—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.
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.
Design: Corbin LaMont
For more information on the Fellowship visit frontierfellowship.org.
RSVP to the event here.
A partial list of excellent activities done/sights seen during my month as a Frontier Fellow in Green River, Utah:
-Hiking in Arches National Park and watching my brethren climb death-defying heights while I stayed on the ground and took pictures
-Finding a level-one-difficulty geocache at Green River State Park after two hours and two consecutive trips to the park (I got an “I [heart] State Parks” pin shaped like Utah!)
-Eating many cheese fries and donuts at the eatery of champions, Chowhound
-Attending a four-year-old’s “Cars”-themed birthday party complete with “Cars” fishing rod gift
-Hugging any and all dogs I could get my hands on (I really missed my dog)
-Driving out to Lower Gray Canyon/the “beach” to watch the sunset with superstar AmeriCorps VISTA, Ryann Savino
-Cruising down the freeway in a borrowed pick-up truck on the way home from a trip to Moab, windows down & blasting the Dixie Chicks’ “Sin Wagon”
-Playing/losing my first game of Risk
-Reading poems and doing writing exercises with the stellar, smart, fun and funny 11th grade class at Green River High School
-The Sleepy Hollow Motel sign at the top of the street I stayed on, complete with neon roses
-Crazy gorgeous neon orange and electric pink sunsets
-Daytime desert moon in the sky
-Smashing out a pane of glass from a window, to be replaced by Epicenter’s Fix It First aficionado Armando
-The “Murder Room” at the volunteer house
-The many, many wallpapers of the volunteer house (glitter and floral being my favorites)
-Family dinners where everyone kindly provided me with delicious vegetarian options
-The insanely bright multitude of stars in the night skies
-La Veracruzana’s glamorously dressed collection of dolls
-Seeing the Bookcliffs everyday as they frame the town with their magnificent selves
-Dead Horse Point State Park, possibly the most vast and gorgeous desert landscape I have ever laid eyes on/been afraid of literally falling into
-Gotten my photo taken in front of a diner featured in one of my favorite movies, Thelma & Louise
-Watched my first ever wiener dog race and pumpkin chucking competition, both at the Moab Pumpkin Chucking Festival
-Wove a tiny rug at fellow fellow Bennett’s weaving workshop at Epicenter
-Learned my Meyers-Briggs personality (INFP)
-Wrote/sent more postcards in a month than I ever have before
-Slept in a bunk bed for the first time in 15 years
-Visited the Prehistoric Museum in Price (dinosaurs!)
-Bought many exciting items at the Green River thrift store; for example: Pisces mug, set of 2 Flintstones mugs, Scrabble Deluxe, Harry Potter UNO, a $3 paper-shredder, Strawberry Shortcake doll)
And somehow that doesn’t seem to quite cover my month at all. In a state I’d never visited, amongst people I’d never met, I (with the help of the community) created a life in the space of a few weeks that feels dear to my heart, a kind of life I can’t imagine re-creating anywhere else. I miss my friends and family and so look forward to returning to Georgia, but in another dimension (Mountain time) on a strange planet (Utah) lives a really beautiful life. I know others will be coming through and making their version of that life for themselves, and the people who live and work here have made it their primary dimension. Being a Frontier Fellow gave me the gift of so many kind people who I never would’ve known existed if I didn’t come here, not to mention the entirety of Utah, which I’d grievously left out of my imaginings for adventure ‘til I came here. Now I know.
Gina Abelkop is a Pisces living in Athens, GA. Her first book, Darling Beastlettes, was published in 2012 by Apostrophe Books. Visit themoonstop.blogspot.com for more information.