The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School


The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School


The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School


Discover Your Love for Art at ACHS


Harper Travis and Aaliyah Royster

Staff Writers


Alexandria City High School offers a plethora of art classes to satisfy each student’s needs. The school offers nine classes: Art I, Art II, Art III, Art IV, Ceramics I, Ceramics II, AP 2-D Art & Design, AP 3-D Art & Design, and AP Drawing Portfolio. Art courses are taught by Ms. Beth Coast, Ms. Tabitha Eller, and Ms. Pamela Johnson. Art I-IV focuses on the fundamentals of drawing, sculpting, painting, printmaking, and 3D design. Ceramics I and II explore 3D clay figures and create decorative and functional pieces. AP 2-D Art & Design encompasses the use of 2D elements of art and design. AP 3-D Art & Design uses 3-D elements to focus on various principles of design.

Find your love for art

While students like senior, Eli Conger, who is majoring in graphic design at VCU Arts, have had a love for art since their childhoods, many students have found their love for art through taking various art classes at ACHS. Because of the amount of freedom to explore different mediums and styles in art classes, students deepen their appreciation and admiration for art. 

Kalina Kaufmann said, “I have always been into art but I’ve never really been able to explore ceramics. I thought it would be more fun to do this kind of stuff as art.” 

Ms. Coast works with her students individually to encourage them to create their own art and create it to the best of their ability. “Being able to work with each student individually, and helping them excel is the most rewarding part of being an art teacher,” she says. “The students do sketches to come up with the best creative version that they can come up with.” Through finding their love for art in various art classes, students develop their own art styles like “colorful and whimsical” or “rough, approximate, and unpolished.”

Developing Your Art Style Through Art Classes

Throughout the art classes, students have the ability to develop their art style in a variety of ways. 

Senior, Fiona Donovan said, “Art 4 has definitely helped me create more pieces based on my style.” Some people in art classes have a hard time finding their art style, so being in an art class helps them develop and find their true art style.  

Sophomore, Kalina Kaufmann said, “I don’t have a really specific art style because I like referencing from a bunch of different artists throughout this class.” 

The activities and projects students are given by teachers in the art classes can help students build their art style even with no art style background. 

Ceramics I and II teacher Ms. Beth Coast said, “We always start with examples and discussion and a PowerPoint that shows projects that they would be creating.”  Students who do already have an existing art style with their art use their art classes to build on their existing art style. Senior, Fiona Donovan said, “Art 4 has definitely helped me create more pieces based on my style.” Kalina Kaufmann said, “I feel like I go for more of like a realist kind of vibe.”  

Final Project 

At the end of the year, students are faced with final projects in all art classes. The projects can vary from an art portfolio, a clay model, or a presentation of all the art you have completed over the year. 

Junior, Hellen Russel said, “Our final project for this class is either our final presentation with everything we worked on and I think we also have an independent study where we can take what we learned from the year and make something of our own that doesn’t have a rubric or structure in any way.” 

Final projects are unique and different for every art class. In Art IV senior, Eli Conger said about his final project, “We have a portfolio due at the end of the year. A collection of all your work.” This final project can be a very stressful task for art students, so to help her students throughout the final project Ms. Coast said “It’s more about what they are making, not about that we expect them all to look the same.”  

The final project in art classes is a very tedious task that requires lots of patience and concentration for a long period of time. Junior Hellen Russel said, “In this class, I have to learn a lot of patience like ceramics requires a lot of patience because you’re working on a project for possibly months on just trying to get one thing right.” 


The art programs at ACHS offer students freedom in the classroom that fosters creativity and encourages students to create pieces to their best of their ability and reflect their own personal styles and stories. If you are interested in art but unsure how to get started, consider taking an art class. 

“If you’re not sure about your direction in art, this class [art 4] is good,” says senior, Evan Akins. Although art offers freedom, there is still work associated with the class. Conger says, “It is a lot of work but it’s manageable and doable. You have to want to pursue art.” Overall, the art classes at ACHS offer students a space to express themselves during the chaos of the school day. “It’s a nice break from the day and you can express yourself in a way other classes don’t necessarily allow you to,” says Donovan.

Photo Courtsey of Harper Travis

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Discover Your Love for Art at ACHS