A Call to Place

—Utah Arts & Museums – For immediate release on March 1, 2016


SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Arts & Museums announces A Call to Place: The first five years of the Frontier Fellowship. The exhibition highlights the town of Green River through a project initiated by Epicenter, an interdisciplinary nonprofit organization.

The town of Green River lies within the lunar landscape of eastern Utah: rock cliffs reveal striations of sediment with boulders clustered below fracturing buttes. Green River is a place where the land is plentiful and the red dust, burnt cliffs, and lonely sky lie just beyond the end of its roads. Prismatic sunsets give way to stars that shine bold and close. If you’ve never seen monolithic terraces under an oceanic sky, Green River is the seeing place. The only town of consequence for many miles, Green River has been a welcomed sight to travelers for well over a century. Uranium mining, the construction of a missile base, and other economic booms led to times of prosperity that proved short-lived. As jobs disappeared and the newly built Interstate 70 routed travelers around, rather than through the town, businesses closed shop, buildings fell into disrepair, and the town’s population dwindled to its current size of 952. During the recent recession, Epicenter began partnering with the city and residents to reverse Green River’s economic misfortunes and strengthen the community.

Epicenter’s visiting artists, “Frontier Fellows,” prove an integral part of this revitalization by discerning and celebrating Green River’s rural pride and pioneering spirit. The exhibition, A Call to Place, features the first five years of Frontier Fellows, 50 visiting artists and collaborators who have each spent up to one month in residence generating place-based work in Green River alongside the community.

“We’re delighted to celebrate and reflect on one of our most stunning rural communities in Utah” said Gay Cookson Utah Arts & Museums Director, “Epicenter, and the respective fellows, are playing an important role in their community while expanding the boundaries of how we think about art making. Undoubtedly the contributions and perspective offered by these visiting artists will make a lasting impact.”

The exhibition runs from Mar. 18th-May 13th, 2016. An artist reception will be held on Mar. 18th from 6-9 p.m. for Gallery Stroll. The Rio Gallery is located inside the Rio Grande Depot at 300 S. Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Additionally the Gallery is open in partnership with The Downtown Winter Farmers Market every other Saturday from 10am-2pm from January 16th-April 23rd, 2016.

Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts (Artworks), Utah Division of Arts and Museums, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Steve and Juanita Sykes for their generous support of this project.

Participating artists/collaboratives:

Charlotte XC Sullivan, Zoe Minikes, Zorth Pilioneta, Miles Mattison, Nick Zdon, Daniel Strauss, Nicole Lavelle, Ali Osborn, Jamey Herman, Richard Saxton, Sarah Baugh, Justin Flood, Raphael Griswold, Emily Howe, Aidan Koch, Shawn Creeden, Catherine Page-Harris, Kristina Fong, Corbin Lamont, Zach Bulick, Russell Kerr, Cabin Time, Erica Dixon, Dylan Adams, Bennett Williamson, Gina Abelkop, Colin Bliss, Lucia Carroll, Cyrus Smith, Sincerely Interested, Michelle Benoit, Molly Goldberg, Mary Rothlisberger, Celia Hollander, Ryan Ford, Grayson Earle, Jordan Topiel Paul, Andrew Hamblin, Spence Kroll, Eliza Fernand, Geoffrey Holstad, Rob Loucks, Pete Collard & Alice Masters, Lisa Ward, Emily Howe, Jordan Gulasky, Phil Dagostino, High Desert Test Sites, Laurelin Kruse, and Sarah Lillegard.

Curation: Epicenter
Design: Corbin LaMont

For more information on the Fellowship visit frontierfellowship.org.

RSVP to the event here.

Frontier Fellowship Report: Melon Days 2015

—Phil Dagostino, Jordan Gulasky, and Emily Howe – 2015 Frontier Fellows

“And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” -Nietzsche

Under the moonless abyss of the desert night sky we lay as we stare at the stars. Streaks of sporadic space debris flash across as we hurtle through the universe. We are in Green River, Utah, where the fleeting insignificance of existence is all too apparent. Why here, and why now? “To build a float for the Melon Days parade,” I say. To whom? No matter. I have worn many hats, and the hat I wear here protects me from the scorching solar radiation—radiation not unlike that buried under the mysterious black pyramid on the edge of town. I have lost count of the many milkshakes I have drained from the Chow Hound. It is dry here, my mouth and skin attest. The river is cool and wet, an oasis of life. The train cries out as it passes through, stopping only long enough to pick up and drop off. “No time to smoke here,” says the conductor. “If you get off you stay off.”

YOU ARE HERE. The desert claims another soul.

– Phil

Working in Green River for three weeks was as fun as it was hot as it was challenging as it was covered in melon juice. Melon Days felt like the best time of year to be there, with families pouring back into town and flyers for every kind of event you can think of in all the shops and diners. Seed spitting, speed sitting, parade floats, and floating the river—we tried to do it all (and won a couple of things while we were at it). Spending time as friends, putting your hands together to build something for the pure enjoyment of a community was a wonderful way to visit Green River, and I am grateful to have gotten a glimpse into the lives of the people of a place very different from my own.

– Jordan

I came back to Green River because I felt there was still work to be done—more desert-relationship to unpack. As a Frontier Fellow in 2012, I was fresh out of college and eager to understand what it meant to make work in the West. I came back almost exactly three years later (two years, eleven months, one week) asking the same question, this time with a stronger personal practice, and a new motivation fueled by my recent acquaintance to the world of the nine-to-five.

Here’s what I found: Green River was still there. The town is the same; I changed. I started to notice more, to understand what it means to be new in a place you are not from, to listen and to observe, to show up. Coming back with a defined project helped—gave me a place to direct my attention. Our melon float shepherded us into the community of Green River. The inherent nature of a community-based project is that it gets you out into the community. To walk in a parade, you walk with the community. Lined up after the marching band but before the Republican Party, we didn’t have candy to throw, but we were still greeted with delight. We built a float, walked in a parade—things that happen in small towns across America, but this was truly work I could not have made anywhere else. Headed south to Albuquerque in a car fragranced with melon, Green River took its official classification as ‘a place I come back to.’


Tuesday, October 13th, 2015


2015 Visiting Artists & Designers

Announcing, Epicenter’s Frontier Fellows and visiting creative professionals for 2015! Top left to bottom right:

Geoffrey Holstad
Ojai, California, USA (graphic designer and artist)

Rob Loucks
Portland, Oregon, USA (artist and dj)

Pete Collard
London, England, United Kingdom (writer and curator)

Lisa Ward
Portland, Oregon, USA (architect and artist)

Emily Howe, Jordan Gulaskey, and Phillip Dagostino
The West, USA (designer, printmaker, and neurosurgeon respectively)

High Desert Test Sites
Joshua Tree, California, USA (non-profit organization)

Laurelin Kruse
Los Angeles, California, USA (artist and curator)

Sarah Lillegard
Reno, Nevada, USA (artist and educator)

Friday, February 6th, 2015


Christmas Giveaway

2012 Give-Away Prizes

In celebration of another great year, we’re giving away some amazing prizes that we feel perfectly reflect our year:

1) one knitted beanie cap made with up-cycled yard from the Green River Thrift Store by Frontier Fellow, Emily Howe
2) one unique embroidered Rural and Proud tote bag by Maria Sykes (inspired by Shawn Creeden, Frontier Fellow)
3) the first edition of “Red Sands,” a comic made by Frontier Fellow, Aidan Koch, made during her time in Green River
4) one white hand-silkscreen-printed tea towel featuring a black magpie, drawn and printed by Hayley Crooks
5) one bundle including one “Beasts I Have Known in Green River” zine by Hayley Crooks, one hand-printed “La Veracruzana” postcard by Emily Howe, and one copy of “Road Maps” by Nicole Lavelle (2011 Frontier Fellow)
6) one copy of “The Majestics” catalog by Frontier Fellow, Richard Saxton, of his work while in Green River and featuring a music cd by 4-H Royalty
7) one set of three framed landscape photos taken in Green River by Frontier Fellow, Sarah Baugh, in August of this year
8) one voucher for $25 at w-o-r-d-u-p.biz by Frontier Fellow, Nicole Lavelle
9) one voucher for $50 at w-o-r-d-u-p.biz by Frontier Fellow, Nicole Lavelle

Want to win one of these unique gifts? Do these two things to be entered to win:

1) Donate $10 or more to Epicenter here* before Sunday December 16, 2012 at 6pm MST.
2) Tweet, write a blog post, share on Facebook, or email your friends about the Epicenter or the Frontier Fellowship. We’ll know if you’re being naughty (aka lying) or nice. We have elf spies all over the internet!

How It Works: For every $10 that you donate, you are entered to win. For example, if you donate $500, your name is entered into the drawings fifty times. Winners will be selected by random drawing of all entries submitted. The winners will be announced right here on our blog and via email on Sunday, December 16, 2012. If you would like more details on any of the prize items, please email Maria. Our prizes have been graciously donated by our Frontier Fellows and employees of Epicenter, and most of these pieces were made in or inspired by Green River, Utah. Items will be shipped on Monday, December 17, 2012. Please note that for prizes 8 & 9, Nicole will send the voucher in the mail on December 17th, not the final artwork.

Publicity: By participating, all winners grant Epicenter permission to use their names and locations in connection with promotion of this and other contests.

Taxes: All donations are tax-deductible. If you would like a receipt for your donation, please email Maria.

*We also accept checks and cash, but they must be in-hand by Saturday, December 15, 2012. Call or email us if you have any questions.

Friday, December 7th, 2012


Bookbinding with Emily

Emily Howe teaching at the Green River High School

Bookbinding @ Green River High
“The first class started with a presentation of my own work, followed by examples of different book structures and artistic interpretations of the book. Students were given a handout in the form of an unfolded book. They were then led through the process of folding the single page structure and introduced to basic bookbinding terminology. The remainder of the class was spent instructing and making the accordion structure. The second day focused on sewn structures. Students prepped their papers, and were taught the sewing technique for a 5-hole pamphlet stitch. The second half introduced the Japanese sewing technique of the stab binding. There was some amount of confusion on this, and additional assistance was necessary for some students. The workshop was very well received by the faculty and majority of the students. All successfully completed all four structures, with nice creative finishing touches. One student was very excited about the process and was given some additional instruction on more complicated sewing techniques to do in her own time. I left the teacher, Burke Simmons, with additional copies of the handout after he mentioned that he would be teaching some of these techniques to his seventh grade class later in the day.”

Stats: Hours of Prep: 5 ; Hours of Class Time: 50 min class (x4); Participants: 12—15, plus one faculty member; Grades: Junior/Senior, Freshmen; Supplies: Used paper from the high school, one dowel rod, Emily’s tools, tabloid-sized handout was printed at Epicenter.

Bookbinding @ Epicenter: An evening community skills workshop open to the public.
“I introduced some basic bookbinding terms and concepts, then instructed the group on how to do the pamphlet stitch. Some participants came with their own papers they were inspired to work with. A variety of books were created, some participants even made multiples and drew the content of their book during the workshop. Since completing the session, individuals have reported the desire to continue making books on their own.”

Stats:6 participants; 1 hour work time; 45 min prep time; Materials provided by Epicenter and Emily Howe

We love making books! It was a great honor to host Emily Howe in Green River. She is a true renaissance woman. Emily has taught us, as well as some lucky high school students, a nifty new craft that we will be sure to continue. It was exciting to see this artistic knowledge passed along to the young adults. So, come back and visit whenever you want, Emily!

Monday, October 22nd, 2012


Frontier Fellow: Emily Howe

Life With Mice (knitted mice and drawings) by Emily Howe

Today is Emily Howe’s last day as a Frontier Fellow at Epicenter, and last night was her final hurrah. In addition to an amazing potluck dinner, Emily displayed and projected her work from the past four weeks and taught an all ages bookbinding workshop. During Emily’s time in Green River, she knitted (more than we thought humanly possible), she taught two “Design Through Baking” classes at the Community Center, and she also taught two classes on bookbinding at Green River High! WOW!!! Thank you, Emily! We’re sad to lose you after what feels like such a short month.

Melons (knitted hat and drawings) by Emily Howe

“Welcome Home” (knitted banner) by Emily Howe

Emily placed her, “Welcome Home.” piece on abandoned houses in and around Green River as a sign of affection to forgotten homes.

Pamphlets by Epicenter

Again, in addition to teaching youth and teens, Emily also taught the Epicenter crew how to create bound pamphlets. We’re hooked, and we hope to create many more. We’re taking custom order requests!

Interested in coming to Green River for a month to volunteer, create art, teach youth, or other projects? Apply for the Frontier Fellowship here. The suggested deadline for 2013 is December 1, 2012.

Friday, October 19th, 2012


Knit Watermelon Hat by Emily Howe

(Clockwise from top left) Emily Howe with hat (rolled); Emily with hat (unrolled); Detail; Fits right in!

Finally! An adorable handmade knit melon hat for adults! Even better, the hat is made from up-cycled yarn from the Green River Thrift Store and made by our amazing knitting Frontier Fellow, Emily Howe!!! For our followers that don’t know, Green River has the world’s best melons, so this hat is basically as Green River as it gets.

Hat details: The hat has a two shades of green ribbing “rind”, off-white ribbing “inner rind”, and red “flesh” with black “seeds”. The watermelon seeds on the cap are knitted directly into the cap for a flat finish. This winter-time hat will fit the average adult head. The hat circumference is 24″, and will fit a head size of 22-23″. At a height of 11″ (including the 2.5″ pom pom on the top!), this hat will cover your ears warmly. The circular-knitting construction means that your scalp will not be irritated by any bulky seams.

Love it? Can’t live without it?! Well, buy it! As far as we know, Emily will not be making another of these hats so this is one-of-a-kind!

Thursday, October 18th, 2012


Frontier Fellow Report: Emily Howe

The Green River Community Center kids and Emily Howe

“There’s a certain lack of control you have to accept when making cookies with elementary schoolers. Baking is generally an art of precision, measuring, and following directions. Baking with kids is closer to chaos, but once you embrace the chaos it can actually be pretty fun. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at the Green River Community Center teaching the after-school program how to make cookies. It was an exercise in patience for all involved. The kids took turns measuring out and adding ingredients to the bowl, passing it around the circle for each step of the process. Cracking the eggs was by far the most popular, too bad there were only two per batch (meringues next time?). Mixing was also a crowd pleaser. After the dough was completed, we all got a ball to sculpt into the perfect cookie. It was great to see what the kids came up with, one person’s design might influence what their neighbor was working on, and then the whole table would end up with stars. I love watching kids have the opportunity to be creative with their food, it’s a nice reminder that art projects can happen anywhere.” -Emily Howe, Frontier Fellow

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012