Need some feedback from art educators


Henry Brimmer:
I teach Graphic Design within the Art Department at Southern Utah University, a somewhat small and isolated institution ...

At graduation time, "fine art" students are required to put together what seems to me a dated portfolio of slides, resume, artist statement, etc. Students are told that this is the standard for portfolios submissions to graduate schools or galleries.

In graphic design the hard copy portfolio (actual boards) is usually reserved for a 2nd, or even 3d round interview. The first "contact" today is usually established electronically: via CD, DVD, Web page, etc.

I am not opposed to the slide portfolio, but feel it narrows the possibilities for dissemination, and am curious if there has been a shift towards digital submissions since the wide spread use of digital cameras, the internet, etc.

I would like my students to work with painters, sculptors, potters, printmakers, etc. and help them create electronic packages of their work ... but am on hold waiting to hear what the current standards might be?!

In advance, I'd appreciate your input,


Henry Brimmer
Professor of Graphic Design
Art Department
Southern Utah University

Usually slides are standard within the college context. That's problem because of the costs, time, and technical equipment needed to get a good slide. Even here at The Chronicle, in the position postings, I've seen announcements proscribing digital media.

From the gallery point of view, many won't care really if it's digital or slides. I used to run a commercial gallery, and really if either came in I didn't care about that aspect. I was more interested about whether the work would fit the niche of my operations marketing. Usually, after images (photo or digital), I'd request some physical work be brought in so I could directly check craftsmanship.

Although, in current job (running an art department in the far north) I don't deal much with student portfolio submissions, in the past one aspect advantageous to slides has been speed. If these come in the carousel ... zip it in, flash the pictures, etc. They're easier to get through in a committee environment than digital.

Maybe this is less of a problem for students in your field, but another concern is that many VFA arts people (as good as they might be with their paint, plaster, and muck) simply are not comfortable in the digital arena. So the shiny disc just might rot on the desk.

So, there's been a little shift, but not much. And actually I would prefer it to shift. Simply because when colleges push the slide aspect, they don't acknowledge the substantial costs to students. Some arts waif, having to send out 30 or so sets, to various grad schools ... is spending serious money ... for a resource of questionable future use.

You might ask, for example, do other VFA people actually know where or in what condition their grad school slides are in?


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