Happenings: St. George
Taking It To the Streets
Kayenta Street Painting Festival Transforms the Art Village's Streets
Seven miles west of St. George, the small community of Kayenta in Ivins is gearing up for the annual Kayenta Street Painting Festival, April 23-24. Set in Coyote Gulch Art Village, an enclave of art galleries, studios, and coffee shops at the center of Kayenta, the festival fills the streets and pathways with chalk paintings as large as 12 feet. Professional street painters from as far as Italy are specially invited to create featured pieces, while other participating artists and teams of students compete for prizes in various categories following the theme "Rock, Stars, and Wildlife."
Street painting is in many ways performance art, explains festival director Judy Terrell. "This art is not meant to be kept or sold—it will be enjoyed until it is erased by Mother Nature. This is art purely for the joy of it.”
Terrell also notes that street painting can be a physically demanding form of art, as artists labor outside in the elements in front of an audience to create large paintings on the ground. “It is an intrepid artist that does street painting,” she says.
Terrell listed a number of other components of this year’s festival, including live music, food vendors, and shopping.
The selling feature of the Kayenta Street Painting Festival is the pristine Southwestern setting, with towering rust-red cliffs in the background. Devoted to honoring rather than altering the desert landscape, homes in the community are low-profile and neutral in color, with minimal outdoor lighting, camouflaging the bulk of the houses even at night. As Kayenta’s original developer Terry Marten explains on the home page of the community website, steps were taken to ensure that “domestic landscape does not obscure the elegant simplicity of the desert flora.” It’s true—there is not a grass lawn to be seen. “[Kayenta] is a lovely, peaceful place,” Terrell says. “It is even quiet at night, except for the occasional coyote.”
Built around the idea of beauty in nature and beauty in art, Coyote Gulch Art Village thrums with poetry slams, chamber music concerts, wine tastings and play readings year-round.
Residents are eager to enjoy more of the performing arts as well, with the highly-anticipated completion of a new Center for the Arts within Coyote Gulch which will accommodate music concerts, visual art shows, and a multifunctional black box theater. Currently under construction, residents hope for a tentative completion date in the fall of this year, Terrell said.
Till then, residents continue to fill existing spaces with an astonishing variety of arts-related endeavors. With most of the residents originally from outside Utah, the community boasts a cultural diversity unique to southern Utah.
While the Kayenta Street Painting Festival sometimes stretches the human and physical resources of its small community, Terrell acknowledges that every spring the Kayenta Arts Foundation renews its determination to carry on.
“I am always amazed at the dedication of the artists that participate,” she said. “And it is also fun to see the excitement of children who are invited to try out chalk in their own personal square. The festival really is a joyful event.”
Up & Upcoming to the South
St. George Art Museum UP: Painted Parks: landscape paintings by Erin Hanson that captures the grandeur, beauty and natural grace of America's protected landscapes has led to an increasing popularity among impressionist collectors (see our article from February 2016).
Granary Art Center UP: 7 Steps Forward, 7 Steps Back. V. Kim Martinez physically traversed routes used by Mexican/Native American migrants for thousands of years along the now United States and Mexico border to inform her work. AND: Positive Space of Silence, a body of work by Sandy Brunvand that focuses on marks and the potential they hold to both encode and decode information. In this case the marks inherent in the player piano scrolls used as a substrate are negative marks. AND: Portable Sanctuaries features performance pieces by Beth Krensky that are part of a larger series of portable sanctuaries that are intended to respond to the natural or built environment while providing a refuge—a space within a space.
Gallery East (USU Eastern) UP: Paintings by Chris Manwaring. UPCOMING: USU Eastern Student Art Show. The art department's annual juried student art show includes a variety of art forms and media.
Springville Museum of Art UP: Russian Stories, Soviet Ideals explores the duality of the ideals of the centralized Soviet government and the realities of everyday life for the Russian (and non-Russian) people. AND: Here, There and Everywhere examines how “spaces” become “places” — locations invested with meaning. Shown together, the diverse depictions of place by Joshua Clare, Mark England, Karen Horne, Jeff Pugh, Brittany Scott, and Justin Wheatley ask how place connects to identity, power and perspective. AND: Running simultaneously with Here, There, and Everywhere this contemporary show by Levi Jackson explores the other side of place – the forgotten spaces and disregarded landscapes of the American West.
Brigham Young University Museum of Art UP: in the e.g. gallery, Smile by Kehinde Wiley, a video in which seventeen young men were asked to smile unceasingly in front of a camera for one hour. AND: Branding the American West: Paintings and Film 1900-1950 examines collectively the imaging of the American West by members of the New Mexican Taos Society of Artists and the California-based artist, Maynard Dixon. UPCOMING:
BYU Harold B. Lee Library UP: Rose Marie Reid: Glamour by Design. Level 1, Special Collections.
Woodbury Art Museum UP: Student Art Show & Bachelor of Fine Arts Final Projects. The show includes more than 100 works including those from graduating seniors.