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.

HDTS: Epicenter Recap

Julie Brody, Kate Brown, Dominique Cox, Mari Garrett, and Gabie Strong performing “Brainchild Part 3” by Kathleen Johnson and Mark So (click to enlarge)

This weekend Green River welcomed over 100 visitors for HDTS: Epicenter. Twelve different artist groups from around the country showcased projects, installations, and performances in and around Green River, including folk ballads performed in Black Dragon Canyon, interactive hammock weaving (with corn stalks, no less!), and a chance for visitors and locals to be photographed with their car. The project was a collaboration between Epicenter and High Desert Test Sites, an arts organization based in Joshua Tree, California that has put on similar events in the past.

Friday night potluck at Epicenter (click to enlarge)

Things officially kicked off on Friday with a potluck and swap meet hosted at Epicenter. Over 75 people showed up to share food, meet new friends, and catch up with old ones. Several projects went on display, including Alyse Emdur and Michael Parker’s “Geyser Girls” drawing residency at Crystal Geyser and “Rural Light” at the Dunham Melon Stand, Jordan Topiel Paul and J. Gordon Faylor’s “Motel Room” installation at the Robbers Roost, Allan McCollum’s “Reprints” at the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Price, and the Puusemp family’s “Gamma,” an installation that made radiation experienceable by sonically representing each radiation wave passing through a small area. Visitors passing through Green River for a pit stop got the opportunity to be photographed with their car as part of Nicole Lavelle’s “Autoland” at the Conoco Gas ’n Go. Those willing to get out of town could visit “Site Specific Hammock 2 and 3” by Bennett Williamson, a set of two hammocks which visitors could participate making by learning a weaving technique. One hammock was made of recycled fabrics, while the other was made from harvested corn stalks.

“Site Specific Hammock 2 and 3” by Bennett Williamson and “Gamma” by the Puusemp Family (click to enlarge)

On Saturday visitors could catch projects they didn’t see the day before as well as attend a few unique events. Charlie Macquarie’s “Library of Approximate Location” was open at Swasey’s Beach, where visitors could peruse a unique collection of books and documents pertinent to Green River, Utah, and the Inland West. Butchy Fuego and the Seeing Trails Division of Fine Arts performed “Doppler” at the Municipal Airport: two trucks, one with Butchy Fuego and a drum kit, the other with Jeremiah Chiu and a keyboard, began at opposite ends of the runway and drove toward each other, meeting in the middle, creating a unique sonic experience for the stationary audience. Steve Badgett’s “River Quaternion”—a giant, floating black pyramid, sailed/hovered down the Green River from the Main Street bridge to the Crystal Geyser as the sun set. In the afternoon, a group of explorers left for Cabin-Time’s “Sleepout” at Wild Horse Butte—a no electronics, all-wilderness overnight experience, while those still in Green River attended the Seeing Trails DFA’s “Past on Present” projection and laser show/party at the Bunker.

“Past on Present” by the Seeing Trails DFA and “Rural Light” by the Michael Parker and Alyse Emdur (click to enlarge)

Sunday began a day of travel and performances. In the morning, Alison Kinney, Daniel Nickerson, Cyrus Smith, and Matt Takiff gave a performance of folk songs and cowboy ballads in Black Dragon Canyon—the unique shape of the canyon enhancing and distorting the acoustics to create a magical experience. In the afternoon, visitors traveled to the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville for a performance of “Brainchild” Part 3, an otherworldly performance set among the alien earth formations that lie between Capitol Reef and the San Rafael Swell.

“Doppler” by the Seeing Trails DFA and “Desert Dreamscape” by Kinney, Nickerson, Smith, and Takiff (click to enlarge)

On Monday things began to wind down, but not before the Seeing Trails DFA led a hike around Blue Castle, a grey-blue monolith north of town. During the hike, visitors could engage with various viewing portals that framed different views of the landscape. The event officially wrapped at noon. Overall it was a highly successful weekend and a great collaboration with High Desert Test Sites.

“River Quaternion” by Steve Badgett

Our participating artists included Steve Badgett, Cabin-Time, 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, Nicole Lavelle, Charlie Macquarie, Allan McCollum, Jordan Topiel Paul and J. Gordon Faylor, Ephraim, Kiersten, and Raivo Puusemp, and Bennett Williamson.

Thanks to our local volunteers and partners: Allen Burns, Dunham Melons, Gas-N-Go, Green River Thrift Store, PACT, Robbers Roost Motel, and Shady Acres.

Thanks to our wonderful crew of volunteers who made this weekend run so smoothly: Andrea Bacigalupo, Paulina Berczynski, Cari Carmean, Matthew Dannevik, Bob Dornberger, Luke Forsyth, Leah Gallant, Adam Geremia, Marisa Goedhart, Bill Morrison, Joelle Neuenschwander, Antonia, Julia Schenck, and Sophie Trauberman.

“Autoland” by Nicole Lavelle and “Library of Approximate Location” by Charlie Macquarie (click to enlarge)

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.

Photos and video by Bill Morrison. Find more photos from the event on our instagram and at #hdtsepicenter.

Monday, October 19th, 2015


HDTS: Epicenter – Motel Room

One of the projects happening for HDTS: Epicenter is entitled “Motel Room,” created by Jordan Topiel Paul and J. Gordon Faylor. Read the text component of the installation HERE.

Friday, October 9th, 2015


Get Ready for HDTS: Epicenter


Here it is! CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the event map and schedule. Print out a copy to take with you, or pick one up at Epicenter (site 5, 180 S Broadway in Green River, 435-564-3330), our HDTS: Epicenter HQ during the event.


If you’re looking for a place to stay or a route to take, here are some suggestions.
Still looking for a ride or have one to offer? Check out the HDTS: Epicenter Rideshare.
To learn more about this event, visit the main HDTS: Epicenter event page.

There are more sites than you may be able to see, so pick and choose, take your time, and obey speed limits. Do not drive drunk or when drowsy!

Many events will require driving on graded dirt roads. Consider carpooling in cars with high-clearance and 4×4. In the event of heavy rains, conditions will become much more treacherous. Creek bed washes and impassable roads may be a factor for Swasey’s Beach, Stone House, The Bunker, Wild-Horse Butte, Black Dragon Canyon, and the Mars Desert Research Station locations. Watch the weather and exercise caution.

If the road appears soft rather than packed, either avoid it or keep your vehicle moving over the soft spot at a good speed. If you do get stuck in the sand or mud, do not gun your car – that will only dig you in further. Place old carpet or car floor mats under your tires and try to back out slowly. Another trick is to let some air out of your tires. If all else fails call a tow truck: Green River Towing: (435) 820-0941 or Interstate Towing Service: (435) 564-3213.

Some sites require a short hike in–comfortable and sturdy footwear is recommended! Bring your own camp chair or blanket if you would like seating at any of the sites/performances.

Do not rely on your cell phone–cellular service can be spotty and GPS address mapping can be misleading in and around Green River. We recommend carrying a printed map or road atlas in your car.


Sun: While the desert can be cool in the fall, direct sun and low humidity can have severe effects. Bring lots of water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a shade hat.

Wind: Southern Utah can get quite gusty in the fall, especially in the early afternoons. Be sure to tie-down your tent and other gear before leaving your camp.

Flash Floods: Flash floods can occur during rainstorms any time of the year. These unpredictable events can drastically change hiking conditions and can quickly become life-threatening. If a storm develops and a flash flood situation is created, get to the highest and safest point possible and steer clear of canyons.

Cryptobiotic Soil: Biological soil crust is a living groundcover that forms the foundation of high desert plant life in the surrounding area. This knobby, black crust is dominated by cyanobacteria, but also includes lichens, mosses, green algae, microfungi, and bacteria. Unfortunately, many human activities negatively affect the presence and health of soil crusts. Please walk on trails, on rock, or in sandy washes (where water flows when it rains), and keep all vehicles and bikes on designated roads.


The HDTS: Epicenter HQ will have lots of things for sale, including the new HDTS: Epicenter publication ($5), HDTS & Epicenter gear, and a Swap Meet featuring handmade goods and wares from some of our favorite artists and friends. Friday night’s Welcome Potluck at Epicenter has a suggested donation of $8/person, or bring a dish to share.

If you’re heading on the road, it’s always good to carry some emergency cash, too, just in case. Many places accept cash only! There are a few ATMs (with fees) in town, but there are no major banks and no “cash back” options in Green River.


Please help HDTS and Epicenter remain a positive force! Respect private (and public) property and the environment around you, be ready to help fellow travelers, and above all, LEAVE NO TRACE in this delicate ecology.

HDTS: Epicenter is a labor of love, and is not possible without the dedication of our artists, our awesome volunteer force, and the support of the local community. We need you to help maintain goodwill between Epicenter, HDTS, and the city of Green River, so be cool, be respectful, spend money at local businesses, and don’t hesitate to jump in and help out if you see someone who needs a hand. Green River is a small town and your presence can be a positive or a negative force. Be polite and respectful to community members as you enjoy HDTS: Epicenter.

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015


Planning Your Trip to HDTS: Epicenter

HDTS: Epicenter launches in just one month!

We’re thrilled to share our general event itinerary with you, so you can begin to plan for your trip!  Here’s the basic rundown on how HDTS: Epicenter will work:

HDTS: Epicenter will take place over the long weekend of October 9–12, 2015 (“Columbus Day”/”Indigenous People’s Day” weekend), in several sites in and around Green River, Utah.  Epicenter, located in the heart of Green River, will be your HDTS: Epicenter HQ–where you can pick up driving maps, catalogues, and meet friendly HDTS: Epicenter correspondents.  The sprawling network of project sites and suggested points of interest will all be located within 65 miles from Epicenter in Green River.

This is an incredibly diverse and scenic landscape, and there will be a lot to see–more than you might realistically be able to check out, so you may have to pick and choose in some instances.  Some projects will be on view throughout the entire long weekend, while others will have scheduled hours (stay tuned for full schedule of events and driving map).  A few projects will have limited capacity, and will require advanced RSVP (listed below).  All programs are free and open to the public.

Below is a preliminary event itinerary to help you plan your trip.  Our full driving map, projects, and schedule of events will be released at the beginning of Octoberjoin the HDTS mailing list to make sure you don’t miss any important updates! More information on HDTS: Epicenter, including a list of participating artists.

Friday, October 9, 2015
Various projects and scheduled programming 9 am – 5 pm
Nighttime program: Welcome! (Green River)

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Various projects and scheduled programming 9 am – 5 pm
Nighttime program option 1: party program (secret site near Green River, location TBA)
Nighttime program option 2: Cabin-Time: Sleepout (overnight campout program located an hour’s drive south of Green River – EVENT FULL, email to be placed on waiting list

Sunday, October 11, 2015
Various projects and scheduled programming 9 am – 5 pm

Monday, October 12, 2015
Various projects and scheduled programming 9 am – 12 noon

Where to Stay

The Green River area has plentiful camping and motel options.  Here are a few suggested spots.  Visit Destination Green River! for more.

Robber’s Roost Motel – affordable rooms in Green River, near Epicenter
River Terrace – hotel right along the river
Holiday Inn Express – comfortable accommodations in Green River
Swasey’s Beach – beautiful BLM campsites along the river with some vault toilets (fee of around $10 a night for each campsite), as well as plenty of undeveloped BLM land available for dispersed camping.  (Follow BLM camping policy for dispersed camping on undeveloped BLM land/BLM land without designated campsites.)
Crystal Geyser – free primitive camping (no facilities)
Green River State Park – campsites in the middle of town, with RV hookups and amenities
Goblin Valley State Park – well-appointed campsites in picturesque, otherworldly red rocks (about 1 hour’s drive south of Green River)

How to Get There

Green River is located in southeastern Utah, and is easily accessible by car or rail (though once you are in Green River, a car will be necessary to travel to and from HDTS: Epicenter project sites).  There are lots of ways to get there, with many interesting sights to see along the way.  Here are just a few ways to get to Epicenter:

By car:

From Joshua Tree
Quickest Route: I-15 N to I-70 E (600 miles, goes through/near the Mojave, Zion)
Scenic Route:  I-15 N to US 20 E to US 89 S to US 12 E to US 24 E to I-70 E (650 miles, goes through/near the Mojave, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Grand Escalante, Goblin Valley)

From Los Angeles
Quickest Route: I-15 N to I-70 E (675 miles, goes through/near the Mojave, Zion)
Scenic Route: I-15 N to US 20 E to US 89 S to US 12 E to US 24 E to I-70 E (700 miles, goes through/near the Mojave, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Grand Escalante, Goblin Valley)

From Salt Lake City
I-15 S to US 6 E / US 191 S to I-70 E (180 miles, goes through Price Canyon)

From Denver
I-70 W (345 miles, goes through the Rockies)

From Phoenix
Quickest Route: I-17 N to US-89 N to US-160 E to 191-N to I-70 W (520 miles: goes through/near Canyonlands, Arches)
Alternate Route: I-17 N to US-89 N to US-163 N to US-261-N to US-95 N to US-24 E to I-70 E (535 miles: goes through/near Natural Bridges, Lake Powell)

By rail:  The Amtrak: Green River station is conveniently located right across from the Epicenter, and is served by the California Zephyr train.

By plane:  The closest airport is the Grand Junction Regional Airport in Grand Junction, Colorado, 100 miles east of Green River along I-70, though flight options are limited.  Salt Lake City International Airport is the nearest international airport (180 miles away by car), with many flights coming in and out.

Looking for a ride or have one to offer?  Let fellow HDTS: Epicenter travelers know!

Friday, September 11th, 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


High Desert Test Sites 2013

Leaning against the bed of the old pickup truck, I watched as a train of bikers blew past us, their heads turning one by one to take in the blue sign perched atop sand. We were parked along Kelbaker Road just outside the Mojave National Monument and our presence in the arid desert landscape must have appeared as if a mirage to the clad-in-black riders. Little did they know their answer would come just five miles further down the asphalt roadway. “How do billboards talk?” Well. “They use sign language.”

“Next Punchline 30 Miles” by Bennett Williamson

Started in 2002, “High Desert Test Sites” is based in Joshua Tree, California, with a mission to support experimental art that engages with the local environment and community. This year, they decided to create an art event larger and more ambitious -a 1,000 plus mile long journey along the roads of the Southwest from Joshua Tree to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hundreds of artists from around the country submitted proposals for the event and almost sixty were selected to install their pieces, serve their food, share their goods, and perform along these desert roadways. One such artist to be selected was current Epicenter Frontier Fellow, Bennett Williamson of Los Angeles, California. His piece, entitled, “Next Punchline 30 Miles” was located just east of Amboy, CA between I-40 and Route 66. Two handmade billboards –the first a set up to a joke, the second the punchline –(designed, constructed, and painted here in Green River!) were placed roughly five miles apart on a desolate desert highway. Bennett described the joke as, “a real stinker,” and was inspired to create them in an “attempt to create a bit of absurdity for the passing audience captive in the ennui of a long road trip.”

“Self Storage” by Lars Fisk, “Magnetic Influence” by Roxanne Bartlett & Maria Lorenz, “We Build Excitement” by Jesse Sugarmann

What intrigued me most about High Desert Test Sites was how it took people out of conventional galleries and placed them in natural areas to interact and experience art. As Andrea Zittel, artist and co-founder of HDTS, commented, these projects are putting “art in places one normally might not even think to look.” The open space and vast views created an atmosphere of inclusion between viewer, artist, and art. Individuals had to commit to making the long treks through arid lands to find certain sites, some only in place for a mere day. From the Joshua Trees to the Book Cliffs here in Green River, landscapes are in a constant state of shift. The fleeting art of HDTS actively reminds one to be present. One day I found myself at “Magnetic Influence” witnessing viewers dressed in large elastic clothing wrapped around boulders, an ode to Franz Anton Mesmer’s (1779) philosophic belief that all bodies are subject to the gravitational pull of the heavens. Another day I walked up to a pop-up storage unit masking a Volkswagon bus, a creation by Lars Fisk, who through his own discrete minimalist housing is exploring the significance of personal storage units across the United States. If I had returned the following morning to either site, not a trace would be left of these detailed art pieces.

Wagon Station sleeping pod at A-Z West, “Desert Appliqué” by Léa Donnan, Wagon Station Encampment

Part of HDTS 2013 seemed to be focused at celebrating the diverse desert habitats of the southwest –just getting people out there to see space for themselves. Their mission and work was, and is inspiring. They write, “To create a ‘center’ outside of any preexisting centers…To contribute to a community in which art can truly make a difference.” Who knows, maybe Green River can be a stop along the caravan next year? I sure hope so.

Special thanks to Aurora Tang and Andrea Zittel for being welcoming and sharing A-Z West and HDTS. Big gratitude goes to Bennett Williamson for allowing me to help along this journey.

This post was written by Ryann Savino, an AmeriCorps VISTA here at Epicenter. Originally from the granite-clad foothills of Northern California, she first came to Green River in 2012 via canoe. A recent graduate of Whitman College, she wrote her Environmental Humanities Thesis on the Green River Watershed and her family history held within its silty flow.

Friday, October 25th, 2013