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Art & Design Students Show Portfolios at Cornish for NPD

Art & Design Students Show Portfolios at Cornish for NPD

: Photo by Nark Bocek.

National Portfolio Day brought in art schools from all over the country to Seattle to meet students; hometown host Cornish drew a lot of interest.

PICTURE: Associate Director of Admission and arts faculty member Eric Swangstu with Ana at the Seattle NPD; photo by Mark Bocek

Ana was typical of the art and design students sharing their work with Cornish at the Seattle National Portfolio Day (NPD) — typical in that she was exceptional. She was one of a flood of amazing students meeting with representatives from the best art schools in the country brought together at Cornish. At tables lined up in a spacious painting studio, students gathered who were interested in showing their portfolios to Cornish faculty members for comment and approval.

What kind of student is looking at Cornish? Well in Ana’s case, one who is taking advanced placement (AP) art and running a 4.0 GPA at an area high school. Ana is living with family in the Mill Creek area while she goes to high school, though her home is Stokholm, Sweden. Her dad is American and her mom is Swedish, so she holds a dual citizenship. Though she showed a strong portfolio in drawing and ceramic sculpture, her academic interests are wide-ranging; psychology in particular is a subject she wants to pursue. Along with Cornish, then, she is considering less arts-oriented schools: the UW, WSU and Sweden’s venerable Uppsala University —“venerable” as in founded 1477. Ana was interested in the fact that the Cornish program features a strong liberal arts curriculum that includes classes in pysch.

“Ana’s portfolio was exactly what we hope a student’s would be,” says Eric Swangstu, who reviewed her work. “Her drawing skills were strong, I liked her ceramic stuff and all her work showed great originality.” Swangstu is the Associate Director of Admission at Cornish and teaches a number of courses in fine art. Although he was right at home reviewing portfolios at Cornish, Eric will log thousands of miles as he travels to meet prospective students at NPDs all over the country. In January alone he has been in Portland, San Francisco and Pasadena and will soon be in Miami and Sarasota, Fla.

Two hundred sixty-eight students were among the 500 people who participated this year, visiting representatives from over 30 art schools and colleges. Cornish showed up with the best, drawing no fewer than 35% of all students. In all, the college’s faculty and admissions representatives reviewed over 100 portfolios.

“The event helps students build strong portfolios,” says Cornish Director of Admission Sharron Starling. “The students who came to our table were very well prepared. We were ecstatic at the turnout and the quality of their work.” Starling reports that the Seattle NPD, hosted at Cornish since 1995, draws students from all over the Pacific Northwest north of Portland, which also hosts one. Typically, students from Alaska, British Columbia and Idaho attend, as well as from every corner of Washington State including Bellingham, San Juan Island, Wenatchee, Spokane and Walla Walla.

Alison Staplin, who manages Cornish’s summer program, was also on hand to recruit: registration has already begun.  Students who are working to build their portfolios are also on the lookout for a prestigious, pre-college summer experience in the arts such as Cornish’s. “NPD gives us a wonderful opportunity to meet talented students and families that are looking for an exceptional summer pre-college experience. As an added bonus, students have an opportunity to meet and be evaluated by art and design faculty who will teach in our summer programs.”

While most students come to an NPD to meet with Cornish as a first step, some bring their portfolios as the final step in the admission process. One, Brandy, got to show her work and get the good word at the same time:

“Just attended portfolio day and I actually got accepted!” she tweeted. “I’m so excited to go here next year (:”

Depending on portfolio review results, Cornish College of the Arts will accept as many as 75 students in fine art and 65 in design for the 2013 academic year.


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