Artist Spotlight: Sara Tinetti

Sara Tinetti

Retired graphic designer studying art at Inver Hills

Sara Tinetti, 67, believes learning never stops. Sara is a nontraditional student studying art at Inver Hills Community College. She is focused on expanding her skills using charcoals and oil pastels. She also wishes to learn everything she can about painting with oils.

“I always loved art during my childhood, young adult years, and beyond,” Sara said, “but because I was busy taking care of my family and helping to make ends meet, I didn’t take studio art classes outside of a few through community ed. I think there is great satisfaction in pursuing your interests, and to me, improving and growing in a discipline is a huge part of the reward. That seems true with just about anything—whether playing a musical instrument, skating, or making art!”

When asked what she has learned so far in her art classes, Sara responded: “Firstly, to draw what I see rather than what I think something ‘should’ look like. I have learned so much about (and am starting to internalize) the elements of art and principles of design, and see how they are improving my drawing and painting.”

I enrolled in Drawing I and II at Inver Hills for fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters. For years I had looked, trying to find a program like this—where I might not only develop fundamental drawing skills, but also develop an ability to understand others’ art and to express my own thoughts and feelings visually.

I have loved taking these classes at Inver Hills! I have been so impressed with my instructor’s expertise and dedication to teaching each individual, the depth of his knowledge both of art and educating students, and the encouraging environment in my class that has fostered personal exploration.

Sara Tinetti
Art Student
Inver Hills Community College

Sara added that besides these two factors, she has also had her first exposure to charcoal, oil pastels and acrylics.

“I have really valued the instruction,” she said. “Because each project is focused and builds upon what we’ve learned in the previous ones, it is really possible to see improvement. At the same time, because we are exposed to the work of great artists of all periods, we are constantly inspired. I have been stretched beyond my comfort level on every assignment!”

Rob Kolomyski, Fine Arts chair and art faculty at the college, enjoys working with Sara and admires her passion for learning. “Sara is one of my best students,” Rob said. “She has developed her craft to an expert level over several years of study in the Inver Hills Art program. She is kind, courageous and brings a unique perspective to every work of art she creates. I look forward to seeing her work in a gallery someday!”

Art in Crisis

In May 2020, Sara Tinetti contributed her artwork to a project call Art in Crisis. Rob Kolomyski, Inver Hills painting and drawing faculty as well as chair of the Fine Arts department, reported that his students submitted 94 works, which are featured in an Inver Hills Flickr album.

“During spring semester 2020, Inver Hills art students were thrown into a crisis,” Rob said. “How would we continue our studies and stay creative during the COVID-19 pandemic? Many students are not only trying to finish their degree, but they are also caregivers, home-school teachers, first responders and essential workers. All are experiencing the general hardships of this global outbreak.”

Art in Crisis project | Sara Tinetti

The lives of Sara’s friends, neighbors, and grown children have been greatly impacted by the epidemic, making it very difficult to continue on with life in a positive way.

“But besides helping directly in whatever way we can, I think it is important to preserve and experience those seemingly less essential things like art and music in our daily lives,” Sara said. “It is definitely hard to study painting online, and I really missed the help I would receive when in a classroom setting. But I mostly felt such sympathy for—and also admiration towards—the teachers, who have managed to do an EXCELLENT job in the middle of this; and also the students who are  experiencing much more difficulty in their lives than I am.”

More about Sara…

Sara Tinetti

Originally from Rochester, Minnesota, Sara graduated from Lourdes High School, Class of 1971. She worked as a graphic designer at Jostens, the nation’s leading provider of custom class jewelry, graduation products and yearbooks for K–12 and college clientele. She created brochures and more, doing a lot of work in Adobe Photoshop. Her department achieved MTM Recognition.

“I mostly loved doing the image work and also collaborating with my very talented and fun coworkers,” Sara said.

Dave canoeing with Saskia

Sara retired in 2003 and now works as an Airbnb host in her home. She has been married 47 years, and her husband, Dave, is a retired pilot for Southwest Airlines. Dave now has time to do some of the other things he loves—mainly writing and recording music, and performing carpentry/remodeling miracles for family members.

Sara and Dave have three adult children, two sons and one daughter, plus two grandsons. John, often called Johnny, 45, works for Target as a software engineer. Johnny’s partner, Sharon Quach, is a podiatrist.

Paul, often called Pauly, 43, owns a custom metals and wood manufacturing shop called Tinetti Fine Furniture. His wife, Emily, is a special ed teacher and parent and family educator for St. Paul Public Schools. Pauly and Emily have one son, Cole, 12, who enjoys hover-boarding.

Tonia, often called, Toni, 37, is a school social worker at River Bend. Her wife, Brittany, is a nursing assistant at the Minneapolis Veterans Home. Toni and Brittany have one son, Luce, 3 months old, who is not much help around the house, but he’s a great boss.

Sara and Dave also have one dog, a 10-year-old German shepherd named Saskia, one 5-year-old black cat named Jackson, often called Jaxie, and a wild, 1-year-old Bengal cat named Q.

When she’s not painting and drawing, Sara enjoys cross-country skiing, gardening and dog-walking. She’s also busy learning ethnic and classical music on a button accordion.

Sara and her family reside in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sara Tinetti family gallery

Sara Tinetti: Art student perspective…

I enrolled in Drawing I and II at Inver Hills for fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters. For years I had looked, trying to find a program like this—where I might not only develop fundamental drawing skills, but also develop an ability to understand others’ art and to express my own thoughts and feelings visually.

I have loved taking these classes at Inver Hills! I have been so impressed with my instructor’s expertise and dedication to teaching each individual, the depth of his knowledge both of art and educating students, and the encouraging environment in my class that has fostered personal exploration. The classes are very well organized while still being fun and relaxed, and Rob Kolomyski, our instructor, is always approachable and insightful when I’ve needed direction. It has been such a unique experience!

Also, being a nontraditional student, I have on occasion needed the help of the office support staff, and found them cheerful and proficient every time.

Sara Tinetti
Art Student
Inver Hills Community College

Sara Tinetti art gallery

Sara Tinetti Q & A

What is your greatest strength as an artist?

Perseverance and patience

What is your favorite artistic medium?

Charcoal or oil pastels, but I’m very excited to learn painting with oils.

Who is your favorite painter and why?

Difficult to choose! Probably Rembrandt, because he shows such depth and sensitivity in his portraits, capturing the spirit of the person; such freedom in his lines with ink landscapes and gestural drawings.

Rembrandt self-portrait age 34, oil on canvas, circa 1640

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What do you like best about studying art at Inver Hills?

I love studying art at IHCC!! Excellent teaching from very qualified artists (who are interested in their students!); both encouragement and real help to develop artistically. I think it’s amazing.

What advice would you give students thinking about making art their career path?

Persevere, be both positive and patient, and learn all you can. I truly believe that a career needs to be doing something you love and believe in or you not only will die inside, but you will be unable to really care for and nourish those you love.

Three words that describe you as an artist:

What is the greatest challenge facing your generation?

My generation? I’ll answer as though I’m a 20-year-old. One of the greatest is to see or realize your own immense personal value, and that of others.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Yikes!! I’ll be 87!  Maybe still painting (hopefully in my own home!!) as well as gardening, cross-country skiing and dog-walking!

 Art Transfer Pathway Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.) 60 credits

The art instructors at Inver Hills are accomplished artists who are passionate about teaching. They exhibit their work both regionally and nationally, and are exceptionally knowledgeable in their fields of expertise.

Whether you are a novice sculptor or a future art historian, our instructors are dedicated to expanding your artistic world both creatively and professionally.

Art Transfer Pathway Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.) is the ideal pre-professional degree for you if you plan on transferring to a four-year program to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.). The degree is also for you if you’re seeking to enter the art job market.

The Art Transfer Pathway offers you a powerful option: the opportunity to complete an A.F.A. with course credits that directly transfer to designated bachelor’s degree art programs at Minnesota State universities.¹ The curriculum has been specifically designed so that you can complete your pathway degree and transfer with junior-year status to a four-year school.²

“If you’re aiming to launch your career, earning an A.F.A. gives you the power and know-how to find your niche as a creative professional,” said Rob Kolomyski, Inver Hills Fine Arts chair and art faculty. “You also have the option take a few courses to discover your favorite artistic medium before continuing your studies for noncredit.”

More about the program…

The Art Transfer Pathway A.F.A. curriculum focuses on the following topics:

  • Art History
  • 2-Dimensional Design
  • 3-Dimensional Design
  • Introductory Studio Art
  • Second-Year Studio Art

The program concludes with ART 2295: Portfolio Development. In this course, you will create your portfolio to earn your A.F.A. or prepare for transfer to a four-year institution in pursuit of your B.F.A. In addition to photographing your portfolio, you will build important, art-related business skills, including:

  • Writing your art resume
  • Preparing your artist statement
  • Learning how to apply for and install exhibitions

Course Outline for ART 2295

Art courses at Inver Hills are offered in the following areas:

  • Ceramics
  • Digital Art
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Glass
  • Photography
  • Sculpture

Sara Tinetti 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Cross-country skiing, summer planting and making great soil
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Ireland
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: I’m not a great risk-taker, but thought snorkeling was quite exciting.
  4. First thing you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: Keel over!
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Bodyguard with Richard Madden (British TV series)
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: I haven’t seen many movies at all in a very long time, but here’s a 1971 French film: The Untouchables with Omar Sy
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: To learn how to listen fearlessly and with full acceptance, and to communicate with love and honesty
  8. Your national bird if you could have one: Definitely the prehistoric-looking pileated woodpecker
  9. Dream occupation: Soil microbe investigator, working onsite/outside, of course.
  10. Person you would most like to meet: J.R.R. Tolkien
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Paint and draw beautifully with more abstraction and creativity
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Our all-too-frequent inability or refusal to see
Learn more about the Art Transfer Pathway Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.) and taking art courses at Inver Hills by contacting:

Rob Kolomyski
Fine Arts Chair
Painting and Drawing Faculty

Admissions Team
College Center

¹ You may need to submit a portfolio for transfer to a B.F.A. program at a four-year institution.
² The Art Transfer Pathway Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.) program at Inver Hills is establishing articulation agreements with the following colleges and universities:
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Concordia University, St. Paul
Augsburg University

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