By Mariah Mann-Mellus
Art Walks are held in many metropolitan areas, yet few are held every month and fewer embrace local art with such conviction and stamina as the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll has. We celebrate our ever-growing art community that strives to forge new terrain and offer a forum to inspire and refresh our souls. This celebration takes place every third Friday of the month when the art galleries open their doors to the public free of charge from 6-9pm. The Salt Lake Art movement started almost 75 years ago with the first Salt Lake Art Center located at the Finch Lane Art Barn, which later moved to the corner of Salt Palace Convention Center and Abravanal Hall, located at 20 S. West Temple. The Art Center was the brainchild of Mrs. Alta Rawlins Jensen back in 1928. After much persuading and fundraising the corner stone to The Art Center at the Art Barn was laid in 1931. The last 75 years The Art Center has gone through many changes: the new building in 1979, the struggles of keeping the gallery funded and keeping the art new and refreshing. The Art Center has kept the promise made in their mission statement. "To encourage contemporary visual artist's and art which challenge and educate public perceptions of civil, social and aesthetic issues affecting society."
In conjunction with the 75th anniversary The Street level Gallery of the Arts Center presents "Looking Back; 75 years at the Salt Lake Art Center." The exhibit includes many pioneers of local art, such as Susan Beck, Anna Campbell Bliss, Gordon Cope, Lee Deffenbach, George Dibble, Larry Elsner, Alvin Gittins, Stephen Goldsmith (original Artspace creator), J.T Harwood, Richard Johnston, Earl Jones, Frank McEntire, Waldo Midgely, Rodger Newbold, Don Olsen, Denis Phillips (of the Phillips Gallery), Tony Smith, Doug Snow, Will South, LeConte Stewart, Bonnie Sucec, Maureen O'Hara Ure, and Francis Zimbeaux. Curator Allen Dodworth notes, "Over the years, the artists whose work has been shown here have often been among those leading the way, and this is as true today as it was in the beginning." The show opens June 24th and will remain on display until October 14th.
As any celebration should, we reflect on the past and welcome the new. Material Culture The Fine Art of Textile will debut in the Main Gallery from June 24th through September 30th. Six contemporary artists will represent many methods of textile work, including Susan Taber Avila of Emeryville, CA, Lia Cook of Berkley, CA, Jean Hicks of Seattle, Washington, Wendy Huhn of Dexter Oregon, Elaine Reichek of New York City, and Judy Singer of Toronto, Ontario. Using craft techniques like quilting, felt making weaving, embroidery and machine aided stitching, these innovative women have turned time-old classics into refreshing and edgy fine art.
Thank you Salt Lake Art Center for 75 years. Thank you to those that bring shows to Utah. Thank you to the galleries and curators who lure artists out of their studios and assure them that the people of Salt Lake City appreciate art.