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    April 2008
Page 6    
Adam and Dessi Price in front of the 337 Project
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Organization Spotlight: Salt Lake City
337 Rising
A New Project to Rise from the Rubble of the Old
by Shawn Rossiter | photos by Shalee Cooper

This Saturday, April 5th, a ten-month wait is over. Eager viewers will watch as bulldozers level the graffiti-covered, installation-filled building on Salt Lake's 400 East that became famous last year as the 337 Project.

The brainchild of Adam and Dessi Price, the 337 Project turned a rundown building into a unique art event, attracting thousands of visitors over the short ten days it was open to the public. Over 150 artists participated during a three-month period to help put Salt Lake City on the contemporary art map. When "Artland: USA" traveled to Utah they pointed their lens at four artistic icons in Utah: the Spiral Jetty, the Salt Lake Main Library, the Sun Tunnels and the 337 Project.

When the building closed its doors on May 27, 2007, the thought of its imminent destruction stirred a lot of conversation. Many visitors couldn't see the point of destroying something that took so long to create and that had thrilled their imaginations; but the majority of artists, many of whom had joined the project precisely because they knew it was going to be destroyed, were eager for it to be torn down and for the process to be completed. Some even got impatient, complaining as month after month passed and Price still hadn't demolished the new local landmark. Was Price not willing to embrace the idea of impermanence? Had he turned his back on the original intentions of the project? But the inaction was not Price's fault. It was a matter of paperwork.

Without a construction permit Price couldn't get a demolition permit. Due to costs and design factors, Price had had to change his plans for the projected building on the property. And without a viable plan, the city wouldn't let Price near a bulldozer.

Price now has that plan. Unveiled on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune last week, Price's building will be a seven-story condo tower made from old shipping containers.|1| The bottom floor will include a retail space, which Price hopes to keep an art venue, to reflect the location's recent history. And in the future the 337 Project may find a home there.

Price won't be hauling in rubble from the old building to fill up the space. He has registered the 337 Project as a non-profit, with the hope of continuing the creative artistic community he saw evolve with the project and to bring contemporary art to underserved communities. The street level space at the new building may eventually serve as a fixed gallery for installations and exhibitions, but in the meantime Price hopes to take the 337 Project on the road.

Price plans to turn a 25-foot moving van into a mobile art gallery he can drive around town. His route might be aimless, simply to attract curiosity; or maybe to a specific spot, like a school or underserved neighborhood, where he will park the van and allow visitors to look experience the art -- whether through a glass side or by entering the van. "I'll start on my block and keep driving until it doesn't make sense anymore."

Price wants to bring art to people who don't ordinarily feel empowered to seek it out, something that was a big part of the project last May. Over 10,000 people came through the 337 Project in the few days it was open, and many commented that they had never been into a gallery or museum. Price wants to serve "artistically underserved parts of the community." The ephemeral quality of the moving van -- you never know where it will be -- will also reflect the original project. Price wants people to be able to see something exciting out of the corner of their eye as they go about their everyday life and stop and investigate.

Developing his non-profit hasn't been the only thing keeping Price busy over the past ten months. During the construction and since the completion of the project, he has maintained communication with the 337 artists through email. He announces shows by fellow artists, notifies them when the media does something on the project, sends updated demolition dates and passes on opportunities that come his way. One recent opportunity resulted in artists from the 337 Project helping the children who are cared for at Neighborhood House by painting all of the interior doors 337-style.

Another opportunity is Present Tense: A Post-337 Project, an exhibition at the Salt Lake Art Center in June curated by BYU Museum of Art director Campbell Gray that will feature new works by 337 artists. The most pressing opportunity, however, involves the bulldozer. Price has invited the artists, and the public, to join him on Saturday, from 9am to 2pm, as the demolition team finally completes the project the artists began over a year ago.

The 337 Project is located at 337 South 400 East in Salt Lake City.

Feature: Hints & Tips
Insuring Yourself and Your Art
by Sue Martin

With healthcare costs rising and the promise of so-called "healthcare reform" only a vague plank in political platforms, what's a self-employed artist to do? That was to be the sole focus of this month’s column, but then I was faced with the intriguing question of how to insure my artwork while in transit to an exhibition. So, I'll tackle both insurance dilemmas.

Is there strength in numbers?
Conventional wisdom tells us that group insurance policies are less expensive than individual policies. We then assume that individual artists (those not married to spouses who bring home the benefits) will necessarily pay more for health insurance. We also assume that an association of artists might get a better deal on insurance. That's not necessarily the case.

"A self-employed artist is like any other independent contractor," says Ernie Sweat CEBS, a benefits consultant with Fringe Benefit Analysts. "An individual policy may be your best option. The problem with groups is that there may be members of the group who are less healthy than others, thus posing a higher financial risk to the insurer. The policy for the group may be priced higher so that the insurer can be sure the income from premiums will cover the cost of claims."

Some people, due to health issues, may not qualify for an individual policy. In that case, suggests Sweat, the artist may form a limited liability corporation (LLC) with their spouse or other artists as members of the LLC. The LLC can then apply for group insurance with as few as two members. There are some insurers that guarantee to cover a group, though their premiums may not be as affordable as you'd like. The insurance underwriter will look at the health information submitted on applications by members of the group before quoting a price. If you want to explore the LLC route, you'll need the help of a qualified lawyer and accountant to help you form the LLC and make sure your accounting and tax filings comply with applicable laws.

Another option for artists who cannot get individual insurance is the state comprehensive health insurance pool (HIP). Under this program, the insured member pays a portion of the cost and the remainder is paid by a combination of state and local government. The rates are high and the benefits are not great (such as high deductibles, lack of office co-pay and drug card), but you may take comfort knowing that your catastrophic health care costs will be covered. For more information visit www.selecthealth.org.

Do you have insurance tips to share? Send me an email and I'll share the information in a future column.

Should I insure my artwork, and, if so, how?
Recently, I sent a painting to my son for his birthday. While arranging for the shipment with my UPS store, the clerk informed me that UPS would not insure the value of my painting, other than the frame, glass, paper, or canvas. "Unless, your painting is appraised," she explains, "we have no way of verifying the value."

Since I'm not yet in the "big leagues" commanding five or six-digit prices for my work, this information came as neither a shock nor a disappointment. But it did start me thinking about disasters and losses involving my own work and that of artists who are way ahead of me in the price/success scale. So I called The Hartford insurance company, from whom I purchase a standard business liability policy.

A helpful underwriter there told me essentially the same thing I heard from the UPS clerk. Most insurance policies will require an itemized list (schedule) of the works to be included in the policy; they may also require a written appraisal of each piece if you want to get more than the cost of canvas and paint in case of loss or damage. This would mean, of course, that you would need to constantly update your list and appraisals as you add new work to your inventory.

On the other hand, I was glad to learn, my basic business policy covers my business property up to a reasonable amount, which at my current level of production and sales, would be sufficient to reimburse me for my materials, at least, in case of catastrophe. My accounting program, into which I enter my costs of materials, would help substantiate a claim.

There's also something called an "inland marine policy for fine art," which is personal property coverage for various kinds of "moveable" property, including fine art. It differs from your homeowners policy in that it covers your artwork wherever it is – in transit, in a gallery, an arts festival, etc. A sales representative at The Hartford told me items covered on an inland marine policy must be listed on a schedule, and to be sure you will get full value for a piece lost or ruined, it must be appraised. Inland marine policies start at about $2,500/year and can go up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The other tricky thing about insuring work in transit is that policies may not cover transportation by a private vehicle, i.e., not a commercial carrier. So, if a friend volunteers to transport paintings to a show, your work may not be covered for loss or damage.

So what do artists do about insurance? I have only anecdotal information, no comprehensive statistics. One artist couple I know told me, "We can't afford to insure our artwork."

Utah artist Joseph Alleman has this approach: When shipping art to a gallery, he insures it for the cost of the frame. If the frame is damaged, which has happened, the gallery repairs or replaces it, then Alleman submits a claim. When shipping a piece that a client has already purchased, he insures it for the full retail value. The sales receipt is his proof of value if he must submit a claim.

The bottom line – take reasonable precautions with your own health and with the handling of your artwork. The healthier we are, and the more careful we are with our work, the less likely we'll suffer a loss – with or without insurance.

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