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News Reflections on Portfolio Day 2019

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For Katie Casbean, a 2016 college graduate now working for an art handling company in Secaucus, New Jersey, Portfolio Day 2019 at the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC) on October 16 was an affirmation.

After viewing portfolios studio art prepared by first-year students as part of their own applications to the program, listening to a presentation by second-year Fellow Emily Brzezinski about her summer 2019 internship at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City and touring the conservation labs in the research building, Katie seemed to have no doubts. She said she loved the space, she loved the program and was more committed than ever to her goal of becoming an art conservator.

Katie’s enthusiasm was shared by more than 40 other attendees who had braved a very rainy afternoon and evening to attend the event, including some who had come from as far away as Rhode Island and North Carolina. About half the attendees were current college students while the others, like Katie, had graduated and are working. While Katie has already applied once to the program and was there to gather ideas for improving her own studio portfolio, others were readying first-time applications and some were there to learn more about WUDPAC, which accepts 10 students each year into its three-year graduate program.

One thing they all could learn from the exhibited work was that portfolios can be as varied and individualized as the applicants themselves. While the program has specific portfolio requirements, items on display at Portfolio Night ranged from self-portraits, and beaded textiles to a representational copy of a pin made by Alexander Calder for Georgia O’Keefe. The first-year students who had prepared the portfolios for their own applications happily answered questions, shared their experiences and offered advice. The same was true of the second-year students who met with the attendees in the labs during tours of the research building.

While many Portfolio Night attendees had backgrounds and/or college majors in art and art history, Grace Wilkins, a college student in Rhode Island is a neuroscience major who has only recently begun considering a career as a conservator. She has been learning about art conservation, and said that attending Portfolio Day was helping her learn more about WUDPAC.

Most importantly however, she said she was primarily trying to determine if art conservation felt like the right choice for her. Like other attendees, the answer almost certainly seemed to be yes.

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A combination of project talks, tours, and discussions helped the crowd of prospective students explore their ideas about art conservation.

A combination of project talks, tours, and discussions helped the crowd of prospective students explore their ideas about art conservation.

11/4/2019
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  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu