The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

AP Studio Art nurtures OPRF artists

A mural in OPRF’s art wing. (Alex Robinson Bellin)

As one walks north on the third floor, the hallways transform from the average beige to a display of beautiful artwork. Many of these pieces originate from the AP Studio Art course, offered at Oak Park and River Forest High School for artists to hone their skills both inside and outside of the school day. 

It has certainly been an eventful year for studio art students, as they recently completed a trip to New York City along with students from AP Art History. Students left at 4 a.m. on Thursday, March 9 and returned late Sunday night on March 12. Within these four days, students had the opportunity to visit iconic New York City landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge and museums including The Brooklyn Museum, The Museum of Metropolitan Art (The Met) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). 

By doing this, students “broad(ened) their exposure to art, not only just by seeing the real works of art in person, but…doing some research beforehand to see how it might relate to their own artwork,” said Tracy Van Duinen, the AP Studio Art teacher at OPRF. 

Students who opted into the trip certainly felt that it was very helpful for them artistically. “Who wouldn’t want to go explore the best art museums in America with your fellow artist peers?” said senior Vyolette White, one of the students who traveled to New York.

AP Studio Art offers not only exciting extracurricular activities for its students, but it helps to nurture artistic talent within school as well. Being an AP course, it is “pretty…rigorous,” said Van Duinen. “The kids have to be making work that’s college level. This is one of the highest level classes in the school.” 

In AP Studio Art, students spend the first portion of the year until November readying their portfolios to show colleges. They are required to produce a college level work every two weeks in order to submit an AP portfolio by May. 

This portfolio consists of 15 works following a specific theme, or “sustained investigation question,” chosen by the artist. “For the AP portfolio specifically you submit up to 15 pieces of your sustained investigation question, and then you submit five pieces not connected to the overall question that you consider your best work,” said Junior Indigo Field. “On March 10, we submit our entire portfolio along with a description of our artwork and the question we’re following, and when we get our grade back in June we get a segment grading our artwork and a score on a scale of one to five.” 

AP Studio Art students also recently got a chance to showcase this art, as each student from the class was given a space along the second floor hallways to hang their works. “That space allows you to select like five or six pieces that we want to show, and those could be things that we did during the class or works we’re proud of that we want to showcase,” said junior Luke Fougere. 

“Having our work displayed in the hallways is rewarding because it feels like a token of completion, and it gives you an opportunity to share your work with more than just your teacher,” White added. 

With many students working in different media, this display allowed students across all scopes of talent to be recognized for their work in the class.  

It’s just one of the ways AP Studio Art seeks to develop students’ talent.

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