• AP Studio Art- 3D Portfolio Syllabus

    Mary M. Ainsworth


    Course Description:

    The AP Studio Art course is designed to allow students to create a collection of works that show an investigation of the three aspects of the AP Portfolio. Students will exhibit a mastery of concepts, techniques, and ideas used to develop their portfolio. The three sections of the portfolio are Concentration, Breadth and Quality. In the first week of the course all three sections are described and discussed for clarification. Sketch assignments are given throughout each grading period that may be used as ideas for the breadth section of the portfolio. Students will begin to develop a theme for the concentration section by the end of the first grading period.


    Students utilize the 90minute class period as a time to plan, develop, discuss and critique their works and the various aspects of the portfolio. They will set up meeting times with the instructor and receive material or technique demonstrations also during the class time. Much of the production work is done as homework. Original artwork and concepts are emphasized along with the study and appreciation of artists and art history.


    Students will show an understanding and mastery of the Elements and Principles of Design in their exploration of the Breadth section of the portfolio that consists of 16 slides of their work (2 views of 8 artworks). They will investigate a consistent theme or idea in the Concentration section that will consist of 12 slides of their work, some may be details. From the two previous sections they will choose 5 works and submit two views of each (10 slides) that exemplify quality in concept, composition and execution.


    Students will have access to art prints, art magazines, art history books, and photographs. They will use these as inspiration and idea generators. Students will work from life as much as possible. Included in the class critiques will be the subject of artistic integrity. They will understand the issues of plagiarism and originality. Each student is encouraged to develop beyond duplication and create their own individual works of art.


    Course Objectives:

    (Based on National Art Education Learning Standards)

    The student will:

    · Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the elements and principles of art;

    · Develop the knowledge and ability to work in a variety of media and techniques in design applications;

    · Develop portfolio quality art works that demonstrate various techniques, skills, and styles with emphasis on self expression;

    · Produce a variety of work that uses principles of design and composition as well as a variety of types of design reflecting historical and current trends;

    · Understand and value the contribution of art in society and culture by continuing to explore art in a variety of historical contexts and recognize and appreciate the * singular qualities of style developed by artists of the past;

    · Understand the nature and impact of art, especially in terms of clarifying personal perception, developing aesthetic value, and applying and adapting skills gained to solve problems in daily life;

    · Utilize technology and engage in research projects that study, analyze, and produce work that refers to art of varied cultures, times and places;

    · Demonstrate awareness of practicing artists and the production of work representative of current art careers;

    · Demonstrate knowledge of the vocabulary of art through objective testing procedures, class discussions, and presentations of one's own work or research;

    · Analyze artwork through observation, interpretation, judgment, and oral and written description of one's thoughts and feelings;

    · Participate in critiques of one's own and others' work;

    · Exercise care and respect for people and materials in the classroom; and

    · Produce and present a comprehensive body of work that represents one's personal style, beliefs, and goals.



    The following are key guidelines of the course:

    · In addition to work completed in class, much artwork will have to be done at home – this will help accomplish 1 finished piece of work approximately every 1 ½ weeks throughout the year.

    · A sketchbook/journal is to be kept throughout the course. This will include photos, notes, sketches, clippings, and any other variety of ideas/techniques produced/practiced on a daily basis.

    · Deadlines must be met. Procrastination is not accepted in this course, or the portfolio requirements will never be able to be completed in the time period allotted.

    · Students must be active participants in class. Discussions and critiques are key learning processes in this course and students must contribute their ideas and thoughts at all times.

    · Students must be prepared for class. Students must arrive to class on time with their materials, and use the class time to its fullest extent.

    · Respect is expected at all times. This includes respect for personal artwork, respect for other people’s artwork, respect for the classroom and materials, and most of all respect for people’s ideas, opinions, and feelings voiced in discussion.

    · Students must also study classic and contemporary artists and trends during the duration of the course. Students are expected to visit galleries and local art museums on their own 23 times during the year.

    · All artwork must be original! No published work can be used as a basis for personal artwork unless significant alteration to the image is completed. All imagery must be developed according to personal voice and any duplication of imagery from any source is not accepted.


    Course Schedule:

    The AP Studio Art class will meet each school day for a 55 minute period. Students must enroll in all four quarters of AP Studio Art, as the full year will be needed to complete the portfolio requirements. At the end of the year 1 ½ credits will be given to those who complete all required components of the course. The spreadsheet timeline for the year with all assignments is located at the end of this syllabus.


    During the first week of the course, students will be reintroduced to this syllabus and introduced to the AP 3D Design Portfolio requirements in depth as explained in the AP Studio Art Poster. Extensive examples will be shown of works from the different sections of the portfolio, including those created by past AP Art students from the websites, as well as those given on the College Board “Slide Show & Commentary” CD. Many discussions will be held, including an in-depth conversation about plagiarism and appropriate idea sources. Student summer work will be critiqued at this time, and a sharing session will be held about the information learned through the summer work about different sculptors. Students can use this information throughout the year to help develop their own styles and ideas within three dimensional designs, as they probably have not worked extensively in sculpture before now.


    Breadth (weeks 1-12)

    Within the Breadth Section of the portfolio sixteen slides will be needed of 8 different works (2 views of each work). The Breadth Section is designed to demonstrate a variety of concepts, media, and approaches while emphasizing the principles of 3D design such as balance, emphasis, contrast, figure/ground relationship, proportion, repetition, unity/variety and rhythm.


    Breadth pieces will be completed as a class, meaning everyone will be working on the same assignment at the same time. Students are encouraged to feed off one another – discussion and informal critiques are expected almost daily in order to enhance final products. Formal classroom critiques and/or written personal critiques will be completed after each piece is completed. It is also expected that students think about comments and suggestions previously given to them by the teacher or peers when creating each new work. Students should think about the portfolio process as a building block process – each skill, technique, and idea learned needs to be retained in order to move ahead. Unique and individual responses are expected for each assignment.


    Possibilities of Breadth assignments include:

    · 3D sculpture from found objects

    Please look a the work of Pablo Picasso, Julio Gonzalez,

    Richard Chamberlain, and Robert Rauschenberg

    · Newspaper Mask:

    Students will create masks using old newspaper and Elmer’s glue. The imagery or words on the newspaper must be incorporated into the mask design.

    · Mechanical Body Parts:

    Students will create detailed representations of a body part of their choosing using tinfoil (must be appropriate). They must then alter the sculpture in order to make the body part look mechanical (bolts, wires, etc) again using only tinfoil.

    · Animal Vessel:

    Students will create clay vessels that represent animals using the coil, pinch and slab hand building methods. Glaze will then be applied to the bisque fired vessel to accentuate the feeling of the animal’s fur, skin, etc...

    · Junk Food:

    Students will collect a variety of recycled materials. They will then alter the objects and assemble them to create a large scale representation of food.

    · Wire Figure:

    Students will create figures using only one piece of wire. The wire cannot be cut or attached to itself in any way – the figures must be portrayed using a continuous contour line.

    · Masking Tape Shoe:

    Students will create life size replicas of their shoes using only masking tape. All details will be present (laces, tread, etc.), and there will be an inner part of the shoe (it will not be a solid block of tape) as if a foot could actually fit into it.

    · Altered Books:

    Students will acquire an old book from the library and make it into something new. All parts of the book can be ripped, cut, folded or altered in any other way in order to create a new story for the object.

    · 2D/3D Painting:

    Students will take their favorite 2D painting that they’ve done and transform it into a 3D piece. Any materials can be used to build up the depth within the piece, but it still must look fairly flat when viewing the piece head on.

    · Cardboard Chair:

    Students will create a chair made from scrap cardboard that is developed well enough to hold their own weight. The design must have a theme as well (ex. resemble a type of architecture).

    · Emotional Headwear:

    Students will design a piece of headwear that represents or expresses personal issues or emotions. The design must also consider structure and stability as the sculpture must effectively be worn.

    · Time Machine:

    Students will discuss phrases using the word “time” and build a clock (time machine) using found materials.

    · Self Portrait:

    Students will think about all the materials and techniques they have used throughout the trimester, and create a highly developed 3D self portrait using their favorite media.


    The Breadth section of the portfolio will be completed Thanksgiving break, documenting will be done after the break on week 12. If students are not happy with any of the specific pieces they created this year for the Breadth section, they do have the option of removing those pieces and incorporating other successful pieces that they created in other art classes during previous years or redoing the work over break.

    Concentration (week 13-30)

    The Concentration section of the AP portfolio consists of twelve digital images of artwork that can include details (ex. 11 different works with a close up slide of 1 work to show extreme detail or texture). The concentration section is designed to demonstrate an in-depth exploration of one theme or idea. The theme should be of interest to the student in order to ensure excitement, dedication, and critical inquiry throughout the whole creation process for the large body of works.


    Though students should have been thinking about their Concentration theme throughout the first 12 weeks of class the 13 week through the 27 week will be dedicated to the development of a concrete idea for each AP student’s Concentration. The development is an ongoing process that uses informed decision making and critical thinking skills to refine their ideas. During this time students will consider these questions:

    ·What are your interests/hobbies?

    · What affects your life on a daily basis?

    · What qualities make you love something?

    · Do you see a theme that has developed in any of your personal artwork?

    · What might you consider your obsession?

    After establishing this list of answers, students will research the topics in depth and narrow down their ideas to a select few.


    After narrowing down their ideas, students will then turn to their artistic brain to decide the final idea. The remainder of the two weeks will be dedicated to sketching and designing ideas that might lead to pieces in the topic’s concentration. If one idea isn’t leading to diverse compositions and pieces of work, then students should move on to their next idea. Students will really push their creativity and develop many different sketches for one idea during this time period – when finding the final topic a student might have up to 100 sketches for artworks. It is at this time the students can choose the direction they want to go within the idea and narrow down their sketches. They are now ready to start using the art materials and begin the concentration.

    A few examples of previous viewed 3D Design Concentrations are:

    · Lidded vessels

    · Teapots

    · Sculptures made from nails

    · Musical instruments (as materials or as inspiration)

    · Bridges

    · Masks

    · Boxes

    · Woven fibers

    · Animal sculptures

    · Portraits in clay

    · Motion

    · Packaging

    · Maps

    · Garbage bags

    · Things that are broken

    · Computers

    · Jewelry (wire & cast)

    As shown on the course timeline, the Concentration body of work will be created throughout week13 through weeks 27. Though each student will be working on individual themes and pieces using a variety of media, the class will continue to converse about and critique each piece. Formal and informal classroom critiques will be held, as well as written self critiques. Students will especially develop conversation about the diversity of their Concentration – though each individual piece revolves around the central theme, it still must be different and must not be too similar to any other piece in the body of works. This will prove to be the most difficult task of the course for most students.


    Quality (weeks 31-36)

    The Quality section of the portfolio consists of 5 pieces of work that will be selected to show the AP Studio Art Readers in digital form (2 views of each piece) as examples of excellence and skill in all aspects of three dimensional design principles. These 5 pieces can be pulled from the Concentration and/or Breadth Sections of the portfolio, and do not necessarily even have to be new pieces.


    Beginning in Week 5, all students will begin rigorous critiques of both bodies of their work. This is the beginning step in deciding which pieces truly are the best and should be considered for the Quality Section of the portfolio. This process also allows students to pick out pieces that they might want to work on/tweak more before documentation of the work are completed.


    Each piece will be looked at and scored (with a 1=poor to 5=excellent scale) on the following criteria by the student as well as by the instructor:

    · Material use/technique

    · Creativity/Imagination

    · Evidence of the Elements & Principles of Design

    · Evidence of critical thinking & development of ideas

    · Composition

    · Personal Style/Voice

    Any piece that consistently scores in the 4 or 5 range will be considered as part of the Quality section. If more than 5 works are chosen in this range, then more critiques will be completed involving the whole class in order to choose a final set of 5.


    Digital documentation of work:

    Digital documentation will be taken at the high school using appropriate lighting and technology. This will happen during different weeks of the year: Breadth slides will be taken in the month of November and Concentration slides will be taken in the month of

    April. (This is done at two separate times so sculptures don’t have the time to get broken before they can be photographed.) When the images have been taken, students will appropriately label and arrange each image according to section (Concentration & Breadth) as well as label media and size of each original piece. Images will be printed and put in journals for all three sections. The Quality section will be documented labeled appropriately in the spring as well.



    Students will be graded each 9 week period based on the following criteria: Artwork completed each finished piece will receive a grade based on idea content, technique, effort, demonstrated use of media, composition and personal style and voice.

    Artwork Completed 60%

    Sketchbook 15%

    Critique 15%

    Participation/Attitude 10%

    Total 100%


    Note: Any student who does not complete all requirements of the AP Studio Art 3D

    Design portfolio (whether they send their portfolio to the College Board for scoring or not) will not receive credit for the course regardless of GPA for the year.



    Students are required to pay a fee of $25 per semester or $50 for the year for this class. Most supplies are covered in this fee however the students may need extra supplies for their concentration that the fee does not cover. If this occurs the student may need to purchase these supplies on their own.

    Ainsworth- AP 3D Portfolio Syllabus


    I have read the syllabus for AP Studio Art and understand the requirements and expectations.


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    We are always looking for parents who have jobs, skills, hobbies, or collections that might enrich our program. We are also constantly looking for free sources of supplies that can be used in art like paper, mat board, Plexiglas or sheet plastic, masonite, fabric, etc.

    If you can help us in any of these categories, please indicate below.








    Please contact me if you have any concerns.

    Mary M. Ainsworth