Oct 4, 2013

Arts Fairs and Portfolio Days for Students with Talent

Ringling Portfolio Day 2013

Students in visual and performing arts have amazing opportunities to develop their talent in a variety of
postsecondary arts programs.

And if you have talent, colleges and conservatories want to introduce themselves at a series of targeted college fairs and portfolio review sessions.

This fall, high school singers, dancers, and artists should consider attending one of 20 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, October 29, 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 Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in Denver and end in January at the Ringling College of Art & Design, in Sarasota, Florida.

And Portfolio Days are incredible events. Students drive long distances to stand in 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 23 at the Corcoran College of Art & Design or Sunday, November 24, at the Maryland Institute College of Art. 

Although PVA College Fairs and NPDA Portfolio days are generally targeted to high school students, some Portfolio Days are now labeled “graduate.” Check with the host school for more details.

And note that high school programs are not just for seniors. Underclassmen are strongly encouraged to get a head start by taking advantage of the opportunity to get free advising 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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