On May 10th, 2019, the State of Utah and the Department of Heritage & Arts will commemorate the 150th anniversary marking the completion of the nation’s First Transcontinental Railroad. The joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads occurred at Promontory Summit, UT in 1869. As part of a host of Spike 150 activities aimed to inspire, educate, and reflect on this legacy, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums (UA&M), Rio Gallery (located in Salt Lake City), will be facilitating an exhibition March 22–June 14, 2019 on this topic. Funding is provided by the State of Utah, the Department of Heritage & Arts, the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, and the Spike 150 Commission.
This exhibition will include both invited artists & artists accepted via an open call process, and will include a side-by-side curatorial mentorship with one invited mentee from the community. Artists both curated and selected from the open call, will be paid for participation. Proposals for new work, as well as existing works that relate to the topic, will be accepted. Additionally, funding has been set aside for the acquisition of a limited number of works of art from this exhibition into the State of Utah Alice Merrill Horne Art Collection.
The history of the First Transcontinental Railroad and its legacy in Utah provides ample topics for exploration and representation. Topics and subjects related to this event may include, but are not limited to: transportation, travel, industry, technology, infrastructure, innovation, immigrant and labor issues, impact on Indigenous peoples, environmental issues, globalization, historical figures & stories, related geographic locales, Transcontinental Railroad routes, westward expansion, social and economic impacts, etc. We welcome any and all aesthetic explorations that relate to the topic.