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 opportunities. Epicenter's work and ethic reaches far beyond Green River, Utah, but it remains our home
Why do we do this work?
We’re here to celebrate this place, and alongside the community, work incrementally and intentionally to identify and build on our town’s assets. We’re continually building on what we do and redefining how we do it. We work on multiple scales to achieve our goals—from nation-wide 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.
Passion: Epicenter has an undying passion for our community of Green River. This passion drives the pursuit of our mission. We seek to partner with those who share our passion, and we work to inspire it in others where possible.
Excellence: Epicenter aims to operate at the highest level of excellence. Everything Epicenter creates is intended to be completed as carefully as possibly so as not to waste resources. We do not settle for mediocre work.
Stewardship: Epicenter believes that local knowledge is valuable and should often guide our work. Epicenter strives to make decisions that show care for and provide sustainable value to our community, and also ensure the viability and sustainability of the organization.
Transparency: Epicenter is committed to operating openly and transparently. Epicenter makes available accurate, comprehensive, and timely information to our community, the media, and stakeholders.
Honesty: Epicenter is committed to open and truthful communication with everyone, and seeks to partner with those who do the same. Epicenter acknowledges the truth, even when it is difficult to do so. Epicenter knows that acknowledging difficult truths is often the first step in pursuit of our mission.
Empathy: Epicenter believes in responding to the challenges and needs of Green River as residents and neighbors. We identify and acknowledge the various points of view within our community, and integrate them into our actions and activities.
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.
Architect / Rose 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 and project lead on Canal Commons.
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.
Frances is a writer, reader, and maker from Los Angeles. She comes to Green River from rural Vermont, after graduating from Bennington College with a focus in poetry and architecture. With her interest in literature and design, Frances is particularly invested in creating storytelling platforms for Green River residents. An instinctive archivist, Frances can be found making lists, collecting small objects and curating her shelves.
Born and raised in Texas, Emily has always felt quite at home in the western landscape. Emily moved to Green River from Auburn, AL, where she studied Environmental Design and had the opportunity to participate in multiple design-build projects in rural landscapes. Emily is passionate about the way the built environment can be utilized to empower and equip communities, viewing design as a form of advocacy.
Doug comes to us from Salt Lake City, UT, with an interdisciplinary art background. Most interested in place-based art, they believe connecting people to the spaces they inhabit will encourage better stewardship of both local and global ecology. Their various roles include helping design a new community space, teaching a pop-up photography course to middle-school students, and assisting the after-school program with art and literacy.
Born and raised in Green River, Darcie is no stranger to our town or AmeriCorps. She served for one year as an AmeriCorps NCCC member in 2000 after which she received a degree in culinary management from The Art Institute of Salt Lake City. Darcie is glad to be back in Green River, both to serve her hometown as well as take her twin daughters on adventures out in the desert.
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, AIA – Board Chair
Salt Lake City, UT
Joshua Rowley - Vice Chair
Green River, UT
Ren Hatt, JD - Secretary
Green River, UT
Ruth Linford - Treasurer
Dijana Alickovic, AIA
Salt Lake City, UT
Shaleane Gee, PhD
Salt Lake City, UT
USDA Rural Development, Utah
David Watkins & John Montgomery
Rocky Mountain CRC
Park City - Affordable Housing