15 Bytes Extras

Morphing Leonardo: Artists’ Residencies at the New Museum

By Ann Poore

“Great things take a long time,” muses Jann Haworth, director of artist residencies at Salt Lake City’s new art and science museum, “and Leonardo was no stranger to taking a long time over things.”

She has been involved for six years now and acknowledges that The Leonardo has gone through a number of stages, some, it must be noted, awkward ones. However, “As it grew and developed, it became something very much reflective of contemporary art and education,” she said Wednesday in the brightly lighted, quite cheery space devoted to the artists’ lab.

Haworth is quick to point out that “lab” is a verb. “We have given ourselves permission to make mistakes, as one does in a painting.” If things don’t work, they can morph and change until they do.

At the moment, the residencies offer artists an opportunity to network and sell their work on site and later in the gift shop. Eventually, Haworth hopes to be able to pay a generous stipend.  The art community has expanded, she points out, and the Salt Lake Art Center and the Gallery Stroll can’t serve all of it. “It’s not going to have a bias toward fine art,” she says. “We’ll make the pool here a little different about what we call art.”

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The planned and present residencies make her point. Through Oct. 17, Broken Compass Studios is presenting “Catball Eats It All” – the design and launch of a digital game based on fine art as you watch. Artist Yis Goodwin (who also contributed the Cheshire Cat to the Alice mural on 300 South) points out that each level of the game is a playable piece of art. It’s the nuts and bolts of the technology of videogames explained by the people who make them. Jeff Hsu, the producer, is on hand, as are developer Tyson Anderson and game designer Matt Anderson.

They are selling stuffed versions of their quixotic little character, Catball, as well as pictures of the quirky little guy in various settings, such as the rugged Utah mountains with a little of his native Pennsylvania thrown in. He, I’m anthropomorphizing here, looks exactly like something the cat threw up, only white and fluffy and with a winning smile.  Yes, I bought a portrait. And I got to play the game. Very cool.

Coming up on Oct. 19-24 are Steve and Lori McDonald. Billed as award-winning designer for Nike and Ecology Game designer, Steve and Lori will take you into the world of the art of innovation, climate change and design. “Faceplant at The Leo – From Sole to Soul.”

Urban artist Trent Call pays a visit from Oct. 26-Nov. 7 with experiments in painting. And on Oct. 28-30 is a special on the science of spooks with radio broadcaster and educator Suzi Montgomery.

The founder and editor of 15bytes, Shawn Rossiter, is also an artist and will be working on  “a work without end” at The Leo on Nov. 9-14. And Sundance, Utah, and New York City painter and illustrator Kent Christensen will be unpacking “Sweet Mormon Landscape” on Nov. 16-28 (an Artist Profile will appear in the November edition of 15 Bytes).

From England, on Nov. 30-Dec. 12 are Daniel Stolfi and Jay Perry presenting “If Rocks Could Speak the Puppet Would Be Kiing.” This workshop is about the art of puppets as a channel for communication, in therapy among other things.

And on Dec. 14-Jan. 2, noted Utah photographer John Schaefer offers “Then and Now, SL/Bluff and You in Photo Form.”

The daily workshops and Q&A sessions are free to members and Haworth recommends purchasing a membership as a cheap ticket to lots of learning. “It’s $150 for a year’s worth of exciting classes. People pay a lot of money to go to school to learn from these people. And you can come here, to this great place, every day if you wish.”

And like Leonardo, be no stranger to taking a long time over things.

For a photographic peek at The Leonard, check out our October 2011 edition of 15 Bytes.

UTAH’S ART MAGAZINE SINCE 2001, 15 Bytes is published by Artists of Utah, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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  1. “Catball Eats It All” is very entertaining. It’s just so cute and the creators are really nice. The Leonard is absolutely incredible and I want to go back. I wish that I could have spent more time there the other day! It is totally worth checking out. There is so much to do and so many different experiences that you can have.

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