Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Aspiring Artists

Posted 10/18/2018 by Michela Puni-Nimako

AP Studio Art gives students a space to grow in their artistic abilities. photo by Baxter Stein

Creative students participate and express themselves in AP Studio Art.

Thomas Jefferson’s Advanced Placement Studio Art class is a mixture of complex conceptual art principles and self-reflective, independent assignments. Taught by Leonard Fox for the last four years, the class focuses on students’ artistic abilities and enhancing their skills.

The current AP Studio Art students have been preparing for their final test for the past year and a half after completing the first three levels of drawing classes at TJ. The AP Exam is in the form of a portfolio that students compose in class and then present at a national judging session. The portfolio consists of 24 college-level art pieces that have to meet specific criteria stated in the AP scoring rubric. The portfolio is broken off into three categories: breadth, concentration, and quality. For breadth, students demonstrate their mastery of the art elements and principles of design through their use of different mediums such as painting and drawing. In the concentration category, a theme is developed and displayed across 12 pieces. Students need to show how they developed their concept in a visual format. For the quality category, students take five physical pieces on the test date while the rest of the pieces are sent in a digital portfolio.

In this college-level class, students are pushed to produce and showcase their best creations. Aside from the ongoing composition of their final portfolio, students are required to turn in two drawings every two weeks. “This class helps me improve my time management skills,” explained senior Amanda Nesbit.

Students are also given more freedom to create what they want when they enter AP Studio Art. The self portrait project is assigned in each drawing level, but in AP Studio Art, students receive the opportunity to do more of an interpretive self portrait. They’re able to illustrate themselves however they would like, whether it be emotional, realistic, or abstract. “AP studio art is great because we have so much freedom to make whatever we want. Basically, if Fox has the supplies, then anything is fair game. This helps us explore new mediums and content to really grow our skills, ” described senior Eden Turnbow.

AP Studio Art took off at TJ four years ago. “[This class] started because I had a student who had all AP classes except art and she told me I was bringing her grade point average down,” voiced Fox. Fox then took it upon himself to attend all the necessary training sessions in order to become AP Studio Art certified and teach the class. Fox is also a strong advocate for college-ready courses and wanted to do his part to prepare his students with the necessary experience for college-level production.

AP Studio Art has been a creative outlet for the student artists here at TJ. The class is a welcoming environment full of students who share a communal love of art and are able to freely express themselves by utilizing their artistic skills to create masterpieces. “AP Studio Art has benefited me in that I have learned how to balance my time making art and completing school work. It has also taught me to be more accountable and on top of my work,” vocalized senior Ally Popovich. Thanks to Fox’s dedication to the arts, Spartans can take an art class while also preparing for college-level work.