Portfolio Class, School of Visual Arts

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“WHY SPEND THAT last year on getting a portfolio together for a job, when you could spend that year getting you ready for 10 years from now?” asks Paul Sahre. At the School of Visual Arts, every senior takes a required portfolio class, and Sahre’s class is highly coveted.

Selected students—usually 10 or fewer—work throughout the year exploring a topic of their choice. “Paul had a knack for motivating us to do work,” says alumnus Kenton Powell, adding, “He believed that if we did enough work, patterns of unique content would reappear and this would be the interesting work that we should pursue.”

Sahre avoids assigning hypothetical assignments for real-world clients, instead asking students, in one assignment, to create and perform a theater piece (in front of an audience!) that explores their portfolio’s theme. When students struggle, Sahre is there to help steer them back: “It’s a good thing if you’re lost. It’s something I tell my students and I try to remind myself.”

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