Young Artists’ Academy alumnus accepted into competitive graphic-design program
Ryan Summerlin May 27, 2014
Park City native Cheech Minniear is one of the Kimball Art Center’s Young Artists Academy’s success stories.
Earlier this year, she was accepted into the graphic-design program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
"I had just finished my freshman year and applied at the end of March, right before spring break," Minniear said during an interview with The Park Record. "This is a three-year program that I will start in the fall. It’s a very selective program and they only accept 20 students out of the 100 that apply. I’ll be working more with computer-based stuff."
Minniear said her involvement with the Young Artists Academy (YAA) helped give her a leg up for the program.
"Art was always the thing I was good at besides ski racing," she said. "So I decided that I wanted to give art a chance, because it is pretty hard to be successful in ski racing.
"It’s hard to be successful in anything, really, but art has been my other passion and I knew as soon as I graduated high school that it was something I wanted to do," Minniear said. "And when I looked at colleges, I looked for ones that had great art programs."
Minniear got involved with the YAA in her sophomore year of high school.
After her freshman year at Park City High School, she and a friend applied and were accepted into the program.
Minniear was in it for three years.
"I started off at Park City High School, but in my junior year, I switched to the Winter Sports School for ski racing and I graduated in 2012," Minniear said. "I had to balance my race training with YAA and it was hard, but I definitely made it work and was lucky to do that."
The reason Minniear wanted to apply to YAA was her love of art.
"I never got a chance to take art classes in school and getting into the Winter Sports School was great, but since it was such a small school, it didn’t offer a variety of classes, which really didn’t bother me until it came to art," she said. "I wanted to be more involved in art because it was something that I was always interested in."
During her time in YAA, Minniear learned a wide range of things about the art world.
"First off, we did so many different projects," she said. "I learned how to weld, which was pretty cool, because that was definitely something that I don’t think I ever would have done outside of YAA. We also learned jewelry making and ceramics."
A great experience for Minniear was being able to exhibit her work in the Kimball Art Center’s annual Wasatch Back Student Art Show.
"I did that all three years when I was in YAA," she said. "It was eye-opening for me to see the art world beyond high school."
Her works are mainly done with acrylic paints.
"I like working with that medium a lot," she said.
Minniear also participated in a variety of art competitions, including one concerning the YAA logo. The piece can be seen online at the Kimball Art Center website (www.kimballartcenter.org ).
YAA director Jenny Diersen set up the competition and accepted the entries.
"We all voted and mine was selected," Minniear said. "That was pretty awesome, because it was my first intro to graphic design and the mechanics behind it, which will help me at the university. I don’t know how long they will keep it, but I was very honored."
During her time with YAA, Minniear formed a close bond with Diersen.
"She’s the best person to run that program, because she wasn’t just a great artist and friend, but a wonderful mentor as well," Minniear said. "She is someone you feel comfortable going to with not just questions about art, but life. And I still value my relationship with her."
Being a Young Artists Academy alumna is something Minniear will wear with pride for the rest of her life.
"[The program] is something I really valued," she said. "I had to set my skiing and training aside a few times a month to attend YAA. It was worth it because it’s made me more creative and helped me look at different ways to look at things."
Minniear looks forward to the new things she will learn and work on at Miami University and has some ideas about her future.
"Ideally, I would like to come back to Park City and work for Rossignol and design their skis or clothing," she said. "That’s a pretty ambitious goal, I know, but I have a passion to do something like that."