—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.
—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.
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.
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.’
Announcing, Epicenter’s Frontier Fellows and visiting creative professionals for 2015! Top left to bottom right:
Ojai, California, USA (graphic designer and artist)
Portland, Oregon, USA (artist and dj)
London, England, United Kingdom (writer and curator)
Portland, Oregon, USA (architect and artist)
High Desert Test Sites
Joshua Tree, California, USA (non-profit organization)
Los Angeles, California, USA (artist and curator)
Reno, Nevada, USA (artist and educator)