AP Art Classes Highlight Student Talent


Natalie Luongo

Jeanine Bell  

Jeanine Bell’s interest in art did not pick up until sophomore year, in Drawing and Painting. Her catalyst was learning to look through an artist’s lens.

A major theme of her work is the intersection of her interest in Japanese culture and her American upbringing. However, Bell said, “Inspiration doesn’t hit me often and as an artist I’m forced to work with deadlines. In the words of Jack London, ‘you can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.’”

The hardest parts of the process for her are getting started on a piece and finishing it. “With art, you never really know when you’re finished. There’s no clear endpoint,” Bell said.

Though “the rest of the school community may not be as involved…within the art department we’re pretty well-respected,” Bell said. As for the future, she is unsure of what she will be studying, but she is certain that she will keep art as a hobby.


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Alyssa DiCenzo  
Alyssa DiCenzo’s mother is an artist, so she was raised with a love for art. This upbringing has encouraged her to study studio arts in college.

DiCenzo focuses on painting portraits, and her unique style includes cropping her pictures and using different mediums. She is inspired by the way that people conceal insecurities. “[I] dramatize their emotions to make them evident. Thus, the models perceive themselves as beautiful,” she said.

DiCenzo first finds a person with a physical quality they dislike about themselves, and then she researches the flaw. She sits down with her subject, sketching them in different angles. Finally, she uses layers of paint to capture complex colors.  “I usually spend days…finaliz[ing] the painting,” DiCenzo said.

DiCenzo said that the hardest part of art is “thinking of new ideas…[but] I continue with it because the end result of all the hard work and time put into my pieces is so rewarding.”


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Sarah Perkins  
Sarah Perkins is so committed to art that she spent last summer taking an art class at Columbia University. Perkins will be attending Boston University’s School of Visual Arts next year.

She is a perfectionist, spending a lot of time finishing each of her pieces amidst a busy school schedule.

“The hardest part of art for me is designating enough time to really focus on a piece and get it to look the way I want it to,” she said.

Her art often draws from her job as a florist and the properties of water. Perkins likes to draw the human body, after taking a class on figure drawing.

“My work also has to do with personal things that I’m going through,” she said. As a result, Perkins disagrees with the myth that art is easy.

“AP Art is by far the most challenging course I have taken this year,” she said, but “it is something I really enjoy doing.”

Perkins is frustrated with the lack of recognition that the art department gets, calling it “a reflection of how society feels about art. Most people don’t take the time to appreciate it and see the importance of it in our world.” Despite the obstacles she faces as an artist, though, Perkins continues to work on her art. as she prepares for her future career.