Twenty years ago, two recently graduated art students from the University of Utah were loath to give up the university experience. It was partly about the loss of facilities, which in the case of printmakers can be particularly burdensome and expensive to recreate in a home studio. But it was also about community. Sandy Brunvand and Stefanie Dykes found a 1920s bungalow tucked into the business district of Salt Lake City’s Sugar House neighborhood, purchased some equipment and pitched an idea: a membership-driven workspace that would provide printmaking facilities for its members and a gathering and learning place for the larger community. And Saltgrass Printmakers was born.
Over the past two decades, Saltgrass has developed into the state’s premier printmaking organization. It has been a gathering place and work space for their several members, an exhibition space for artists local and national, and a learning space for artists of all abilities and interests. And along the way, it’s always been fun, like when they rent a steamroller to press oversized prints.
For their 20-year anniversary, Saltgrass is going to dance. Throughout the summer, members and friends of the shop have been carving on hexagon shaped blocks, creating works based on the idea of community. On Saturday, September 16th, noon to 4 pm, they’ll be inking up the blocks, joining them together to create large compositions, and dancing on top to create the prints. They’ll also be presenting two portfolios. For the Luck of the Draw portfolio, participating artists were asked to draw from Brian Eno & Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies deck to get direction for their work. (The portfolio has been accepted for display at the next Rocky Mountain Print Alliance’s print conference in Spokane, WA next month). In addition, they’ll be presenting a selection of work from the estate of Bob Kleinschmidt, a printmaking professor at the University of Utah for 30 years. All the prints will be on sale and have been selected from student portfolios created from the 1970s to 1990s. The prints will be priced for the decade they were printed – $70.00, $80.00 $90.00. All print sales will go to support Saltgrass programing and facility upgrades.
Appropriate to the overall community-based theme, Saltgrass’s 20-year anniversary party is in conjunction with the Bogue building block party. As Sugar House was transformed over the last decade and 1920s bungalows were gobbled up for 6-storey apartment complexes, Saltgrass gave up their first space to become one of the first tenants at the Bogue Building, near downtown Salt Lake City. They were soon joined by Modern West gallery, several business and a suite of artist studios. All are celebrating this weekend with the Bogue Block Party.
If you’ve been in the scene for any amount of time, you’ve likely seen the work of Cat Palmer, Bogue’s newest artist (studio 207). Monthly, you can catch her on Good Things Utah, she is on the programming committee for Damn These Heels (Utah’s queer film festival), she taught a photography class for the VA and is a freelance writer for City Weekly’s Best Of issues. She’s excited to be at Bogue and back to having a studio and during the block party will be presenting a series of 5-inch square works based on typewriters, using mixed media and old books for texture.
If you’ve visited the Bogue Studio before you’ve probably seen the work of Lewis J. Crawford, printmaker, photographer, digital artist. This weekend you can catch his alter ego, Well I Wonder. His is a humurous and sometimes unPC take on social commentary. Think snarky comments on t-shirts. Crawford’s work will be there too, as will the work of his late father, George J. Crawford.
You’ll also find Sue Martin, whose recent study and work in Italy we featured in our Autumn Salon series. You’ll find some of these works on display as well as plein-air pieces created in Utah this summer.
Bogue Block Party: Friday, Sept. 15, 6-8 pm
Saltgrass Printmakers 20th Anniversary Party and Open Studios: Saturday, Sept. 16, noon – 4 pm
Also happening this weekend:
The Springville Arts Festival: Features art booths, engaging hands-on art activities, culinary arts, live entertainment, music, plein air and chalk competitions. Art fun for all ages at the Springville Civic Center Park. Sept., 16, 11:00 am – 08:00 pm
Draper City’s Draper City’s annual International Arts & Crafts Festival: features 175 artists and artisans offering clothing, pottery, home décor, jewelry, works of fine art and more. Festival also features live cultural entertainment, delicious food, and a children’s activity area. Admission and parking are free. Sept. 16, 10:00 am – 04:00 pm
Escalante Canyon Arts Festival: Hosted in Escalante, Utah – along Scenic Byway 12 – between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks, in the heart of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Plein air and studio competitions, art exhibits, on-site sales, workshops, demonstrations, arts and crafts fair, live music, guided walks, and much more. Sept. 15 -24
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.
Categories: Visual Arts