AP Studio Art Prepares Students For College, Allows Expression In Portfolio


Juniors Kelly Lim (right) and Liz Rico (left) work on a mixed-media project, placing a drawing of a person in a watercolor environment.

Erica Bourland, Assistant Editor

“A life without art would be a dull existence. You can’t go a day without art; it’s in everything you see, touch, wear. Advertisements and other forms of media, the house you live in, the shows you watch, and magazines you read have all been designed by artists,” AP Studio Art teacher Nancy Kizis said.

Her students share her passion for art. According to Kizis, the AP Studio class is for talented, seriously committed art students, people that grew up knowing they loved art.

For AP Studio, there are three different portfolios you can submit: Drawing, 2D, and 3D.

The Drawing portfolio takes two years to complete. The first year, students work on “Breadth,” which consists of twelve pieces of art that show a wide range of approaches and techniques. The second section of the portfolio is “Concentration,” which includes works showing an in depth exploration of a personal idea. With Kizis’ guidance, the student picks what they want to focus on. They create 10 pieces with 2 details. The third section is “Quality”; the student chooses five of the best works from the other two sections.

The 2D portfolio can include photography, product design, and computer generated images.

3D Design includes ceramics and jewelry design and is not available at Rider now, but hopefully it will be put on the schedule next year.

The students submit a portfolio to be graded on a scale of 1-5, with 3-5 being passing scores. It is up to each individual college as to what score they will except for college credit. For instance, Harvard only accepts a 5.

In years past, many of Kizis’ students have received passing scores on their portfolios. One year, she had a 100% passing rate.

The portfolio is submitted in May, but some things need to be put online in January. To keep up with the deadline, the students have to turn out a piece of art about every ten days. Some people get behind and have to finish it on their own time.

“They feel a little pressure, but for the most part they look forward to the class, and we become a strange little family,” Kizis said.

Junior Liz Rico is in AP Studio Art. She took the class because she wanted to improve her artistic skill and get credit for a good college. She also heard that Nancy Kizis was a fantastic teacher.

“I like that even though [the work] is hard, Mrs. Kizis will help you,” Rico said.

As a child, her dream job switched between fashion designer and comic artist.

“I’ve wanted to do art ever since I watched shows like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh,” Rico said.

In the future, Rico wants to draw cartoons for Disney or Pixar.

“[The class] opens up your mind to new way of thinking, enhances creativity, creative problem solving, and artistic skill,” Kizis said.

Kizis loves AP Studio class because it challenges her as an artist.

“It is exciting to see the creativity my students come up with. They inspire me to be a better teacher,” Kizis said.

Every summer, Kizis goes to training where she meets and collaborates with other AP Studio teachers from all over the United States.

Kizis has always been an artist, so she knew she had to do something art related. She also enjoys teaching kids.

“Watching when someone gets an idea they’re excited about, watching them have that light go on it their mind–it’s just fun,” Kizis said.