Still Here

Still Here: Laura Boardman

With our “Still Here” series, we are checking in with members of Utah’s art community to see what the past several months have meant for them. Laura Boardman was raised in Utah and lives most of the time in Salt Lake City with her husband, but spends considerable time at their home in Torrey. Before going back to school at the University of Utah to earn her BFA in painting and drawing, Boardman owned Boardman Design, a full service interior design firm. Her landscape paintings of urban and rural settings are studies of color, atmosphere, weather, clouds, skies 

Yep, I am still here, with many changes in my life.

Last March I was working on a book cover that Kings English was publishing for one of their authors, Jack Mark’s The Feather. Art was still selling out of galleries. Things were going pretty well. Then the virus hit, impacting us all, including my adult drawing workshop scheduled for later in Teasdale. That had to be postponed indefinitely. The plans to rent my Teasdale Rabbit Studio apartment to families and artist friends became more complicated.

At first, I felt some relief not having to keep my usual busy life. I was able to learn to cook again, read, walk, hike, plant flowers, even watch a few Netflix series. I had never been able to sit that long, and sadly the virus kept getting worse.

By July, as the virus increased in general across Utah, it had not yet hit Wayne County. My family and friends were spending more time there, at least until the world found Capitol reef National Park, bringing the virus to town. In spite of the virus, the housing market in Salt Lake City was still hot so we thought this might be a good time to downsize our Salt Lake City home. Fortunately, we sold our home quickly. On Halloween, we moved into our new home and last week I finally had new lighting installed in my new SLC studio. From March through October, I survived COVID-19, the earthquake, hurricane-force winds, had my lovely dog pass on and, yes, purchased and moved into a hew home. While I’m out of breath, I am still here to write this and happy to be where I am.

Nine months of isolation have forced me to really get to know my life and what is most important. I grew closer to some family and friends and re-though a few others. I found out how to maneuver Zoom and how wonderful long talks on the phone can be; but I missed going to gallery strolls, museum openings and dining out. During this time, I was invited to do some interior design again and enjoyed the work, the people and the money; but I found the work less mentally engaging and surprisingly less personal than I remembered. I missed painting, having new ideas and colors dancing in my head.

Yes, artists are still here. Artists work even if patrons can’t buy or see them dance, sing or play music. We crave the grounding this wonderful process. Creating art, for most artists, is like the need to breath air. History has shown that artists will always be here, even during and after a pandemic and natural disasters.

Utah artists keep Utah Arts alive because that is what we do.

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