Department of Art

Art Admissions

To become an Art student at Western Illinois University, you must first be academically admitted to the University. Admission to the Department of Art at Western Illinois University is open; therefore, a portfolio is not required. However, if you are interested in applying for scholarships, you will need to submit a portfolio. Advice about preparing a portfolio is offered below, and you can find more help on-line.

You are urged to submit a portfolio so that an assessment of strengths and weakness can be made prior to entering classes. Contact the Department of Art Office to learn of specific applicant dates, and scholarship deadline updates.

The Department of Art shares the Western Illinois University Core Values of Academic Excellence, Educational Opportunity, Personal Growth, and Social Responsibility. The Department also believes that intellectual and artistic development is built on a strong foundation of art, art history and design fundamentals, and that this foundation is necessary for art students to realize Excellence, Opportunity, Growth, and Responsibility.

Admission to the Department of Art at Western Illinois University is open; a portfolio is not required for admission. However, if you are interested in applying for scholarships, you will need to submit a portfolio. Advice about preparing a portfolio is offered below, and you can find more help on-line.

  1. Be academically admitted to the University: (Apply Now)

    Note: Applications may be filed at any point during the school year prior to entering; however, early applications are encouraged.
  2. Submit portfolio to the Department of Art for review:

    You are urged to submit a portfolio so that an assessment of strengths and weakness can be made prior to entering classes. Contact the Department of Art Office to learn of specific applicant dates, and scholarship deadline updates.


How to Prepare an Art Portfolio.

Here are a three links to help you.


What kind of work should you submit.

Observational work:

It is very important to show that you have the ability to work from observing the world around you. This kind of work is usually central to a good portfolio.

  • Include 3–5 examples of drawings completed from direct observation. This means working directly from real life and the world around you.
  • Observational work can be drawing, painting or collage done from looking at a still life, figure model/portrait, or landscape. The work should be produced as you see it in person and not reproduced from a photograph or from the artist's imagination (i.e. from magazines, comics, or animation.) Work must not be copied from other artists' work or directly from photographs.

Personal work:

  • Photograph several views of 3-dimensional/sculptural works.
  • Include work that you create, usually in a medium and style that demonstrate your strengths.


How many samples of my work should I submit.

  • Submit a selection of 10–15 examples of your most recent and best work.
  • Work can be in any media or dimension. Choose work from class assignments or work created independently.


Presentation

Presentation of your portfolio is very important. Demonstrate that you devote time and energy to your artwork by including images of finished, high quality pieces. You may not have access to a professional photographer; therefore, the simplest way to get decent general images of your work is to take pictures outside in indirect sunlight. Make your work as neat and professional looking as possible. When photographing your work, make sure to:

  • Frame your work carefully in a way to eliminate much of the background.
  • Shoot focused and clear images.
  • If you have a tripod, use it to stabilize your camera.
  • Show work that puts your strengths forward.
  • Include your most recent work.
  • Do not include torn or poorly cared for work.
  • Include a description sheet that includes your name, date, title, and dimensions of each work.

Finally, whenever possible we recommend that you have your portfolio evaluated by your art teacher, or school guidance counselor. In general, have someone review your portfolio for presentation quality.


Submitting Your Portfolio

If you are able to visit WIU bring your actual portfolio, or a CD version of your portfolio. We will gladly review your work. Do not wait until the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the best portfolio possible. The most important detail of preparing your portfolio for college admission is "remember to enjoy the process of presenting your best work as an artist."

REMEMBER: CD portfolios mailed to us can only be returned if you include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with appropriate postage.