The Department of Art requires each studio and art education student to complete an individual review, the Sophomore Major Advancement Interview (SMAI), early in their program. Advancement to an art degree program is based in part on this review. This review is to provide the serious art student with an opportunity to present a portfolio of work for discussion and comment by members of the art faculty, and to explain and assist the student in developing goals and objectives which center on an education in the visual arts. The interview enables you to demonstrate ability to address the fundamental concerns of the visual arts at the university level. In addition, you will have an opportunity to discuss your work and explain your educational and career objectives.
A faculty committee will make one of the following decisions regarding your review:
(1) to admit you to one of the degree programs in art;
(2) to admit you to the degree program on a provisional basis pending satisfactory completion of the sections noted for improvement at the department’s Interim SMAI in the spring and/or of courses specified by art faculty to strengthen areas of deficiency noted in the portfolio; or
(3) to deny advancement toward a degree in art at UCA.
A student who is not initially admitted may reapply.
Applicants are best prepared for the interview if they have completed all foundation courses, including one art history (15 hrs.) prior to enrollment in Portfolio I the semester in which the interview is being conducted. A minimum of 12 hours of art are required to participate. The schedule for the interview will be announced in Portfolio I. You will be able to sign up for a time that best fits your schedule. You should be on time and should be prepared to discuss your educational objectives. Incomplete portfolios, or portfolios of students not available for an interview, will not be considered.
Works presented for evaluation may have been produced in any college or university art class or on your own time. Work completed in high school is not eligible.The materials that you are asked to present will be evaluated in terms of quality, breadth, and articulation in both spoken and written format. All three sections are important in the review process, but you are not necessarily expected to perform equally well in all of them. You are required to submit entries for each section. It is important that you read the description of each section carefully and submit works or slides/digital images of works that are good representations of what you have accomplished.
Work submitted may be of any size. Matting is optional for two-dimensional pieces. It is understood that students may have larger works of exceptional quality which may be difficult to present; these can be submitted in slide or digital form. When including slides or digital images as part of the interview, more than one view of 3-D work is required. Works smaller than 8” x 10” should be mounted on larger sheets. Materials that may become easily smeared should be protected. The works may be titled, although titles are not required. The works need not be framed.
During the interview, a panel of at least three art faculty members will review your work, listen to your presentation, and ask questions about your work. The interview lasts approximately 45 minutes. You will receive the recommendation of the faculty panel and their typed comments the week after the interview.
Section A: Quality
Quality refers to the total work of art – the concept, the composition, and the realization of the artist’s intentions. For this section of the portfolio, select four (4) examples of your work which you think are of good quality and which reflect your intentions, both in concept and execution. Quality is more readily seen in original works than in reproductions. Therefore, the four examples should be original works in one or more media. These may be two- or three-dimensional pieces. You may present four individual and separate works or four works in a related series.
Section B: Breadth
In this section of the portfolio you are given the opportunity to show a broad range of problems, ideas, media, and approaches. The faculty will be interested in your intellectual and perceptual experiences. The examples to be submitted under the breadth section may be in any media but should, except for the drawing portion, include at least one example in each of the seven categories of technique, color, composition/design, perspective, content, 3-D, and presentation as described below. A minimum of 11 works are required for this section, six of which need to be drawings and two of which need to be three-dimensional.
-Drawing. At least four completed works, two of which must be figure drawings, which demonstrate quality of expressiveness, formalistic development, and technical skill. As a group, the four drawings should demonstrate a range of expression as well as a creative use of materials. You are not restricted as to size of original, subject, material, or interest.
-Technique. Work that demonstrates a sensitive and personal use of specific material and techniques, exhibiting understanding and control of the technical components or characteristics of the medium or media selected.
-Color. Work which demonstrates an understanding of the application of color as a design element.
-Composition/Design. Work that demonstrates an understanding and application of formal design components (elements and principles) to achieve a desired artistic result.
-Perspective. Work emphasizing one or more approaches to creating the illusion of space in two-dimensional format.
-Content. Work that demonstrates the ability to express a specific idea, feeling, value, and/or meaning. This may be a response to a specific subject or set of circumstances such as an interpretation of nature, an observed social situation, or a personal experience. Content may be expressed through such means as the use of visual language, narrative, and/or the manipulation of material.
-Three-Dimensional. Work that demonstrates the understanding and ability to create a 3-D work(s) that activates the space it occupies, using the formal elements specific to 3- D; it may be in any media.
-Presentation. Work that demonstrates the ability to create or select a presentation or system-of-delivery that is appropriate to artwork(s) both in content and aesthetics. Typical applications may include matting and framing, basing of three-dimensional objects, hanging of wall pieces, and other similar methods of finishing.
Section C: Articulation
Applicants are expected to demonstrate an ability to analyze their artwork. For this section of the portfolio, you will select one of the works from the quality section and write a detailed formal and content analysis that includes a comparison with a historical work. This analysis should be 250-300 words in length, typewritten, and double-spaced. You should make four copies of the analysis, attach them to the SMAI application form, and turn them in on the date specified by your Portfolio I instructor.
The following specifications are to be observed in preparing materials for the portfolio:
1. All original works should be clearly labeled as to which section of the evaluation they are intended. The same information should be entered on the inventory sheet and any other materials for the interview should be prepared in four copies and presented to the reviewing committee prior to the beginning of the review.
2. Careful attention should be given to the required number of materials to be submitted for each section of the evaluation where such requirements are spelled out.
3. It is important that portfolios be arranged in the assigned review space for convenient viewing by the committee. Organization of and preparation for your presentation is often a factor in receiving the best possible assistance from the committee.
4. Students should be advised when photographing works of art to use a neutral or non-distracting background. Mask the art work rather than the slide, and avoid any surfaces that will produce a glare in the slide or digital image. Good quality photography of the work submitted is encouraged. If texture is important to a particular work, a detail slide should also be included. In the case of three-dimensional pieces, more than one view is expected.
Nature of the Interview.
The intent of the Sophomore Major Advancement Interview is to provide professional guidance to interested students who are considering a degree in art. The interview is not designed to prevent you from continuing your study at UCA. The interview is a component of Art 2140 Portfolio I. Each student participant will have an opportunity to present selected works to a faculty committee for critique and discussion. Your faculty advisor will be available to assist you in preparing for the interview.
The Faculty Committee.
The faculty committee will be composed of at least three members of the art faculty but may include more than three.
Who Should Participate.
The review is specifically designed for art majors or potential majors who have completed at least 12 hours of art. Students who are classified as follows are expected to participate: (1) students who have completed a minimum of 12 hours or art; (2) students transferring to UCA with 12 or more hours of art; (3) art education students seeking UCA certification in art who have completed 12 hours of art.
Presentation of Work.
Here are some basic things to consider in preparing your portfolio for presentation. More detailed guidelines are provided in the SMAI GUIDELINES.
1. Bring representative examples of work completed, usually work done in your lower division (1000-and 2000-level) courses. A minimum of 15 works are required.
2. You may bring color slides or digital images of some, but not all, of your work. Projection equipment will be furnished when requested in advance.
3. Be selective. Bring examples which exhibit your expertise in a variety of media and with varied subject matter. Bring examples which represent the best of your work.
4. Present your work effectively. Matting and framing are not required for the interview, unless it is aesthetically appropriate for the presentation portion in the breadth section.
You will receive a written report from the committee summarizing your interview results the week after the interview.
To download the pdf of the above guidelines and application forms, click on: SMAI Guidlines