The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Mini Portfolio Day Maximizes Artists’ Potential


Dozens of art schools sent their representatives to Niles West on Oct. 17 for the 6th annual Mini Portfolio Day, which is a time where colleges meet with art students to critique their portfolios and give presentations to encourage students to consider art school. It may be hosted annually, but each year it provides a unique opportunity to give professional feedback to artists from West and schools in the surrounding area.

The objective of this event is for high school students to improve their college portfolios and talk to representatives from different art programs, giving students an idea of where they may want to go to college.

“This whole thing is for prospective students who are thinking about pursuing education in the arts or some sort of industry can get feedback and advice on their work. We have multiple schools represented here that specialize in that form of education post high school. Students are able to get feedback on their work before they actually submit an application and it’s a way to kind of get an insight into what schools are looking for and ways that we can move our practices forward as artists in neutral conversation,” Art Institute of Chicago representative Jonathan Karotko said. 

This event was inspired by National Art Portfolio Day, hosted by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While the national event provides many opportunities for students, some colleges believe that this smaller version is more welcoming and less prone to drama.

“The National Art Portfolio Day can be really scary and overwhelming, but this helps make it more approachable for the average student. There’s also politics involved in it.  One school hid us in the corner because we’re one of their rivals and that definitely got a little messy. Portfolio days hosted by high schools can be less biased, which I love,” Maryland Institute College of Art representative Summer Kalani said. 

Some students, like Niles West senior Rachele Gedin, are using portfolio day as a way to do research on scholarships and learn about the financial side of college.

“So far I’ve learned a lot about colleges. What I’m most interested in is scholarships and aid, which, based on my research and the presentations I’ve seen, a lot of the colleges have aid to try to make school as affordable as possible. I’m learning a lot about portfolio scholarships and merit scholarships,” Gedin said. 

The benefits of Mini Portfolio Day can go beyond the college application process.

“What I’m really interested in with our interactions with students is meeting them in terms of where they are at creatively and in their practice. I think of these interactions not from a top-down perspective but from artist to artist. There is no right or wrong way to create art but talking to fellow artists is how we grow as creatives,” Karotko said. 

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