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Rococo Disney Collaboration Inspires AP Lang Students

Walt Disney’s brilliant animation was inspired by an unexpected source: The Wallace Collection’s French 18th-century Rococo pieces, which creatively influence scenes in Frozen, and The Beauty and the Beast. TASIS students recently explored this creative partnership, currently on display at the “Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts.” exhibit.

 “I had a great time; I genuinely found it very interesting. It’s been one of my favorite field trips to date,” Grade 11 student Bella J. said.

AP Language and Composition (AP Lang) students viewed the exhibit on September 6. “We got to see the background and behind the scenes of how Disney worked to create its final pieces,” Grade 12 student Lauren S. said. Lauren’s classmate Daniel M. said he was drawn to “the amusing facial expressions” that were masterfully “replicated.” For Grade 11 student Abby R., the highly ornamental rococo was “not only beautiful, but I learned a lot about the French Rococo inspirations behind Disney's classics!”

AP Lang students join Walt Disney in taking inspiration from the Wallace Collection artworks – the exhibit will be the focus of their very first AP Lang essay. “I thoroughly enjoyed the AP Lang field trip to the Wallace Collection as it was not only thought-provoking, but it enabled me to learn about Question 3 for the AP test in an intriguing environment,” remarked Izzy D. (G12). “Had we taken the typical classroom approach ... I doubt the class would be able to grasp the concept of how to make an argument at such a deep level of understanding.”

“It was well worth visiting the Wallace Collection as a whole and the Inspiring Disney exhibit has provided our class with a compelling and relevant topic from which to construct our first of many essays to come,” Eli P. (G11) said. His classmate Samantha G. agreed. “It was an immersive experience that allowed me to both get away from the pressure of my AP classes, but also allowed me to think behind the AP Language exam and what I can apply to question three of the exam and the course at TASIS.” 

The artistic pairing will challenge the students to develop an argument that critically reviews the exhibition. “I particularly liked how the Wallace Collection exhibition field trip allowed us to enjoy the unique connection between American 20th-century hand-drawn animation and French 18th-century art, while simultaneously setting us up academically by helping us develop the skills required for the question three essay of the AP Lang exam," explained senior Farrida E.

The entrance to the exhibit features a Walt Disney quotation:
“We don’t think of grownups, and we don’t think of children, but just of that fine, clean, unspoiled spot, down deep in every one of us that maybe the world has made us forget and that maybe our pictures can help recall."
This point resonates with Grade 11 student Daniel O. who said the field trip was “a journey back to my childhood.” A journey that melds the imagination of the past with the intellect of the present in a way these AP Lang students will not forget.