/ Art and Art History Department

Distinguished Artist Award

The Distinguished Artist Award (DAA) is granted to incoming first year students.

It provides eligible students with $3,000 each year towards their college costs and is renewable for up to four years.

The DAA is awarded to students with strong academic records and outstanding creative abilities in art, dance, music, theater and creative writing.

The deadline for receiving portfolios is February 1.


To apply for a DAA in Art, submit:

When we receive your portfolio, you will receive an automated email response. If you do not receive an email, we have not received your portfolio. Please contact Kristin Underhill via email or at 616.395.7500.

Decisions will be announced by the Admissions office and the Department of Art & Art History mid-March.

Portfolio information

A portfolio submission is required in order to be considered for a DAA scholarship. Submit 15 individual digital images (jpeg) via the application. Size each file between 100 kb and 1 mb.

You can schedule an appointment with a studio professor to discuss your portfolio by contacting the Department of Art & Art History via email or at 616.395.7500, or the Admissions office via email or at 800.968.7850 or 616.395.7850.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio of art work should be a collection of your best and most recent work. It is a crucial part of your application. The portfolio helps the school evaluate your achievements and potential, and represents your view of yourself and your work.

Many different portfolios are necessary during your career as an artist, including for:

  • Graduate school
  • Exhibits
  • Galleries
  • Buyers
  • Employers

The preparation of each portfolio varies according to its purpose. The admissions portfolio required for application to most professional fine art and design schools should include 10–20 pieces in a variety of media. Fewer pieces may not allow an accurate assessment of your potential. The college will be interested in your drawing ability and use of color in two-dimensional and three-dimensional work.

We can give you suggestions and technical assistance, but there is no exact formula for preparing the “right” portfolio. Art teachers can help you with the selection and photography of your work, but you should make the final decisions on what best represents you.

Photographing your artwork

Learn how to photograph artwork for your digital portfolio 

Renewal Criteria

If you receive a DAA award, it will be renewed every year if you maintain a minimum 2.6 GPA and take one art class each semester. You must also participate in an annual DAA review and maintain a competitive portfolio. We encourage you to submit work into a juried show on or off campus each fall.

DAA students are expected to demonstrate steady, continuous progress each year, via public exhibitions of their work for those in studio art and written evidence for those in art history.

We require DAA recipients to complete at least 22 credit hours in art (the requirements for an art minor), though we encourage recipients to take as many courses as possible beyond this minimum, particularly upper level course offerings.