Visiting Colleges Give Insight to Aspiring Artists

This summer, six renowned art institutions from around the world visited Interlochen Arts Camp, offering lectures and individual artwork critiques. High school visual art students had the opportunity to work one-on-one with representatives from each organization, their portfolios were critiqued and they received advice on how to prepare for college auditions. For students in the visual arts program it was a rare opportunity to survey a wide range of educational options - while never leaving the Interlochen campus.

Representatives gave a group lecture about what their school offers and what to expect when studying at their institution. By bringing these schools, students can compare different majors and environments and are aware of the options available so they can choose a path that best suits them.

“Great schools offer an environment that attracts a passionate and intellectually diverse student population,” noted Kyle O’Donnell from School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Melinda Zacher, director of visual arts at Interlochen, decided to make these institutions one of the main focus points of the summer programs because many art students have not had a chance to learn about some schools that are considered top art institutions by professional artists.

“At other pre-college programs, students receive exposure to only one school at a time,” said Zacher. “We wanted to gear our program at Interlochen to be a place that students can explore many schools and learn what they can do with an art education.”

Interlochen is one of the only camps in the nation that brings professional visual artists to give students a first-rate critique on their portfolios. Students not only experience an immersion in their art with guidance from distinguished faculty but are also exposed to the possibilities of a future career in art.

“The environment the students are surrounded by and the wealth of information given to them by professional artists is astounding,” said Hadley Johnson from Ecole Parsons à Paris. “Interlochen is the perfect incubator for finding your strength as an artist early on and working on developing areas.”

The institutions that visited include: University of Michigan School of Art and Design; Watkins College of Art, Design and Film; School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; the University of the Arts in London; and Ecole Parsons á Paris. Interlochen hopes to continue relationships with prestigious visual art schools worldwide and plans to continue this effort in future summers.  

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