A Future in Art

Ms. Poirier’s Students Learn about College Options


Emily Christian

Ms. Michelle Poirier holds some of the course catalogs from colleges she invites to her art classroom at Abington High School. Recently several art colleges came to speak to her students about a career in art.

Applying for college can be a tough endeavor. It can be difficult to find the best fit, and the right school might not have a clear path to it. To help students at Abington High School find that path, for a couple of years art teacher Mrs. Michelle Poirier, who holds an — degree from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), has invited a few art schools to the high school.

Throughout the year in Drawing and Painting, Digital Art and Photography, and Sculpture classes, representatives from the art colleges talked one-on-one with the students. The talks were a whole class period and showed students how to take an artistic route in their future.

Although Abington students are offered a college fair each year, this one is more specialized. Poirier said, “I bring in art colleges to talk with students because I don’t think they are well represented at the college fairs in the area.” She added that students should know “they are an option when considering their plans for the future.”

Pullquote Photo

I always advise students to pursue what makes them happy, what makes them excited.

— Mrs. Michelle Poirier

Haley Cooper, a senior at Abington High School, said that the presentations Poirier arranged helped “figure out where I want to go. And it gives me ideas of where I should apply for college.”

Poirier invites a specific range of colleges to the school. She said she looks for ones that are “affordable, some close by, some a little more at a distance.” She added that she likes to, “bring in schools that a lot of students could get in to, and not schools that would be a reach for everybody.”

So far, the colleges that visited Abington High School were Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Montserrat College of Art, and Maine College of Art (MECA). Poirier says that those colleges “are my favorites and offer a wide range of options for students.”

Students that are not as interested in the arts were still influenced by Poirier’s college invites. Sophia Villano, a senior at Abington High School who attended the presentations said, “They introduce me to new majors and careers that I didn’t know I could even do.”

Even though Villano is not as interested in arts as other students in the class, she still found the presentations educational, insightful, and eye-opening. “It made me think wow, I can actually study this! SCAD let me realize that I didn’t need to have a portfolio to start studying something and to work in that field,” she said.

Villano also stated that SCAD is on her list now for college applications, thanks to Mrs. Poirier’s presentations. Fellow senior Trinity O’Connor agreed. “If Mrs. Poirier never brought SCAD to Abington, then I would have never heard about the school,” she said.

O’Connor added that the visits by art schools were helpful. “It gave me an idea what the school was about,” she said. “I was intrigued by the network connections the schools offered, and the schools focused on a career after college.”

About the presentations, Mrs. Poirier wants students to know what an art school can provide. She said, “it’s helpful [for students] to hear that these schools offer internships, international travel, and job placement.”

Poirier is a strong believer that students should not be afraid to pursue what make them happy. “I always advise students to pursue what makes them happy, what makes them excited. If art is your favorite class of the day, wouldn’t it be nice if you could do it the rest of your life?, she said.

She advised students who love art against putting it second in their future plans. “Saving something as a backup plan will always be just that. There are jobs to be found in the art world, sometimes you just have to be willing to go get them.”