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    June 2008
Published monthly by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization

Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
Finding Her True West: The Art & Life of Amanda Moore
by Geoff Wichert | photos by Shalee Cooper

When artists talk about their work they often project a feeling of inevitability. It had to be; either that or they say it was an accident. Speaking on film, Georgia O'Keeffe points to the top of a non-descript hill she feels she must climb with her paint box. "Wouldn't you go up there?" she asks her interviewer, who appears unmoved by the opportunity to scale a dusty slope in the desert heat. But what if there are no accidents: just artists who have learned that it's easier to call it chance than to explain what drives them to pursue their chimeras long past the point where others would quit? Thus Amanda Moore, talking about her Motion Pictures -- visual images that document the surviving traces of westward migration -- explains her focus on back road motel signs by referring to the difficulty of traveling by car with a husband and a family of dogs that are not welcome in national parks and big hotels. The only choice she admits to making in there is a preference for old highways, which is inevitable for anyone who sees driving as the best way to truly be here, rather than a way to bypass here on the way to somewhere else.

Where Amanda Moore always wanted to be was the West. It's an urge she traces to seeing a production of Sam Shepard's 1980 play, True West, which she says she wanted to watch over and over again. Given her stated preference for a nomad's lifestyle, though, it seems likely that while Shepard may have given her restlessness a focus, the suggestion that she had already seen enough of what lay beyond the horizon was never going to sit well with her. Instead, she is continually on the move -- always planning the next road trip -- and the art she leaves behind is the record not only of her journeys, but also of her search for the technical means to bring the life she discovers out there back to those who share her inquiring nature.

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Organization Spotlight: Provo
A New Beginning
The Sego Art Center & Contemporary Art in Provo
by Ehren Clark

Utah Valley happily maintains a substantial cultural arts scene. On any given evening one might see a concert at the new Covey Center for the Arts, a play at one of the theaters at Brigham Young University's Harris Fine Arts Center, a musical at the Scera Theater or the Provo Playhouse, or a performance from the Utah Regional Ballet Company. However, ask a local where to go for contemporary art and you'll likely receive a blank stare. Despite efforts by Gallery OneTen and the developing Provo Gallery Stroll, Provo has yet to imprint itself on the local cultural psyche as a center for Contemporary art.

In most major populated regions of the world, from Estonia to Shanghai, contemporary art is thriving at an unprecedented rate. The world has never experienced such a surge of new forms, ideologies, and artists. It might be said that contemporary art is one entity that the majority of the planet has in common! Never has there been a time when so many artists are producing g on such a broad scale, an exciting and invigorating Renaissance from the flux of the Modernist movements of the twentieth century.

So why is Utah Valley, with its population of half a million (10% of whom are college students), missing the point? Why do we here in the Valley not have what Salt Lake, just north of us, has in abundance -- this major aspect of contemporary culture? These questions were some the Sego Arts Foundation, a Utah Valley grassroots arts coalition consisting of Ryan Neely, Maht Paulos, Jason Metcalf, Brandon Purdie, Tim Fellow, Conrad Nebeker and Matt Wood, were asking a year ago. Already contributing to the arts scene with music and art festivals, the group of artists, with equal parts frustration and determination, brainstormed the possibilities of bringing Provo out of contemporary art obscurity. Thus the idea for the Sego Arts Center, a new contemporary art center to put Provo on the map, began to germinate.

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Sego Arts Center