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Linda Mah
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Students Share Talents at Portfolio Day

Students Meet with Colleges, Universities At Annual Event

Do I have what it takes?

Area high school students wondering if art might be a part of their future had the opportunity to meet with artists and art schools at the annual Portfolio Day at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in October.

Art students from Loy Norrix and Kalamazoo Central high schools participated in the event, which featured representatives from about a dozen art programs.

“I just want to go with the flow and see where I’m at with it,” said Loy Norrix sophomore Cam Greene. “It’s a good way to track your progress. I’m looking for that validation. I’m an art student, and I’m looking for someone to tell me if I’ve committed enough.”

While students get feedback on their portfolios, the school representatives have a chance to meet the students and share the highlights of their programs.

Stephanie Slaughter, a faculty member with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, said, “We’re looking for work students have created on their own, where they take the technical skills they learned in the classroom and they create their own art.”

David Baker, a representative from Ferris State University, said he was looking for students with passion and who were interested in working in art right after they graduate from college. The school was highlighting their illustration and computer design classes.

“We want students with strong basics and skills who have developed creative habits,” Baker said. “That’s why I like seeing sketchbooks. They show that they’ve learned how to be creative. We’ll teach you the technical stuff if you come in with the creative skills.”

Katie Schantz, a Loy Norrix junior, said she’s wanted to be an artist ever since she was a child. While she was thinking about fashion design or interior design, Tom Post of the Kendall College of Art and Design was impressed with the quality of her work and said she might think about moving into illustration.

“I just want feedback on my work. I don’t want them to sugarcoat it,” she said. She said she wasn’t nervous about critiques. “I’m more excited than anything.”

Adrienne Evans, a Loy Norrix senior, was attending Portfolio Day for the second time. Just walking in the door, she was more excited about her second trip through the process.

“The last time, it felt like it was more a lot of colleges that were not what I was looking for. I’m more of an illustrator and graphic designer,” she said. “I felt kind of out of place in a room of fine artists.

“Then, I come this year and the first thing I see is digital design and game animation at Ferris. I know a lot of people who say game design is not art. Here’s proof. They gave them a place here. It is art.”

In addition to stopping by the Ferris table, she talked with Patti Spencer, a regional recruiter for the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. Spencer gave Evans positive feedback about her drawing and experimentation, as well as her subject matter. Spencer suggested Evans add more of the observational sketches from her sketchbook into her portfolio.

“There’s a lot of potential here,” Spencer said. “I really think you’re on the right track.”

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