Visitors to the Springville Museum of Art found pink and red heart-shaped sticky notes plastered to the gallery walls during “I Heart Art Week” last month.
The I Heart Art event was a way to provide new insight and perspective about the art, according to Jessica Weiss Proctor, the museum’s head of education. Proctor said the hearts posted around the gallery were a way for the artists to feel loved by museum visitors.
“People walk around the galleries. They choose their favorites. They know which pieces they love and which ones they would take home,” Proctor said. “This is a chance for them to visually represent that because they get to give a valentine or give some love to the work of art of their choice. It’s just a way for people to interact with the artwork in a slightly different way.”
On the gallery wall is a sign challenging visitors to “embrace new ideas” by asking themselves what they can learn from the works of art, and how they can look for new ways of seeing, experiencing and creating in their own lives.
“We look forward to (I Heart Art Week) because it gives some new energy,” Proctor said. “These pieces have been up for a few weeks — some of the shows upstairs have been up for months or years — so it gives some new energy to them when you start walking around and you see the heart notes.”
This year’s event coincided with the 45th annual Utah All-State High School Art Show, which is a competition for art at the high school level.
The competition brings in original artwork from high school students all over the state. Ninety-eight schools took part in the event this year, bringing in 989 original pieces to be judged. Only 345 pieces made it into the gallery.
“The art world is a rough place … especially for these high school students,” Proctor said. “There’s a lot of disappointment and tears and bitterness about how this competition goes because it’s really competitive, so to be able to sort of dismiss that for a week and just focus on the positive, happy, good parts of it is really fun.”
Artists come to the gallery and receive validation for their pieces, whether they have one heart or thirty.
Lynette Jones started as a volunteer at the museum and is now the front desk assistant. Jones was the person who handed out the heart sticky notes to use in the gallery.
“It’s like ‘liking’ it on Facebook to me,” Jones said.
In addition to showing love to the art with heart sticky notes, people visiting the museum can also purchase some of the art. While much of the work is not for sale, the high school competition gives young artists the option to sell their work and build their professional portfolios.
“We’ve actually sold at least a dozen pieces already out of the show,” Proctor said. “It’s a really excellent chance to acquire really good work at lower rates than professional artwork, so that’s an exciting thing … because (students) can make money off their art, which is the dream.”
Jones, who bought an original piece at the Spring Salon event, is thrilled at the opportunities the museum provides for visitors to not only appreciate but acquire original works of art.
“Our director, Rita Wright, is very interested in the idea of an original in every home,” Proctor said. “She really wants to promote the idea of people being able to own original art, so we have several exhibitions throughout the year where artists can sell their artwork, and then we have a few events where people can come in and purchase original works as well.”
The 45th Annual Utah All-State High School Art Show will continue to run through March 24, 2017. For more information on upcoming events and exhibitions, see the museum’s website.