Students Showcase Work at AP Art Exhibition


Dana Morrone

Senior Emily Gillon’s surreal art display featured her painting, “Most Important Meal of the Day.”

For the past five months, the art wing has been filled with students accompanying each other in a mutually appreciated and well understood silence. Advanced Placement Drawing and Painting students have been continuously creating a project in anticipation for a public display.

At the high school, artwork was strategically placed on display for all to see. Displays, which were double folded platform boards, were decorated with the artwork that the Drawing and Painting students had been preparing to flaunt. Each project had a thematic element that the artwork was centered around. Colors, shapes, and setup were all in sync with each artists specific theme. As they were on display, viewers navigated through the art, some having short conversations with the artists themselves. Each artist had a guest book for signatures, for any meandering guest to leave their comments in. Family and friends arrived at the hour long display in support of the young artists on Monday, January 28.

Frankie Nardelli, a senior whose display was at the exhibit, has been taking art classes since freshman year. Frankie spent well over an expected twenty hours creating her family and friend inspired display. Her dramatic lighting concentration, (full of dark, shadowy charcoal sketches) which she named “Give Me Drama” was a crowd favorite. In a unique way, Frankie used charcoal to draw out portraits of her close friends, family, and even her beloved art teacher. “Mrs. McKee taught me everything I know about art,” she said. “She showed me charcoal which I’d never used before, how to make expressive marks, and all the artistic techniques.” One of Frankie’s pieces of artwork, a portrait drawn of herself, recently won a scholastic reward, artistically speaking, is known as a ‘Gold Key.’ Her artwork will be displayed in a show in Boston within a few months with other scholastic winners in Massachusetts. Though she does not plan to go to art school in the future, Frankie will not let her love for art come to a close. “I somehow want to incorporate art into whatever I do” she said.

Among the other AP art displays was Drawing and Painting student senior Krissy Jankowski, whose concentration is called “Riskful Thinking” As for her design, she said, “It was all about taking risks with my artwork by using different media in all sorts of ways.” Krissy went on to explain how much she truly enjoys spending time in art class. “It’s a really fun experience with Ms. Mckee, and it’s very rewarding. She always pushes us, which prepares me for the rigor of art in college.”

Hopeful future illustrator and long-time art lover senior Emily Muller recently won the vote for senior superlative, ‘Most Artistic.’ Her interest in art landed her a spot in AP Drawing and Painting in her senior year. Emily’s project at the gallery, “The Magic of Childhood,” drew in a crowd. The display was composed of many black and white sketches along with colored paintings inspired by childhood stories and movies. Many members of Emily’s family spent the night at the show in support of Emily’s work. Ellen Muller, Emily’s mother, knows how much work the students put into the displays. “It takes hours and hours and hours of painstaking work…I had no idea [the class] was going to be this much work for her.” Emily hopes to one day express her love for art by going into illustration as a career.

Ms. Mckee, Drawing and Painting teacher at the high school, and main conductor behind the event, was very content with the results of the show. “I’m very pleased with the outcome” she said. Ms. Mckee directs her class with high expectations for the seniors. Some students even began their artwork assignments in the summer, before the school year even began. Every Wednesday, students are expected to post pictures to the online class blog to illustrate progress on their current project. She encourages the kids to comment on their classmates work, as a technique for constructive critiquing, advice, and continual support.

As for preparation for the event, Ms. Mckee notes that it is not a stress-inducing event for the students. “This show is a natural. We didn’t have to do anything extra except put together this exhibit, which was a lot of work,” she said. Ms. Mckee went on to explain not only how the students spent months constructing their projects but rather why. The seniors who are applying for art school need work to submit into their AP portfolio in order to be able to submit them to perspective colleges.

The AP Art Show was a huge success. Art students had a chance for them to be under the spotlight. Ms. Mckee was proud of her students for their love for art. “It’s a great moment to pause for them,” she said. “To look at how far they’ve come, appreciate it, and get some ideas together about where they want to go with it.”