Aspiring Artists Convene for National Portfolio Day

GW hosts high school students and colleges from across the country at the Corcoran School.

A high school student shares his work with the Corcoran School.
November 24, 2014
High school students touting thick portfolios and sketchbooks showed up at the George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design in herds on Saturday morning, forming a line that wrapped around the 17th Street building. 
They arrived to participate in National Portfolio Day, an annual event that encourages high school students interested in arts education to meet with representatives from different colleges and universities. GW’s Corcoran School hosted more than 50 institutions accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Each school set up tables throughout the 17th Street building’s gallery and classroom spaces, inviting students to discuss programs and have their work reviewed by professionals in the field.
Students flocked to each station, learning about a range of colleges from large state schools like Virginia Commonwealth University to more specialized arts institutions like the Parsons New School for Design. The Corcoran School provided a panel of its own faculty representatives to meet one-on-one with prospective students and their parents.  

Students and their families gathered at the Corcoran School for National Portfolio Day.

“One thing I emphasize is that the Corcoran School is surrounded by dozens of museums, galleries and cultural institutions—it really is located in a central arts hub in Washington,” said Georgia Deal, professor and printmaking head at the Corcoran School.
Ms. Deal flipped through the work of dozens of young artists looking to improve their aesthetic. One of those students was Grace Rutter from Littlestown Senior High School. She’d made a 90-minute trip from Gettysburg, Pa., with her parents specifically to check out the Corcoran School. She was drawn to its reputation of rigorous arts training and GW’s own program in art therapy. Ms. Deal and other professors told her more about the Corcoran’s offerings and also provided her with valuable feedback on her work.
“I’ve been doing art for about eight years, and gradually, I’m trying to take a more non-objective route to my work,” Ms. Rutter said. “The professors said to keep building my own style because the technical ability is there. I just need to conceptualize more.” 

High school junior Grace Rutter shares her work with professors.

While National Portfolio Day helps high school upperclassmen narrow down the colleges they want to apply to, many students attended just to have their work examined by new audiences. Sophomore Priya Kral won’t start the college application process for another year, but her teachers at H-B Woodlawn in Arlington, Va., urged her to get a fresh pair of eyes on her art. She came armed with linoleum prints, examples of her watercolor technique and countless pencil figures on loose-leaf sketch paper.
“I feel like this event gives you a really good assessment of where you are in your work. You get to compare yourself to other people and see what schools want versus what you have. Going as a sophomore, you can prepare yourself for the next two years and grow as an artist.”
Representatives from more than 50 schools came to GW's National Portfolio Day event.