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Graduation Requirements

Internship & Portfolio Graduation Requirements for Senior Studio Art Majors

As an Art Major (this does not apply to Visual art Studies or Art Education majors – they do Student Teaching), at Elmira College in accordance to the official guidelines in the College Bulletin you are allowed three options to achieve your requirements for graduation as long as the required forms are filled out by both you and a faculty supervisor.

As a note all graduating art and art education seniors participate in the senior exhibition in the George Waters Gallery regardless of their choice to submit a portfolio or complete an internship. The first step in either option is selecting a member of the art department faculty to act as supervisor. You and your faculty supervisor will then need to fill out the proper forms in order for it to be officially recorded by the Office of Career and Human Services. The selected faculty member will also serve to assist with the general structuring, motivation and development of your options. Your options are as follows:

  1. Complete a portfolio achieving the 240 required hours with the intention of applying to graduate school(s) for the following year after your graduation from EC. In other words, inform the Office of Career Services that you wish to complete a portfolio to facilitate an application to graduate school or as a submission to a gallery or art related career position such as working for a professional art gallery. Artist Statement required.
  2. Complete a part time internship, achieving 120 hours working in the field, and submit a portfolio (completed with a minimum investment of 120 hours) based on your studio concentration. Your decision to create a portfolio in addition to an internship is based on your decision to use the portfolio in order to facilitate an application to graduate school or as a submission to a gallery or art related career position such as working for a professional art gallery. Artist Statement required.
  3. Complete an internship, achieving 240 hours working in the field, say at a local art museum. Students who choose to do an internship may also choose to submit a portfolio – not for credit, but in order to get constructive criticism and feedback on their artwork and to facilitate an application to graduate school or as a submission to a gallery or art related career position such as working for a professional art gallery.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of artworks that you can use to showcase your skills, achievements, talents, unique abilities, and so on to an educational institution, gallery, residency program, fellowship application or to an employer. A portfolio relies on visual presentation to market you and your skills to an educational institution, organization or employer. It allows you to say more about yourself and back up that information with actual examples. Most importantly, a portfolio can help you get the position or placement you want.

In today's world of art educational and professional oriented opportunities portfolios are an indispensable component – undoubtedly the most crucial component of your ticket to the next stage of success and artistic achievement. A portfolio is the most widely accepted and viable means of presenting your artistic skills – showcasing your technical and conceptual abilities. A portfolio is also the only means in which you are able to present yourself to a potential art school, graduate school or to market yourself to an employer.

What constitutes a portfolio as per your EC requirements?

In the case of your portfolio for EC it should be 20 works of art - 75% of the works displaying your concentration, i.e.; if you’re a painter then 15 pieces should be paintings and the rest can be drawings, illustration, sculpture, 3D objects, photographs, digital works etc; or all 20 works can be paintings if you so choose. The 20 works of art are to be presented in their original form to your faculty supervisor as well as a determined format such as digital images either on a CD, as prints, or posted on a website or a combination of the aforementioned formats. Please note that portfolio requirements may change with each concentration and faculty supervisor but in general there are two important bits of information:

  1. Quality is more important than medium in choosing work to include. The portfolio must be comprised mainly of artwork made during your senior year but you may include a minimal amount of work from your junior year but not from your sophomore or freshman years. You may include artwork in your portfolio that will also be in your senior exhibition. In order to satisfactorily complete the portfolio requirement there are a number of considerations you might wish to focus on. First and foremost please keep in mind that the portfolio is the final presentation of your work encompassing four years of undergraduate study. Presentation of your artwork is key. Each piece should be complete and well executed to the highest standards of your individual creative and artistic potential. Your perceptual, technical and conceptual skills must be evident. Your artwork must display a solid level of commitment, refinement and improvement.
  2. Always clearly label each image with your name, its title, medium, size and date made. For example, Artist (your name), “Title of piece,” Date of completion, medium, eg; oil on canvas, and dimensions, eg; 26 x 26 inches.

What is an Artist Statement?

An artist statement is a written self-assessment describing your ideas, processes and artistic intentions often accompanying a body of work. An artist's statement shouldn't be dismissed as insignificant or dashed out in a hurry as it's a vital in terms of explaining your work to people looking at it, whether they're fellow students, professors, potential buyers, gallerists, exhibition curators, critics, professional artists, or casual browsers. At its best, an artist's statement reads easily, is informative, and adds to your understanding of the artist and the artwork. At its worse, an artist's statement is difficult to understand or rambles on, is pretentious, and irritates rather than informs. Strive to be clear, honest and succinct. It is normally a half to full-page 1.5 spaced typed paper (using a 11/12 pt. font size). Just as a point of information, make an artist's statement short rather than long – most people simply won't have the patience to read a lengthy treatise and many will be put off before they've even started. Examples are available upon request. There are also many examples online.

For more information about the Elmira College Art Program please contact Professor Marc Dennis at mdennis@elmira.edu or Professor Derek Chalfant at dchalfant@elmira.edu