Exhibitions | Salt Lake Area Exhibitions

3SMITHS at Alice Gallery

July 12 – September 6
Salt Lake City

Alice Gallery Exhibit Showcases the Collaborative, Boundary-pushing Work of Three Smiths

An artist and two of his sons join together in a collaborative exhibition opening at the Alice Gallery.

3SMITHS features work by Tony Smith and his son, Evan and Willie.

The exhibition opens July 12 and runs through September 6, with an artist reception July 19 from 6-9pm during Salt Lake Gallery Stroll. The exhibition is presented by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums at the Alice Gallery, located at the historic Glendinning Mansion at 617 East South Temple in Salt Lake City, which is free and open to the public Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Like clockwork at 10 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Willie Smith, who has mild Down syndrome, accompanies his father Tony from their home in the Avenues to their studio across the street from the Mormon-operated Welfare Square on Salt Lake City’s westside. Willie immediately goes to his own drafting table and gets right to work — no distractions, intense concentration — while Tony cranks up the sound system and begins his own drawing.

Using colored markers and pens, this father-and-son team work on individual projects and collaborate on others, often playing off each other’s efforts. Recently, they’ve taken up the challenge of seeing how far they can push commercial coloring books and paint-by-number kits, with “number 42” being Tony’s favorite color. Results are fantastically satisfying to those few who have seen them, especially the collaboration pieces.

And there began the idea for an exhibition by not only Tony and Willie but also Tony’s eldest son, Evan, who is chair of the art department at West High School. Evan comes by the studio, usually on Wednesday after classes, to join the collaborative fray.

“There’s some great stuff going on when the three of us get together,” Tony said. “That is, if we can keep Willie from getting his hands on the fat black redacting marker.”

The small viewing circle of their work will be greatly expanded while 3SMITHS is on exhibition at The Alice Gallery. The individual and collaborative work by Tony, Evan, and Willie is inventive, mostly humorous, and illustrates how it is not always a strength to “stay within the lines.”

The Rio & Alice Galleries were created as a service to Utah artists. They provide free venues for emerging and established artists to collaborate on exhibits and engage the community through art making and dialogue. For more information on exhibition and other program opportunities visit visualarts.utah.gov.

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