AP Art Show provides annual showcase for students’ work

Once a year, the AP Art Show fills Broyles with students’ art from their years in high school. Its purpose is primarily to showcase the senior class’s art, but, there are a few juniors who get to be a part of the show.

Students taking AP art typically take Portfolio as a prerequisite. They work throughout the year on pieces called concentration pieces, which is art focused on a central theme that one could choose to submit to the AP Art Show at the end of the year or for the AP exam portfolio.

“The pieces in the show come from all art courses, such as drawing and painting, sculpting, and graphic design,” said senior Hannah Namnoum. “There’s a really wide variety so people can see art from the whole spectrum.”

The students begin the preparation for the show at the beginning of the school year. The portfolio they submit for the AP consists of 24 pieces, and 12 of those are made in 18 weeks. When second semester begins, the class primarily focuses on making about 10 pieces for the show.

“Mr. Steele and I are the teachers for the class,” said AP Art teacher Pamela Martinez. “We ease into the whole process by giving them time to think of a specific focus. They all have their individual ideas, as it depends on their interests and strengths. Each one is extremely unique.”

Some students’ concentration topics included working with one specific color, while some topics were based on students’ identities and experiences at Westminster. Senior Drew Borders centered her work on the theme of microagressions.

“I had a clear message I wanted to get through and I felt like the particular pieces I chose expressed it well,” said Borders. “I ended up choosing microagressions directed towards black women. It was something that I knew I could do honestly because I had done the research [on] the experiences of some of the black students at Westminster.”

One of the basic requirements was for students to have 12 pieces already completed after returning from summer vacation. Concentrations tended to change during second semester, when students begin working on them full-time during class.

Throughout the year, the art teachers were very involved in the process. They were there to guide the students and provide them with ideas and inspiration when stuck, as well as help choose which pieces to submit.

“From the beginning, Mr. Steele and Ms. Martinez have really helped us solidify our concentrations and help us when we’re out of ideas,” said Namnoum. “The assignments are sometimes really tricky, so it’s nice to have them around.”

Students’ ideas for the show were fueled by the pieces that had to be created for the AP exam portfolio.

“Each student’s project is really based on their own skill and abilities,” said Martinez. “Since everyone thinks so differently, it’s so interesting to see what exactly is going on in their minds and how they plan on tackling the project. There are certainly some bumps along the way, but everyone has a fantastic finished product, which is definitely worth seeing.”

The students had to scrutinize the details in each piece. Since some included work from previous years, they had to alter their theme and current pieces to fit whatever vision they had in mind.

“For the most part, I would say I am satisfied with how my pieces turned out,” said Borders. “I think if I had a do-over, it would have been interesting to ask some of the teachers about their experiences with microagressions as well. I think it would have also been a good idea to ask some of the white students at Westminster about their take on microagressions and whether they had any sort of experience with them. I think that would have really put things in perspective for me.”

Namnoum’s ideas contrasted to Borders’s. She took particular interest in the theme of controlling the uncontrollable.

“I focused on medication and how it is mainly used to control mental disorders, which are seemingly uncontrollable,” said Namnoum. “I worked with uncontrollable materials for my pieces, such as hot glue and medical supplies.”

The show is a collection that represents the art students’ passions and hardest efforts over the course of the year.

“A lot of sweat, blood, and tears went into creating each concentration,” said Borders. “Honestly, I just love walking through the show because each piece is so refreshingly original.”