Salt Lake Design Week ’23

Field Studio student pinning up their work in preparation for the event.
Field Studio student preparing their work for the event. Photo by Curtis Shosted.

Epicenter recently held a tremendously successful event during this year’s Salt Lake Design Week in partnership with Field Studio! The event was both an opportunity to reconnect with designers and supporters living in the Salt Lake City area as well as a time to make new connections in order to increase awareness about Epicenter’s work. Around 50 people joined our staff and board members as well as the Field Studio students at Woodbine Food Hall on the evening of October 24th for a highly anticipated book release, film screening, work by Epicenter, new merchandise, and an exhibition of design research and work by the students.

Cover of Epicenter’s Why This Place? book. Cover art by Summer Orr.

Epicenter’s book Why This Place?: A Future-Forward Retrospective is a non-exhaustive (yet 200 page!) exploration of the uncharted territory we have mapped in our first decade of work with the twofold goal of self-reflection and analysis while elevating the under-recognized design work being done in rural places. The book, with an accompanying poster and postcards by artist Summer Orr, will be available online for Giving Tuesday (Nov 28th).

During the event we screened Come Home to Green River, a new 12-minute film by Chris Merchant capturing the collaborative culture of Epicenter through the magic of our 2022 Spring Summit. The film, featuring Joseph Kunkel of MASS Design Group, Amy Jorgensen of Granary Arts, and many more incredible rural artists, designers, and advocates, will be released widely online for Giving Tuesday (Nov 28th).

Field Studio work exhibited during the event.

Students in the Division of Multi-disciplinary Design Field Studio, working with Epicenter this semester, exhibited their mid-semester work exploring design interventions for Green River’s unique opportunities–and universal rural challenges–such as tourism, housing, public spaces, recreation, and more. Final reviews, open to the public, will be held on Nov 17th from 2-5pm in the architecture building on the University of Utah campus.

Field Studio volunteers helping sell Epicenter merchandise.

We also released the official 2023 Rural And Proud Artist Edition tee (Rural y Proud), tote bag, and sticker by Elpitha Tsoutsounakis, an Epicenter Board member, designer, and Professor/Founder of Field Studio. Elpitha’s design is a nod to the over 33% of Green River that is Spanish-speaking or Latinx. The limited edition Rural y Proud swag will be available online for Giving Tuesday (Nov 28th).

The event was made possible by Angela Dean & AMD Architecture, Bryan Buenacosa-Brooks, Colorado River & Trails Expeditions, Jason Dilworth, Todd Erlandson, Field Studio | Division of Multi-disciplinary Design | University of Utah, Shaleane Gee, Holiday River Expeditions, Kayce May-Riches, Chris Merchant, Summer Orr, Sierra Club – Utah Chapter,  Steve & Juanita Sykes, and Woodbine Food Hall.

Headquartered in the small town of Green River, Utah, Epicenter stewards creative initiatives that combine art, architecture, and rural investment in order to build a more resilient, equitable, and vibrant local community. Epicenter is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded and led by architectural designers and artists. Learn more at and follow Epicenter @ruralandproud on Instagram.

FIELD STUDIO (Division of Multi-disciplinary Design, College of Architecture & Planning, University of Utah)

Field Studio, developed by Assistant Professor Elpitha Tsoutsounakis, brings together diverse community partners to inform management, stewardship, and experience in public lands and rural places through education, design research, and product design. Learn more at and follow @uofu_design on Instagram.


Salt Lake Design Week (SLDW) celebrates and promotes the impact of all design in Utah. By providing a forum for designers, business professionals, students, and the general public to interact, collaborate, and learn from each other, SLDW builds a stronger creative community. SLDW is inclusive of all people and disciplines, including graphic, digital, product, fashion, photography, architecture, interior, and more. From October 23-27, 2023, we will celebrate Utah creatives and promote the impact of design throughout the state and beyond. Learn more at and follow @sldesignweek on Instagram.

Posters/research by the Field Studio students. Photo by Curtis Shosted.