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AP Studio Art Paints New Academic Picture


Walking into her classroom, Cindy Bell never truly knows what to expect of her AP Art students.

Bell is a new face around this year. She is a new art teacher who has taken on the responsibility of teaching the students enrolled in AP Art.

“To be honest it is super overwhelming, but the three students I do have and I have just jumped into the fire and ran with it,” Bell said.

Within the grand scheme of AP Art classes available, there are three categories, 2D design, drawing, and 3D design. However, 3D studio design is currently the only one of these classes available to the students here.

“I’m hoping that next year or at least in the future, I’ll be able to teach more than one studio at the same time,” Bell said. “So I’ll have some kids doing all sculptures all year long and then some students doing all drawing  all year long.”

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For the 3D class the students are required to provide a portfolio at the end of the year and that serves as their AP test to determine if they get their credit for the class, Quality, which is dedicated to many different materials and themes, Concentration, which is a portion with a specific theme, and Breadth, described as a mixture of the other two sections.

“There are a million different themes,” Bell said. “I printed out tons and tons of pages and we’ve been talking since day one about what their theme will be because that is actually the most important part of the portfolio.”

Some of the students have a general idea of what their concentration theme might be, whereas others do not.

“I haven’t decided my theme yet, but I’m kind of leaning towards either fashion or anatomy,” AP Art student Aya Daniels said.

Daniels is currently taking both Art 4 and AP Art with Bell.

“I was really excited that our school finally offered an AP Art class…,” Daniels said.

Daniels is a senior this year and has always expressed an appreciation for the visual arts. She even attended a Governor’s school program this past summer, and has had many years of experience and knowledge that she hopes to expand in AP Art this year.

“I’ve been taking art ever since elementary school and I went to Radford University over the summer for a summer residency Governor’s school program for visual art,” Daniels said, “I have a lot of experience with oil painting and conte (clay and charcoal combined). I have some experience with wire art but 3D art as a whole isn’t my strong suit for sure.”

Just like Daniels, senior Millie McSwain also admits that she is more comfortable working with a 2D design rather than a 3D one.

“I usually do 2D but I wanted to try something new, and I just wanted to see how 3D is,” McSwain said.

For both Daniels and McSwain, art has been a long lived passion starting from their elementary years and beyond.

“I think I got interested in art in about the fifth grade,” McSwain said.

For these students, art is their passion and everyday and every project opens a new door of creativity to explore.

“… I just love art as a whole,” Daniels said, “I love things that are visually appealing and inviting and to create something that makes other people feel the same way it satisfies me in a way. It makes me proud…”

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