These are the three most important factors in any business and no less so in an art gallery. But tell that to the ladies of the Juniper Sky and Datura galleries in Kayenta, Utah.
Located on a road to nowhere (well, to be fair, almost nowhere; Old Hwy 91 will take you on a back route to Nevada, through the Shivwits Indian Reservation) this small desert community has begun building an artist’s colony against the red cliffs of Southern Utah.
Kayenta, Utah is a small community of houses located west of Ivins that began springing up in the 80’s. If it were not for road signs indicating the community, travelers might easily pass it by. Guided by strict covenants, all the houses in Kayenta are one-story, low-lying adobe style structures that blend into the landscape and, most importantly, do not detract from the fabulous view of the Santa Clara Bench.
A couple of years ago artists and art lovers in the area began creating Coyote Gulch, a small cluster of buildings grouped together thwell withine community. At the artist’s colony you’ll find a potter’s shop and a small bookstore as well as the two galleries. Juniper Sky and Datura are sister galleries, working in cooperation rather than competition.
Datura gallery carries a variety of artwork, most of it smaller, ranging from glass work and pottery to smaller pieces by some of Utah’s better known artists. Pieces by Gaell Lindstrom, Gary Collins and Jossy Lownes can all be found within its walls. While stylishly displayed, Datura has the feel of a fine gift shop, with its range of jewelry, glass and pottery and art all in a Southwest motif.
The Juniper Sky Gallery is more exhibition oriented, featuring larger pieces from Utah artists including Royden Card and Wallace Lee. The gallery will be able to put on even larger exhibition when they move into their new 3000 sq. foot facility, which will be ready in a few months.
You need not wait for the Juniper Sky Gallery’s new space to open to soak up the atmosphere of Kayenta and its growing art colony. During the weekend of February 14th & 15th both galleries will be participating in the 5th Annual Art in Kayenta Festival. During the festival over seventy artists will participate in a fundraiser to support the Xetava Desert Arboretum Foundation. This 501 (c)3 non-profit is currently creating the Desert Rose Labyrinth, an eleven circuit labyrinth in Kayenta’s desert setting.
Coyote Gulch Art Village is located 8 miles West of St. George, just past the City of Ivins on Old Hwy 91. The 5th Annual Art in Kayenta Festival will be Saturday and Sunday, February 14th & 15th from 10am to 5pm.
After stopping by Kayenta, be sure to visit some of the other artstops in the area. Currently at the St. George Museum of art you can visit two traveling exhibitions. The Utah Arts Council traveling exhibit, “Colors of China” highlights colorful art works created by Chinese children, between the ages of 6-12, from the Hepingli Primary School in Beijing. This project was organized by the US Chinese Peoples Friendship Association and The Beijing Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries in order to further positive relations and exchanges between other cultures. The Utah Arts Council has been collecting global children’s art for the purpose of touring the works throughout the state, promoting creativity and understanding of various art forms and cultures. The Traveling Exhibition Program is a statewide outreach service of the Utah Arts Council.
The founder of Artists of Utah and editor of its online magazine, 15 Bytes, Shawn Rossiter has undergraduate degrees in English, French and Italian Literature and studied Comparative Literature in graduate school before pursuing a career in art.