Sep 24, 2011

Got Talent?

Students in performing and visual arts have amazing opportunities to hone their talent at colleges, universities, conservatories, and other postsecondary institutions with specialized arts programs. And if you fit in this group, colleges want to meet and introduce themselves at a series of targeted college fairs.

Over the next few months, singers, dancers, and artists should consider attending one of 19 Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) College Fairs sponsored by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

Or if you are more specifically interested in visual arts, the National Portfolio Day Association (NPDA) sponsors a series of Portfolio Days in 43 US and Canadian cities.

NACAC’s PVA College Fairs are looking for students interested in pursuing undergraduate or graduate study in theater, visual arts, graphic design, music, dance, or other related disciplines. These fairs bring together experts who provide information on educational opportunities, admission requirements, and financial aid. They also advise on portfolio development and auditions.

Free and open to the public, PVA College Fairs do not require pre-registration, although the opportunity to register is offered online for many fairs including the one scheduled for Sunday, November 6, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

An entirely separate program, NPDA Portfolio Days offer opportunities for students to receive free advice, counseling, and critique from some of the best academics in the art business.

Portfolio days begin in late September at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and end in January at the Ringling College of Art & Design, in Sarasota, Florida.

And Portfolio Days are incredible events. Students drive from the furthest reaches of the country and stand in long lines clutching portfolios, paintings, sculpture, pottery, and other work. They bring sketchbooks, works in progress, and finished pieces—some small and others quite large.

At the head of each line, experts from NASAD-accredited colleges take considerable time to offer support and constructive criticism, as well as to give pointers on how to build a portfolio. No one is hurried, and every question is answered. Several (not all) participating schools even accept portfolios on the spot as the visual portion of an individual application.

Also free and open to the public, Portfolio Days require no registration and operate on a first come, first served basis. Students from the DC area can attend on Saturday, November 5, at the Hartford Art School in Richmond; Saturday, December 3, at the Corcoran College of Art & Design; or Sunday, December 4, at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Note that the PVA College Fairs and the NPDA Portfolio days are not restricted to high school seniors. Underclassmen are strongly encouraged to get a head start by taking advantage of the opportunity to get free advising early in the game from experts in the arts.

More information on Portfolio Days may be found on the NPDA website. A complete schedule of PVA College Fairs as well as terrific advice on the application process for performing and visual arts students is provided on the NACAC website.

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