National Portfolio Day

Mason School of Art Presents National Portfolio Day

On November 2, 2019, from 1PM–5PM George Mason University’s School of Art will host the DC National Portfolio Day at the Art and Design building at the Fairfax, VA campus. High school and/ or transfer students interested in studying art and/or design at the college level are encouraged to attend. The Art & Design Building is located at 4515 Patriot Circle Fairfax, VA 22030. Pre-register and let us know you’re coming!

What is National Portfolio Day?

If you are a high school or college student interested in applying to an art school for fine arts or design, then National Portfolio Day is a great resource for you. Representatives from the nation’s leading art colleges and universities accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design will travel to the George Mason University School of Art to review your artwork, discuss your educational and professional goals, and share information on art programs, careers, admissions, and financial aid and scholarships. This event is free and open to the public.

Please note: Admissions decisions and scholarship awards will not be offered at National Portfolio Day. Some colleges may accept your portfolio as the visual portion of your application while others have policies which prohibit making an admissions decision at the time of your review. We recommend speaking to and having your work reviewed by as many representatives as possible.

National Portfolio Day takes place on the same day as the Mason School of Art Open House. For information on our Open Houses, click here.

I’ve never attended National Portfolio Day, what can I expect?

If you have never attended a National Portfolio Day event, don’t be nervous! This event is not an examination or competition. These events are about an exchange of information. The representatives want to learn about you, your work, and your plans, all while informing you about their college or university and application requirements. These events may be the first time you have been in an environment with so many university representatives in one place who all share a powerful commitment to art and design. Use this as an opportunity to be inspired, to gain advice as to how to improve or present your portfolio, and to experience a small taste of what it is like to attend a professional art and design program.

When you arrive, you will receive a map that shows the locations of the visiting representatives. We recommend researching the attending schools you want to visit ahead of time, so you know who you would like to visit with first. You can find a list of schools who are attending here. When you arrive at the Art & Design building please make sure to check-in. Once you check-in, a representative will give you an NPD sticker, please place this on you and do not take it off during the duration of the event. This is how schools and volunteers will know that you are registered. Once you are registered and checked-in please stand in the designated lines. Reviews start at 1:00pm and only then will the doors to the buildings open. When this happens, you will walk to the table of an institution you are interested in. When it’s your turn, the representative will look at your portfolio and talk to you about how to best prepare for admission to that school. Each rep typically spends 10-20 minutes with a student, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Each school will want you to fill out an information card so they can stay in touch with you and make notes about your work. To save time, bring a few address labels that you can stick on the info cards.

Pay attention to the time. Reviews must stop at exactly 5pm, so if you’re still in a long line at 4:45pm, you may want to think about talking to a representative at a school that doesn’t have a line. Be open to speaking with new schools, as every representative can offer valuable feedback and information.

What should I bring?

Your best and most recent work. You should bring no more than 20 pieces, which can include finished work, works in progress, sketch books, originals or photos. Bring original work if it is easy to carry and fits in a simple portfolio. If your work is large, heavy or fragile, bring images of it instead. Do not spend money on matting, framing or an expensive portfolio. We suggest using a basic cardboard portfolio.

A laptop, phone or tablet with a charged battery. This is helpful if you have digital work, time-based pieces or images of large work. We do not recommend bringing only a USB flash drive, as most representatives will not have a laptop with them. You are not required to show digital work.

Paper and something to write with. You will be filling out forms and you will want to take notes. Stickers with your contact information are very helpful. Schools typically ask you for: name, address, phone number, email address, birth date, year of high school graduation and major of interest.

Water and snacks. Some lines may be long, and you might want some refreshments.

Questions you have about each school. This is a great time to get answers from school representatives.

A watch or cell phone to keep track of time. Reviewing stops promptly at 5 pm.

Are you still unsure of how this works? We are here for you! If you have questions about what materials to include, registration, or simply need more information, check the NPD FAQs page or contact us at dcnpd@gmu.edu.


Transportation/Parking

Centrally located in the Washington Metropolitan Area, 20 miles from Washington, DC in historic City of Fairfax, George Mason University is accessible by many options including three international airports (IAD, DCA, and BWI), please see these options below.

Directions

Entering from Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) at University Drive:

If traveling north on Chain Bridge Road, make a right onto University Drive. If traveling south on Chain Bridge Road, make a left onto University Drive. After entering campus, make a right at the first stoplight onto George Mason Boulevard. At the stop sign, make a right onto Patriot Circle. Continue to the traffic circle. Take the second exit out of the traffic circle to stay on Patriot Circle. Make a right on Mattaponi River Lane and Lot A is on your left.

Entering from George Mason Boulevard:

Proceed through the stoplight at University Drive. At the stop sign, make a right onto Patriot Circle. Continue to the traffic circle. Take the second exit out of the traffic circle to stay on Patriot Circle. Make a slight right onto Mattaponi River Lane. You will come up on Lot A which will be on your left.

Entering from Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) at Mason Pond Drive (passing The Mason Global Center):

If traveling north on Chain Bridge Road, make a right onto Mason Pond Drive. If traveling south on Chain Bridge Road, make a U-turn at the stoplight at Chain Bridge and Braddock Road, then make a right onto Mason Pond Drive. After turning onto Mason Pond Drive, follow the street to the traffic circle and take the first right onto Patriot Circle. Make a right on Mattaponi River Lane and Lot A is on your left.

Entering from Braddock Road (Route 620) at Nottoway River Lane (at the electronic marquee):

If traveling west on Braddock Road, make a right onto Nottoway River Lane. If traveling east on Braddock Road, make a left onto Nottoway River Lane. Lot A is located on your left-hand side.

Entering from Braddock Road (Route 620) at Roberts Road:

If traveling west on Braddock Road, make a right onto Roberts Road. If traveling east on Braddock Road, make a left onto Roberts Road. Then, make a left onto Shenandoah Lane. At the end of the street, make a left onto Patriot Circle. Continue straight onto Patriot Circle driving through campus. At the fork, take the left lane and turn left onto Nottoway River Lane. Lot A will be on your right-hand side.

Parking

When considering where to park, please park in our complimentary lot. For National Portfolio Day parking is available from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM in LOT A. LOT A is just a short walk to the Art & Design building.

Once parked, parking assistants will help guide you toward the walkway. Walk through the walkway path and follow the road up to the Art & Design building. A volunteer in a bright blue shirt will guide you to the front of the building where volunteers will be waiting to check you in for the event. Please have a copy of your ticket either printed or accessible on your phone. You are welcomed to bring friends and family with you to experience National Portfolio Day with you. Please make sure you register any person who will be participating in a portfolio review.

National Portfolio Day will take place at the Art & Design building on the FAIRFAX campus of George Mason University. We also have an Arlington Campus and a Prince William (Manassas) Campus. Don’t go to the wrong campus!

You must print a parking pass and have it visible during the duration of the event. The parking pass will be emailed to you once you register for the event.


Accommodations

We welcome students/ families from everywhere! We do not block off hotel rooms for National Portfolio Day but there are a lot of great options in Fairfax! We recommend the following.


Where to Eat Nearby

There are many food options near the George Mason University School of Art including 28 on-campus retail restaurants: and this list is a starting point, for your convenience:

  • Gathering Grounds Café
  • 10637 Braddock Rd, Fairfax, VA 22032
  • Sisters Thai
  • 6804, 4004 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
  • EastWind Vietnamese Restaurant and Noodle House
  • 10414 Main St, Fairfax VA 22030

Schedule & Attending Schools

10:00am–noon

George Mason University School of Art Open House

10:30am

Portfolio review sign-in begins. Advance registration is not required.

Please register outside of the Fine Arts Building. Entrance will be permitted once the event starts at 1:00pm. If rain is in the forecast, you may want to bring an umbrella.

1:00pm–5:00pm

Portfolio Reviews by College Representatives

Bring your portfolio and work and meet with representatives from some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities. You will receive counseling on the strengths that they see in your work. The purpose of a portfolio review is to guide and encourage your development as an artist and to offer information about the programs of study available at the participating institutions. Students, parents, and teachers are invited to attend.

Representatives from the following schools will be available at the 2018 National Portfolio Day:

  • Alfred University School of Art and Design
  • Arcadia University
  • Art Academy of Cincinnati
  • Boston University School of Visual Arts
  • Cal Arts
  • California College of the Arts
  • Center for Art & Design The College of Saint Rose
  • Cleveland Institute of Art
  • College for Creative Studies
  • Columbus College of Art & Design
  • Delaware College of Art and Design
  • Drexel University
  • Fashion Institute of Technology
  • FIDM
  • George Washington University
  • Hartford Art School
  • James Madison University
  • Kansas City Art Institute
  • Laguna College of Art and Design
  • Maine College of Art
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
  • Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Montserrat College of Art
  • Moore College of Art and Design
  • New York School of Interior Design
  • Otis College of Art and Design
  • Pacific Northwest College of Art
  • Paris College of Art
  • Penn State University
  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
  • Pennsylvania College of Art & Design
  • Pratt Institute
  • Purchase College
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Ringling College of Art & Design
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Rutgers University
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • School of Visual Arts
  • SMFA at Tufts
  • Syracuse University
  • The Cooper Union
  • Parsons School of Design at the New School
  • Tyler School of Art and Architecture.
  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design
  • University of the Arts
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • West Chester University
  • West Virginia University

For more information, contact the Mason School of Art:

dcnpd@gmu.edu
(703) 993-8898


National Portfolio Day FAQ

Q. What is National Portfolio Day?

National Portfolio Day is an event specifically for visual artists and designers. It is an opportunity for those who wish to pursue an education in the visual and related arts to meet with representatives from colleges accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Representatives will be available to review your artwork, discuss their programs and answer questions about professional careers in art. High school students, parents, teachers, guidance counselors and college transfer students are encouraged to attend.

National Portfolio Day serves a variety of purposes. Most importantly, it is designed to help further the artistic development of young artists by bringing together experienced college representatives to review artwork and offer feedback. We understand that some people make certain kinds of art more successfully than others. Don’t be discouraged if you see work that is “better” than yours. A National Portfolio Day may be the first time you have seen so many people in one place who all share a powerful commitment to the arts. The experience is a small taste of what a professional art program can be like.

National Portfolio Days are also about the exchange of information about your work, yourself, your college plans, and your concerns. This is not an examination or competition. The college representatives are pleased to talk about their programs with you and can be most helpful when discussing your artwork. Your portfolio should include your best and most recent work, but it can also include works in progress, sketchbooks and tear sheets. You’ll hear many different opinions of your work. Don’t hesitate to explain how you develop your ideas and where you want to go with them. No admissions decisions or scholarship awards will be offered to you at National Portfolio Day. Some colleges represented may accept your portfolio as the visual portion of your application. Other colleges have restrictions that prohibit them from making a definite portfolio decision at the time of your review. We urge you to discuss your work with as many representatives as possible.

Q. Do I have to register?

All Portfolio Days are free and open to the public, with a first-come, first served format. However, pre-registration online is recommended. This will allow you to skip check-in but will not give you preferential treatment. You can also register at the event. Register here.

Q. Where is the location of DC National Portfolio Day?

DC National Portfolio Day will be hosted by George Mason University School of Art located at the physical address:

George Mason University
Art & Design Building
4515 Patriot Circle
Fairfax, VA 22030

Q. I’m coming from out of town. Do you have accommodation recommendations?

Click here for a list recommended accommodations

Q. What should I bring to a National Portfolio Day?

Your portfolio can include finished pieces, work in progress, and sketchbooks. We ask you to bring your original artwork whenever possible. We suggest that you do not spend time and money matting or framing your work. Keep your presentation simple; the work itself is what is of interest to us. We recommend no more than 20 pieces.

Q. Can I present my portfolio digitally?

You may present your portfolio digitally, but it is your responsibility to have a working laptop/digital device with your portfolio. DO NOT bring CDs / DVDs / flash drive / website links and expect that any representative will have the equipment you require.

NOTE: There is no guarantee that any venue will have public access to electricity, therefore make sure your laptop battery is charged and consider bringing an extra battery.

Q. Where can I find the list of colleges at a Portfolio Day?

Click here for a list participating schools

Q. Where do I park?

When considering where to park, please park in our complimentary lot. For National Portfolio Day parking is available from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM in LOT A. LOT A is just a short walk to the Art & Design building.

Once parked, parking assistants will help guide you toward the walkway. Walk through the walkway path and follow the road up to the Art & Design building. A volunteer in a bright blue shirt will guide you to the front of the building where volunteers will be waiting to check you in for the event. Please have a copy of your ticket either printed or accessible on your phone. You are welcomed to bring friends and family with you to experience National Portfolio Day with you. Please make sure you register any person who will be participating in a portfolio review.

National Portfolio Day will take place at the Art & Design building on the FAIRFAX campus of George Mason University. We also have an Arlington Campus and a Prince William (Manassas) Campus. Don’t go to the wrong campus!

You must print a parking pass and have it visible during the duration of the event. The parking pass will be emailed to you once you register for the event.


Visiting Representative at NPD?

We are so happy to welcome you to our first DC, National Portfolio day.

Timing and Location

Reviews will begin at 1:00pm and conclude at 5:00pm.  Please be respectful of this timeframe. We follow the National Portfolio Day Association guidelines. This creates a fair environment for all representatives and students receiving portfolio reviews.

It is representatives’ responsibility to be aware of the length of lines and to manage the duration of each review. The Mason School of Art NPD volunteers will assist with the management of long lines to ensure that they do not block hallways, bathrooms or access to exits.

The representative check in location will be in the back of the Art & Design building to ensure easy access, and elevator access for those who need it. You will receive further information about the check in process in your NPD representative packet. This will be emailed to you closer to the event following registration and payment.

Mailing of Materials

We look forward to seeing you in November! We will be in touch via email with event details closer to the event. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at dcnpd@gmu.edu, please use the subject line, “NPD Representative.” This ensures we see and answer your email in a timely fashion. For more urgent inquiries, you can reach the front office at (703) 993-8898.

Shipping Materials

If you would like to send materials, please have them arrive by October 21, 2019 to the address below. Please keep in mind it takes extra time for packages to arrive at the Art & Design building from central mail so late packages may not arrive to the correct office on time. If you are sending a package of materials ahead, please email dcnpd@gmu.edu so we can make note that it is coming. We are not responsible for any lost/ stolen packages.

Attention: Robert Yi, NPD EVENT
4400 University Drive MS 1C3
Fairfax, VA 22030


Downloads

DC National Portfolio Day Poster

DC National Portfolio Day Postcard


Contact

For additional information or questions, please contact:

George Mason University School of Art
dcnpd@gmu.edu
(703) 993-8898

Physical Address:
George Mason University School of Art
Art and Design Building
4515 Patriot Circle,
Fairfax, VA 22030

Mailing Address:
George Mason University School of Art
Art and Design Building
4400 University Drive MS 1C3