During the Utah Arts Festival, The Leonardo is free to visitors from both the Utah Art Festival and the north entrance. Year round, the Art Lab hosts an artist in residence. In 2013, when artist Shawn Rossiter--current co-creative director, along with artist Liberty Blake--was in residence, he collaborated on a work for the Arts Festival with David Habben. The venture was so successful, that for the 2013 Art Festival, four teams of artists collaborated. For 2014, ColLABorArt hosts six teams, showcasing 3-dimensional art, performance, installation and large-scale murals.
Said Rossiter, “People can come in at different times of the day or during the four-day festival and watch how the work progresses. The Art Lab has individual residencies, and this ups the ante on the creative process--literally working it out on the floor--and there is some tension.”
Much of the success of the projects hangs on the success of the pairings. Said Rossiter “We invited the artists and had them select the partners they wanted, so that they could come up with a project to blend their styles of work together to come up with a new style. We want the audience to see the types of decisions artists make in their studios all the time.”
Austin Namba is a sign-painter accustomed to oil and flat surfaces. “I like to do sharp edges and perfected strokes,” he said. His partner, Jan Marie, on the other hand, said, “I prefer a palette knife, maybe a brush for ending details. I like a lot of texture and a lot of perspective.” Marie described the benefit of their collaboration as “learning different techniques; you can get stuck in a bubble. Namba added, “Learning what people love is not always what you love."