OLEAN, N.Y. — SUNY Jamestown Community College is taking class outside this summer.
While COVID-19 has drastically limited face-to-face learning across the nation, the pandemic has created new opportunities for the JCC community.
The college’s introduction to drawing course, Drawing I, is moving outdoors on the Cattaraugus County Campus in Olean. The change of scenery safely distances students, and it also opens up a world of subjects for them to illustrate.
“It seemed like a perfect opportunity,” said Jessica Kubiak, JCC’s interim dean of arts, humanities, and health sciences. “While recognizing the uncertainty and safety elements, we also want to take advantage of this beautiful open green space we have on campus right downtown. I think the pandemic has led us all to really value what we have in our own backyards.”
Rick Minard, a Bradford, Pa., artist, will lead the class that is scheduled for each Monday afternoon from July 5 to Aug. 12. Minard also plans to meet individually with students during the week through video conferencing.
The class is open to all students. Those who pass will earn three SUNY general education credits.
“For me personally,” Minard said, “the ideal student” for the course “is a student who wants to get better at drawing and making art and wants to learn about art and what it takes to be an artist.”
Kubiak encourages students interested in working with watercolor to also consider taking the class, which is an accelerated version of what Minard teaches during the fall and spring semesters at JCC. His goal is to train students to look at something and draw it using basic principles.
Once they learn that, he wants them to break those rules.
“That’s the other end of art,” Minard said. “One end of art is being able to draw something so it looks like what you’re trying to communicate. And then you flip it. Now there’s feeling in it, and emotion and other intentions.”
Some may know Minard for the 50th anniversary Woodstock mural he helped produce on an old brick building on Bradford’s Main Street. But he makes a living teaching.
He started instructing painting and portrait classes a dozen years ago for JCC’s Continuing Education program (now known as Workforce Readiness). Wanting to do more, he earned a master’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
That led to Minard spending two years as a visiting art professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Since then, he has served as an adjunct instructor at UPB, JCC and St. Bonaventure University.
Growing up in Smethport, Pa., Minard was drawn to art from a young age. He loved comic books and spent hours recreating drawings of Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and Star Wars characters.
“The difference between me and everybody else is that somewhere between five and 10 years old, the decision gets made to keep going with it and get better at it, or go play catch,” Minard said. “That’s me. I’m the one who sat in my room and continued looking at pictures and books and reproducing those.”
Minard attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and Clarion University. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he spent a decade as a graphic designer and printmaker at SportsLocker in Olean and Team Minard, a screen printer in Bradford owned by his cousin.
Minard has also produced hundreds of paintings and drawings for solo and group exhibitions over the years. He is particularly proud of the pieces he has created by weaving two paintings together.
“That is something I came up with in undergraduate school,” Minard said. “I took two paintings and wove them together and thought they were awesome. It seemed to click. It’s a pretty cool thing. I really enjoy exploring those things. Just the fact of taking the same figure and doing two different paintings, you’re deconstructing the human figure. Then you reconstruct it in this really cool way.”
Drawing I is one of many classes being offered this summer at JCC’s campuses. To learn about other opportunities, visit www.sunyjcc.edu/summer.