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Lesson Plans

Re: Portfolio Preparation (sort of long post)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lincoln Arts (lincarts)
Thu, 11 Feb 1999 19:41:25 -0800

Hi, Jasmine.

Is this for students to submit to galleries, schools, competitions, or ???
Since I don't know, I'll just give you our experiences.... We're a
non-profit arts organization in a small city in northern California. Our
headquarters is a 1925 bungalow; it houses our office, city's history
archives, piano and voice lessons, and a gallery. We look at works from
professionals, hobbyists, students - beginning and advanced, college, middle
and high school, and we see a little bit of everything when it comes to
portfolios and 'anti-portfolios'; from framed works; sculptures in boxes;
photographs and slides in a variety of styles and quality; color photocopies
of works; quick sketches of 3D works; etc, etc.

We have a national clay competition that asks for slides only; however, in
our gallery - we request photos. Why the difference? We have over 1K
entries for the national exhibition, and our jurors (1 each year) are from
all over the country - ease of shipping and judging dictates slides for it.
Our gallery however has a committee that meets once each year to review
submissions from throughout the year - photos are necessary to be sure
everyone has a chance to view the works.

The best-looking portfolio submission we've had was for a fabric artist.
She had professional photos taken of each of her works and mounted them in a
photo album (acid free paper, etc). Each page had a photo; typed card with
title, dimensions, requested artist price (retail prices change with each
gallery due to the gallery's commission), and the name and city of the owner
if in a collection. She had a resume and an artist's statement in the
album. She also had a good-quality photocopy set of her resume, artist's
statement and color photocopies of three of the photo pages to show a
representation of her work for us to keep for reference.

She had also called in advance to make an appointment to review her
portfolio - such a plus on a busy day. We've had people show up out of the
blue with their works expecting us to make a decision right that
minute...not the most professional of presentations.

>What do high school students need to know about portfolio preparation?
The more professional they try to appear - the better response
they'll receive.
>What and how much to include?
At least 10 to 15 works or photos of works to ensure a good
A resume or bio (even students can have a reasonable amount of info).
An artist's statement - realistic and to the point (we've seen
artists who hadn't a clue of why they did what they did and
tried to make something up to sound like what they thought an
artist should sound like - oh, boy!)
>What to carry it in--any ideas on how to make something?
Anything that looks nice works. I had some extra-large heavy-duty
file folders (large enough for 11x14 paper) that the local middle
school is using now for student works.
>Photos?--suggestions to ensure good quality?
Do you have a teacher with photographic skills who can assist you?
Or a photography department at the school? Or what about
photography students from a local high school, community college, or
college (we've had students do our pr shots for one of our events
each year - we pay him/her for the film, give him/her a free
lunch, and he/she turns the film over to us for processing)?
Setting up our slide projector to view a few slides becomes a big
hassle; best to check with each school/gallery you submit items to
and ask which they prefer - slides or photos.
>Should they include rough sketches, artist statements?
No. Yes.

Hope this helps a little.


P.S. We've selected artists from some of the worst portfolios - because
they had the best work. A good eye can usually burrow through the dirt to
find the gems; it just helps if the gems are in a shiny box!
Jeanne-Marie Fritts
Executive Director