Winter Hues: January’s Gallery Stroll

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Drawing: Nancy Steele-Makasci

It’s easy to fall into a rut in January—that’s probably why some overachiever began the ridiculous tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. It’s hard to stay motivated when the snow turns icy and brown and it gets dark before dinner, or when we’ve lost track of bad-air-quality days—all the more reason to get out and look at some art. For January’s Gallery Stroll, go remind yourself that winter is a season and not a state of mind.

For a different hue this January, Utah Division of Arts & Museums hosts its 115th Statewide Annual Painting and Sculpture Competition at the Rio Gallery. From the far reaches of the state, 224 artists have submitted a total of 392 works in either medium. Jurors have meticulously pored over each submission and pared them down to 59 works by 59 artists, representing 44 cities across 18 counties. Awards are given for “Best in Show,” juror honors and honorable mentions. “This competition and exhibition is an excellent representation of the exciting work Utah artists continue to produce,” says Arts & Museums Director Lynnette Hiskey. The show opened on Nov. 21, but will remain on display until Jan. 9. The Rio Gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m., and is located at 300 S. Rio Grande Street.

While at the Rio Gallery, make sure you take a peep at the Art-o-mat, the brainchild of a North Carolina group known as Artists in Cellophane. The Art-o-mat repurposes old cigarette vending machines to dispense mini-masterpieces, which include ink drawings, jewelry, tiny robots and flip books. Utah Arts and Museums acquired the Art-o-mat in April of 2014. It will remain on display until Spring of 2015, when it will become available to travel around the state. If you want the Art-o-mat for your organizations, business or events, contact the Rio Gallery for its availability.

The Salt Lake Arts Council will embrace the darkness of the season and show us the light in black and white. Two exhibits will share the Finch Lane Gallery space at 54 S. Finch Lane. In the “East Gallery,” Jena Schmidt’s exhibit, Black North, will feature her large-scale abstract paintings. In the “West Gallery,” Elise LaJeunesse, Nancy Steele-Makasci and Matthew Kruback have joined forces for an exhibit titled Remapping the Natural World in Black and White. The show opens for the Jan. 16 Gallery Stroll and will remain up until Feb. 27, and a reception and artist talk with Schmidt will take place for the Feb. 20 Gallery Stroll.

Utah Arts Alliance invites you to jump down the rabbit hole and just leave this cold, dark reality behind. Their Urban Arts Gallery is transforming into Alice’s Wonderland, complete with tea parties, live music and cosplay. The show includes artwork, installations and other mixed media by these fabulous artists: Synthanthropy Art Collective, Sailor Taylor (aka Taylor Millet), Maomi Sunshine, Timm Paxton, Lisa Mace, Bacee, Derek Dyer, Taylor Maguire, That Guy Gil, Jenn Blum, Greg Shearer, Stephanie Hillman, Torsten Bangerter, Jenny Kennedy and more. The show runs until Feb. 15, but to get all the interactive activities, you should stop by during the Gallery Stroll reception on Jan. 16. The Urban Arts Gallery is located at 137 S. Rio Grande Street (at the Gateway Center).

Bundle up—a little cold and a lot of art does wonders for the soul, so go out and Stroll!