Advanced Art Prepares Students for Their Future



Senior Brooke Washington shows her art piece “Jelly.” Washington wanted to challenge herself in AP Studio Art Portfolio this year. Photo Credit / Audra Penny

As the days pass and get closer and closer to the deadline, AP Studio Art Portfolio students feel the stress of finishing their artworks. They start at the beginning of the year on their portfolios that they will submit in May. The artwork they submit will determine if they receive college credit for the class or not. They feel the uncertainty when they send their art into the college board. Will the judges like their work? Will the judges understand their work? Will they receive college credit for their work?
Instead of taking an exam, AP Studio Art Portfolio students work throughout the year on their portfolio.
“It’s a concentration. You have to have twelve pieces for 2D [art] and eight pieces for 3D [art] and it’s due at the end of the year,” said AP Studio Art Portfolio student and senior Brooke Washington.
AP Studio Art Portfolio students start the year with experimenting. They experiment with different styles to figure out what their focus is going to be for their portfolio that will be scored. Most students need all year from September to the first week of May to put their portfolio together. Although AP Studio Art Portfolio students do not work on their portfolios everyday.
“We don’t work on them every single day. That gets boring. I usually take breaks and work on something else different, so I can come back to it and have that break,” said Washington.
AP Studio Art Portfolio is different from AP classes such as AP Calculus or AP Language and Composition because there is no test, so students have to prove what they can do through their artwork in portfolios.
Art Portfolios are scored on their use of design elements, originality, imagination, risk-taking, technical competence and the overall accomplishment.
“It’s not a curriculum, there is no book,” Washington continued, “I think it’s the hardest AP class because there’s no right answer. It’s based on a panel of judges, not a book or test.”
Art students can earn a fine arts college credit by getting a three or higher on their portfolio.
Schools that require a three on the AP Studio Art Portfolio in Michigan are Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Olivet College, Michigan Technological University, Central Michigan University, Ferris State University, Eastern Michigan University and many more. Schools that require a four on the AP Studio Art Portfolio in Michigan are MIchigan State University, Kalamazoo College, Oakland University, Albion College and many more.
“They have the opportunity to have their artwork reviewed at Portfolio Days where colleges from all over review their work,” said AP Studio Art Portfolio teacher Cindy VanLieu.
AP Studio Art Portfolio students also connect with Loy Norrix alumni who have gone to art school or have pursued a career in art. The alumni come into the class or even connect through VanLieu as well. The students have a support system with the alumni who have found success in art.
While also getting advice from people who are successful in the world of art, AP  Studio Art Portfolio students also learn about careers they can pursue after graduating.
“They learn about jobs in design careers with field trips and guest speakers,” said VanLieu
AP Studio Art Portfolio can open many doors for artists who want to move on to a future career in art.
“I’ve sold my art, had it in shows and had a lot of opportunities that I wouldn’t have in art,” said Washington.
The students have the opportunity to earn large scholarships to art schools.
“They get recruited just like athletes because they [AP Studio Art Portfolio students] get scholarships on top of the Promise,” said VanLieu.
College recruiters even come right into Loy Norrix looking for talented art students to come to their college.
“The college recruiters come to the room at Loy Norrix because it is very diverse and they’re looking for diversity,” said VanLieu.
AP Studio Art Portfolio is only exclusive to Loy Norrix High School, as the class is not offered at Kalamazoo Central or Phoenix High School.
“Not a lot of schools have the AP Art program, so it gets you a head start,” said Washington.
Some of VanLieu’s previous students have went on to succeed in the art world.
“About 75 percent have gone on for a career in arts and have gone on for a masters in fine arts. Many also work internationally,” said VanLieu.
AP Studio Art Portfolio is a rewarding class because it not only teaches students about different careers in art, but it also helps artists develop their artwork as well. AP Studio Art Portfolio is very beneficial for students who want to succeed in the world of art.