Art: A Dwindling Subject

Vanessa Albino, Editor-in-Chief

Academically rigorous classes such as AP Calculus, AP Biology and AP Literature are frequently heard about throughout many schools, so why doesn’t an advanced art course share the same spotlight?  AP Studio Art isn’t a course that’s talked about by most counselors and since only 11-12th graders can take it, it becomes increasingly more difficult for aspiring artists to challenge themselves. 

This lack of awareness could also be what’s causing AP Art students to represent only a stark 2% of all the students taking AP classes. 

It becomes even stranger to think that art classes don’t hold the same merit as others because they are a way for students to let their imaginations run wild. In fact, the art wings in many schools are what adds life to otherwise bland and uniform hallways. 

Most students don’t focus on art classes or think that they are necessary in order to pursue a non-art college major. While this may be true, AP Art classes still deserve as much recognition as academic APs. 

Students like Jaleea Medeiros, a junior, represent a small minority that think AP Art classes are still rigorous and demanding even though they do not consist of one of the four core subjects. 

“I have friends in the art programs here, so that’s the main reason I hear about it so much and know that we have these programs. But I think the average student here wouldn’t really know that they exist,” Medeiros said. 

Medeiros’ experience isn’t unique at all, in fact many students are simply unaware that these programs exist at the school, effectively discouraging the possibility of students exploring new interests. 

The question to be asked is not ‘‘is AP Art a comparable and valid AP?” It is “when will AP Art be seen as a valid and comparable AP?”

Although some AP students recognize the fact that AP Art is just as difficult as any other AP class, many also acknowledge the fact that it is not perceived as one by the majority of the student body. 

Sarah Silveira, a junior who has experience with the various art programs in the school, feels as though the administration isn’t doing its best to push and sell the art department to students. 

“The only art classes I ever heard of was the regular art class that they offer here. I only found out about the other ones through scheduling,” Silveira said. 

She went on to state that AP Art classes are “underrepresented” and are just as hard if not harder than academic-based AP classes. 

Although many AP students can vouch for the fact that AP Art classes are on the same level as other AP courses, there are still lots of students in the school who underestimate the meticulous work many students put into their art classes. 

This negative stigma is what’s dwindling the number of students who choose to participate in AP Art programs. 

Unsurprisingly, this is also a countrywide problem as many legislators have passed laws to cut down on funding for art courses. 

A specific example of this being the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which places an emphasis on core academic classes such as math and English and limits art programs. 

NCLB has had the opposite effect it was intended to have, with overwhelming majorities of people reporting that it had a negative impact on faculty and student bodies.

Cutting art classes out of the curriculum and not giving them the recognition they deserve is undoubtedly unnecessary and does no good for the majority of the student body. Instead of restricting students’ creativity, the best solution is to end the negative stigma associated with high school art classes and instead further promote them to students.