The Downtown Meyer Gallery | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Downtown Meyer Gallery

Posted By on April 15, 2009, 6:30 AM

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For the longest period it seemed the west end of downtown SLC held the art scene. But recent years have had major galleries looking to the east.

--- As an expansion of their Park City roots, the Meyer Gallery shopped around and found itself a secondary pad right in the heart of downtown. Making a new home for themselves at the new Metro Building on 2nd East between both the library and the thriving Broadway section, putting a new gallery on a street section that for two years served as an annoying construction zone. I went and browsed around for some pictures, and chatted with curator Adam Hansen about the new place and plans for the future, as well as some other local art topics.

Adam Hansen

Gavin: Hey Adam, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Adam: Well, I'm a Utah native. I graduated from the U in Painting and Art History in '05. Art is really the greatest passion of my life. Other than that, I enjoy playing hockey and the typical Utah things, hiking, snowboarding, etc.

Gavin: For those who don't know about it, tell us a little about the Meyer Gallery in Park City.

Adam: The Park City Meyer Gallery opened in 1965, making it the second oldest gallery in the state. We have a great stable of established as well as emerging painters and sculptors--many of whom have been with us for a decade or more.

Gavin: How did you get involved with the gallery and what have you done with them over the years?

Adam: I got involved with Meyer simply by responding to an ad in Craig's List back in January. I have a heavy art background but I also have a lot of experience managing in other industries, so I felt I had a skill-set uniquely suited for this position. I interviewed on a Wednesday and started work that Saturday. It all happened rather quickly and it's been great. Meyer Gallery is a great institution and I'm really excited to be a part of it.

Gavin: Where did the decision come from to open a gallery up in SLC?

Adam: Susan Meyer, the owner, has had her eyes on the Salt Lake market for some time. She spent the last number of years paying close attention to Salt Lake shows and price points and finally decided there was a good art-buying client base in the valley. Perhaps the timing could have been better, but there was no way to foresee the economic problems we are experiencing now.

Gavin: What drew you to the location on 350 South 2nd East?

Adam: Well the building itself--the brand new Metro Condominiums building--was a big part of it. It's a beautiful building, located right in the heart of downtown. And there is just so much happening around that area. You have the library and City and County Building half a block to the south, the Broadway is less than a block away, and there are a number of boutique shops, coffee shops, and galleries along 3rd South. It's really an ideal location.

Gavin: Was it easy going setting the place up or were there some difficulties?

Adam: Fortunately the contractor who built the Metro building itself was available to finish out the gallery, so construction went very smoothly. Other than that, the city and the neighborhood were very excited and cooperative about getting the gallery launched.

Gavin: How did you choose who to display upon first opening?

Adam: Well we're lucky in the sense that we already have a really strong stable of artists to draw from. The artists we display at the Salt Lake location are mostly the same as Park City. We actually opened back in December to host a show for an emerging artist named Fidalis Buehler whose work isn't in Park City.

Gavin: For those interested, what's the process like for getting displayed in the gallery?

Adam: If you're interested in representation, the first step would be to submit a portfolio through email. The email should contain a brief biography, resume, and four or five good images that are representative of your current body of work. For instance, don't submit landscape paintings if you're now casting mule deer in bronze. If we're interested in the work we'll set up a meeting time and discuss it further. We are always taking portfolios, so don't hesitate to submit.

Gavin: A little local, what are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?

Adam: I think our art scene--in terms of visual art--has improved a lot in recent years. We are fortunate in this city in the sense that we have a great symphony orchestra, a number of theater companies, opera, ballet, and always a good selection of touring Broadway shows. There are a lot of arts options, and I think the visual arts are catching up with the others. We have an amazing and diverse pool of talented painters in Utah--as you know if you've ever attended the Springville Museum's Spring Salon. And there are also a number of Artspace-like artist communities popping up--Poor Yorick Studios, the Guthrie studios, Rockwood Studios, Saltgrass Printmakers, to name a few--and this is just within the last few years. There is really a lot happening.

Gavin: Anything you believe could be done to make it bigger or better?

Adam: I think increased participation at all levels is really the only way to make it better, and I think that's already happening. There is a real renaissance happening downtown and developments like our building are a big part of that. Salt Lake is becoming less of a commuter city--people are looking to live and play downtown rather than just commute here to work. We've only been open for two gallery strolls and have seen a good turnout both times, so we are optimistic.

Gavin: What you think of Gallery Stroll up in Park City and how it differs to Stroll in SLC?

Adam: The biggest difference is the concentration of galleries in Park City. Here, if you want to catch all or most of the galleries, it's a fairly substantial walk and a little driving. In Park City, all the main galleries are located on Main Street, and it's a pretty short walk to get to all of them. Another difference is that there is just so much more foot traffic in Park City, especially during the winter.

Gavin: What's your take on the Utah Arts Festival, and will you be doing anything with it since you're next door to it this year?

Adam: The Arts Festival is a great event, and we're glad to be located so close to it. We are thinking of ways to take advantage of it. We'll probably extend our hours, and we have a couple other ideas, but haven't settled on anything yet.

Gavin: What can we expect from you and the Gallery the rest of the year?

Adam: Well I'm really excited about the show schedule we have lined up. We will be showcasing some of Utah's best painters, including Seth Winegar, Glen Hawkins, George Allen, Bradford Overton, Zachary Proctor, and Jeff Ashcroft--well established artists and rising talents alike. Whether you prefer evocative landscapes, quiet still-lifes, or contemporary figurative painting, there really is something for everybody. Our openings will correspond with gallery stroll--the third Friday of the month--and we will have an excellent show every month.
Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote.

Adam: Our April show features three of the nation's best encaustic artists, Chris Reilly, Michelle Haglund, and Will Pope. Encaustic painting is done with molten beeswax, damar resin and pigment. Though it is an ancient medium--encaustic predates oil by hundreds of years--it has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the last 15 years. Layers of wax are built up, fused with a heat gun, then scraped, sculpted, embossed and textured in endless ways. The process produces paintings of astonishing depth and luminosity--this is a rare show that you don't want to miss! The opening will be held April 17th from 6-9PM.

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