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Visual Art Center (VAC)

Established in 1974, the MCPS Visual Art Center (VAC) is a nationally recognized portfolio preparation program located in Albert Einstein High School. The VAC is the honors level/AP, pre-college, art portfolio development countywide magnet. The VAC offers students a broad perspective of the visual arts and deepens their understanding of the opportunities for art-related careers through exposure to contemporary artists, artwork, and studio practice.  The VAC curriculum provides a series of art problems for students to solve with projects that stimulate the development of creativity and critical thinking. As students mature artistically, they are encouraged to investigate and develop their own personal voice and style. VAC graduates have pursued study in fine art and digital art fields, such as animation, arts administration, arts education, fashion design, film, graphic design, illustration, industrial design, interior design, product design, television, transportation design, environmental design, theater lighting, and set design. This rigorous and comprehensive program enables students to realize and achieve their full potential in visual art.   

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore drawing, painting, mixed mediums, applied graphic design and other traditional and digital media.
  • Lessons consist of demonstrations, visual presentations, studio activities, assigned research, group critiques, college application support and guidance, college rep presentations /portfolio reviews, artist and gallery visits.
  • In addition, VAC students have the opportunity to participate in national competitions such as: Young Arts, Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, NAACP- ACT-SO, Congressional HS Art Competition. Students also enter many other local art competitions and gallery shows. 
    • VAC students often win national, regional, and local awards, as well as scholarships to some of the country’s most prestigious schools.


Application (More about admissions)

Admission to the MCPS Visual Art Center (VAC) at Albert Einstein High School is by application only. First, students must apply using the High School Common Application on ParentVUE (current 8th grade student only, upper grade students should contact VAC team for upper grade application). Second, students must submit a portfolio and sit for a virtual drawing session. Criteria used to evaluate candidates include application from ParentVUE, review of a student’s portfolio, an artist statement, virtual drawing session, and student grades.


Countywide (More about regions)

The countywide program is open to applicants from all high school clusters in the county. Students may opt to take a combination of courses at their home high school and the VAC, or they may opt to transfer to Albert Einstein High School.


Consortia Neighborhood Stops (More about transportation)

Downcounty Consortium (DCC) resident students who have been assigned to Einstein through the choice process and have been accepted into the Visual Arts Center will be provided transportation from Consortia neighborhood stops. Students not assigned to Einstein HS are responsible for providing their own transportation

Related Information

  • Visual Art Center
  • For more information email: or or
  • Contact school for more information: 240-740-2700