—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.
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:
Alyse Emdur & Michael Parker
Kathleen Johnson & Mark So
Jordan Topiel Paul & J. Gordon Faylor
The Puusemp Family (Ephraim, Kiersten & Raivo Puusemp)
Cyrus Smith, Alison Kinney, Daniel Nickerson & Matt Takiff
…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.
Meet the January 2014 Epicrew! Crew Count: 11. From Right to Left: Cyrus Smith, Chris Lezama, Mary Rothlisberger, Charlotte X. C. Sullivan, Maria Sykes, Jack Forinash, Sarah Baugh, Nicole Lavelle, Armando Rios, and Ryann Savino. Not pictured: Justin Queen.
Please enjoy the diversity of the group through the Q&A session below:
Q: What’s your age, birth place, zodiac sign, and spirit animal?
Sarah: 28 / Hope, Idaho / Capricorn / white-tailed deer
Jack: 28 / Alabama / Aquarius / seahorse
Nicole: 26 / San Francisco, California / Leo (Cancer cusp) / wild housecat
Chris: 30 / Daly City, CA / Aquarius / Donatello from the Ninja Turtles
Justin: 27 / Maybee, Michigan / Saggitarius / phoenix
Armando: 25 / San Angelo, Texas / Leo / fox
Mary: 30 / Killeen, Texas / Virgo / opossum
Ryann: 23 / Placerville, California / Virgo / doe
Cyrus: 33 / Portland, Oregon / Taurus / unknown
Charlotte: 29 / Boston, Massachusetts / Pisces / red fox
Maria: 29 / San Diego, CA / Virgo (Libra cusp) / ringtailed cat
Q: Where’s your favorite place to eat in Green River?
Sarah: Breakfast at West Winds, salad bar lunch at Tamarisk, and taco dinner (seasonal) at La Veracruzana.
Jack: Chow Hound.
Nicole: Tamarisk salad bar.
Chris: A back room booth at the West Winds or a counter stool at Ray’s.
Justin: Chow Hound.
Armando: The city park.
Mary: West Winds, late night. Like, late late night.
Ryann: At my Aunt Katherine’s house.
Cyrus: Chow Hound (love the BLT).
Charlotte: West Winds.
Maria: I like to belly-up to the bar at Ray’s Tavern for a burger and a pint. Juke box, tourists, and free pool: what more could a girl need?
Q: What brings you to Epicenter this January? What brought you to Green River originally?
Sarah: I’m here for one week with Nicole Lavelle to work on the upcoming Green River Magazine! I came to Green River in August of 2012 for the Frontier Fellowship. I’ve been here a total of four times since then, mostly as a Fellow.
Nicole: I’m here with Sarah Baugh to work on the Green River Magazine, and to get my annual winter dose of Green River. I came here originally because my friend in Alabama said, “Do you know about these guys? They’re building stuff out in the desert.” I had pictured a Burning Man vibe with geodesic domes and Epicenter actually literally building stuff in the middle of the desert. Anyways, even though I was wrong about the hippy vibe, the work the Epicenter was doing was compelling to me as a young designer just out of school, uninterested in working long hours to make Nike commercials. They provided an alternative model of practice, or at least they were investigating one, and I wanted to be a part of it. Years later, the model of young-creative-professional-forging-ahead that I learned from Epicenter is integral to the way I work. I’ve been here five times, but I had stopped counting.
Mary: I moved to Green River in November because of affordable housing options. I believe the power of small communities to enable positive change and as an citizen-artist, I prefer to work and live in towns of under 1,000. Small towns are for big ideas; open spaces never close. I first came through Green River to photograph the post office. I met Maria at the beach that evening. Haven’t really left the beach since. I spent a week on the beach with Cabin-Time last summer. Went to the beach for my birthday with new friends from Epicenter. Visits to the frozen winter beach to look at the moon. Have plans to set the record for consecutive beach visits as soon as its warm enough to read outside. I ended up at the beach here by accident, but my relationship with Green River started in February 2012 when Molly Goldberg and I applied to the Frontier Fellowship. We’ll be here together in April for adventure, intrigue, and a tornado of good old-fashioned fun.
Cyrus: I am the Frontier Fellow for the month of January. While in Green River I will be working with a group of high school students on an Oral History project. I am also seeking out the “Most Interesting Person in Green River,” who I hope to meet and interview for the upcoming Green River Magazine. I first came to Green River in August 2013 as part of the Cabin Time Residency which took place north of town in Desolation Canyon. This is my first time back, and I am looking forward to spending time in town, meeting the good people, and taking walks around town.
Charlotte: I am working at Epicenter this January to help select Fellows for 2014. I originally came to Green River because I wanted to collaborate with Jack and Maria, as I was inspired (via their Vimeo account) by their “LET’S DO THIS!” style work ethic as citizen architects. I also wanted to do an art residency in a remote, desert location, but didn’t want to wait for applications I had submitted to other programs to be processed. So, with Jack and Maria’s support, I decided the fastest way to do a residency of this sort was just to start one. Since January 8, 2011, I have returned to Green River three times: in September, 2011 to oversee the installation of Epicenter’s Antipode, A Site-Specific Billboard On the Frontier, in August, 2013 to participate in Cabin-Time 5, and in January, 2014, to assist with the Fellowship selection process.
Q: What do you do full-time at Epicenter?
Jack: I’m Principal of Housing and the Financial Manager.
Chris: I’m the Community Development Specialist. I assist Green River in a few of its ongoing community development initiatives.
Justin: I’m a part time employee facilitating Epicenter’s separation from PACT into its own nonprofit entity.
Armando: AmeriCorps VISTA, Housing Resources.
Ryann: I’m the Community Development AmeriCorps VISTA. I help out with the Frontier Fellowship program, run the Epicenter Etsy store, manage Social Services, work on our High School ACE Internship program, facilitate Windows on Broadway projects, help at the Boys and Girls Club, and translate documents in and out of Spanish.
Maria: I’m a co-director. I’m the principal over all things arts and culture related. I also work heavily on economic development and affordable housing projects and programs.
Q: Why do you enjoy working at Epicenter?
Jack: It feels like an adventure in my daily life. Gaining community presence and trust provides fulfillment and legitimacy for Epicenter and for me.
Chris: I enjoy working in a collaborative atmosphere with passionate people with differing interests and skill sets. There’s also always an influx of new people, projects, ideas that makes every day at Epicenter different than the one before it.
Justin: Because it rocks my world and this world.
Armando: Well, my colleagues of course. They are all great, passionate people who share my love of the river beach.
Ryann: So many reasons! I love the variety of the tasks I am able to work on at Epicenter. The crew here is dedicated and knowledgeable which makes me excited to work alongside them. I get to speak Spanish and work on creative projects with youth. It is wonderful to get to spend my time working to help a town that I really care about.
Maria: Every day I see the impact of my work, what I’ve co-created. Also, I’m madly in love with the town, the landscape, and the residents of Green River.
Q: How does working at/with Epicenter fit into your big picture/career/life?
Jack: Epicenter serves as an alternative model of professional practice, where architects and designers are able serve as community members helping to navigate and facilitate resolutions, rather than coming in as outside, top-down experts. This model is something I believe in and want to grow to its full form to exist as a compliment to traditional practice.
Nicole: I still think about the manifesto Epicenter had in their “About” section back in 2010 and 2011. When I was teaching design I had my students read it for a different perspective on the practice and they were repeatedly compelled by it. It was passionate, it was naive, it was driven by a fervent desire for something different than what was offered, something fulfilling. And that still resonates with me. I don’t know how to speak about my “big picture” or “career,” but I do know that immersing myself into a place and trying to understand it is a model of inquiry that fits into my life.
Ryann: I wrote my thesis about the Green River Watershed and my family history within it. Coming to work at Epicenter feels like a homecoming. I know this place will always be special to me, and I know I want to continue pursuing work with youth, the arts, and Spanish.
Cyrus: Some of my favorite artists and thinkers are in Green River this winter. Could not have kept me away.
Charlotte: I am working towards having a life that is based part-time in a rural location and part-time in an urban location. Currently, I view Green River as an excellent candidate for my rural base, with New York City, being the best candidate for my urban base. There are ways of working in Green River that are impossible in New York, and there are ways of working in New York that are impossible in Green River. I think there is harmony to be found in this opposition, which is why, artistically, and spiritually, I am seeking a hybrid-life.
Q: What’s your top Green River memory?
Sarah: Rafting Westwater Canyon!
Nicole: I stole this from Ryann but: square dancing at Melon Days 2013.
Mary: I’ve had a good number of best days here. Most of them were at the beach or the kitchen table. The time I won at backgammon, early morning camp chores, the stars in late summer, endless drives to somewhere, listening to records, writing by candlelight, playing cards, the color gold, copy editing, the sound of the train, and every great vista.
Armando: One of my top memories was the whole Summer Summit experience, but a specific memory of Summer Summit took place on the mighty Green River. We had been floating down the Green for a few hours and my turn to man the ducky had finally come. I was nervous when the first set of rapids approached; especially after the river guides yelled at me, “Don’t stop paddling!” I didn’t stop, and those first rapids ended up being a huge thrill and lots of fun.
Ryann: Too many to pick just one! Square dancing in the park during Melon Days is definitely up there. The wind was whipping and I couldn’t stop smiling as my dance partner taught me how to “do-si-do.”
Cyrus: Laying on our backs on a dirt road. Staring up at a moonless sky. Deep in Desolation Canyon.
Charlotte: On August 23, 2013, I spent the entire morning thirty-five feet in the air gold-leafing Andrew Rogers Elements sculpture on Monument Hill.
Maria: My first Melon Days (2009) was also my epic quarter-of-a-century birthday: endless melon, creating the melon monster, and my first weird hippies in the desert party. Additionally, that weekend was the first and last time my brother, Steven, visited me before he passed away. It was such a special weekend for me!
Q: What’s something that you’re really excited about right now?
Jack: Right now, more than ever, every song seems to apply to my life, so it’s hard to say there is any focused excitement. Based on listening to the album repeatedly yesterday, Lorde’s song “Buzzcut Season” seems to best express my current mood, outlook, and life. That’s probably a flash in the pan, but it seems at all times there is an all-consuming song, with a couple others to round out a mini-soundtrack.
Chris: Sandwiches. I recently ate at one of the Bay Area’s celebrated sandwich shops, Ike’s Place, and at Las Vegas’ famous Earl of Sandwich. Both sandwiches were delicious. I look forward to furthering my sandwich eating experiences in the new year.
Justin: The text, Tao-te Ching. It’s wonderful.
Armando: James Blake’s album, Overgrown. I have listened to it since the day it came out, but fell back in love with it pretty recently. Retrograde is probably the best song of 2013.
Mary: Astrology. Never not working on a Zodiac Library of all my friends, colleagues and historical figures.
Ryann: Black Dragon Canyon. I’m super intrigued by the calendar system petroglyphs.
Cyrus: The sunsets this time of year are amazing.
Charlotte: Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love” music video, directed by Hype Williams.
Maria: This is easy: Iceland. My life became consumed with all things Iceland a few months ago when I began planning a trip to present the community design work of Epicenter at Design March, Iceland’s annual design conference. I’ve always been fascinated by the films, art, literature, and pop music of Iceland, and now I have a focused reason to continue my research of their culture. My bedside table is packed with books on Iceland’s sagas, folklore, architecture, and history.
Q: What book, movie, or person is significant to your work/process/life? Why?
Chris: One of my favorite books is Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis It happens to be about my favorite baseball team, the Oakland A’s, but it’s also a pretty universal story about how an underdog succeeded against all odds. I’d like to think that with enough cunning and daring, an underdog can thrive, and this book demonstrates that.
Justin: St. Francis of Assisi: He’s a great model of simplicity and service and wearing sandals. Honorable Mention: Solanus Casey, Detroit’s very own almost-saint!
Charlotte: One of my current role models is Kennon Kay, the director of agriculture at the Queens County Farm, in New York City, where I work. Her leadership style is infused with un-ending optimism and unintimidating confidence. She is an avid-problem solver and marvelous strategist even though she never acts as though she knows all the answers.
Q: If you could have any superpower what would it be? Why?
Justin: Geographic manipulation (the ability to create things as awesome as Goblin Valley, the Swell, and the Bookcliffs) so there would be even more amazing hiking and adventuring to be had.
Charlotte: Teleportation, as it would allow me to travel back and forth between New York and Green River more easily.
Maria: This is one of my favorite questions to ask people. An answer can tell you a lot about someone. However, I never have a consistent answer for myself. What does that say about me? Maybe I’m still figuring it out. Today, I’m feeling like a greedy cheater, so I’ll go with power mimicry.
Q: What’s your favorite place/space in/near Green River? Why?
Jack: This is probably too overt, but it seems easy to say it’s the river beach. I require fresh water access wherever I live. It’s always been a part of my life. Swasey’s Beach is far enough away to feel a sense of escapism. Every time I’m there, everyone is relaxed, calm, and willing to be goofy. I like the systematic preparations I go through in order to go there, preparing the car with chairs, cooler with ice, site radio for music, salt and vinegar chips, Star magazine, sheets so that you can lay on the sand but not be dirty, cribbage and backgammon, and inner tube floats. A lot of activity, then about eighteen minutes of riding in the car, anticipating if our favorite spot will be available and how cold the water will be.
Sarah: Three Rocks. It’s the highest point in the area and the view is incredible.
Nicole: Three Rocks, because the high school students told me about it. This place is also known as FM Hill to the mom-aged crowd, because you can drive to the top and catch all of the radio stations in town. It’s the highest point in the near Green River vicinity (besides the Book Cliffs) and you get a 360-degree view—the town, the reef, the Book Cliffs, the Lasal Mountains, the Henry Mountains, other mountains…
Justin: The San Rafael Swell. Every time I go there, I go to Vulcan.
Armando: The State Park boat launch, it’s beautiful and you can watch trains pass on the bridge.
Mary: I like the moon from here the best of all.
Ryann: The river. It reminds me of my Uncle, who was the original reason I came to Green River two years ago. I love the history wrapped up in its silty waters, the sense of possibility you feel while floating down into the canyons, and watching it ebb and flow with the seasons.
Charlotte: I really love the White Haus, where Jack Forinash lives. When I am there, to quote the painter Joan Snyder, “I feel as if I’m away from time.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person in Green River and why?
Sarah: JoAnne Chandler. She’s a walking, talking archive of information about Green River.
Nicole: Jo Ann Chandler. I don’t know how she remembers everything, but she does. She doesn’t run the archives, she IS the archives.
Chris: I think Richard Seeley is the most interesting person in Green River. He has a lot of deep knowledge about seemingly disparate topics, including but not limited to: petroglyphs, refrigeration, Mormon history, heating devices, and pie.
A photograph of our Rural and Proud bag was recently featured on GOOD‘s website in an article, “11 Change-Making Designs That Inspire Action.” The piece specifically highlights our upcoming collaboration with Sarah Baugh and Nicole Lavelle, The Green River Magazine: “Believing ‘print can bring a town together,’ The Green River Magazine is a collaboration between ordinary townspeople looking for a place to entrust their stories. Led by Sarah Baugh and Nicole Lavelle, the magazine is seen as an evolved form of the Green River Newspaper, continuing the trend of ‘community-powered’ publications.” If you’re not familiar with The Green River Newspaper, click here to read more.
In addition to being featured on GOOD, our tote was featured online and in the printed version of Country Living Magazine. And, since 2010, we’ve sold over $3,000 worth of Rural and Proud bags!!!
It’s the perfect reusable tote for your trip to the local farmer’s market or grocer. Each bag has been proudly hand screen printed in our humble screenprinting workspace in our basement. The bags are printed using volunteer labor, so all proceeds go directly towards operating Epicenter’s programs. The bag might look small, but you’d be surprised at what we fit inside: a large wallet, an iPhone, a box of Cafe du Monde beignet mix, a can of Cafe du Monde chicory coffee, a box of confectioners sugar, the entire Nightmare on Elm Street dvd collection, a bottle of Two Buck Chuck, and a handful of cilantro… and there was still room! These totes are 100% cotton canvas, 14.5” wide, 16” tall, and weigh 6 ounces.
We’re honored to announce that Sappi Fine Paper North America has announced Epicenter as one of 11 grant recipients for its 14th annual Ideas that Matter program, the industry’s highly respected grant program aimed at helping designers create and implement print projects for charitable causes.
“Since 1999, Sappi’s Ideas that Matter program has awarded over $12 million worldwide in grants to designers around the globe to support their work for nonprofit programs and organizations. This year’s winning projects reflect the on-going commitment in the design community to utilize design in combination with innovative thinking to solve social problems. Grantees submitted outstanding proposals outlining their ideas, creative execution and their unique ability to instill positive social, cultural or environmental change.”
“The selected proposals were determined by an independent judging panel of leaders from the design profession. This year’s judges, all widely recognized for their forward-thinking commitment to design for social good, included Bill Drenttel, President of Winterhouse Institute based in Connecticut; Erin Huizenga, Founder of EPIC and Director of Remedy in Chicago; Jennifer Kinon, Founding Partner at Original Champions of Design/OCD based in New York City; Michael Lejeune, Creative Director at Metro in Los Angeles; Alissa Walker, freelance design writer in Los Angeles.”
“‘Each year, all of us at Sappi are inspired by the quality of the submissions, as well as the creative and compelling design solutions to a wide range of real social needs,’ said Patti Groh, Marketing & Communications Director, Sappi Fine Paper North America. ‘We are proud that Sappi’s Ideas that Matter program continues to be important platform for social change, giving designers the powerful opportunity to use their skills and expertise to support the greater good.'”
The funds will go towards creating content for and printing of The Green River Magazine (aka Green River Newspaper v. 2.0), a community-powered publication capturing the unique character of Green River, Utah, made in collaboration with local residents to create opportunities for the region. Like last year, the project will be lead by our amazing Frontier Fellows, Nicole Lavelle and Sarah Baugh.
Over the next few months, workshops will be held by our Frontier Fellows with local residents to gather content. Sarah and Nicole will return for one to two weeks in January to finalize content. We expect the magazine to be released in March, and (of course) we’ll have a big release party. You’re all invited!
Click here to see the 10 other amazing grantees.
(Quotes via Sappi Ideas That Matter blog)
Epicenter invites Frontier Fellows to instigate collaborative art and design projects. The single-edition publishing project was facilitated by Frontier Fellows, Sarah Baugh and Nicole Lavelle, who worked with Green River High School students through a series of workshops to develop content for the newspaper. The paper contains 12 full-color pages and eight themed sections of content. There is also a 4-page, full-color poster insert containing content from the Green River Archives. This project was made possible through a partnership between Epicenter and the CHEER (Creating a Healthy Environment and Encouraging Respect) Coalition, and through a generous grant from the United Way of Eastern Utah. By working with the community, we worked to forge new contexts for collaborative design practice. This project served as a catalyst for community engagement and a strengthened sense of local identity in the small rural town of Green River (population 952). The people of Green River have responded favorably to the project. The paper release party was one of the most successful Green River community events in recent memory.
“I just can’t begin to tell you how proud I am.” —Pat Brady, Mayor of Green River
“Green River has never had such a positive portrayal.” —Jolene Dalton, Assistant Librarian, Green River Library
“The project was a great success.” —Conae Black, City Recorder, City of Green River.
Clockwise from Top Left: Traveling to Salt Lake City in one van, MediaOne’s mail room, lunch at the mall, our 10,000 newspapers at the release party, Jeremy (Photo Editor at SL Tribune), and seeing our paper for the first time.
We did it.
For the last month, we’ve been running all around town, photographing and writing about Green River in partnership with teenagers from town. We pushed them to think about their home, their families and their futures, and transform it all into publishable content. After four weeks of after-school sessions with junior high and high school students, and many conversations with local people, we wrapped up our files and sent them to the printer.
Last Friday, we loaded five students and two teen interns into a van and drove up to Salt Lake City. We took the kids to see the 100-gallon tanks of magenta ink at the newspaper press, get a tour of the Salt Lake Tribune newsroom, and pick up 10,000 copies of the newspaper. The kids learned a lot, but also had fun.
On Saturday, we held the newspaper release party for the community, complete with homemade donuts, cupcakes and chili. Broadway was PACKED with cars, both sides of the street. Epicenter staff told us the event brought record-breaking numbers of party-goers. The sun was shining, the wind was quiet, and it felt like spring. The best moment was maybe when the mayor told us (not once, but twice!) how proud he was of our hard work on the paper, and what a great engaging project the paper had been for the town.
On Sunday morning, Epicenter split into teams (one for the north side of Main, one for the south side) and hand-delivered papers to as many houses as possible. We tossed papers over barking dogs, and we handed them to people doing yard work. This morning, at the post office, we ran into a lady who was mailing a copy of the paper to her son. “It’s a success,” she said.
We’re proud of what we’ve made, but the true gauge of success will be in learning how the community of Green River views the project. Green River, what do you think? Did we get it right? What could be better? We’ve set up an email address where you can share your opinions, good or bad. Please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the end, we had 24 contributors to the newspaper, 17 of whom are in grades 7-12 at Green River High. The other contributors were a healthy mix of Epicenter staff, local adult residents, and teachers at the high school.
That said… We have about a million more people to thank. Specifically, huge thanks to Corbin LaMont for taking a plane and a train to get here and help us with design instead of sleeping. Ashley Ross, Armando Rios, Maria Sykes, Chris Lezama, and Jack Forinash were a critical support system. Kathy Brady and Cheryl Crowson at CHEER made this project happen.
We’d also like to thank Doreen Allen, Pat Brady, Keith Brady, Jolene Dalton, Allyson Mecham, Adriana Cordova, Jean Tidwell, Joanne Ekker, Jo Anne Chandler, JoAnn Wetherington, Kris Farnsworth, Olive Anderson, Craig Gowans, Burke Simmons, Kerry Goldman, Sheri Vetere, Nolan Johnson, Obdulia Lujan, Eugene Swalberg, Mia Molly Vetere, Natalie Vetere, Destiney Holbrook, Carlei Gee, Cassi Mecham, Amber Burnett, Elizabeth Anguiano, Anthony “Coco” Rivera, Brittany and Janeice at The Chow Hound, Sarah and Alex Urquhart, Corinne Haase, Zachary Schomburg, Miles Mattison, and our moms. And our dads.
Today, Nicole and Sarah leave Green River after a month of hard work. Don’t fret, we’re already planning their return.
We’re halfway through our third week here, and our new reality is HIGH SCHOOL (!!!!!)
We’ve spent the last two weeks immersed in the delightful chaos that is high school, leading workshops and running the CHEER after school program. We made comics with the Drawing class, explored photographic contrasts with the Yearbook staff, and made unconventional advertisements for Green River in Graphic Arts. We led a two-week research and creative writing project in the 12th grade Language Arts class, and took a field trip to the Green River City Archives. Whew! And now that we’re finished, we have some excellent content from the young people of Green River to share in the newspaper.
We’ve also been hanging out with junior high and high school students who come to CHEER’s after-school program, working with them one-on-one and in groups to make projects based on the things they’re into. One student is into cooking, and so last week we made flan in the home-ec room. One student has developed an interest in photography, and so she’s been taking our portraits and documenting walks we take in the afternoon. A pair of brothers are SUPER into parkour, and so they’re collaborating on an article to demystify the sport. Their older sister is into fashion, and so tomorrow we’ll work with a woman from the Green River Thrift Store to do a photo shoot in the desert.
It’s been a wild ride. To put it simply, teenagers are unpredictable. We were prepared to be adaptable, and thank goodness, things change minute to minute. We weren’t necessarily prepared for how consuming it can be to support a class of students in making creative work. We anticipated being able to collaborate more closely with people from Green River who aren’t teenagers, but in reality our focus has undoubtedly been high school.
It’s all coming together, though! Collaborations are growing organically, with members of the Green River community. We’ve received submissions of photographs, letters and articles, and anything could happen in the week before we go to print.
In a week we send the paper to the printer, and we are so excited. Our friend from Portland, Corbin Lamont (future Frontier Fellow!) is arriving tonight for a four-day design blitz, to help us plug content into the paper.
There are a number of Epicenter High School Interns who have been involved in the process from start to finish, dedicated to making the newspaper a reality. When it’s all printed and ready, we’ll take them up to the Salt Lake City Tribune to see where it was printed and talk with news reporters and photographers. The next day, we’ll have a release party at the Epicenter to celebrate the students’ hard work. There will be cupcakes and newspapers galore.
Hello Green River.
We’re new here. We just arrived last week from Oregon, in a big, slow, brown van.
It took us a week to get from Portland to Green River, ambling down the Pacific Coast and east across the Great Basin. We camped among Port Orford cedars, walked up San Francisco’s steep hills, stopped into Elko during the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and ate Indian food in Salt Lake City.
But now we’re here. And that’s the most important part.
We hit the ground running on a community-based graphic design project called the Green River News. We’re here for the month of February to create a single-edition newspaper that will be a portrait of this place, a story of this town. We’re collaborating mainly with students from Green River High School, leading workshops during the school day and holding after-school sessions at the invitation of the CHEER (Creating a Healthy Environment and Encouraging Respect) Coalition. We also plan to engage seniors at the Senior Center and children at the Community Center.
Our goal is to make something exciting with the residents of Green River. We hope the project’s outcome will be meaningful and relevant to the people who live here, while also telling an interesting story about the place to outsiders.
Why Green River? We have both been here before, as Fellows with the Epicenter’s Frontier Fellowship program. The time we spent here getting to know the landscape and people made an impression on us. It made us want to return to help find the stories of this place. And so we have.
And so, for the next few weeks, please indulge us! Tell us what you did today. Send us to your neighbor with the interesting collection in his garage. Encourage your kids to come hang out with us after school and make something awesome. Show us your best photograph. Write a letter to the editor (that’s us)—we’ll probably print it. Welcome the high school students that we’ll be sending into the world to query you.
See you around town!
Sarah Baugh and Nicole Lavelle
Meet Cassi, our most recent intern and the Green River High School Student Body President! For month she has been working with Frontier Fellows, Nicole Lavelle and Sarah Baugh, two visiting graphic designers from Portland, Oregon. Her internship comes to an end this month.
Below are some questions we asked Cassi at the start of her internship:
Name/Age/Grade: Cassi Mecham, 18 years old, 12th grade at Green River High School
What is your favorite subject in school?: Language Arts
Do you play sports?: No, I used to play basketball.
What do you do after school?: Hangout, work, and listen to music a lot!
What was it like growing up in Green River?: I liked it. It’s a good place for kids.
What made you want to do the internship at the Epicenter?: I’ve never done something like this before.
What are you most excited about regarding this internship?: I just want to learn how to do new things!
Do you want to attend college?: Yes, I’m going to Weber State University.
What do you want to when you grow up?: I just want to be happy and have a good job. Maybe I can open my open t-shirt store or design a make-up line. Who knows!
If you could change one thing about Green River what would it be?: People’s attitude about this place. My attitude isn’t the either, but I can fix it.
Epicenter’s high-school arts internships are made possible by United Way of Eastern Utah, the Sykes family, the Green River CHEER Coalition, the Boys & Girls Club of Green River, and Green River High School.