Fourteen new sculptures will call Centennial Plaza home for the next yearOct 01, 2022 08:57PM ● By Carl Fauver
The final food truck Saturday night for this season included a free movie and the unveiling of 14 new sculptures to launch the second year of the city’s Plaza +ART program. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
It may have taken Taylorsville a quarter-century to make improvements outside city hall. But after finally completing the multi-million-dollar makeover a year ago, city leaders wasted no time in working to establish the area dubbed “Centennial Plaza” (south of city hall, west of the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center) as “thee place to be” on hot, summer Saturday nights.
On the Saturday before Labor Day weekend, the city closed out its successful first season of what they called “Starry Nights @ the Plaza.” For more than a dozen Saturday evenings – starting before Memorial Day – residents who braved our record-breaking temperatures were treated to live music, free movies and a variety of food trucks, intended to please any palate.
The city’s annual “Night Out Against Crime” – organized by the volunteer Taylorsville Public Safety Committee – took advantage of the built-in crowds by joining in on the Aug. 6 Starry Nights agenda. A couple of weeks before that, a children’s entrepreneur market was there as well. Both of those programs are expected back next year.
Nearly every Saturday night also featured live music from the plaza’s amphitheater stage. Those acts are also expected to compete for stage space and community exposure again next year.
As she addressed the audience scattered across the Centennial Plaza lawn a few weeks ago, Mayor Kristie Overson marked not only an ending… but also a beginning. At the same time she bid adieu to “Starry Nights @ the Plaza” for 2022, the mayor also unveiled a whole new collection of sculptures now on display throughout the grounds.
“Last year when we introduced our Plaza +ART program we had six statues on display,” Overson told the audience. “But this year we have more than double that number – 14 statues. We’ve created eight new pedestals and display spaces for this second Plaza +ART season.”
All six of the artists who provided sculptures for display in Centennial Plaza last year are back again with new pieces. They include: Taylorsville resident Dan Toone, his son Josh Toone (Hyrum), Deveren Farley of Lindon, Gary Lee Price out of Arizona, Provo’s Ben Hammond and Doug Adams of Malad, Idaho.
Meantime, the eight artists making their sculpting debuts in the Centennial Plaza collection this year include four from here in the Salt Lake Valley – Nate Brimhall, Dana Kuglin, Rick Prazen and Jeannine Young – along with four more who hail from further away: Myles Howell (Logan), Nate Johansen (Provo), Jason Millward (Logan) and Jim Moore (Wenatchee, Washington).
“This is actually my third different sculpture in Centennial Plaza because my first one last year got broken and I had to replace it with a second piece,” said local sculptor Dan Toone. “This is such a beautiful place to display art. I have been happy to talk this (Plaza +ART program) up with other artists. The city is talking about creating even more places to display art next year – maybe growing it to 20 sculptures. That would be wonderful.”
Prior to their pieces being unveiled that evening, the artists were treated to a “thank you” dinner inside the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center.
“Having all the artists together to talk about their pieces was just wonderful,” Overson said. “The food was great – and the artists were so appreciative. Really, the whole evening was just an amazing experience. One woman told me she thought the atmosphere was ‘peaceful.’ I thought that was a perfect description.”
Dan Toone also thought the artists’ dinner was a nice touch.
“At least ten of the artists were there, along with spouses and program sponsors – probably 40 to 50 people,” he said. “They gave us a nice swag bag with a mug, a pin, a visor, a blue tooth speaker and a star ornament representing Starry Nights @ the Plaza. It was nice.”
One of the new plaza artists this year, Myles Howell of Logan, uses stone as his primary sculpting medium. The father of three buys stones from literally everywhere. His finished pieces are also now all across the globe.
“I source (stones to be sculpted) from all over the world,” Howell said. “My piece on display in Centennial Plaza, called ‘Slender Void,’ is made from Portuguese Pink (marble). A friend of mine actually purchased the stone in Italy and had it in storage for about 25 years before I bought it from him. I now have sculptures in Germany, Taiwan, Japan. I had a piece this year go to Rome.”
Howell says sculpting alone can’t yet support his family of five. But he hopes he’s moving in that direction.
“I’ve worked for a Logan tech company for seven years,” he said. “That’s a fulltime job – but I feel like sculpting is also. So, I have two fulltime jobs, because I enjoy it so much.”
With fine arts bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Utah State University, Howell says he can also see himself possibly getting onto a tenured career path track as a sculpting professor at some point.
Dan Toone encouraged Howell to submit a sculpture for consideration by the Taylorsville Plaza +ART selection committee. And he’s glad he did.
“Taylorsville did a great job creating the plaza,” Howell concluded. “It was so nice to be around the other artists that night. I know many of them very well. (Centennial Plaza) is such a strong draw for people. I am already thinking about which of my pieces I will put up (for selection committee consideration) next year.”
Dan Toone says he’s proud of the role city officials have asked him to assume in getting the Taylorsville sculpture display up and running.
“The mayor asked me to help recruit artists to the Taylorsville program and I am happy to do it because the setting is so nice,” he said. “Once artists see the nice pedestals and the surroundings, (Centennial Plaza) really sells itself.”
Each summer for several years, Toone has taken a selection of his sculptures to Loveland, Colorado for a show and art sale called “Arts in the Park Loveland.” The event is billed as “Colorado’s Longest Running Artisan Festival, with more than 175 artisans showing a diverse collection of artworks.” When he was there this year, he handed out letters to all the sculptors from Utah with information about the Taylorsville program.
With “Starry Nights @ the Plaza” now on hiatus for the next several months, the 14 new Centennial Plaza sculptures will remain in place, subject to the rain and snow of winter. Each of the pieces are for sale. If you spot one you just have to have in your own yard, you can find details about making a purchase on the city’s website, taylorsvilleut.gov/our-city/plaza-art.