NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Art students show off portfolios

Event was opportunity to network, get input from four-year schools

Northern Essex offered a chance for art and design students to meet with several different art and design 4-year colleges in the area. The colleges represented on Feb 16 were MassArt, Montserrat College of Art, Salem State University, Umass Lowell, New Hampshire Institute of Art, and Northern Vermont University. Apart from networking with the colleges, NECC students are given the opportunity to get input from these schools about their portfolios. Calum McDonald is a thirrd year graphic design student who attended the event and hopes to transfer to MassArt. McDonald says he was never good at math or writing and he just didn’t like school very much, but here at NECC his interest in his education spiked.

NECC offers an avenue into graphic design but he says you must be proactive to make the tools available here work for you. Specifically, he noted that at NECC there’s good physical space to work on your art and luckily, they keep the classes small so there’s lots of one-on-one, if you want it. NECC also creates exhibits showcasing students’ art. There is no lack of representation as an art or design student here at NECC. This helps transform students’ artistic dreams into realities.  McDonald called the visiting colleges event a “confidence booster” and motivation to continue working on his craft.

students standing in front of a table with their art on it, getting evaluated Photo by Patricia Gosselin

NECC art and design students recently had the opportunity to show their portfolios to various other art schools.

McDonald feared putting his whole life in debt to attend a 4-year school without knowing what he wanted to pursue. NECC gave him the opportunity to take the 1st step in college. “It’s an easy way to re-insert yourself into education” says McDonald. Northern Essex has a lot of professors that have also taught at 4-year schools. McDonald says “they build upon what they were taught” and help facilitate the transfer from a 2-year to a 4-year school.

Students can focus on building their GPA and gaining relevant experience to their field.  Chrissy Eichhorn decided this was the path for her as well. She’s a 2nd year student who’s 19 years old, she used the Dual Enrollment program here at NECC to supplement her college career. Eichhorn said that she has always liked art, that it has always sparked her interest more than other subjects. Her medium is different than McDonald’s, she prefers drawing and loves pastels.

Eichhorn says “sometimes you don’t like your work, you get stuck in a rut, but you get the best outcomes when you push your mind” and NECC offers students a place to expand their technique. She was excited for the visit from schools to show them the variety of her work and to gauge where she stands among other students. Russell Shoemaker, the Assistant Director of Admissions was here today representing MassArt. He works specifically with students looking to transfer which make up 27% of the student population at MassArt. Shoemaker said he looks for students that work hard and their portfolios should show it.

They should exhibit a love and passion for their work and for be willing to add outside exploration to their experience. MassArt stands out because they “offer a double-major, which is rare for art schools” said Shoemaker. Local Boston designer Erin Robertson graduated from MassArt with a double major in fashion and fiber art and went on to win the 15th season of ‘Project Runway’. Shoemaker says art and design transfer students can “have access to tools through the Academic Resources Center which hosts transfer events like community building and campus tours” which can help make the transition to a 4-year school seamless. The benefits of going to school at MassArt extend through finances so students can save money by transferring NECC credits and by relatively low cost-of-living in dorms and apartments on campus. Events like these help the students at NECC employ every opportunity for a smooth transfer to a 4-year university.