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Art major selected to attend Utah artist-in-residence program
7/30/13

The Kimball Art Center, Park City, Utah, selected JoAnn Poirier, a junior art and design major at Alfred University, as one of five students to participate in its RELEVANT 2013 program this summer.

Poirier, who is concentrating on clay printing, is a graduate of Saint Mark’s High School and a daughter of Michael Poirier and Laura Mattick of Bear, DE.

RELEVANT 2013 is an eight-day, artist-in-residence event focusing on sculpture, painting, mixed media, and photography running from July 27-Aug. 4, 2013. The program is designed to give five under-graduate or graduate-level students the knowledge and platform necessary to become a successful, full-time career artist. RELEVANT provides the participants with one-on-one, in-studio sessions with a commercially viable, working artist mentor, panel discussions, and networking events with art industry professionals and collectors.

The program culminates with an exclusive exhibition in the Main Gallery of the Kimball Art Center running from Aug. 3-Sept. 1, 2013. Artists’ works will be displayed during the 43rd Park City Kimball Arts Festival, held Aug. 2-4. This event is considered to be one of the top art festivals in the country which attracts over 57,000 art enthusiasts.

Scott Iwasaki of The Park Record, Park City’s newspaper, interviewed the five RELEVANT participants. Here is what Poirier said about her artistic interests and participation in the program.

Why did you want to become an artist?

“I loved making things. My mom would always have crafts and things for us to do. I felt a real satisfaction in that. When I was in high school, I started doing ceramics and felt I had a natural affinity and talent for that. When I got into college, I started looking to find myself in art and how art tells me more about my perception in the world. With my clay printing, I met an artist named Mitch Lyons and he invited me to take his workshop on clay printing.”

How has art enhanced your life experiences?

“Art has opened my eyes to parts of people and the world in perceptions you don’t really think about. In ceramics, for example, you learn how people work. When you make a mug, you find that men and women hold them differently. It’s interesting to pick up on things like that and see what I’m attracted to and what other people are attracted to.

I also like figuring out what the role of the artist has in society. When you look at prehistoric art, you see that the artists had a specific role and were valued, as opposed to today, especially in America, where art isn’t necessarily valued by the average person.”

What are your thoughts about being accepted into the Relevant Program?

“I was just completely elated and felt this is such a great opportunity for me to really put myself out there for the first time and expose myself to a broader audience and not just to the people in my school or local community. I liked that I would be working with a mentor. He's been pushing me to expand my ideas. This has provided an opportunity for me to fully develop a piece and really give it deep attention and thought.”

What do you hope to learn from your mentor?

“He knows what the challenges of the art world are. We have been discussing how I can put words and imagery or whatever your medium is together to make your message available to be read and looked at by others. That’s something that is hard for me to conceive because I’m still in school and don't have that broad audience, yet. So, this is an opportunity for him to guide me.”

What is your project about?

“It is about the role of women in today's society. In my mind when it comes to race, gender and sexuality, most people in American may think we have come very far, but I think anyone can still be discriminated against for any reason. And we are not as far along as we think we are. The work involves mixed media. I like incorporating technology into my work. It enables me to be free with my concepts and imagery. I’m also using the clay printing process, because that can add great depth to the subject.”