Get to know Grace Cier, an artist, skier, mountain biker, and the middle school art teacher we all wish we had.
Grace Cier grew up in Utah, a competitive mogul skier through her teenage years. In college, she studied media arts at the University of Montana in Missoula, where she worked as a freestyle ski coach and got into fly fishing. That’s when she started combining her interests in painting with her love of the outdoors. She would paint massive, brightly colored fish onto blank white canvases. The first piece she sold was a three-foot-by-three-foot brown trout. “I’d go outside and draw what I saw,” she says. “It’s my form of meditation.”
She’s also way into pointillism—an art style that uses small dots to create patterns and images—to draw mountain landscapes. She’ll draw her friends’ favorite peaks in the Wasatch and give them away as gifts.
After college, Cier worked as a web developer and painted in her free time. When a job opportunity arose with the nonprofit Park City Education Foundation, she jumped at the chance. In that position, she worked in elementary school classrooms overseeing a visual arts program. “I found myself loving being in the classroom with the kids, watching them get so excited about the projects and what they were doing,” she says.
Last spring, she graduated from the University of Utah with a master’s in teaching fine arts, and this fall she starts a new job as a middle and high school art teacher in Park City, where she plans to work with a wide array of mediums, from graphic design to photography, painting, drawing, and jewelry. “You realize these kids are going through so much and art can help,” says Cier, who’s 28 and a Flylow athlete. “I love seeing them break through and experiment with art. I want them to feel like this is a time they can push their limits and develop who they are.”
Art is also what gave Cier the confidence she needed in the mountains, whether on her skis or her mountain bike. This summer, she’s been racing on an enduro mountain biking series. “I don’t think people understand how important an arts education is on a child’s development. It’s such an important outlet for kids to discover who they are,” she says. “That translates to everything they do in their lives and builds confidence. If I didn’t do art growing up, I wouldn’t be half the athlete I am today.”
With both mountain biking and art, Cier is able to find a flow state, that magical moment when time seems to slow down. “Nothing else is going through my brain at that time except what I’m working on,” she says. “When I’m painting, I get lost in what I’m doing. That’s also why I love biking and skiing so much. When you land a trick skiing or you nail a line mountain biking, there’s no better feeling.”