A woman lying in a grass field covered by a white sheet

The Creative Pivot: Granary Arts

Using front yards as an outdoor art gallery, like a progressive dinner, was the aim of “Lawn Gnomes 2020,” a partnership between Ephraim’s Granary Arts and Salt Lake City Utah Museum of Contemporary Arts.

While both arts galleries were closed, curators invited local artists to plant new works in their yards, and visitors were invited to follow a map to drive by the art. Some viewers went on to make their own yard art, says Amy Jorgensen, executive director of Granary Arts. (The project was a revival of a 2011 Salt Lae City installation organized by UMOCA guest curator Micol Hebron.) 

Jorgensen says the drive-yourself-by exhibit drew different viewers than those who attend shows at the contemporary art center.  “It was a timely and perfect application of how to experience art out in the world in this moment when all of us have to think about safety and health and breathing,” sh says. 

Granary Arts reopened in June, and as expected, walk-in traffic has been down. 

“We’re finding we can still be a productive and engaging art space without having to be a physical space,” Jorgensen says. One example is the center’s recent “Incubation Period” digital exhibit created by Parc Collective, fellows of the art center. They curated a show by 40 artists from around the world, inviting artworks sparked by the idea of quarantine as a “creative incubation period.” 

Some pieces invoked nature as a dream world, while others explored the emotional landscape of the body, amplified by the shutdown of regular work and school routines, as well as the Black Lives Matter protests across the country. “It’s fascinating how we’re all going through similar experiences,” Jorgensen says. “When else has this happened?”

— Ellen Fagg Weist

Visit: For a map of Salt Lake City artists’ “Lawn Gnomes 2020,” email  [email protected].

Visit: “Lawn Gnomes 2020”: granaryarts.org/umoca-lawn-gnomes-2020; artworks will remain posted in Ephraim, Spring City, Fairview and Mt. Pleasant yards as long as weather allows.

View: “Incubation Period”: granaryarts.org/incubation-period-parc-collective

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