The AP Studio Art portfolios are designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art. AP Studio Art is not based on a written exam; instead, students submit portfolios for evaluation at the end of the school year. The AP Studio Art Program consists of three portfolios — 2-D Design, 3-D Design and Drawing — corresponding to the most common college foundation courses.

AP Studio Art sets a national standard for performance in the visual arts that contributes to the significant role the arts play in academic environments. Each year the thousands of portfolios that are submitted in AP Studio Art are reviewed by college, university and secondary school art instructors using rigorous standards. This College Board program provides the only national standard for performance in the visual arts that allows students to earn college credit and/or advanced placement while still in high school. The AP Program is based on the premise that college- level material can be taught successfully to secondary school students. It also offers teachers a professional development opportunity by inviting them to develop a course that will motivate students to perform at the college level. In essence, the AP Program is a cooperative endeavor that helps high school students complete college-level courses and permits colleges to evaluate, acknowledge and encourage that accomplishment through the granting of appropriate credit and placement.

For the latest information about AP Studio Art, visit AP Central (apcentral. This site includes teachers’ perspectives on the AP art courses and portfolios, as well as many student works from all three portfolios. You can also find out how to become a member of the AP Studio Art Electronic Discussion Group (EDG), which will enable you to discuss, among other things, the portfolio requirements with veteran teachers and AP Readers. Alternatively, you can e-mail the content experts at apexams@

Section I: Quality


Quality refers to the mastery of design principles that should be apparent in the concept, composition and execution of the works, whether they are simple or complex. There is no preferred (or unacceptable) style or content.

For this section, students are asked to submit five actual works in one or more media. Students should carefully select the works that demonstrate their mastery of 2-D design issues. The works should be on flat surfaces, such as paper, cardboard, canvas board or unstretched canvas.

Students receive all the portfolio materials for submission of the Quality section in May. Because of limitations imposed by the shipping and handling of the portfolios, work submitted for this section must fit easily into the portfolio envelope, which is approximately 18" 3 24". Works for Quality that are smaller than 8" 3 10" should be mounted on sheets 8" 3 10" or larger. To protect the work, all work on paper

should be backed or mounted. Mats are optional. Do not use reflective materials such as acetate or shrink-wrap because they cause glare that makes the work difficult to see. A sturdy, opaque overleaf that is hinged to one edge of the backing so that it may be easily lifted, provides excellent protection and is highly recommended. Materials that may be smudged should be protected with fixative. If the work is matted, a neutral color for that mat is advisable. Do NOT send books or journals, work on glass, fragile work, work that is rolled or folded, or unmounted work that can be crumpled or damaged in shipping.

The works submitted may come from the Concentration and/or Breadth sections, but they do not have to. They may be a group of related works, unrelated works, or a combination of related and unrelated works

Section II: Concentration


A concentration is a body of related works that demonstrate a student’s commitment to the thoughtful investigation of a specific visual idea. It is not a selection of a variety of works produced as solutions to class projects or a collection of works with differing intents. Students should be encouraged to explore a personal, central interest as intensively as possible; they are free to work with any idea in any medium that addresses two-dimensional design issues. The concentration should grow out of the student’s idea and demonstrate growth and discovery through a number of conceptually related works. In this section, the evaluators are interested not only in the work presented but also in visual evidence of the student’s thinking, selected method of working and development of the work over time.

For this section, 12 digital images must be submitted, some of which may be details. All images should be labeled with dimensions (height 3 width) and material. The Digital Submission Web application incorporates space to include this information. Regardless of the content of the concentration, the works should be unified by an underlying idea that has visual and/or conceptual coherence. The choices of technique, medium, style, form, subject and content are made by the student, in consultation with the teacher.

The Web application for development and submission of the Concentration and Breadth sections is available in early February. The Concentration section includes spaces for a written commentary, which must accompany the work in this section, describing what the concentration is and how it evolved. Students are asked to respond to the following:

1. Clearly and simply state the central idea of your concentration.

2. Explain how the work in your concentration demonstrates your intent and the exploration of your idea. You may refer to specific images as examples.

Although the responses themselves are not scored as pieces of writing, they provide critical information for evaluating the artwork. Thus, they should be well written. Students should be encouraged to formulate their responses to the first question early in the year, as they define the direction their concentration will take. Responses should be concise; the space available for them in the Web application is generous, but the number of characters that can be typed is limited. Responses should be focused on the information requested.

Examples of Concentrations

A concentration should consist of a group of works that share a concept — for example, an in-depth study of a particular visual problem or a variety of ways of handling an interesting subject. Some concentrations involve sequential works, such as a series of studies that lead to, and are followed by, more finished works. If a student uses subject matter as the basis of a concentration, the work should show the development of a visual language appropriate for that subject. The investigation of a medium in and of itself, without a strong underlying visual idea, generally does not constitute a successful concentration. Students should not submit group projects, collaborations and/or documentation of projects that merely require an extended period of time to complete.

The list of possible concentration topics is infinite. Below are examples of concentrations. They are intended only to provide a sense of range and should not necessarily be considered “better” ideas.

• An exploration of patterns and designs found in nature and/or culture

• A series of works that begins with representational interpretations and evolves into abstraction

• A series of landscapes based upon personal experience of a particular place in which composition and light are used to intensify artistic expression

• Design and execution of pages for a book or graphic novel

• Development of a series of identity products (logo, letterhead, signage, and so on) for imaginary businesses

• A series of political cartoons using current events and images

• Abstractions developed from cells and other microscopic images

• Interpretive portraiture or figure studies that emphasize dramatic composition or abstraction

• A personal or family history communicated through symbols or imagery

• A series of fabric designs, apparel designs or weavings used to express particular themes

Because the range of possible concentrations is so wide, the number of works the student creates should be dictated by the focus of the investigation. The chosen visual idea should be explored to the greatest possible extent. In most cases, students will produce more than 12 works and select from among them the works that best represent the process of investigation. If a student has works that are not as well resolved as others, but that help show the evolution of thinking and of the work, the student should consider including them. The choice of works to submit should be made to present the concentration as clearly as possible.

When preparing to upload the Concentration (Section II) images, the student should give some thought to the sequence of images on the Web page. There is no required order; rather, the images should be organized to best show the development of the concentration. In most cases, this would be chronological.

Students may not submit images of the same work that they submit for Breadth. Submitting images of the same work for Concentration (Section II) and Breadth (Section III) may negatively affect a student’s score.

Section III: Breadth


The student’s work in this section should demonstrate understanding of the principles of design, including unity/variety, balance, emphasis, contrast, rhythm, repetition, proportion/scale and figure/ground relationship. Successful works of art require the integration of the elements and principles of design; students must therefore be actively engaged with these concepts while thoughtfully composing their art. The work in this section should show evidence of conceptual, perceptual, and expressive development, as well as technical skill.

For this section, students must submit a total of 12 images of 12 different works. Details may not be included. All images should be labeled with dimensions (height 3 width) and material(s). The Digital Submission Web application incorporates space to include this information. This section requires images of 12 works in which the elements and principles of two-dimensional design are the primary focus; students are asked to demonstrate that they are thoughtfully applying these principles while composing their art. These works as a group should demonstrate the student’s visual organization skills. As a whole, the student’s work in this section should demonstrate exploration, inventiveness, and the expressive manipulation of form, as well as knowledge of compositional organization.

The best demonstrations of breadth clearly show experimentation and a range of conceptual approaches to the work. It is possible to do this in a single medium or in a variety of media. When a student chooses to use a single medium — for example, if a Breadth section consists entirely of collage — the images must show a variety of applications of design principles.


• Work that employs line, shape or color to create unity or variety in a composition

• Work that demonstrates symmetry/asymmetry, balance or anomaly

• Work that explores figure/ground relationships

• Work that develops a modular or repeat pattern to create rhythm

• Work that uses various color relationships for emphasis or contrast in a composition

• Work that investigates or exaggerates proportion/scale

Students may not submit images of the same work that they are submitting for the Concentration section. Submitting images of the same work for Concentration (Section II) and Breadth (Section III) may negatively affect a student’s score.