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Taylorsville Journal

Art show makes a triumphant post-COVID return with 100 pieces displayed in the MVPAC lobby

Nov 03, 2022 07:59PM ● By Carl Fauver

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

When COVID-19 first darkened our doorstep back in March 2020, it rapidly shut down the NBA, Broadway, Las Vegas casinos and the NHL. We all remember at least some of those.

But for the Taylorsville Arts Council, the first thing coronavirus wiped off the schedule was the organization’s annual art show. For years the event had been held at the Taylorsville Senior Center. That 2020 show was expected to be the organization’s last at that venue, because the bright and shiny new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center was expected to host the event in March 2021.

As it finally turned out, the arts council’s next art show would be in the MVPAC lobby. But it took two-and-a-half years to get there.

“This was our first in-person, face-to-face art show since before COVID hit – and we could not be more thrilled with the performing arts center venue,” Taylorsville Arts Council Co-Chair Howard Wilson said. “We had 100 entries over many different categories, from quilts to wood carvings to sidewalk chalk art. We aren’t sure yet whether we will permanently shift this show to the fall. But we had not done one for so long, we wanted to get one in this year.”

Dozens of artists, young and old, entered art into the show, with many taking home ribbons and plaques. Taylorsville resident Nancy Henderson won “Best of Show” for her intricate “Woodland Animals” quilt. And it wasn’t the first time she’s earned that prestigious recognition.

“I’ve been very honored to win three ‘Best of Show’ awards over the years – all for quilts,” Henderson said. “Typically, the quilts I enter are pretty intricate and elaborate. With the embroidery and bead work, they take hundreds of hours to finish. I’m also a member of the Utah Quilt Guild and enter their annual show each year.”

Henderson is the official costume maker for all of the Taylorsville Arts Council theatrical productions. If you attended their summer presentation “Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” you saw her handiwork in the rainbow coat – and pretty much everything else cast members wore.

Another big winner at this year’s Taylorsville Art Show was Edie Olsen. Of the six pieces she entered, four earned prizes – including one Mayor Kristie Overson proclaimed as her “Mayor’s Choice.”

“Mayor Overson selected a cement stepping stone I inlaid with cut glass, called ‘Sunflower,’ Olsen explained. “I had three other pieces earn two first place ribbons and one second place. It was exciting because, when I entered two pieces in the show a couple of years ago, neither of them earned awards. But this time, four of the six did. It was very exciting.”

Another Taylorsville resident, Scott Lance, was also a multiple winner. Five of his seven paintings and photographs earned ribbons.

“Someone once said, ‘the only obligation of art is to touch the emotions,’” Lance said. “I like it when my pieces do that.”

Former city resident – and 2017 Taylorsville High School graduate – Justin Tibbitts could not attend the art show because he’s living in Rexburg attending BYU-Idaho. But his father transported his two wood carvings to the show – one of a whale and another of a penguin. When dad took them back home, they were adorned with blue and red ribbons.

“This was my first time to ever enter the art show, so I’m excited both pieces were winners,” Tibbitts later said by phone from Idaho. “To make each of them, I just looked at pictures of the animals and started with a chain saw. Next, I used a belt sander. The hardest part was finding good logs to use. Both pieces are made of Taylorsville wood. I got the logs from one of my parents’ neighbors after they cut down a tree.”

Justin is one of five Tibbitts boys who’s graduated from THS. But he doesn’t plan to pursue art professionally. He plans to go from BYU-Idaho to a chiropractor school in San Francisco.

“I have an uncle and four cousins who are chiropractors and I think it will be a fun career,” Tibbitts concluded. “But I’ll keep doing art – and will probably enter the Taylorsville Arts Show again. I enjoy it.”

Another big show winner was Kregg Clemens, whose oil paintings earned a pair of top honors. His piece entitled “Utah, North versus South” received the Youth Council/Ambassadors Choice award, while his painting entitled “Northern Lights” garnered the show’s People’s Choice award.

While most show entries came from Taylorsville artists, a mother and daughter who live in Sandy also got in on the fun. And before landing in Sandy, Durga Ekambaram and daughter Akshara Sudhakar actually lived a lot further away than the other side of the Salt Lake Valley.

“We are originally from India and have lived in Sandy five years,” Ekambaram said. “I like how they have incorporated many different types of art mediums. One of my paintings has eggshells in it. And another I painted using nothing more than espresso and water.”

In a shy, barely audible voice, daughter Akshara added, “My Mom taught me art and I like to paint.”

This year’s art show marked the first time the Taylorsville Arts Council included a sidewalk chalk art division. Back in July 2020, when the pandemic was still raging, the council created a make-shift chalk art competition. To remain socially-distanced, 18 different entrants created their art in their own driveways.

This time around, the plan was to have a mosaic of multiple entries outside the performing arts center. But perhaps word of the new competition division did not get around, because Camille Grimshaw’s drawing of a young girl was the only entrant. Art show organizers hope to get the word out more effectively next year about the sidewalk chalk art division to encourage more entries.

“It is so nice to have this show again and to see all the talent in our community,” Overson said of the event. “We are glad to have this partnership with (Salt Lake) County so the art could be displayed here (in the County-operated Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center lobby). It is so spacious – you can really appreciate the art.”

Again, Taylorsville Arts Council brass aren’t yet ready to say whether their 2023 art show will be in the spring or fall. But they do promise it will return – barring another pandemic – and will again be in the MVPAC.

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