Welcome to our art and neighborhood
If Gray, who makes his living studying contemporary art, underestimated the local talent, imagine what the average resident thinks about it. “When you’re working two jobs, when are you going to squeeze in a gallery stroll?” says Jacob Brace, executive director of Neighborhood House. A Salt Lake City nonprofit, Neighborhood House provides affordable day care and support services to children and adults, based on their ability to pay. Brace says Neighborhood House clients are interested in art, but typically lack the time, inclination and energy to pursue it.n
“Salt Lake City is a small community. There are a lot of artists here, but they’re just not that easily tapped into unless you’re within that culture,” Brace says, adding that he’s definitely not in the loop. A planned collaboration with 337, now an official nonprofit, should change that. Neighborhood House board members contacted 337’s Price and proposed a show featuring commissioned works by urban artists. Those selected will paint a series of eight garage doors attached to Neighborhood House and facing the street on 1050 W. 500 South. “From the artists’ perspective, it’s a chance to get some paying work and it’s going to be juried, so hopefully it’s something they can put on their resumes,” Price says. “It’s also going to get art into, essentially, an artistically underserved community.”
“One of the things 337 brings is an audience that’s not afraid of the west side,” Brace says. “It’s not your traditional gallery stroll audience. So they’re probably going to be coming over without even thinking about where they are. It’s not going to be a trip where they call up their friends and say, ‘Let’s go to the west side,’ it’s going to be, ‘Let’s go to over to Neighborhood House and check out 337’s project.’"
As our city grows, so do our options for viewing and creating art. Neighborhood House hopes to enrich its clients’ lives and increase its profile through visual art projects. While the organization has been around for 114 years, many don’t know what or where it is—which sounds a bit like the Salt Lake Art Center.
“If we can somehow get out of our comfort zone and stop pigeon-holing ourselves, maybe we can help these artists get out as well,” Brace says. It would be cool if we had an artist five years from now who said, ‘Oh yeah, I know Neighborhood House—I did one of my first major projects there and somebody saw it and I got commissioned to do a piece somewhere else.’ Neighborhood House could help launch careers—that message to our kids is invaluable.”
Brace wants to see downtown gallery strolls extend under or over the Interstate 15 viaduct, bringing art to the west side on a monthly basis. He believes it’s possible to bridge gaps between classes and cultures in Salt Lake City, and community-based art is the perfect tool to do it. “Embrace, educate and empower: Once you harness that skill in the community you have something people can rally around.”
Adam and Dessi Price will keep doing their part through additional 337 projects—including a potential collaboration with Liberty Heights Fresh market 1300 South and 1100 East. Their plans involve the market’s dilapidated property across the street (currently a parking lot) that once housed a Dairy Queen. Eventually, a truck will travel around town with revolving installations on display, stopping at yet-to-be-determined locations. And there there are City Center Lofts, a new mixed-use development built with recycled shipping containers on 337 S. 400 East.
In turn, Adam Price hopes Salt Lake City will rally around Present Tense—and that the Salt Lake Art Center will play an integral role in shaking things up.
“There is a legitimate debate about how much the art center should be showing local artists, but I think even when they show international artists they can do a much better job of making clear to artists, ‘We’re doing this partly for you, giving you a chance to get exposed to stuff you can’t see anywhere else in Salt Lake City,’“ Price says. One option, he says, would be to reserve opening nights for local artists. “All of that should be on the table, and I think it will be.”
Which isn’t meant to downplay the public’s role. “A lot of our focus is on education about our exhibitions,” the center’s Thomas says. “With Present Tense, there will be art talks related to the exhibit so there can be a whole conversation about why we’re doing this thing.
“From the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep we are looking at art," Hueman says. "Some of that art is going to be looked at in 20 years with a sense of nostalgia and some of it is going to be looked at in 500 years as incredibly historically significant.”
EXHIBITING ARTISTS: 337 photos by Lewis Francis also on display. For a complete list of artist panels and art talks, visit SLArtCenter.org DOCUMENTARY:
n PRESENT TENSE: A POST 337 PROJECT
Salt Lake Art Center, 20 S. West Temple, 328-4201, June 20-Sept. 27, 2008
On opening night (Friday, June 20, 6-9 p.m.) Free shuttle bus departs Nobrow Coffee & Tea (315 S. 300 East) every 10 minutes to Salt Lake Art Centern
Trent Alvey, Hairy Baldwin (aka STRUT), Trent Call, Andrew Callis, Amy Caron, Craig Cleveland, Kier Defstar, Cara Despain, Dave Doman, Trinity Forbes, Lenka Konopasek, CJ Lester, William Lewis, Tessa Lindsey, Michael McGlothlen, Shawn Porter, Erin & Nick Potter, William Robbins (aka Elmer Presslee), Dessi Price, Shawn Rossiter, Zara Dawn Shallbetter, Sri Whipple, Ben Wiemeyer, Margaret Willis
Afterimage: The Art of 337, Filmed by The Dada Factory (Davey Davis & Alex Haworth)
Screenings at Salt Lake Art Center: June 21, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 20: 4 p.m.
July 11, Aug. 8, Sept, 12: 7:30 p.m.
337 photos by Lewis Francis also on display. For a complete list of artist panels and art talks, visit SLArtCenter.orgn