Arts and Entertainment / Features

Advanced Placement Art at Immaculate Heart High School

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By Olivia Fries-Farr ‘19

Building experience in an area of interest that you are passionate about is a great way to figure out your future goals and aspirations. During their high school years, students get the opportunity to explore their ideas and learn new ways of creating. A good example is Immaculate Heart High School’s art program that nurtures students who are extremely passionate about their creativity and expression.

Immaculate Heart students progress through the art program by exploring different areas of art, such as drawing and painting, Illustration I & II, Studio Art, Honors Studio Art, Graphic Design, Digital Photography, Printmaking, 3D Sculpture & Design and Life Drawing. A student can either know what their interests are when they enter high school, or, through exciting and engaging classes, they are able find the one area that fits their vision and focus. The Advanced Placement Art program at Immaculate Heart offers two classes: Advanced Placement Art History and AP Studio Art.  

The Bamboo recently discussed the AP Studio Art program with several students who have made art their passion. Interviewed were senior Vanessa Valencia and juniors Rita Ross and Amanda Chavez. All have been involved with art at IH since their freshman year. In fact, Ross has been involved with art at IH since sixth grade when she was a middle school student. Ross actually started with the high school’s art program the summer before her freshman year.

Bamboo: Has your focus on art always been the same or have your experiences at IHHS helped you develop your focus?

Valencia:: My focus on art has changed since freshman year in the sense that I’ve tried different media and by far I have finally found one that best fits what I am good at.

Ross: My focus on art has changed more based on my views and not directly by Immaculate Heart. This being said, as IH has affected my views, it has probably indirectly affected my art.

Chavez: My goals I feel have been a little more focused since taking AP Art this year since you get exposed to a lot of people to give you a general idea of what you’re doing

Bamboo: Can you share some insights about AP Art?

Valencia: Insights about AP Art: It’s very fun! I enjoy the class, and it does feel like any other art class, just more art work, but I don’t mind. It’s still fun.

Ross: It’s an incredible class full of talented and passionate individuals headed by our incredible Dr. Lee. I encourage people to strive to take this class, but suggest that they come prepared with strong ideas and a substantial body of existing work.

Chavez:  AP Art is a bit hard and quick paced, but it helps to push yourself If you feel that you are ready.

Bamboo: What project(s) are you working on?

Valencia: Currently I’m working on an application for a scholarship for young arts. Fingers crossed that I get it because I could use $10,000 for college.

Ross: I have been sewing garments made out of found fabric.

Chavez: Currently, I’m working on a pattern project involving different patterns and where you see them, and a project on retablos.

Bamboo: What can you tell the IH school community about the art classes and what you have learned?

Valencia:  What I have learned in these classes is more about myself. I have always been drawn to art, but now more than ever I find myself being passionate for art. I want to chase art in the future and study it at college next year hopefully.

Ross:  Please take art. Everyone is an artist, and what you learn in these classes applies to every field. Taking art might not make you a Van Gogh, but it will challenge you to think creatively. Creative thinking can be applied to every aspect of life, from neuroscience to breakfast. I know that so many of parents see art as just a credit that is to be filled to make room for more left-brain classes, but they overlook how much this right-brain activity can boost your performance in more traditional classes.

Bamboo: How does AP Art prepare you for your future goals and objectives?

Ross:  It has showed me the hard work, dedication, and self control it takes to be a successful artist. It has dispelled any lazy artist idea in my mind, because I’ve been shown that an effective artist is a hardworking one who manages their time.

Chavez: It allows you to have a better sense of what to do in the future when we have guest speakers from different schools come speak to us, or when we are told about an opportunity that could benefit us earlier.

Bamboo: Who are your influences in the art world?

Valencia:  I don’t really have any influences in the art world — perhaps Scott Mutter. His photography is amazing. It’s odd and he has a different way of viewing things but that’ what art is. Art has many perspectives and can be interpreted differently, and that’s what makes it so interesting. No two art pieces will ever look the same.

Ross: My influences are Rei Kawakubo, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Shinro Ohtake, Kerry James Marshall, and Busby Berkeley.

Chavez: Past and current friends I have and have had are really big inspirations for my art. The amount of talent and ease they show off is always amazingly stunning.

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