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.

Christmas Giveaway

2012 Give-Away Prizes

In celebration of another great year, we’re giving away some amazing prizes that we feel perfectly reflect our year:

1) one knitted beanie cap made with up-cycled yard from the Green River Thrift Store by Frontier Fellow, Emily Howe
2) one unique embroidered Rural and Proud tote bag by Maria Sykes (inspired by Shawn Creeden, Frontier Fellow)
3) the first edition of “Red Sands,” a comic made by Frontier Fellow, Aidan Koch, made during her time in Green River
4) one white hand-silkscreen-printed tea towel featuring a black magpie, drawn and printed by Hayley Crooks
5) one bundle including one “Beasts I Have Known in Green River” zine by Hayley Crooks, one hand-printed “La Veracruzana” postcard by Emily Howe, and one copy of “Road Maps” by Nicole Lavelle (2011 Frontier Fellow)
6) one copy of “The Majestics” catalog by Frontier Fellow, Richard Saxton, of his work while in Green River and featuring a music cd by 4-H Royalty
7) one set of three framed landscape photos taken in Green River by Frontier Fellow, Sarah Baugh, in August of this year
8) one voucher for $25 at w-o-r-d-u-p.biz by Frontier Fellow, Nicole Lavelle
9) one voucher for $50 at w-o-r-d-u-p.biz by Frontier Fellow, Nicole Lavelle

Want to win one of these unique gifts? Do these two things to be entered to win:

1) Donate $10 or more to Epicenter here* before Sunday December 16, 2012 at 6pm MST.
2) Tweet, write a blog post, share on Facebook, or email your friends about the Epicenter or the Frontier Fellowship. We’ll know if you’re being naughty (aka lying) or nice. We have elf spies all over the internet!

How It Works: For every $10 that you donate, you are entered to win. For example, if you donate $500, your name is entered into the drawings fifty times. Winners will be selected by random drawing of all entries submitted. The winners will be announced right here on our blog and via email on Sunday, December 16, 2012. If you would like more details on any of the prize items, please email Maria. Our prizes have been graciously donated by our Frontier Fellows and employees of Epicenter, and most of these pieces were made in or inspired by Green River, Utah. Items will be shipped on Monday, December 17, 2012. Please note that for prizes 8 & 9, Nicole will send the voucher in the mail on December 17th, not the final artwork.

Publicity: By participating, all winners grant Epicenter permission to use their names and locations in connection with promotion of this and other contests.

Taxes: All donations are tax-deductible. If you would like a receipt for your donation, please email Maria.

*We also accept checks and cash, but they must be in-hand by Saturday, December 15, 2012. Call or email us if you have any questions.

Friday, December 7th, 2012


Embroidery With Shawn

Shawn and Green River High School Students

Frontier Fellow, Shawn Creeden, wrapped-up a two-day workshop at the Green River High School. Shawn’s embroidery workshop focused on the history and culture of embroidery, basic stitches and techniques, and creating your own embroidery design. Shawn began the workshop by presenting his own work as an artist and some of his favorite historical and culturally significant embroidery. By the end of the workshop, the fifteen students were able to see the potentials of embroidery as an ancient fine art and not just your grandma’s hobby.

Want to learn about the history of embroidery and some basic stitches? You’re in luck! Shawn is holding an all-ages workshop tomorrow (Thursday, November the 8th) at the Epicenter from 7-9pm. We’ll learn starting, running stitch, back stitch, stem stitch, satin stitch, and long/short stitch shading. The class costs $2/person, but there is a suggested donation of $5/person. Supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring your own embroidery floss, needles, or embroidery hoops. Space is limited to the fourteen people, so sign-up quickly! This class is geared towards ages 12 and up. Anyone under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012


Frontier Fellow Report: Aidan Koch

Week Two and Three of Aidan’s Frontier Fellowship (a few photos courtesy of Shawn Creeden)

By week two I had properly settled in and fully assimilated into Green River lifestyle. And while this includes going to bed by 10PM, there was no lacking of activity. This week in particular was host to multiple community events.

To start, though, former Frontier Fellow Emily Howe took Shawn and me on adventure to Arches National Park. We spent the day hiking and climbing around monumental red, green, and tan rocks. It felt amazing to be out in the open surrounded by such striking natural history and formations.

I started drawing and layed out pages for the book I was making in my time here. I also continued to make small excursions via bike to see more of the area and take reference photos.

With Halloween coming up, the folks at Epicenter were preparing for the first ever Spooktacular, put on with the Community Center. Shawn and I had the idea of being the musical accompaniment for the event. After discovering that this event was primarily a hay ride leading to a pumpkin patch and bonfire with no option for electricity, our original ideas were challenged. Luckily with a full drum kit available through the Community Center plus an extra snare discovered in storage, sticks from Armando and a pair borrowed from the high school, we were able to perform as the spookiest percussion duo this town has ever seen.

While half of the crew headed to Moab for the Pumpkin Chuckin’, Shawn, Hayley, Chris, and I attended the Horse Show/Gymkhana out at Terry Coppin’s Green River Stables. Besides assisting with the set up, Shawn, Hayley and I all competed in various classes. Having been learning to ride for less than a year and actually still not knowing how to canter, I proudly took home a emerald green 6th place ribbon on Spock in the walk, trot, canter. It was an awesome event to be a part of and to learn more about the community of modern horse culture.

After a day of rest, the real work began. Though still reeling from the excitement of week two it was time to really focus. The majority of the week was spent drawing. Apart from continuing general exploration Ashely dropped Shawn and I off at Swasey Beach nestled in the Lower Gray Canyon for a look around. Apart from the simple pleasure of lying on a beach, I got to play with some natural clays under the sand and left some surprise sculptures for the next beachgoers.

While we had gotten swept up in the Halloween spirit the weekend before, Wednesday brought the true Halloween. I decided not to recreate my robber costume from the Spooktacular and instead donned my large, gray, druid like coat and a big staff using my hair to cover my face. Even though I couldn’t actually see them through my hair, I’m told I creeped out some kids real good as they trick or treated at our house.

After finishing my drawings came production time. Luckily this came about on my day with my intern, Tasia. She assisted me in photocopying, folding, collating, and stapling. It was exciting to see the final product of my effort come together in a nice little book.

Shawn and I had been continuing out riding lessons out at Terry’s stables as well. On Saturday she invited us on a real ride out in the desert. It was an awesome way to test out skills and really just enjoy being out on a horse. We didn’t go too far out of town, but were able to dismount in a couple spots and see petroglyphs and a dinosaur bone still in the rock!

Its hard to believe that I’m coming upon the final week.

—Aidan Koch, Frontier Fellow (Oct/Nov 2012)

Monday, November 5th, 2012


Frontier Fellow Report: Shawn Creeden

Week One: “Property and Space” by Shawn William Creeden, Frontier Fellow (Oct/Nov 2012)

It was only a few hours after he had stepped off the California Zephyr, and already he rode the chestnut horse with more confidence than he had ever before felt with such an animal. The fears of being cast off or crushed in a rollover were for the most part out of mind, though he was still over cautious about being kicked dead in the head. The prospect of trotting no longer caused a sickening clenching of the guts. Not too bad for a second try, he thought.

On the trail ride there was much to look at. The Book Cliffs north of town extended some ways in either direction before ending in high and crumbling escarpments and continuing on unseen to the north and the east. Below this ancient archive of sediments and sea beds stretch dried corn fields and what pass for mule pasture and other land for which no one appeared to have much use for at all but which he had been warned against trespassing on such properties nonetheless. Two dried and dusty carcasses which had once been raccoons hung from a fence across the road. A boast to neighbors or perhaps a warning to things which have been warned almost out of existence in this part of the world.

In the scrub on the far side of the train tracks, just to the south of Epicenter he wandered in the sun and seemed to be searching for something and found many things. He quickly came across two distinct treasure troves. One of sand-blasted shards of bottles and jars nearly identical to the discarded trash which back along the coast they affectionately call sea glass. The other a final resting place for decades of tin cans, perhaps dumped from the passing train lines. The cans gathered reddish-brown and decaying at the foot of a crumpled bed frame with an identical patina. The desiccated bones of some animal that looked too large to be taken by a coyote lay in serene configurations beneath low trees beside a shallow wash, dragged there to be picked clean in solemn privacy. Red ant hills and small cacti and strange fractal plants that looked like something precedent to a horror movie dot the brown and crusty hillside.

A few days later he went and met a woman and followed her in a borrowed pickup out to a junkyard in search of scraps of barbed wire and spare fenceposts for his sculptures. “So you grow melons out here,” he asked her in an attempt to make conversation.

“Well, not here,” she croaked from behind a pair of large dark sunglasses, “‘this’ is just Treasure Island.”

The woman was generous, though the impression that she was not willing to part with much of her collection was obvious. There was a broad, deep wash and when he approached the sandy lip a flock of doves took indignantly to the air from the cottonwood on the other side. This was a place he could spend some time, he thought.

Follow Shawn on Instagram – @groan_ups for more pictures of his time in Green River.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012



(Clockwise from top left) Hayride, Elise’s face painted by Dad, Girl Power!, Keith Brady and Sarah Burnett painting faces, Jolene a.k.a. The Storytelling Witch

Well, the SPOOKTACULAR was a great success! On behalf of the Green River Community Center, to all who participated, we give a big THANK YOU. We hope to continue this tradition, because it was just too much fun. Since this was our first Halloween Event, we did learn a lot, and we are open to all of your suggestions. We want to make the SPOOKTACULAR the best it can be. That being said, almost one hundred people came out! We couldn’t ask for a better location which was Scott Banasky’s beautiful farm. We got to hang out by the fire pit roasting hot dogs and marshmallows while indulging in other goodies like Trevor Mechum’s famous cinnamon rolls. Pete Sapieras drove the tractor around the property while our very own Frontier Fellows, Aidan Koch and Shawn Creeden performed on the drums. They were dressed as a ghost and a bandit and it was quite eerie . As the sun set, the last load of passengers boarded the hayride with a belly full of treats and a special souvenir ghost ornament. We look forward to our second annual SPOOKTACULAR.

Monday, October 29th, 2012