Situated in and around the rural environment of Green River, Utah, HDTS: Epicenter was a weekend-long collection of site-specific artworks, happenings, and performances inspired by the desert landscape of Southeastern Utah and its rural communities. HDTS: Epicenter also served as a meeting of minds, with the two kindred institutions of High Desert Test Sites and Epicenter equally contributing to the organization and curation of events.
High Desert Test Sites’ then-managing director Aurora Tang first became aware of Epicenter’s work in 2010 from a trifold brochure left at the Center for Land Use Interpretation’s Regional Arts Complex in Wendover, Utah, where she also works. Aurora and HDTS co-founder/director Andrea Zittel were both familiar with Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio program at Auburn, the Epicenter co-founders’ alma mater, and followed Epicenter’s activities from afar.
It wasn’t until a few years later that the two organizations came directly into contact with one another, when HDTS 2013 participating artist Bennett Williamson was concurrently in residence at Epicenter as a Frontier Fellow. Bennett took a brief leave of absence from his residency to install his project in Joshua Tree, bringing Epicenter crew member Ryann Savino along for the 1000 mile ride.
Following the HDTS 2013 event, which took High Desert Test Sites on the road from Joshua Tree to Albuquerque, HDTS decided to turn its focus to the communities and contemporary art programs in rural Utah for 2015. The original idea was to work with a range of partners in rural communities all across the state, but after visiting Green River and Epicenter, it became clear that this single area was so unusually and incredibly rich and diverse in its natural, agricultural, cultural, industrial, and recreational offerings, that they could devote the entirety of the event exploring and highlighting this often overlooked region and still only begin to scratch the surface. Having Epicenter as inspiring and enthusiastic partners sealed the deal.
Alyse Emdur and Michael Parker
Butchy Fuego and the Seeing Trails Division of Fine Arts
Kathleen Johnson and Mark So
Alison Kinney, Daniel Nickerson, Cyrus Smith, and Matt Takiff
Jordan Topiel Paul and J. Gordon Faylor
Ephraim, Kiersten, and Raivo Puusemp
HDTS: Epicenter was made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts (Art Works–Design), Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Emery County Travel Board, and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation.