AP Art students visit Oregon and California coast lines

Every year, any students enrolled in an AP level art course have the unique opportunity to travel to Oregon and experiment with different forms of art along the coast. The annual trip was first created by a previous art teacher, Lauren Sleat, who discovered Oregon’s scenery and wanted to share it with the art students of Westminster.

The variety in landscapes offered on the west coast lets students explore new areas of art. This year, the four-day excursion from Oct. 21 to 25 consisted of drawing and capturing photos of sand dunes in Florence, as well as sculpting driftwood on a beach in Medford. The art teachers want to broaden students’ perspectives in how they perceive different mediums.

“The purpose of [the trip] is to help the students understand the difference between making studio work and making work out in the field,” said drawing and painting teacher Pamela Martinez. “It helps their imagination in a way that they’re working with natural materials and trying to apply creative skills in a natural environment, and it’s phenomenal.”

The art students think that they can use skills and artwork cultivated in Oregon can be applied outside of the classrooms of Broyles.

“It’s a way of expanding our horizons in working in different environments that weren’t just a studio setting, so we’re getting real world applications,” said senior Sam Linkon.

One particular project that brings Westminster back to Oregon each year is their work with driftwood. For this project, students gathered at a beach for six to eight hours to create sculptures out of driftwood.

“The main purpose of that project was to know our material,” said Carson.

The other projects on the trip each centered around a different branch of art, so a student could experiment with types of art previously unfamiliar to them.

“Usually, they have decided, ‘Okay, I’m a drawing person, I’m a photography person, I’m a sculpture person,’” said Martinez. “What’s cool about the trip is you end up doing all those things.”

Along with dabbling in different forms of art, another enjoyable part of the trip was the chance to bond with classmates.

“The location was really pretty and a cool place to be, but it’s also a nice break from school,” said Linkon. “It’s kind of like semi-camping, [and] you all bond together.”

Most of all, the students appreciated the opportunity to retreat from city life.

“The nature in Oregon is just so breathtaking,” said Carson. “It’s the type of nature you’d see in a calendar. It’s not like Atlanta, with all these concrete buildings.”

The trip also allowed students the opportunity to create pieces which they could potentially include in their portfolio for college applications.

“It’s mainly to connect our art with nature,” said junior Zoe Carson. “Oregon is beautiful… and we tried to make portfolio pieces, which are what we submit to college, and connect them to nature.”

But the trip’s true benefits come when they return, in the classroom and in their daily lives.

“When they come back into the studio, they have a new set of eyes around new materials and new ways of working in the studio space,” said Martinez.