</p> <h3>Elena Cheney</h3> <p>

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My personal experience with art began when I was 4 years old and picked up a paint brush for the first time. It was the biggest privilege I experienced in my entire life at that point. I was allowed to hold a tool of a master – my grandfather. I still remember the smell of oil and paint thinners. I remember carefully gridded postcards that were progressively coming to life with every one of his brush strokes, becoming alive. As a kid I always had fun with claymation, photography, painting, videography, sketching etc. Art was the only thing that allowed me to escape into my own world. It allowed me to create anything I could imagine. I believe that constantly traveling as a child, especially living in Croatia for a year during the war in 1992, shaped the way I perceived the world. However, growing up in Soviet Russia with artistic background was most certainly a challenge. Even though my grandfather and his team designed the Bolshoi Theatre curtains, my grandmother created educational botanical illustrations and my mother had multiple art shows across Europe, we were still dirt poor. After moving to the United Stated in 2000, I was forced to believe that I cannot have a new start at life as an artist and must pursue a degree in another field. My dreams of attending MICA in 2004, even with a scholarship, became unrealistic. I continued to push myself as an artist through Art with a Heart internship while attending Towson University as a psychology major. I also became a teacher’s assistant in Sensation and Perception because I truly believed that art is, in fact, therapeutic. Even after graduating Towson University cum laude and receiving my BS in Psych, I pursued art. I entered the world of graphic design. I learned Photoshop at work and had experience working on some amazing graphic design projects there. I continued freelance projects and continued to have art shows. My biggest accomplishment, I believe, is curating annual art events in order to benefit Children’s Miracle Network. I have personally and singlehandedly organized 3 shows, so far. My most recent accomplishment was my participation in a Manhattan exhibit in June. Working with mentally challenged adults and teenage moms during my internship with Art with a Heart while studying psychology really made me realize how important art therapy is in boosting self-esteem and establishing human connection. I have been supporting the community even further through my CMN fundraisers. My goal for this city in general has been to open it up to artistic talents and to appreciate art more deeply and wholeheartedly.

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Design, Painting, Illustration

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