious hard work and the great response. I went to UCLA for a year before transfering to Otis. I was an art major there as well, but in addition to art history and a sculpture class, I took Comparative lit, French, Bio 101, and a few other things that I knew would be of a better caliber than at Otis, and that I'd have a bigger variety of courses to choose from in each category. I still had to do four years at Otis, but I had a lighter load since I'd already taken all my non-art classes. I think a year or so at a community college could only help Nina in her journey!

  2. That's great! I would echo Kristin's recommendation of taking non-art classes at a community college first. I also went to Otis. Since it was my second degree I transfered all the non-art requirements from UCSB. It meant that I could really concentrate all of my time on the important classes. Also Otis just wasn't that strong in their non-art classes when I went. Perhaps that's changed over the years, but why worry about it? Just make sure that you find out precisely what the rules are about transfering classes before taking any. I had to get special permission to transfer my English courses - even when I was an English major at UCSB! And yes, very expensive. I'm still paying for it all these years later.

  3. I did the same as you both. I transferred to Otis after being at another school. I was so glad i took all my GE classes elsewhere too. I think the classes were better and I also could concentrate on just the art when I went to Otis.

    After a few years in junior college, Otis reluctantly let me transfer as a sophomore. So I spent 6 years getting my BFA.

  4. Anonymous4:47 PM

    I was a student at the Art Inst. of Chicago in the days before the remodel. It was an expensive school then but I was on scholarship.After two and a half years I felt that I wasnt getting much out of the school that I wanted so I stopped going. No BFA but I really expanded on my art and am happy I did so. School is not for everyone.


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