AP Studio Art class challenges South students


Junior Claire Bentfield paints for her seventh hour class, AP Studio Art. This is the first year that South has offered AP Studio Art. The class, taught by Cynthia Berger, combines 3-D Art, 2-D Art and Drawing. Students will send in their portfolios of twenty-four works to be judged by the College Board in May.

Madeline Mahoney, Managing Editor

Many students find Advanced Placement classes a great way to showcase their talents. However, until this year there hasn’t been an option at South for students to demonstrate artistic skills through an AP class. For the first time, this year South is offering an AP Studio Art class. This class provides students with a place to create art at a more advanced level. As junior Claire Bentfield said, “I like it. You’re held to higher standards than you are in other painting classes. You govern what you do more in this class… it’s pretty great.”

However, AP Studio Art has actually been offered around the country for quite a while. AP Studio Art was first introduced in the 1979-80 school year, and its popularity has been growing ever since. According to “AP Studio-Art Classes Grow in Popularity” by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the number of students who submit their portfolio has increased from a few hundred in 1980 to tens of thousands today.

The College Board offers three different AP Art classes: 2-D Design, 3-D Design, and Drawing. At South these are all combined into one class. AP Studio Art teacher Cynthia Berger, explained, “There’s three classes taught in one… The recommendation by the College Board is that they’re two classes, but currently we have only one hour in which it’s offered. So we have to offer all three portfolios.”

Many students are grateful for the challenge South’s new art class is providing. “I’ve taken all of the drawing and painting classes here… every art class I’ve taken at this school has been too easy. But this class if definitely not too easy,” Bentfield said. This sentiment was echoed by other students. “I think it’s a lot more challenging than ceramics was,” said junior Sheyenne Atheneos. Atheneos also added that she enjoys 3-D art and the variety of mediums she can use in this class, “I like that it’s not just limited to ceramics.”

Berger also acknowledged that before now art classes at South mostly catered to beginner art students rather than the more advanced students. “People never really got any attention paid to them if they were in drawing two or three. Because the teacher would be working with beginners. That kind of was across the board, with drawing, with painting, with ceramics… We just started thinking ‘how can we serve kids that want to do more than just take a beginning class?’”

At this point, you may still be wondering what an AP test for an art class even looks like. Well, instead of a timed exam, students send in a portfolio and are judged on three components: breadth, quality, and concentration.

“There’s breadth, which is when you’re developing a portfolio that shows a wide range of approaches. So looking at exploring different medium, exploring different ideas, and showcasing your skill and capacity as well as your risk-taking ability. In that portfolio, they want to see growth… Then the second part is called concentration… that is looking for thematic development. From those twenty-four pieces [twelve concentration, twelve breadth] that they create they choose five that are the highest-quality. And those are sent off to Utah to be judged by the College Board.” Berger explained.

The new AP Studio Art Class is a welcomed addition at South. Atheneos said, “I think it’s sweet that it’s being offered at South… it’s definitely my favorite class.”