Gallery Profile: Provo
Breaking New Ground
Provo's Terra Nova Gallery
Provo is certainly not the art capital
of Utah. Compared to Salt Lake City or Park City, Utah County has almost
no commercial art galleries to speak of. So, when David Hawkinson
and his wife Florence decided to open a gallery in this quiet college
town, they were definitely setting out to break new ground. So, it seemed
appropriate to the couple to dub the gallery "Terra Nova," Latin for "new
Terra Nova Gallery 41
West 300 North, Provo Utah
Provo (and its sister town Orem) do have art. Most of
it, however, is linked to Brigham Young University and Utah Valley
State College. BYU has two galleries on campus (as well as additional
exhibition spaces in its library) to show work by students and teachers.
The BYU Museum of Art provides a top-notch facility with marvelous shows,
of both local and national interest. And UVSC's new Woodbury Museum promises
to be another fine exhibition space. But Provo/Orem has had little in
the way of commercial gallery spaces, as one might find at Salt Lake's
Gallery Stroll or on Park City's Main Street.
hope their gallery may start to change that. The seed for the gallery
was planted over twenty years ago, when David, a young college student
from a small Wisconsin town, went to Milwaukee to study photography. It
was there that he met an acquaintance, Jim, who ran an art gallery.
After heading the Imaging and Photographic Services at the BYU Museum
of Art for five years, Hawkinson opened his own commercial photography
studio in Provo. And the seed planted in Milwaukee began to grow.
Because of his specialty, Hawkinson continued to photograph artwork
for artists and it was this interaction which led him to reconsider
opening an art gallery. "Sometimes it would take a while for artists
to come pick up their work," Hawkinson explains. "One time someone left
some stuff and it was there for a couple of months. I didn't know it
was going to be there that long, so we said, 'Okay let's put them up
on the wall.'"
The Hawkinsons enjoyed having the work up, but eventually the
artist did return to claim his pieces. "So, when he came back to get
his work we said, 'Man, it's empty now' . . . then we said 'Who else
do we know that we could put up?'"
"Terra Nova" has multiple levels of meaning for the Hawkinsons' gallery.
As David explains, it means "new ground for us. Florence and I have
never run an art gallery before. We're beginners, big time. New ground
for artists, for new artists who have never been in a gallery before .
. . this could be their first step into the gallery world. This could be
their first show after graduation. Or could it also be new ground for
established artists who could be with another gallery doing something
they like but maybe they've got some other ideas and they want to try
something different . . . and they want to try it out in a different
area. So it could be all three of those."
The Hawkinsons vision for their gallery goes beyond their own and their
artist friends' interest. In thinking of the gallery they are thinking of
the wider community as well. "We don't really know if in Utah Valley there's
really been an exhibition space like this. So it could be new ground for
David and Florence Hawkinson hanging
When the Hawkinsons began looking around for a larger space for
their photography studio this year, they were eager to find one that
would accomodate displaying artwork as well. They found just such a place
on Provo's 300 North (41 West). The ground-level space features a front
reception and gallery area and a photography space in the rear.
space is what the Hawkinsons describe as "intimate."
"One of the
criteria when people are wanting to show here are "what size are your
pieces," Hawkinson explains. "But you can still hang a three foot Clay Wagstaff
-- and you could hang ten or twelve of those."
The Hawkinsons don't have plans to make it rich as gallery owners
-- though they certainly hope to make some money. Mostly, they want to
create a place where people interested in art in Utah County can come
together. They want to be a central node for artists and art lovers.
With his photographic
work, Hawkinson has provided artists with valuable services for years. Now
he hopes he can provide more - for the artists but also for collectors and
the general community.
"We're trying to get everyone so that they win," Hawkinson says.
"People come in for openings and say 'Hey, he's a photographer,'
so I pick up business. People come in for me to shoot their work and I
can say, 'You know, I think I know someone who might like your work.' Or
a client can say, 'Hey if you ever see this sort of thing, let me know."
"For a small town boy in the big city there were many questions,"
Hawkinson explains. "How does one run an art gallery? Where do you find
the art? How do you find buyers? Could someone really make a living doing
something that sounded so interesting? But, like many new experiences
in the big city, those questions settled into the back of my mind while I
concentrated on my photography schooling."
moved to Provo to continue his training at BYU, where he graduated with
a BFA in Photography. Hawkinson specialized in photographing artwork,
and received additional training at the J. Paul Getty Conservation Institute
as well as the Smithsonian.
Terra Nova's first exhibition opened in September and featured
works by fifteen different artists. They wanted to show the public both
the quality of the work they would be showing as well as the range of
artists. Their second and current exhibition features works by Gwen Peine
Toomalatai, an Ogden artist who shows in national galleries but is rarely
seen in her home state.
are interested in showing a variety of artists at different stages
in their careers. They are willing to consider student work as well
as experimental work by more established artists. All of it ties in to
the vision for their gallery: Terra Nova or "new ground."
At heart, Hawkinson is a photographer and he continues to see his studio
as his main business. But he and Florence hope that, with their unique
situation, they can be a catalyst for activity in the Utah County art community.
-- Shawn Rossiter, 15 bytes
In November, Terra
Nova Gallery features a new exhibition, "BYU Grads 'At Home' Together'"
with a reception this Friday, November 7th, 6 - 8 pm. The exhibit will feature
works from Cassandra Barney, Todd Orchard and Joanne Smith and will run
through November 29th.
To learn more about
the photographic services offered by David Hawkinson, visit
where you can also view
a number of artists webpages, a free service for Hawkinson's clients.
Works by Joanne Smith, Cassandra Barney, and Todd Orchard will be on display
this month at Terra Nova Gallery.
Inside the Vault:
Truths & Myths from the Utah State Fine Art
The State Fine Art
Collection, begun in 1899 as the Alice Merrill Horne Collection, now
consists of over 1,100 works by Utah artists in all media. The pieces
are on display in various state and office buildings throughout Utah
and many travel with the Utah Arts Council Traveling Exhibition Program.
The continued acquisition of artwork comes from purchases
made through the visual arts program and donations from patrons and
artists of the state of Utah.
This series is an effort to preserve and share the stories
and experiences surrounding the artwork and artists of Utah as
seen through the eyes of the Utah Arts Council staff.
by Laura Durham
Visual Arts Coordinator, Utah Arts Council
Granite artist Allen Bishop on the spot:
WHAT ARE YOU
READING THESE DAYS?
I usually have 2 or 3 (or 4 or 5 or
6) books going at the same time. I actually even finish some of them;
others are little more than browsed through (things like money or politics,
I would have to be coerced to read).
Current books I'm working on include: "Journal of a Trapper"
by Osborne Russell, "Gardner's Art Through the Ages", "Chess Tactics
for the Tournament Player" by Sam Palatnik and Lev Alburt
WHO WOULD YOU
CHOOSE TO PAINT OR SCULPT YOUR PORTRAIT?
Never thought about it; I guess I'm fine
with the job my parents did.
WHAT IS HANGING ABOVE YOUR MANTEL?
Pictures of my family and one of Jesus
If You Don't Buy It -- We Will
A portrait of Welsh poet Leslie Norris began as a request
from the Norris's neighbor. Since Kershisnik doesn't generally
do commissions -- or portraits for that matter -- he decided to do a piece
of his own choosing with Leslie as the subject and allow the neighbors
the first right of refusal. Unfortunately (for the neighbors) they
did refuse the piece. Regardless, it is a charming painting so Kershisnik
entered the piece into the Utah Arts Council's Statewide Annual Exhibition
back in 1994. It was juried into the show and the UAC bought the
painting for the State Fine Art Collection.
Leslie and his wife, Kitty, saw the painting in a show at BYU before
the Statewide Annual Exhibit, but their interest in owning the piece
didn't mature until after the Arts Council had purchased it. As
Kershisnik's fame grew, so did the number of requests from Norris and
his wife to purchase the painting from the State Collection. Leslie
Norris remains a good friend of the Arts Council having served as poet
laureate for several years, but he still doesn't get the painting.
Welsh Poet with a Dog, oil
Brian Kershisnik (1962 -)
New works on paper by Brian Kershisnik will be on view at Dave Ericson Fine Art beginning Friday, November 7th.