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The Challenges of Being a Virtual AP Art Student

All classes are arguably harder from a virtual at home setting, but as an AP art student I have never quite experienced such struggle as painting or drawing a piece per week from home. My entire bedroom, or in other words my new classroom, has been taken over by art supplies. Paint bottles line my desk, dirty brushes sit in cups of murky water, canvases, portfolios, and grocery bags full of extra supplies spill from each corner of my room. One may walk in and wonder which art supply store I robbed in the previous days. Not only does this mess stress my mom out, but it also leaves me with no space to do my other work and a constantly cluttered mind that is always thinking about my next piece deadline.

The mess of creating at least fifteen pieces from a small desk is only part of the issue. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in art. I recall sitting in my second grade classroom listening to the senior AP students who came to the elementary school to talk about their pieces. I knew instantly I wanted to be just like these students, and ever since then I have patiently waited for my turn. I was so inspired by this visit from the AP art students that I can even remember the exact piece I was looking at when I decided I wanted to take AP art, a giant canvas portrait of a woman painted in all black and baby blue. I never would have expected my long awaited moment to come only to involve me holding up my pieces to a camera for my class to critique.

For those of you who don’t know much about art or more specifically the AP studio art that is offered for high school seniors (at some schools), students at my school must complete three full credit art classes before entering into AP. Once in AP, students work to compile a fifteen piece concentration of their choice, and small explanations to go along with each one. We are also assigned a few other pieces aside from our concentrations, leaving us with about a week to complete each piece. Added on top of other school work and clubs or extracurricular commitments, this class feels like an overwhelming amount of work at times. I thought this was as stressful as it could get until my school went virtual. I never appreciated the community of coming to the art classroom several days a week, bouncing ideas off my classmates and teacher, and just talking about our struggles and strengths with the piece we were working on that day. I never realized that when something isn’t turning out like I want it to, and I’m frustrated after hours of work, it is my classmates that allow me to see the piece in a new light, and encourage me to keep working on it.

I am beyond lucky to be a part of the community of fellow art students at school, and even luckier to be given so many supplies that allow me to paint from home. Lucky for the desk in my room that appears as if it is going to collapse at any moment, my school is returning to in person classes next week. And, although a stressful time to be any AP student, I will never complain again about my stress levels while taking art in person.

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