For 2017 Stadium grad, one more honor

Photo one of 30 chosen from 60,000 submissions

8/10/2017 | TACOMA, Washington

​[image: Rachael Ryu’s photo chosen for the National AP Art Exhibit]

Rachael Ryu graduated from Stadium High School with the class of 2017 in June and moved to South Korea, but she still considers Tacoma her home. That connection shows in an atmospheric and ethereal photo of her former neighborhood, selected by the College Board as a part of this year’s National AP Art Exhibit.

“I asked my parents for a point-and-shoot camera in middle school to replace my horrible flip phone camera, so that I could capture memories in a cool way,” said Rachael from her new home in South Korea after hearing the news. “I started to take it seriously when I once shot in the Philippines. I found out that I really enjoyed photos that observed the ordinary world through an unexpected perspective, because they were either humorous or gave an insight that made people dwell in and think about the photo for a little while.”

A panel of art educators selected by the College Board chooses just 30 artworks for the exhibit from the more than 60,000 AP Studio Art portfolios submitted nationwide in the spring each year. The organization produces the AP Art Exhibit each year to honor and celebrate the work of outstanding AP Studio Art students. The exhibit also informs students, teachers, parents and the art education community about opportunities available through participation in the AP Studio Art program, and shows the diverse subjects, styles, media, techniques, and forms of expression addressed by AP students.

​2017 Stadium graduate and award-winning photographer Rachael Ryu
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For Rachael, turning disadvantages into advantages became part of the artistic process.

“I can’t drive, and that severely limited what I could shoot,” she said. “But I'm thankful for it now because it had me studying interesting ways and timings and allowed me to extract some pleasant photographs from what I see every day.”

She also credits her experience at Stadium with encouraging her exploration of photography—and art in general.

“Photography (class) was a very encouraging environment, where students freely showed their work and tried hard to get better with helpful feedback from everyone,” Rachael said. “Ultimately, it gave me hope that my dream of working as an artist wasn’t impossible.”

Rachael also sees a future for herself filled with art, starting with college.

“I'll be spending my first year of college in Florence,” Rachael said. “It's exciting because it’s the arts capital of Italy, packed with history, architecture and stunning light. I'm mainly interested in design, photography and social justice. I believe knowing the history and living various cultures is important foundation for all three—to become someone who knows how to understand and connect with others.”

The exhibit will tour the United States later this year and appear online at the College Board website. Wherever the globe-trotting Stadium graduate winds up, she says a little part of her will always be with Stadium and Tacoma.

“I went to Stadium for three years, and I really appreciated the educational atmosphere,” Rachael said. “I call Korea, Boston, and Tacoma my home.”