by DeeGee Lester
Director of Education
The backgrounds of students in the upcoming exhibit at Nashville State Community College are as varied as their creative images and designs: the graduate in biochemistry now pursuing a passion for graphic design, a finalist in Photographer Forum’s 2016 Best of College and High School Photography Contest, a musician whose need for low-cost promotional materials led to the study of graphic design and his launching of Design City.
An exhibit of work by these and 21 other graduating Visual Communications students at NSCC will be displayed in the first-ever Portfolio Showcase on May 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the H-Building Gallery.
“Graphic Design has always had an event on a much smaller scale,” explains Beth Gorham, Assistant Professor of Photography. “This is the first time students from each of the four concentrations (photography, graphic design, web design, and multimedia design) have been brought together for a showcase event.”
In anticipation of the exhibition, it was essential that this event be student driven with a committee handling arrangements and detail, from invitation design to the use of Sketchup for 3-D modeling of the exhibition space.
Gorham explains that a Portfolio Showcase differs from a traditional exhibit. Display tables will feature the portfolios of photographers and graphic designers with each presenting a cohesive body of work. Presentations for multimedia and website design are enhanced by a Microsoft donation of tablets allowing media display at tables that encompass all elements of design, including animation, plus the projection onto the wall of a portfolio page.
The two-year program at NSCC combines general ed with an area of concentration and awards an Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communication to graduates of the program. “Our challenge is to get these students ready in two years, and we have to pack a lot into those two years,” says Gorham. While some will pursue additional degrees, others will immediately enter the job market, and many, particularly in visual communication, will opt for self-employment, either by starting their own business or by working for or freelance contracting with organizations. For these reasons, students learn about start-up and launching of a business while gaining creative and technical skills such as optimizing files, digital distribution, or discovering how images will look with different devices.
The Showcase will highlight the work of rising entrepreneurs such as Design City founder Matt Booker, who has already received three Addy awards by the American Advertising Federation. In addition, it provides exposure for new talent.
“The program does not force us to focus on one thing,” says Cory Guinn. “In photography, we may start off with interest in one particular area, but with exposure to lots of resources and types of photography, I shifted my interest into fashion photography. The Portfolio Showcase will let me show what I’m capable of creating.”
For additional information, go to www.nscc.edu/portfolio.