AP Class Reviews

AP Studio Art -- Design taught by Meldrum & Settino

by Students and Parents

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2D Design: Another Adventure posted by Liana Caggeso on May 18 2012 at 03:57:24

   I felt very prepared.

     Looking back over my two portfolios of 12 pieces each, I am not completely satisfied with my work (who ever is?). I can’t help seeing the flaws and even my best work is but a far cry from what I envisioned in its planning stages. Regardless, I have the assurance that I did the best that I could and that my fantastic teachers helped me to strengthen my work to heights unparalleled in my short existence as an artist.

     The more time and effort you put into perfecting your work during the year, the stronger your portfolios will be come May. Mr. Meldrum and Ms. Settino will do their utmost to help you in this. The challenging and fascinating assignments that they give you are just the beginning. You will have access to a seemingly endless supply of advice and encouragement from your teachers. They know what they are talking about, and they know what you are going through.

     Although taking this class will dramatically increase your chances of scoring highly on the exam, it can give you so much more than just that. New doors will be opened and you will catch a glimpse of that wonderful world called Design, and if you choose to you can spend the rest of your life exploring it.


     Quite a lot. It varied depending on the particular assignment and the time of year. On average I probably spent about 25 hours per week for most of the year. The work for this class (like Drawing) is not always spread out evenly throughout the week. You could make an effort to arrange your schedule so that you have a little bit every day, but I generally didn’t. There were usually two or three days each week that I did not have any work at all, days that I only spent a few hours doing prep work, and other days that I literally spent the entire time working on a final with a couple short breaks for meals. That may not be the best way to do things, but I fell into the rhythm of it. At the end of the year, in April, I pretty much spent all day every day finishing up my finals. You can really cut down on this if you finish some of your works in progress (WIPs) before April. Exam day felt AMAZING.

      If you took AP Drawing then you are probably prepared for all this and have found a way to deal with the work load. It is intense, but so worth it!


     Wow, how about all of them? There wasn’t even one that I didn’t enjoy, and they were all immensely valuable. 

     I guess my favorite must have been the Fabric Design. This was a vibrant, full color, acrylic design that could be put in repeat and used on fabric. I have always loved going to an arts and crafts store and just standing in awe before the wall lined with rolls and rolls of fabric with every picture and color imaginable printed on them. It is so exciting. Designing one yourself is even more exciting!

     Other favorites of mine were the Floor Tile, Tea Box, and Book Cover assignments.

     But really, they were all great.



     I have to confess, when I started the year, I didn’t have an extremely clear idea of what Design even was, let alone whether I would have a knack for it. It turns out that Design is what I have always been wanting to do! While taking AP drawing, which was amazing, there was still something more that seemed to be missing, something that I wished we could be doing. That was everything we did in Design. It fulfilled that desire that I had to take what I’d learned in Drawing and apply it to the real world in an exciting and practical way. Every single assignment filled me with excitement and anticipation. That is not an exaggeration. I can’t guarantee that you will feel the same way, every one is different, but even if you detest design you will not regret taking this class.


     It was definitely interesting to see how different everyone’s work is and how no one interprets the assignments in the same way. Looking at the work of your peers and learning from it is very valuable.

     Other than looking at each others work, however, there isn’t a huge amount of interaction for most of the year. That probably depends on the students though. Toward the end of the year all the students are required to critique each other’s work. This is quite helpful and a lot of fun.


     If you took AP Drawing then this is the most logical next step. It is by no means the end of your art education, that should continue your whole life, but it provides a more complete picture and gives you broader scope in your art.

     Personally, I found Drawing to be more challenging than this class. That does not mean it is easier, but it is different. Whether or not you will find Design to be less or more of a challenge depends on if you are more design minded or fine art minded. However, if you take this class you will find that the two go hand in hand. The skills I learned in Drawing proved to be the foundation for what we did in Design, and therefore, Design provided the building blocks.

     Unless you are completely satisfied with your current artistic ability and have no desire whatsoever to learn, improve, or explore, then you must take AP 2D Design. The challenges are real and exciting, the work load is extensive, but delicious (figuratively not literally, please do not eat paint), the teachers are dedicated, patient, wise, and kind, and your future will forever be viewed through the eyes of a designer.

Do it!

My daughter, Jessie Kusuma, is a high school senior. Last year she took AP Drawing and this year she is taking AP 2D Design. Jessie decided a long time ago that she wanted to be involved in the visual arts in some way when she grew up. She has known for years that she wanted to major in art when she went off to college. Throughout her childhood, Jessie has churned out lots of art and has had a fairly decent exposure to an environment rich in the visual arts. Living in the Washington, D.C. area has afforded us the convenience of lots of top art museums and galleries and i myself have a background and degree in Art ( BFA from MICA, 1982).

But I'm here to tell you that nothing prepared Jessie for the process of applying to the nation's top art schools and programs as much as these two AP classes. Yes, God blessed my daughter with a bit of artistic talent and, yes, she has a terrific work ethic, but believe me when I say, these classes have made all the difference.

Both Linus Meldrum and Dianne Settino are top-notch instructors in every way imaginable. Think for a minute about all the qualities you're probably looking for in an instructor for your high school student....someone who:

That said, of course your student must be willing to do his part and invest of himself if he wants to succeed in these classes. But the rewards of committing the time and effort in both classes are so worth it. My daughter was taught with such a comprehensive approach to the complete process of art making. This built her confidence in herself, in her work, and in her ability to produce the work.....it became a vicious cycle in the best possible way.

Like I've already said, Jessie has been producing art all of her life, but none of us were prepared for the level of work she was able to produce out of her experience in these classes. She was able to use many of these pieces to fulfill the portfolio requirements when applying to art schools and colleges.

So how did Jessie do in the whole art school application process? She was admitted to every program to which she applied. RISD ( Rhode Island School of Design) the #1 top-ranked art school in the country since before I was applying to art schools, offered her $25K per year to attend there. According to The College Board, RISD only accepted 34% of the students who applied this year. SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) offered her $21K per year. She was also accepted at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) which shares 4th place ranking among art schools with VCU School of the Arts where Jessie was accepted as well. VCUarts boasts the #1 rank of Public Schools of Art in the country. Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design, which is ranked 5th and only accepted 33% of all applicants this year also offered Jessie admission.

By now you may be asking yourself: What if my student thinks he wants to major in art at college but later changes his mind? These classes may be a great place for him to sort all of that out now.....and save himself a lot of time and money in the long run. Or, as in the case with my daughter, these classes may be the place to assure and convince you (and them) that furthering their education in art is exactly where God wants them to be.

Judy Kusuma (parent)