WHY GREEN RIVER?
We’d like to think we chose this location, but really this place chose us. Epicenter’s founders were invited to work in Green River as AmeriCorps volunteers. They stayed because they fell in love with the place, the people, and the possibilities. Epicenter was incubated in PACT, the local community center which continues to inspire us. Our work continues to be supported at the local level through donations and grant funding, participation, and partnership. Epicenter is nothing without our local support, as well as local criticism, from which we learn daily.
Why do we do this work?
We’re not in Green River to “save the town.” We’re here to celebrate the past, present and future of this place, and alongside the community, work incrementally and intentionally to identify and build on our town’s assets. We gather necessary data where there is none, listen to our neighbors, and base our projects on the wants, needs, beliefs, and emotions present in our community. We are dedicated to this town and our work, but we’re not perfect; we’re constantly building on what we do and redefining how we do it. We work on multiple scales to achieve our goals—from nation-wide networking and knowledge building all the way down to the construction details on a single-family house.
Rural & Proud Since 2009
Since Epicenter’s humble beginnings, we’ve maintained a holistic approach to our work which we believe to be critical to our success. Our process combines art, design, and unconventional thinking to achieve with our community things many thought impossible with limited resources: we renovated a collapsing building with an inconceivably tight budget, hosted dozens of artists and designers from across the world, and created our own grassroots home repair program responsible for critical repairs in over fifty local homes.
Develop Epicenter as a model for other rural communities.
As Epicenter's executive director, Maria leads with a contagious passion for rural places. After graduating from Auburn University’s School of Architecture, Sykes moved to Green River to co-found Epicenter in 2009. Sykes has been working in rural community development around the globe for less than a decade, but the work has been honored many times, including by Utah Governor Gary Herbert. She loves swimming in the Green River, sitting on her front porch, and taking trips to other rural places around the world.
A detail-oriented builder and do-er, Steph holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Utah, known for the Design Build Bluff program working in the Navajo Nation. Though she was born and raised in Utah, Steph has traveled as far as Nepal and Japan to serve communities through design. Steph now calls Green River home and leads Epicenter’s housing initiatives. She has a pet dog named Tucker and goat named Bessie.
After completing two years of AmeriCorps VISTA in Green River, Grace joins the Epicenter team as a working artist, proponent of strong rural communities, and lover of the Utah wilderness. Grace came to Green River from small town New England, having grown up in Massachusetts and receiving her BFA in Painting from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Connecticut. She looks forward to helping others form genuine connections with the community and landscape of Green River.
Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow
Originally from Louisiana, Lindsey spent six years working as an architect in Dallas, Texas, after receiving her BArch at Louisiana Tech (2010) and MArch at Kansas (2012). She approaches community development through a patient and iterative process that combines housing, the arts, and cultural exploration making her a perfect fit for Epicenter's Enterprise Rose Fellowship position from Jan 2019 - Dec 2020.
Sarah first came to Epicenter in 2016 as a Frontier Fellow and essentially couldn't stay away. As a working artist with experience in gallery management, grant writing and event coordinating, Sarah now assists with the Frontier Fellowship and Emerging Fellows programs. In addition to her work with Epicenter, Sarah also sews, weaves, teaches workshops and shears sheep from her home in Doyle, California.
Jarod is a freelance designer, administrator, and rural advocate in Nashville, TN. Originally from rural Kansas, Jarod studied Graphic & Web Design at John Brown University, and has worked with nonprofits in Hungary, Romania, and the United States. In 2016, he joined Epicenter as an AmeriCorps VISTA and continues to assist our operations remotely.
ROSE ARCHITECTURAL FELLOWSHIP
selected as host organization (2018)
UTAH DESIGN ARTS ’18
works selected to be exhibited (2018)
UTAH MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
featured artist in ACME Lab (2018)
NONPROFIT BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Emery County Business Chamber (2015)
UTAH DESIGN ARTS ’15
awarded Juror’s Prize (2015)
awarded to Maria Sykes by The Community Foundation of Utah (2015)
UTAH GOVERNOR’S LEADERSHIP IN THE ARTS AWARD
Gov. Gary Herbert (2015)
RURAL PROJECT OF THE YEAR
Utah Housing Coalition (2014)
YOUNG GUNS FINALISTS
awarded by Curbed (2014)
awarded to by the Design Futures Council (2013)
awarded to Maria Sykes by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums
Board of Directors
Jason Wheeler – Board Chair
Salt Lake City, UT
Joshua Rowley - Vice Chair
Green River, UT
Ren Hatt - Secretary
Green River, UT
Ruth Linford - Treasurer
Dijana Alickovic - Housing Committee Chair
Salt Lake City, UT
Ethan Migliori – Financial Committee Chair
Salt Lake City, UT
RCAC Rural Housing Specialist
Former State Director Of USDA Rural Development Of Utah
Financial Managing Consultant
RCAC Financial Management Specialist