BRONX, NY – Their artwork is some of the best to ever come out of Truman High School. Now, the canvasses are packaged, taped and ready to ship. Six Advanced-Placement Art students at Truman High School have completed their portfolios and they’re off to be judged by a panel of experts.
“I am incredibly proud of them,” said Art teacher Ms. Paula Mills. The year-long class culminates in a comprehensive portfolio submission that may qualify students for college credit. “I do feel that this particular group managed their time very well. When I look at them like – wow they really did pull it off.”
Advanced-Placement or “AP” courses are administered by the College Board. They’re offered in a variety of academic subjects, and they allow top-performing high school students to earn college credit based on their work.
“It does get easier every year for me as a teacher, and I hope it gets easier for them,” Mills added.
This is the third year that Truman has offered the course. Mills says that over the past several years, Truman has developed a much stronger art course progression beginning with Studio Art. Students can then move on to Advanced Drawing, Computer Graphic Design, Painting and finally finish with AP Art. It’s a big step forward over just three years ago, when students had only one course of art before diving into AP.
“I think that’s what made it so difficult in the past is that they had studio art, and then they had AP art, which is a huge leap. There was no training, there was no guiding steps, there was no body of work,” Mills said. “So now they come into AP art with a body of work, and they get to try different techniques, they get to try different styles. They’re introduced to different artists, so they come in with a broader visual history.”
The class of ten students create a tight family bond throughout the year. Mills said they provide encouragement to each other, and helpful critique when necessary. Mills related the feedback she got from senior Oscar Anzora, who is the only Truman student to have completed two years of AP Art. Mills said Anzora felt that the class helped him de-stress. He went on to say that “when you are an artist and you are painting, you kind of lose yourself in that world and it kind of helps you forget about other problems you are having at school.”
“I am always impressed by how well they work together. They really do support each other
. I think that’s one of the more important things – it does encourage team-building,” Mills said. “When you’re going into a college or a career, you really need to know how to do that.”