June 2014, Volume 18, Number 2

Powerful Partnerships

A Portfolio of Opportunity

Hosting the annual National Portfolio Day (NPD) event for more than a decade, New World School of the Arts (NWSA) at Miami Dade College brought 100 recruiters from such prestigious art schools as Parsons, Cooper Union, MICA, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Cleveland Institute of Art, to name a few, to review portfolios of close to 700 students who came for the event.

A staple among talented students serious about pursuing careers in the visual arts, NPD took place at MDC’s Kendall Campus where lines of eager young artists congregated with their portfolios, larger-than-life canvases and artist bags filled with dreams.

Attracting Top Talent

“NPD is a wonderful opportunity for students from smaller schools to get their work in front of recruiters from major art schools, including NWSA,” said NWSA Visual Arts Dean Maggy Cuesta. “It's a great recruiting tool for our college division.”

Students began lining up at 8 a.m. to be the first to meet recruiters from their schools of choice when the doors opened at noon. With the event ending promptly at 4 p.m., a frenzy of portfolio reviews took place with a friendly yet competitive air.

Not only does NPD present a unique chance for aspiring artists to “sell” their work to the college reps and arts faculty in person, it also serves as a major boon for the recruiters, who see the event as a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet some of the brightest talent in the country in an area with an unusually high concentration of it.

“Many of these students cannot afford to go to California, New York or Maryland to tour their dream schools. NPD allows them to meet with top arts schools in the nation and showcase their art and their serious attitude toward their craft,” said Cuesta. “This event also fosters healthy competition because it enables the students to see the exceptional talent of their peers and understand that the race for admission to top schools is real and fierce.”

Visual artists from NWSA had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with some of the top schools a day before NPD. “There must be something in the water here,” quipped Murray McKay, associate director of admissions for global education at Parsons The New School for Design. “Students from New World are at the top of the list every single year. Their concepts and techniques are mature, they have fun with their work, they take risks with their work, their teachers are fantastic.”

Victoria Martínez, who graduated this spring from NWSA, presented to five schools during NPD. 

“NPD is important because the reps get to know you and your work, and they get enthusiastic about your progression,” she said. “When you establish a personal relationship with the reps, they keep you in mind.”

Head of the Class

The excellent reputation of NWSA’s high school conservatory – whose visual arts students received $8.7 million in scholarships last year – draws recruiters to NWSA a day before the event to get a head start on reviewing the tremendous talent it cultivates.

“New World students are always prepared – even perfectionists,” said Joanne Landers, director of admissions at the Cleveland Institute of Art. “It’s good that they put so much focus on it. Many come with their applications completed and all that’s left to do is the portfolio review.”

— MR

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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