All students pursuing a BFA in Studio Art or a BFA in Art Education are required to complete two portfolio reviews. Typically, the first review takes place at the end of the freshmen year, and the second review takes place during the junior year. This schedule may vary for transfers from other colleges and universities or students switching to studio art from other majors at MSUM.
During their first review, students display portfolios of all the assigned work they have completed in their freshman art courses, including Basic Drawing I and II and Foundation Design. For the second review, students’ portfolios are a combination of work completed in introductory and intermediate studio courses, including those in their declared area of emphasis. Each student presents her or his body of work to a panel of three professors in the School of Visual Arts.
The purpose of the reviews is to assess a student’s overall portfolio development and readiness for the next level of art studies. The review committee provides both oral and written feedback. Also important, the reviews assist each student in thinking about her or his body of work as a whole, rather than as individual class assignments. Reflecting on her recent review, Marissa Vanvleet, who is pursuing a BFA in Art Education, comments, “It’s easy for me to get lost in making things and never take a step back to look at what I’m trying to say or accomplish. Portfolio reviews are often intimidating but they force me to gather my thoughts and try to understand my process, my work, and my voice.”