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Statewide Annual Art Show Opens at Rio Gallery

Juror's Award painting by Lexi Johnson titled Back When

Juror’s Award: Lexi Johnson, “Back When”

Winning entries in the Statewide Annual Art Show will be displayed beginning Nov. 17 at the Rio Gallery.

Utah ’17: Painting, Sculpture, and Installation, hosted by the Division of Arts & Museums, includes the best pieces as selected by two out-of-state jurors. This year’s competition had a record number of entries, with 308 arrists submitting more than 500 pieces of art. Entries came from throughout the state, with artists calling 62 different cities home.

“While the volume of works submitted this year surpassed previous years, the caliber of pieces demonstrated marked excellence,” Visual Arts Program Manager Felicia Baca said. “It’s truly an honor to see the work being produced across the State and experience the ideas artists are engaging with and the objects that result.”

The exhibit will open with a free public reception on Nov. 17 from 6-9 p.m. during Salt Lake Gallery Stroll, where the Best in Show, Jurors Awards, and Honorable Mentions will be acknowledged. The exhibit will run through Jan. 12, 2018, at the Rio Gallery, 300 S. Rio Grande St. The gallery is regularly open 8-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. It will also be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the Winter Farmer’s Market at the Rio Grande Depot.

Juror Zhi Lin applauded the diversity of work in the submissions, whether it was the varied sizes or the medium employed.

“Each submission had a story to tell,” Lin said. “Some pieces examined current social media and employed a time-based format, while others continued the tradition of easel painting and objects made by hand. Many pieces emphasized the artists’ well-trained academic practice, while others showed their self-taught and highly individualized styles.”

The amount of submissions, and their quality, underscored the importance of art to society as a whole, said Dr. Jan Schall, another juror.

“Art matters. It matters to the maker. It matters to the viewer. It matters to communities, to cities, to regions, to entire countries and cultures,” Schall said. “Art reminds us that we are human, that we are capable of seeing, thinking, and feeling. It binds us together in shared experience and communication, while acknowledging that no two people will experience the world or the work of art in the same way.”

Visual arts competitions have been a project of Utah Arts & Museums since 1899, providing juried exhibitions open to artists across the state of Utah.