Monday, April 6, 2009


Tracy O'Bannon, a recent graduate of The Art Institute of California - Inland Empire's Interior Design program, showed her portfolio at the recent Winter Graduate Portfolio Exhibit held at the Riverside Art Museum. Manny Otiko photo

(RIVERSIDE, Calif.) New graduates received some help entering the job market when The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire hosted its Winter Graduate Portfolio Exhibit recently at the Riverside Art Museum.

Cindy Jones, director of career services, said The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire hosts a Graduate Portfolio Exhibit each quarter. One of the main goals of the exhibit is to introduce students to industry experts who can offer critiques and feedback on their work.

“Apart from educating students for careers in the creative field, the school is also responsible for providing them with skills that will help them succeed in the workforce,” said Jana Rawling, academic director for Graphic Design.

“I want to make sure that all of our students are hirable, and have the ability to get and keep a job,” Rawling said. “It’s important that students know how to dress up and show up in a professional manner.”

Another important part of the exhibit is helping students develop important ties with key members of their industry. “Some industry members are looking for future employees, while others are trying to figure out where the industry is going,” Rawling said. “The best way they can learn that is by talking to students, who are the future of the industry.”

Rawling said the exhibit featured work from interior design, culinary arts and graphic design students. Rawling said students are required to produce a portfolio before they graduate.
Tracy O’Bannon, an interior design graduate, was one of the students who displayed her work at the exhibit. “Creating a portfolio is a great way to keep track of all the work you have done during your degree program,” O’Bannon said.

“You sum up everything you have learned at school. My portfolio contains all the work I have done over the last three years,” O’Bannon added. “You don’t know how much you have done until you sit down and compile everything.”

O’Bannon said she talked to several potential employers at the exhibit who gave her great feedback. “They were very impressed with my graphic design work,” she said. “Most of the feedback was positive.”

Cesar Bahena, an interior design graduate, said the Graduate Portfolio Exhibit allows students to rub shoulders with industry experts and learn about the job market. He said he met several industry professionals and explained his design concepts to them. “They gave me great feedback on my 3D design work, and they liked my concepts,” Bahena said.

Bahena said that interior design graduates can pursue employment with design firms, architecture firms or do freelance work. They are often employed to redesign restaurants, office buildings and homes, Bahena noted.

Bahena also added that the Graduate Portfolio Exhibit is a great way for students to showcase their work to the public and industry professionals. “It gives us an opportunity to show everyone what we are capable of,” Bahena said.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Game Art & Design, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media, Interior Design, Fashion & Retail Management, and Media Arts & Animation. It offers an Associate of Science degree in Graphic Design, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design.

The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers an Associate of Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Management. Each program is offered on a year-round basis, allowing students to work uninterrupted toward their degrees.

It’s not too late to start a new term at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. Courses begin May 14 and classes are offered in the day, evening and on weekends for new and reentry students.

For more information or a tour, call (909) 915-2100.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire is one of The Art Institutes (, a system of over 40 educational institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.