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The Kimball’s Young Artist Academy prepares students for life in art

Kimball Art Center Young Artist Academy member Zane DeKoff, 15, welds together a work that will be featured in a show at Artique in Kamas next month. DeKoff became interested in the metal arts after a Young Artist Academy session earlier this year.
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When the Kimball Art Center established the Young Artist Academy program nearly eight years ago, the staff wanted to give serious art students the experience of what it is like to be an artist.

That goal hasn’t changed, said Jenny Diersen, education director for the Kimball Art Center.

"It’s a preparation program in which the KAC gives them all that they need to excel in the visual arts in college and in their careers," Diersen said during an interview with The Park Record. "It is designed for students who want to be serious about the visual arts."

The Kimball Art Center is now accepting applications for the 2013-14 Young Artist Program. Deadline for submissions is Friday, April 19, at 7 p.m.

Diersen wanted to reiterate that the academy is open to all students, ranging in age from 12 to 17, who are interested in making a career in visual arts.

"Sometimes students will hesitate to apply because they don’t think they are good at painting, drawing or sculpting," she said. "But you don’t necessarily have to be extremely talented to get accepted into the program. You just need the drive to want to get to the point where you feel you are talented."

The academy is free, all Diersen asks of the students is a commitment to the program.

"We meet every Thursday, and attendance is something that is important to the to make it a success," she said. "The students need to make sure when they are accepted that they have the time to learn from the experiences we provide them during these classes, as well as commit to 30 hours apiece of community service."

The Thursday sessions offer the kids different opportunities, such as meeting professional artists.

"These may be artists that are exhibiting at the KAC, who can talk with the students about the works they are making and exhibiting or about their creative process," she said. "Or they can be artists that we bring in throughout the year to do workshops.

"This past year, we featured an encaustic artist who spoke to the class," Diersen said. "Encaustics, which uses melted beeswax and pigment, is something the students don’t learn in school, so the kids were interested in talking about the process and history of that medium. At the end of the class, they got to do a hands-on activity involving encaustics."

Last summer, the program featured a welding class.

"One our students just latched onto that medium," Diersen said. "The boy is 15 years old now and works in metal arts.

"So, the things we expose the students to can complement what they are learning in school, but also pushes them to excel and build their portfolios for college," she said.

Not only do the sessions prepare the students to become professional exhibiting artists, but they also examine alternative careers that are available to visual artists.

"Sometimes it is hard for parents to hear that their children want to major in studio arts, and they will worry that their children will have a hard time finding work in that career," Diersen said. "But there are all sorts of careers out there that visual artists can thrive in.

"For example, we talk about the graphic arts and design jobs, because, recently, Utah has developed a very strong connection to video game design," she said. "We also talk about arts education and how all sorts of companies are seeking people with creative minds to employ."

The Young Artist Academy is a free program, Diersen said.

"The 15 students who are selected attend at no cost," she said. "We support them through the fundraising we do throughout the year, and we have opportunities where the students themselves can do their own fundraising.

"Through the sale of their own artwork and through our participation with the Park Silly Sunday Market during the summer, these young artists can raise funds for themselves," Diersen said.

The academy also partners with other arts organizations to raise funds.

"For example on May 3, we will work with Artique boutique, a small artist gallery in Kamas, to show and sell some of our current students’ works," Diersen said. "A portion of the sales will benefit the Young Artist Academy."

Diersen is looking forward to the new session, which will begin in the summer.

"This is one of my favorite programs at the KAC and it is certainly fulfilling for the students," she said.

For more information about the Kimball Art Center’s Young Artist Academy, visit http://www.kimballartcenter.org or call (435) 649-8882. Applications can be downloaded by visiting http://www.kimballartcenter/young-artists-academy or at the KAC front desk, at 638 Park Ave.


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