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: Molly + Mary

“But this has not been inevitable. We do not have to live as if we are alone.” -Wendell E. Berry

We are friends who have never lived in the same place. Once a year (sometimes more and sometimes less), we spend a month (or sometimes more or sometimes less) working together, exploring questions of home and belonging and friendship. Our history of collaborative work looks like all sorts of things: whirlwind adventures, a neighborhood radio station, a hand-built upside-down boat, a quilted geodesic dome-home, short songs in harmony, and years of letters between us. No matter the form, we tell stories and make homes together.

This past year has been a hard one.  We each lost homes that we loved, homes that were anchor points to places we loved even more. Each of us, unable to find other affordable housing options in the towns we lived in for years, have been forced to move. This has been a year of loss and longing, displacement and uncertainty, beginnings all over again.

As Frontier Fellows, we spent a month reflecting on place. On what a landscape looks like when it takes root inside of you.  On what a community rooted in place makes possible. We were welcomed to Green River by a warm Epicenter community, who shared dinners, game nights, work hours, and adventures with us. We also came to know Green River by way of the canyons, mesas, buttes, rivers, and rocks that make up this dramatic and beautiful desert.

Ruins near Bluff, Utah. Bunker south of Green River, Utah. Valley of the Gods en route to the Grand Canyon. The River Beach. Sand dunes near Canyonlands. Goblin Valley.

Charts of goals imagined and completed, conceptual and geographical. Paper calendar of how we spent our time.

We spent nearly a third of our residency out driving on old roads, going slowly on long walks, and studying the horizon lines of here.  During this time, we talked about rootedness. About what it takes to build home in a fast-paced world motivated by things other than affection for place.

We talked about time. About the kind of generosity and patience made possible through indefinite relationships.  About intergenerational memory. About geologic scales. How Green River used to be an ocean.

We talked about mobility. About the piecework of making a living as an artist, all the traveling and cobbling together and homesickness. About the worlds we each can walk in because of our education, class, race:  about passing for things we don’t believe we are. About trains and roads.  Interstates that bypass towns built around older routes. Shipping channels, truck corridors, hotshot trains:  goods that move more freely throughout the world than people. Thousands of miles of train tracks and roadways:  the people who built them and did not stay. The land these paths cut through and the people who have been forced from it. About mobility’s relationship to displacement and extraction.

We talked about boomtimes. About divestment. About gentrification.
We talked about hardtimes. About tenacity. About how to be the best neighbor.

Epicenter’s model for economic development and sustainable community-building is one that should resonate in urban areas as well as rural ones. Programs like Fix it First, Potluck, and the Boys and Girls Club center on making Green River a place that sustains the people who already live here. Projects like the Frontier Fellowship, the Day Trip guides, or Windows on Broadway invite new people to celebrate and explore what is here.

As we each consider the possibilities of home-building in a rapidly gentrifying city and economically marginalized small town, we think often of Green River. We are grateful for our time in Green River and excited about the work we were able to create in our short stay. We did almost everything on our list of possibilities and as for the rest, we believe in boomerangs. See everyone again soon.

You can read more about Molly + Mary’s projects in Green River at their project blog.

Green River landscapes built from materials found in Green River, for display in the Arbon Cafe. Storytelling afternoon of drawing with Boys & Girls Club that Molly turned into an animation. Making mail: a small poem-book, an annotated Wendell Berry lecture, the stars from here, and some fridge magnets.

Funding for the window display projects is provided by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums’ Random Acts of Art grant.

Monday, May 12th, 2014


Frontier Fellows of 2014

Announcing, Epicenter’s Frontier Fellows for 2014! Top left to bottom right:

Cyrus Smith, Greensboro, NC

Michelle Benoit, Chicago, IL

Molly Goldberg & Mary Rothlisberger, San Francisco, CA and Green River, UT
mollygoldberg.typepad.com and bangbangboomerang.com

Celia Hollander, Los Angeles, CA

Ryan Troy Ford, Washington, DC

Grayson Earle, Brooklyn, NY

Jordan Paul, Queens, NY

Andrew Hamblin, Berkeley, CA

Spencer Kroll, Portland, OR

Eliza Fernand, Oakland, CA

For more information on Epicenter’s residency program, the Frontier Fellowship, please visit designonthedottedline.org or email us.

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014