Great news! My painting has been selected by the State of Utah to be part of the Thrive 125 Arts Project to celebrate the 125 year anniversary of Utah Statehood! This is such an exciting opportunity for me to play a part in the history and future of the arts in Utah. I know I couldn’t thrive without the help of Biz Jane.
What are Utah’s official works of art? Petroglyph and pictograph panels by Utah’s ancient Indigenous peoples were officially named the state works of art by legislative decree in 2017. Yet, in almost any article on the topic of state art, you will see the Spiral jetty as the headliner. I would like to propose a celebration of Utah’s original resident artists.
My oil painting, Procession Panel, is a testament to the contemporary issues that face our state works of art when they still reside in their original location. There’s the threat and reality of defacement, the question of how to protect them, and what the best way to provide that protection is. The issues that the Bears Ears National Monument has raised have garnered the attention of the nation. I stumbled upon the panel hiking one day by accident and couldn’t believe my eyes. I took out my camera and documented the panel then and there, and spent the next year painting the scene as I saw it that day. My goal has been to paint a creative preservation of this panel for future generations―or at least the preservation of a moment in Utah when a hiker could still stumble upon a pristine Procession Panel by accident.
I hope that my painting will encourage the conversation about the importance of respect and protection of sensitive cultural sites and artifacts. I believe an acknowledgement of the contributions Indigenous peoples have always made to art in Utah is an important conversation to have in the present about Utah’s past, and that we all need to be a part of it. I believe in the role art has and continues to play in defining who we are and what issues are important to us.