Portfolio Information Packet

Dear AAHP Student,

Welcome to our Portfolio Information Packet! You have been directed to this page on the AAHP website because you are either entering high school, or are around age 14 and are prepping for college, or are searching for employment.

This section serves as an important tool box offered to you through the AAHP’s Portfolio Prep Program (P³). Recall that even if not applying to art, fashion, design or architecture schools, an art portfolio can nevertheless be used to apply for science, engineering and other programs of study, and employment, if you learn to use your portfolio as the powerful tool that it truly is. This means that you can use your portfolio no matter what, and as evidence of your creative problem-solving skills, commitment to deep learning, and your command of a specialized form of knowledge. To this end, please use the content below, known as our Portfolio Information Packet, to get started. Please call us if you have any questions.

Thank You,

A.E. Soto-Canino
Director/Chief Instructor

1. Know the meaning and awesome power of an artist’s portfolio

A portfolio may or may not need to include any of the following contents:

  • Your top 10-20 arts projects: these may need to be original and/or photos and/or videos of the orignal, and always including captions or captions sheet
  • An Artist’s Statement and an Artist’s Bio (essays)
  • A resume of artistic studies/activities
  • An artist’s journal: Colleges may ask that you present at least one journal. Buy yourself a blank book—not too small, and work at it day and night with lots of explorations in many different media, office pens, etc. Take it everywhere with you!’ It’s best if you can show more than one at a college interview, for example.
2. Strategize your coursework

We suggest the following protocol as an AAHP student in the PPP:

If you are in FIRST year of high-school:

  • Continue with the regular AAHP syllabi as presented by our instructors for your current coursework. Also register for a second course, namely Portfolio. You must be registered in the Portfolio course and also a regular course simultaneously.
  • Attend the P3’s 2-hr “Presenting Your Portfolio with Power” Seminar. This is where you will learn how to understand your own portfolio, and how to use it as a powerful presentation tool.
  • Start working on one or more journals (see item 5, below).
  • Inform AAHP Instructors of your art courses elswhere (for example, high school, other private studios).
  • Make an appointment with your P3 Instructors to review your potential portfolio contents at this time.

If you are in the SECOND year of high-school:

  • Start drafting your Artist’s Bio and Artist’s Statement. Get your drafts to the AAHP instructors as soon as possible.
  • Start practicing your organizational and interviewing skills by partaking in the mock interview events at the AAHP, held in late fall every year.
  • Continue working with your artist’s journals.
  • Start researching your colleges or jobs of interest. Ask them for all the information you may need as a prospective applicant.
  • Partake in as many P3 programs as possible (for example, interview training seminars, field trips).
  • Start exploring free college summer programs, school year pre-college programs, etc. We strongly urge you to apply to pre-college programs in your Junior year.
  • Make an appointment with your P3 Instructors to review your potential portfolio contents at this time.

If you are in the THIRD year of high-school:

  • Continue with the regular AAHP syllabi as presented by our instructors, and with your Portfolio course.
  • If need be, start generating at home any work that is still missing from your portfolio selection.
  • Book a solo exhibition of your art at the AAHP (see item 11, below).
  • Continue practicing your organizational and interviewing skills by partaking in the mock interview seminar at the AAHP.
  • Refine your artist’s essays.
  • Make an appointment to again review your top portfolio work with your instructors at the AAHP.
  • If you are doing a portfoio concentration in high school or elsewhere, fully inform your AAHP Instructors.
  • Start exploring pre-college summer programs, school year pre-college programs, etc. We strongly urge you to apply to pre-college programs in your Junior year.

If you are in the FOURTH and last year high-school:

  • At this time we can only help you put your portfolio together; at this point it may be too late to start, or to continue, making the work that will go into it.
  • Finish the final drafts of your art essays.
  • Seek help from Ana, as she is an award-winning writer who can review your drafts of other essays required by the colleges you are interested in.
  • Finish your college application process under deadline.
3. Get organized NOW

Use your online calendars, such as Google Calendar, to post your deadlines, and to list all the stages you must follow while applying for college admissions or a job. No one can do this for you. Please set to it now, while you have time.

4. View the National Portfolio Day website, if relevant

The website is nationalportfolioday.org*
Many professionals in the trade offer at least one, free portfolio review service somewhere near you every year. Read up on this important service. Catch up on all their dates for the current season. Enter these days into your calendar and plan which events you will attend. Expect long waiting lines. Plan to carry bottled water, snacks, and perhaps a helper who will stand in line for you, now and then, while you rest, use the bathroom, etc. Plan to protect your work for transport if inclement weather strikes your plans.

*Please note if you enter the search terms “National Portfolio Day” in Google, you may get a spam site in your results, so be aware.

5. Journal Work

A journal is a blank book of any size where you do open-ended, experimental work outside of studio, school, or training elsewhere. Some schools and employers may wish to see your artists’ journals. Some may even require that you present a journal or journal pages. The summer after your first year of high school is the best time to start working on your journals. Get one, or perhaps two, blank-page journals and remember that the word journal literally means “daily”, as in daily practice. Fill your journals in with all sorts of observations, interpretations, and imaginings. Use your favorite media (more than one, that is), as well as new and also unconventional media, such as nail polish or coffee. Date the pages. Experiment with the use of text, collage clips, etc. Use the opportunities brought to you by summer vacation or travel to observe new things around you, and within. Yes, the journal is the format where you engage in wild exploration. Show that. And don’t forget to write one of your parent’s office address on the inside cover of all journals, including a phone, in case you lose it on the beach or subway!

6. Produce work at home

If the AAHP and you determine that you have too few works ready for a portfolio by the end of your second year in high school (or other study program), then plan to generate pieces that may be of sufficient caliber for your Portfolio. Work with the P3 to determine a viable plan of action for homework.

7. Drafting an Artist’s Bio/Artist’s Statement

For guidance, please click here to follow and print the AAHP guide to Writing An Artist’s Bio/Artist’s Statement.

8. Preparing to ask the AAHP for a letter of recommendation (LoR)

If you believe you will need a letter from A.E. Soto-Canino at the AAHP, notify her much sooner than later. Ana will write letters only for a student who has successfully worked with her at the AAHP across the previous two years before the student requests the LoR; the student must also be participating formally in the P3. The student may be able to waive this requirement if able to demonstrate very high skills and “sense-abilities” for deep craft practice at the drawing board, easel, or bench. Please click here to open the Recommendation Letter Request Form.

9. Practice your interview skills

Be sure to ask about, and book, you attendance at one of our mock interviews for college-bound teens, or for those seeking employment straight out of college.

10. Exhibiting your work in a public venue

Ask us at the AAHP for an opportunity to show your work on our exhibition wall for a month. Do this BEFORE you apply to college, so that you can list the matter among your early achievements. Exhibiting your art is the equivalent to publishing. Get seen! Please click here to open the Exhibitor Guidelines and Application Form on the AAHP Website.

11. Get a Job!

And make good on it. You need to develop and refine your young adult leadership skills now, so that you can show your colleges later. Get a job, such as serving as your elected class officer, or joining the AAHP’s teen jobs corps, or volunteer with us and/or other organizations. Find a cause and serve it well from your heart, and then use those experiences to show your top colleges your commitment to a worthy cause, and how you shook it up with all your leadership, organizational and team-working skills. The AAHP is a good place for you to seek employment as our teen job programs are also leadership training programs.

12. Call us for help with your online portfolio

Though not necessary for college applications, it would be good for you to create an online portfolio of your own, or create an artist’s website using affordable and easy templates, as offered by WordPress and others. Consider this matter and speak with Ana about it only after completing your hard applications deadlines.