Today: Jun 17, 2024

Southern student discovers her artistic talents

Brianne KaneStaff Writer

                        If you still think of the college art student as the starving artist, struggling to balance a textbook while sculpting the “next big thing” that kind of just looks like a lump of clay; the 20-something aged version of that kid in art class that took the coloring assignment too seriously – get ready to have your world turned upside down.  Ciara Cuminsky, a fine arts major who will be graduating in May is an atypical art student for one main reason: “I had never painted until I came to Southern.” An art major who wasn’t a mini-Picasso all their life? Those exist? Ciara Cuminsky has been attending SCSU for three years and in that time has studied in Paris, created her own series of paintings currently being showcased, as well as host an art radio show “Art Reach” on WSIN 15.90am. To say the least, she’s making up for those paint-lacking years.


                        Cuminsky found her inspiration in the Baroque period which is known for it’s direct and dramatic images, as well as its dramatic use of color; she also finds inspiration from mythology and religious depictions and texts. As a figurative painter, one who focuses on the human figure, Renaissance and Dutch art act as a muse for her own work. Cuminsky also tries to use the common symbols of bread and wine in her own work, to symbolize the blood and body of Christ – symbols commonly seen in Renaissance and Baroque period paintings. The “public environment” however is the source of most inspiration, but don’t worry she isn’t staring at you: “I’m always afraid people think I’m gawking at them, but really I’m just admiring and observing their form.” Cuminsky hopes to “intrigue with [her]  style and create some discomfort with [her] subject” especially through her newest series featuring various subjects being confined to a literal box while trying to “think outside of the box.” The series that started as a class assignment has now turned into a featured series in the Norwich Art Council and the CD Gallery in Torrington CT. You also can view Cuminsky’s work during the City Wide Open Studios in New Haven, in the Geoff Street Armory during October 26-27th.  Cuminsky hopes to begin “approaching social boundaries with physically contained figures” to get the “lovely and offensive at the same time” feeling, as one does with Caesar Santos – a famous painter, who will be the focus of her radio show this Monday at 8pm.


                       Even though Cuminsky now is being featured throughout the New Haven area, she admits she didn’t always feel very confident in her work. Many artists feel they are not “intellectually up to par” with their artistic competition. Luckily, however, Cuminsky finds confidence and encouragement in her professors and peers at SCSU. Professor Vu and Professor Carr in particular Cuminsky praises for being “incredibly encouraging and challenging” as well helping her challenge herself. It is this professor-student relationship that led Cuminsky to aspire to be an art professor. Cuminsky admits she always envisioned herself in some way involved in academia, and being an art professor seemed the most “realistic way to sustain an art career.” With the help of the Students Art League at SCSU, Cuminsky is leading a project of painting murals in some local schools as a stepping stone to leadership and professorship in the arts.

                        Ciara received not only the Southern Keim scholarship, but the Dorothy and Vernita Hayes Award from the sophomoric Society of Greater Hartford as well. As Ciara sets her sights on graduate school and figures out her next steps, she continues work on her series of confinement as well as various other projects. Keep an eye out of Ciara on campus – remember, she’s checking out how great your figure is, not checkin’ you out.

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