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The Westminster Bi-Line

A year’s worth of work: Westminster’s AP Art exhibition


As of April 17, 2024, Broyles is now home to the newest addition to the artistic experience that Westminster has to offer: the AP Art exhibit. Over the course of all AP Art classes, students will spend the entire year working towards creating a final project, which is composed of two parts: a sustained investigation and a portfolio. The sustained investigation component is worth 60% of their AP grade and is made up of an art-related question, 15 digital images displaying how the artist explored this question and revised their work, and written responses to prompts surrounding the question. The portfolio portion of the AP grade is composed of five works of art all centered around the sustained investigation question and is worth the remaining 40% of the exam grade. many AP Art courses are offered at Westminster, including 3D Design, Drawing & Painting, and 2D Design Digital Imaging, all of which are included in the display.

One of the most unique elements of the AP Art curriculum is the sustained investigation component. Cici Jia, a current senior and student in the AP 3D art course, chose to incorporate culture into her sustained investigation. 

“I moved here from China a couple of years ago, and I am incorporating Chinese traditional elements into household objects to explore my familiarity with it,” said Jia. “For example, I have a piece that is a lantern made from fabric collages with traditional patterns.”

The AP Art Exhibit serves as not only a gateway through which the accomplishments of the students can be lauded, but also a means by which students can express their culture, just as Jia did in her works. Although the end result of these portfolios commonly leave visitors stunned by the amount of creativity shown, the journey does not come without its own obstacles. 

“One of the biggest challenges for me was coming up with ideas,” Jia said. “I think having a sustained investigation is very helpful in that it gives you a direction, but sometimes it can also be very limiting.” 

As a result of this limitation, Jia says that she switched her sustained investigation topic, shifting from her initial focus of folklore towards a broader category of traditional elements. Jia also finds the time limit stressful, as the brainstorming, curation of images, and the creation of the works themselves pose a large task for those willing to undertake it. 

Even outside of those involved in the arts, this exhibit has a very widespread effect on the Westminster community. 

“I found the exhibit really interesting and inspiring just due to the creativity and attention to detail that is extremely obvious in the pieces that are on display,” said sophomore Max Rodbell.

 Although Rodbell is not a current student in any AP Art course, he still maintained that the art exhibit was an eye-opening experience, especially for someone not involved in the arts. 

“These works really give you a new appreciation and enthusiasm for the arts that I think is absent from the Westminster community,” said Rodbell. “It is definitely one of the nicest art experiences I have ever seen on campus, and it has really changed my perspective on the arts in general.”

Other students share this sentiment, such as sophomore Chris Qin, an aspiring AP Art Student who is currently involved in the Graphic Design course. 

“It really confirmed my interest in the art field and gave me more motivation to hone in my skills,” said Qin. “Just knowing that some of my works could be hanging on display for others to see is a very motivating sentiment for me and I am sure it has had the same effect on my peers as well”.

In addition to the exhibition, there is also an art reception, in which students can receive critiques from instructors and have a chance to showcase their artwork before the Broyles exhibit opens. Parents and faculty additionally attend, allowing the artists to talk about their art and teachers, and also receive meaningful insight on the pieces. 

Altogether, the AP Art Exhibition is a testament to the culture richness and creativity of Westminster students. Through exploring their sustained investigation questions, students like Jia have used their artistic talents to create works that communicate their core values with the wider community. The impact of these works can be seen from the words of inspired students, who believe that the exhibition has changed their perception of art, a field they consider to be oftentimes underrepresented. 

Edited by Alexandra Yuan

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