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AP Art Show at CHHS

AP Art Show at CHHS

CHHS Celebrates AP Art Students’ Completed Portfolios

Renowned artist Georgia O’Keeffe said “To create one’s own world takes courage.” On April 5th, courage was on full display at Croton-Harmon High School’s annual AP Art Show where 12 students enrolled in AP Art had the opportunity to showcase their work for the community and their peers. The art pieces displayed this year were particularly captivating. But beyond being visually exceptional, each exhibit highlights the individual student’s unique perspective - their own world, if you will - and how it manifests in their art. 

While sharing a class period, students had the option of choosing to focus on one of two different types of AP portfolios offered: Drawing and Painting or 2D Design. While both AP portfolios center on slightly different art-making approaches, both portfolios require visual proof of process, experimentation and revision. Additionally, following AP Art tradition, students had the opportunity to choose a theme or exploratory question around which they based their work when preparing their portfolios. 

When picking a theme, AP Art teacher Jodi Burger explains how she encourages students to “start with the heart” and brainstorm a list of at least 50 ideas that they love and hate. Over time, students narrow down their list to 3-5 topics that intrigue them most. Eventually, they complete a Mind Map and additional sub-topic brainstorming until they form a question of inquiry for their portfolios. This year, students explored a wide range of artistic, cultural, political and personal themes, expressed through various 2D and sometimes 3D mediums in their showcases.

“I enjoy the intersection of art and science,” one AP Art 2-D Design senior, Emily Grunes, expressed. Emily has always been interested in clouds from both a scientific and artistic perspective—a fascination that clearly shows throughout her work. “This piece depicts a dream I had of falling from an airplane and landing gently in the soft clouds,” she said, describing a piece that features watercolors, cutouts and colorful, coiled fabric strands pasted on the clouds. 

Another senior, Maddie Nikic, who focused on Drawing and Painting, explores society’s effects on men and women through her artwork, often using the color red to represent the presence of overbearing societal expectations and to unify her pieces. 

“My original question was ‘how can I visually represent what it looks like to grow up in a man’s world?’ but throughout the process eventually shifted towards ‘how can I communicate society’s mistreatment of both men and women through color and emphasis?’” said Maddie. One of her pieces, in which several men dressed as plastic surgeons ominously hover over a small woman, represents the idea that women are supposed to be beautiful—at least beautiful in a man’s eyes—and how women are driven to change themselves to achieve this.

One of the main topics Ms. Burger focuses on in her class throughout the year is “vision” and how students can retain their spark throughout the artistic process. She encourages students to work with each other through rough patches and gather inspiration from each other’s work to help their own artistic visions come to fruition. As she reflects on the work her students have created this year, she is extremely proud of the progress they have made together.

“These students have been together in my art classes for at least three years and are very comfortable digging deep into meaningful topics and sharing their ideas or feelings with each other,” she said. “I think—with the events and pressures of the past few years— their art and creativity have become more than just an outlet; it has become a lifeline for some. I couldn't be more proud of this group, and I know they were so proud to see it all come together in such a celebratory setting.”