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Dahn Kim

AP 2-D
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Northwest High School|Germantown, Maryland
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Dimensions: 14” x 11” |Materials: Procreate, IPad Pro, Apple pencil|Processes: Rendered after laying down a sketch and base colors. Used different brush sizes for details. Idea(s): During COVID-19 the only way to access what was going on outside was through our mobile devices.|Curatorial Note: Well done digital image representing what life felt like for many people during the pandemic, our phone screens being our only window into the world.

Student statement

My “Window To The Outside” piece was not part of my sustained investigation. Instead, it was created in the comfort of my room when we went through virtual learning due to COVID in 2020. Like many other students worldwide, quarantine and virtual learning was a very isolating process for me. Despite being introverted, I could still feel the aching want of being around someone other than my family members. When not studying or taking classes over Zoom, there was one device that I was on constantly: my phone. I used it to see what my friends and the world were up to.
Despite the pandemic, there was still so much happening in the world. The Black Lives Matter movement, the 2020 election, the storming of the United States Capital, etc. I could only see what was going on through my screen. It was the only thing keeping me connected to the outside.
I decided to illustrate this piece digitally on my Ipad. It seemed fitting since the main subject of the piece was an electronic device.
When it came to colors, I wanted to use bright light shining through the phone into the room. Especially behind the protesters of the Black Lives Matter movement because even though it was during a dark time, I thought the way people came together to protest was a silver lining.
And to other AP Art and Design students, I want you to know that your portfolio has no formula. Just draw what you want to draw. It doesn’t have to be perfect because there is beauty in imperfections. Just take a deep breath, and it’ll all work out one way or another.

TEacher statement

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Tessa Siewert
I am a facilitator, guide, and coach for my AP Art students. The AP Art and Design curriculum structure requires students to demonstrate a level of independence, drive, and grit on their path to developing their inquiry. I act as a cheerleader, a sounding board for reflection, and the person who will hold the students accountable for their work. For my students, I have a lot of scaffolding built into the studio art classes before they enter their AP coursework. This includes learning and experimenting with various mediums and subject matter and developing original ideas through projects that promote creativity. They are already familiar with the creative ideation process when they enter their AP class. I have structured the course to help students find their inquiry through braindumps, mindmapping, prompts, and visualizations. Students are encouraged to explore themes and ideas they are passionate about. For each piece they create, they must write a proposal answering questions describing the work and how it relates to their inquiry, research artists and materials, and experiment with mediums before starting the final piece. The writing reinforces their ideas and forces them to articulate beyond visual storytelling. Students are also provided time for work-in-progress small group critiques, where they speak about their process and receive feedback from their peers. Providing students with time for discourse has become a critical element in the growth of my AP students. I have observed how helpful these small group conversations are and how students can learn from one another. Through these critiques, students learn to analyze critically and communicate using academic language to express constructive feedback.
Working with Dahn was exciting. She is brilliant and thoughtful in her approach to developing her portfolio. She relied heavily on her reference photos and spent time researching symbolism, style, and artists to help inform her overall body of work. Dahn was extremely reflective on her journey of inquiry. She quickly saw how her sustained investigation morphed from a generic teenager's perspective into a more personal, individual experience. Once she really embraced herself as the focus of the work, she took off exploring meaningful themes and creative compositions that showed her ability for storytelling. Her use of visual puns, extreme angles, and a dynamic palette grew throughout the year, resulting in a wonderfully crafted portfolio.
My advice for AP Art and Design teachers is to provide structure for your students to hold themselves accountable for their work. Calendars and one-on-one conversations help students navigate the rigors of their high school experience. When students feel in control of their artistic journey and receive constructive feedback and encouragement, they become more willing to explore different ideas, mediums, and subject matter. I often had to remind my students it's okay to make mistakes, abandon ideas or work, and shift gears on their inquiry. During these moments of surrender, when students permit themselves to try something new, they experience the most growth.
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Dahn Kim