On the Spot | Visual Arts

Salt Lake’s Mary Dickson

By day (and often night), Mary Dickson is the director of Creative Services at KUED-Channel 7 and host of KUED’s Contact, an interview segment highlighting the arts and non-profit communities in Utah. A long-time champion of the arts, Mary tries to attend most of the great performances and exhibits she highlights on Contact. She was named Wasatch Woman of the Year in the Community last year for her far-reaching community involvement. Her play, Exposed, about the plight of downwinders, opened Plan B Theatre’s 2007 season to wide acclaim. It was nominated as the Best New American Play Produced Outside New York by the American Theatre Critics Association. The Deseret Morning News named it best drama of 2007 and the Salt Lake City Weekly gave it an ARTY for the best original play of 2007. Chicago Tribune syndicated columnist Robert Koehler called it “a sacrament of grief and anger.” Last November the play toured Utah with the original cast for a series of staged readings and discussions. A new production of Exposed runs September 10 through 26, 2009 at the Space Between Theatre in St. George.

If you could choose someone to paint or sculpt your portrait (living or dead) who would it be?

Randall Lake. Not only because I’m a strong advocate of “buying local,” but because I’m a huge fan of his work. I remember staying at the Hotel Jeanne d’Arc in the Marais District of Paris and telling the owner that the paintings on the wall reminded me of an artist I knew. When he showed me the works up close, they were the work of an artist I knew — Randall Lake. How perfect to find them hanging in Paris.

What are you reading?

Middlesex. I love Jeffrey Eugenides’ writing. Smart, smart, smart. He’s a masterful storyteller, a sharp wit and a beautiful writer. It’s such a rich and readable book that I’ll feel a void when I’ve finished it. I’m drawing it out, so I can savor it. And, it doesn’t hurt that it’s a fascinating subject. Call me voyeuristic, but I’m intensely curious about the life of a hermaphrodite. The book has changed the way I look at gender and sexuality. Now, when I feel writer’s block, I open the book to any page for inspiration.

What is the most memorable exhibit you’ve seen recently? 

Dave Hall’s Moving Water exhibit at Phillips Gallery. Not only do I love his work, but knowing Dave and his story, makes the exhibit truly inspiring. Dave taught at Rowland Hall for years before taking the plunge to devote himself fulltime to painting. His formal training consisted of one community education class (he was also lucky enough to have Connie Borup as a mentor), but he comes from a long line of New England artists, so painting is in his genes. His is an inspiring story, especially for someone like me who clings to the security and benefits of a full-time job and tries to write on the side. Dave took the leap. He followed his passion and the results are impressive. His ethereal landscapes have the most calming effect. His impressionist works inspired by the streams and tall grasses of the Montana countryside seem to rise from the mists of dawn and dusk in golden or gray hues.



Categories: On the Spot | Visual Arts

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