(Photo by Monica D. Spencer)

National Portfolio Day coming to MCC Oct. 22

National Portfolio Day will be held on Oct. 22 at Mesa Community College and offers art and design students the rare opportunity to show their original work to accredited institutions around the country.

This year’s event will take place from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, around the outdoor hallways of MCC’s Southern and Dobson campus art building.

The free event connects high school and college students with a nationwide selection of 21 different art and design colleges. 

Students share their portfolio to the colleges in attendance at the event, who then offer feedback, advice, and resources for the students to take home with them.

The event focuses strongly on the influence a good portfolio can have on the opportunities it offers. 

“A portfolio is going to get you to the college you want to go to, it’s going to get you the scholarships that you want, and the [portfolio] work is gotta be your best work.” said Kim Kai, a resident fine art faculty member at MCC.

Kai speaks directly from experience, noting that her own portfolio is how she got her job at MCC. 

“I’ve had shows at galleries all over the country and internationally as well, and in order to get a show in a gallery, you need to submit a portfolio, that’s how important it is.” said Kai. 

Kai first brought National Portfolio Day to MCC in 2007, which operated out of downtown Phoenix hotels at the time. 

Kai wanted to support The National Portfolio Day Association’s vision to, “provide support to professionals advising students on portfolio development for college/university admission,” according to their mission statement.

“We even get students from Colorado and Utah, neighboring states,” said Kai.

Those in attendance will include, School of Visual Art, and Cooper Union, both in New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the California College of Arts, to name only a few.

“Representatives from these colleges have looked at thousands and thousands of portfolios across the country,” said Kai, when speaking of the variety of institutions in attendance.

MCC’s own art department has benefited from the National Portfolio Day events, which as Kai describes, “really puts the spotlight on us nationally”. 

“They’ve never heard of MCC, [and] now they know, hey, Mesa Community College has a really good art program,” Kai added.

Saving students time and money is one of the goals of the event for University of Arizona School of Art associate director, Karen Zimmermann. 

“It’s a good way to sort of see what’s happening in the different schools across the country without having to actually, you know, fly and take the expense of getting to all these different places,” said Zimmermann.

U of A has been collaborating with MCC for National Portfolio Day since 2018, acting as the event’s sponsor. 

“We really appreciate the partnership [with MCC], it’s important that it’s accessible to as many people as possible, with Phoenix and the airport there, being sort of in the middle of the state makes it accessible to students from different parts [of the county].” said Zimmerman.

You can pre-register on the National Portfolio Day Association website. In person registration starts at 9 a.m., but attendees should expect lines.

Students presenting their portfolio should bring a maximum of individual 15 pieces of work, and expect to conclude presentations promptly at 2 p.m.

This story was edited on 10/19/2022 to correct an error made at the time of publication.


  • Rey Covarrubias Jr.

    Rey Covarrubias Jr. is a freelance reporter for the Mesa Legend. As a lifelong Arizonan, he has found his passion in learning and sharing the diverse cultural and natural wonders of the state.