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 Participating Artists

Epicenter and High Desert Test Sites (HDTS) are co-hosting HDTS: Epicenter on October 9-12, 2015. HDTS: Epicenter is a collaborative curation of 12 artists’ projects, along with many regional points of interest and programs in diverse locations in and around the rural Utah community of Green River, Utah.

Our 12 featured artists:
Steve Badgett
Alyse Emdur & Michael Parker
Butchy Fuego
Kathleen Johnson & Mark So
Nicole Lavelle
Charlie Macquarie
Allan McCollum
Jordan Topiel Paul & J. Gordon Faylor
The Puusemp Family (Ephraim, Kiersten & Raivo Puusemp)
Cyrus Smith, Alison Kinney, Daniel Nickerson & Matt Takiff
Bennett Williamson

With additional support and programming by:
Sarah Baugh
Taryn Cowart
Miles Mattison
Richard Saxton & students

…stay tuned for more!

HDTS is a non-profit organization located in Joshua Tree, CA, that supports immersive experiences and exchanges between artists, critical thinkers, and general audiences – challenging all to expand their definition of art to take on new areas of relevancy.

Epicenter is a non-profit organization located in Green River, that provides housing and business resources and promotes the arts to accentuate Green River’s rural pride and pioneering spirit.

This project is made possible through support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, the National Endowment for the Arts, Utah’s Emery County Travel Board, and the Robber’s Roost Motel.

Friday, July 17th, 2015


“Seasonal” by Miles Mattison

“‘Seasonal’ describes Green River through a cycle of time. Built around the river for which it is named, the shifting of the sun brings a renewal of it’s unusually lush foliage each year. And as the leaves fall into autumn, so does the town. The fields of melon crops go to seed and are milled for the next season’s planting. Its people take refuge, finding warmth from the fire and family around them. Main Street, where the majority of businesses lie, slows to a trickle that is not far from the frequency that the sun shines its rays upon the cold ground. Only trucks pulling out of West Winds from their overnight stay and a few locals pass by. The coffee shop seldom opens, OK Anderson park is deserted and the hotel parking lots stay lined with dirty ice from dustings of snow. It reminds me of the heat of summer, the retreat that I feel. That time of day when the outdoors are unbearable in the blasting desert sun: the swamp cooler can’t soothe you quite so much, so all you can do is jump in the river. But just as the ice melts and the coffee shop parking lot is lined with morning patrons again, so does the relief from the summer heat bring Melon Days. The park bustles with people from all over, here to celebrate the glorious melon industry of Green River, having showed up the night before to line Main Street for the parade. A Melon Queen is named and another season comes to a close.

This project began within the model of the Epicenter’s Frontier Fellowship. As one of the first Frontier Fellows, I wanted to document the town as an outsider. In this process and under the guidance of my hosts, I became focused on the flow of business in the town. You see, there are two exits from Interstate 70 you can use to access the town of Green River. Both exits are lined with big corporate businesses: Burger King, Arby’s, Shell, Chevron, you have it. In the middle, miles from each of these points, lies the actual town where locals reside. Here you have the local coffee shop, the burger joint, the diner, the franchise of Ace Hardware: isolated from the flow of traffic. From this focus, I began to a wonder about a larger pattern of commerce and activity throughout the year in Green River. I became obsessed with swamp coolers and started talking with my hosts more and more about other times of the year in Green River. And so, I began to return to Green River at different times of the year to see these changes.

‘Seasonal’ could possibly be shot anywhere to tell this story of summer to winter in a rural town, but throughout my years traveling and photographing, I’ve never been to another town quite like Green River, Utah.” —Miles Mattison

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015