by Michaela Ranniello (2016)
The highest level art class Wethersfield High School offers is AP Art, taught by Andrea Haas. The class helps students prepare portfolios in order to apply to art schools.
The class gives students of various levels of experience about four hours total throughout the school week, plus the occasional open studio time after school, to work freely on their pieces.
Opposed to how the other art courses in the school work, AP lets students create multiple compositions at once and at their own pace.
Students who work their way up to taking AP art seem to really enjoy how the class works. Emma Walsh said “AP Art is more fun because you have more freedom. Plus everyone in AP art actually cares about art and isn’t just there to get their fine arts credit out of the way”.
Katie Flynn adds “I don’t like to work on the same thing for too long. I like that I can take a break and work on whatever I want other pieces. I can have multiple things going at once”.
Ms. Haas explains why the class is so unique by saying, “This is where the artists get to develop their own style. Students must also be able to talk about their work and be able to constructively discuss the work of others. I act more as a facilitator. The course is run more like a college studio class than a high school art class”.
The students appreciate the different environment and the feeling of taking a college level class. Agnes Ning says “You can inspire each other by walking around and looking at what everyone else is doing”. The students’ assignments are all leading up to a finished portfolio consisting upward of twenty pieces.
“There are three parts to the AP Portfolio, Quality, Concentration and Breadth", describes Ms. Haas. Students are graded on “personal vision, originality and technical skill”.
The final exam of the AP class includes a review of the show the students will put together in the school, after the portfolios are due on May first.