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Student enjoys 'growing experience' in Taos

College of Arts and Sciences Doel Reed Center for the Arts Museum of Art

As Jini Kim completes her OSU studio art degree this semester, she says she is a better artist, and more importantly a better person, because of her experiences last summer at the Doel Reed Center for the Arts.

"It changed me because I understand more about human culture in general," says the Tulsa, Okla., native. "Part of it was exploring the culture in Taos, which has a combination of Native American and Spanish influences. Plus, spending so much time with the people in my class for a few weeks pushed us to really get to know each other. It was a growing experience that I think all college students should have."

Kim views herself as a bicultural Korean-American and hopes to make her first visit to South Korea soon. For now, she appreciates that she was able to explore Taos' bicultural community.

Jini Kim

Jini Kim encourages other OSU students to consider taking a course at the Doel Reed Center for the Arts.

"It's like a different country but everyone speaks English," Kim says. "I've wanted to go there since my first class with (art professor) Liz Roth, when she told us about the area's rich heritage and culture. It was reassuring to see a city that has a hybrid culture like I do."

Kim, whose art focuses mostly on portraits, also wanted to strengthen her ability to draw and paint landscapes. She became "exponentially better" in Roth's class, The Artist's Sketchbook: Learn About Taos Through Drawing.

"Liz inspired me to pull out my pencil and paper whenever I feel the need to draw something," Kim says. "Before, I would hold back because I felt the need to work on other things. Now I take pictures or make a quick sketch and then really work on it when I get home."

Another important lesson came from her first collaborative art project. Led by Smelser-Vallion Visiting Artist Scott Kolbo, the students learned to strengthen group production by balancing their own initiative and compromising with colleagues.

"That opened my mind to different possibilities and ways of thinking," Kim says. "Scott gives great advice in general, even outside of the classroom. He is another really good connection I made in Taos."

Kolbo and Kim were both there thanks to the same benefactor: Jim Vallion. Along with endowing the visiting artist fund, he has supported the Doel Reed Center for the Arts' programs, facilities, art collection and scholarships. Kim was able to go because she received the Smelser Vallion Endowed Scholarship.

"I am extremely grateful for Mr. Vallion's generosity," Kim says. "I'm not rolling in money so the scholarship was very helpful. The donors have made this amazing experience affordable for OSU students, who I strongly encourage to look into taking a course in Taos."