Kimball Art Center education director moves on to Park City Municipal
April 22, 2014
Jenny Diersen is leaving the Kimball Art Center.
After eight years, seven as the education director, Diersen is now working in the sustainability department at Park City Municipal helping to organize all the special events that happen in Park City.
Diersen told The Park Record her move was a difficult decision.
"I will always have the Kimball in my heart as well and I will still do some smaller-scale projects with the Kimball, but I left because I needed a change," Diersen explained. "It was my job since I graduated and I was lucky to be offered a position with the city, and I’m excited about my new career, and think it will be great."
Kimball Art Center Executive Director Robin Marrouche said she is sad to see Diersen leave.
"We are going to miss her," Marrouche said. "Her love of art and excitement shows and is pure and infectious."
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Marrouche first met Diersen in 2008.
"I met Jenny when I started as executive director at the Kimball in 2008 and Jenny had already been there for a few years," Marrouche said. "She got my attention from the first day."
Diersen met with Marrouche and talked about her vision for some of the programs she was trying to build.
"I was impressed, because she was in her early 20s and she was already a responsible, mature, hard-working and driven young woman," Marrouche said. "She’s one of those amazing hard workers. She’s so passionate and resourceful when it comes to caring about art education."
From her contributions including the development of the Young Artists Academy to the in-school Elementary Visual Arts (EVA) program, which the Kimball Art Center partners with the Park City Education Foundation, Diersen took ownership and pride in it all, Marrouche said.
"Jenny was downstairs every Thursday from 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. working with these young students to help them prepare their portfolios to help them get into college," she said. "She showed them that their careers were important to her as well. She treats them as if they are mature young artists, even the really younger ones.
"I will miss hearing her say, ‘One, two, three, eyes on me,’" Marrouche said, laughing. "From that, I’ve seen so many young talents flourish under her mentorship."
Marrouche said she would not have ventured into EVA without Diersen’s leadership and excitement.
"Jenny did it because she was heartbroken that these days, elementary students don’t get art instruction like she did," she said. "We are immensely proud to have that program in our community and she developed that program from scratch."
Diersen, who traveled around Utah and taught art in schools, filmed her lesson plans and put them online.
"She also helped the other art classes at the Kimball grow with the diversity and her outreach with school tours," Marrouche said. "Then she also taught her classes in Georgia and Wyoming. Now other states are starting to pay attention to this superior education programming that she has developed and the curriculum that she has written."
Diersen started working at the Kimball Art Center in 2006, right after she gradated with an art marketing degree from the University of North Georgia.
"I was a part time employee at the front desk, and when I first got there, [the Kimball] had some classes and education programs," she said. "After a few months, I began working in the exhibitions department and, before I knew it, Annie Kennedy, who was the education director before me, left her position and I was lucky to be offered the opportunity to become education director in early 2007."
Kennedy left the foundations for expanding art classes, EVA and the Young Artist Academy with Diersen.
"I was lucky enough to take on those and grow them during my time as education director," Diersen said. "I was given a lot of opportunity at the Kimball and worked with a lot of people, including staff, board and community members, the youth and [was] able to make a lot of connections."
Those connections, Diersen said, allowed her to nurture the programs in the way both the Kimball and community needed.
"I really enjoyed working with the organizations that were youth-oriented and I enjoyed working with the kids as well," she said.
Diersen also enjoyed working on the various exhibits that have been on display at the Kimball Art Center.
"The exciting thing was that these exhibits changed all the time, so there was always something new and fresh that came in," she said. "I liked working on the big exhibits by Dale Chihuly and Nathan Sawaya and Ansel Adams. Those were filled with ‘oh my gosh’ moments when I was able to handle some of these works and meet the artists or people who are connected with the artists."
Diersen also enjoyed working with local and regional artists and learning about new mediums.
"I loved the annual shows such as the Wasatch Back Student Art Show that is up now, because it’s exciting to see the kids’ whose artwork is part of the show light up when they see their works on display," she said.
Diersen worked with the center’s former executive director Pam Crowe-Weisberg before Marrouche was named as new executive director.
"Robin was great," Diersen said. "She has been fantastic in steering the direction of where the KAC will be going in the future, and I think she is able to put all the departments together as a team."
Marrouche said she is happy that Diersen has embarked on a new journey.
"It’s a win for the city because she is a loyal and hardworking colleague," Marrouche said. "She is a gift to Park City, a real treasure. She’s a rare person. I know parents of the kids who take classes here would do anything for her."
In the meantime, the Kimball Art Center will soon begin a search to fill the vacant education-director position.
"Luckily, we have talked with her and she will stay on with the Young Artists Academy," Marrouche said. "It’s something that she’s poured her heart and soul into and she wants to see it continue to thrive."
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