Inside Gnomon's First Ever Virtual Open House

Posted October 6th, 2020 by Miranda Herrington — Category: Alumni — 0 Comments

Everything you need to know about becoming a Gnomon student.

Gnomon’s Open House offers prospective students, parents, and others a unique opportunity to explore the campus and learn everything they need to know about becoming a Gnomon student. With classes being held 100% online for 2020, we decided to take our Open House virtual, allowing people from across the world to join us from the comfort of their home.

Gnomon representative Adam Hartel kicked off the Sunday event with a deep dive into what makes the school unique, detailing the pedigree of our industry instructors, our relationships with leading studios, and our long-standing job placement rate.

Adam went on to discuss Gnomon’s principle academic offerings beginning with Gnomon’s Foundation in Art & Design, which is a preparatory course of study aimed at helping beginners develop the skills to build an art portfolio. Gnomon’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program is geared toward degree-seeking students looking to develop a 3D generalist skill set within the digital production pipeline. Gnomon’s 2-year Certificate program is intended for students who may already have an art foundation or degree and are seeking a program similar to the level and pace of a master’s degree. Both the BFA and Certificate programs are designed to prepare students for careers in visual effects, animation, and game production directly upon graduation.

Following Adam, Gnomon Director of Admissions Hannah Webb discussed the Admissions process and portfolio requirements. Hannah ( began by mentioning that Gnomon has four terms of entry per year and recommended that students begin their application process early, providing plenty of time to put together a strong portfolio. “Your portfolio is a window into your creativity and what you like to make”, Hannah said. “Something that sets us apart is that our admissions advisors take on more of a mentoring role than anything else. It’s really important that the students we work with feel that we have an understanding of them – not just as a number or as an applicant, but really as an individual artist with a voice.”

Closing out her presentation, Hannah reminded viewers that Gnomon advisors are available to answer questions and mentor applicants through the entire application process. If you're interested in speaking with an advisor, you can make an appointment here.

Echoing Hannah's advice to students about reaching out early, Director of Financial Aid Chris Freeman reminded people that it's never too soon to see what kind of financial assistance is available to you. Even prior to applying to Gnomon, you can work with Chris ( to fill out a FAFSA form with no commitment to enroll. In case you’re wondering, FAFSA stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” Feel free to reach out to our Financial Aid office for questions.

Closing out our virtual open house, we heard from three Gnomon alumni, who are now successful industry artists: hard surface model supervisor Jay Machado, 3D character artist Tyler Bolyard, and lead character artist Alexandria Federico. The panel discussed their experiencing working for a variety of big and small studios including Industrial Light & Magic, DreamWorks, Disney Animation, Nickelodeon, Gentle Giant, and Iridium Studios.

Each of them agreed that having industry professionals as instructors was crucial to entering their first jobs with the confidence and skill set needed to excel. As Jay noted, simply being inside a Gnomon classroom can be a potential stepping-stone to building industry connections.

“Taking a class at Gnomon is almost like a job interview because you’re working with a professional. If they like your work and they like how you work, they’re gonna remember you and they’re going to call on you if they need people to work with them,” Jay said. “When we’re hiring at Industrial Light & Magic, the first place I look is Gnomon.

Tyler and Alexandria also talked about the impact fellow students had on their time at Gnomon.

“Being around other students who are just as motivated and hungry to work in the industry as much as you are really pushes you to the next level,” Tyler said.

“My whole life I’d gone with being around people who just didn’t understand me,” Alexandria added. “Now I’m finally in this giant circle of art nerds. I can go on and on about really specific art related things and they won’t get bored, and we can bounce ideas off each other.”

Building on that, Alexandria, who graduated virtually this year, said that despite these challenging times she is thriving because Gnomon made her "apocalypse proof."

One powerful piece of advice the panelists agreed upon was Tyler’s push to “give it your all.”

“Take it all as seriously as you can. You have to put everything you can into it to get the best result out,” Jay said. Even in the classes you’re not super interested in, give it 100% and you’ll thank yourself later.

“All the fantastic student work being plastered [on campus]...[it’s] telling you ‘hey this person started from nothing and now they can do this. And you can do this too if you stick around and tough it out,’” Alexandria said.

If you’re interested in watching the Virtual Open House livestream, you can view it here.

About Gnomon

Founded in 1997, Gnomon has trained thousands of students and professionals for careers in the entertainment industry.Find out more