Contemporary art exhibit showcases Western United States

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Once a year, a museum focused on student art development opens its doors to the western United States for a contemporary exhibit featuring artists in various stages of life.

The Woodbury Art Museum, located in the Orem University Mall, is run by Utah Valley University as an outlet for its art students. However, in a change from the museum’s regular exhibits, they welcome artists from the western region of the United States to showcase their works in the “Art of Our Century” exhibit.

The museum placed a call for entries in schools and art groups throughout the West early this spring. From there, selected art juror Erin Linder of the Kimball Art Center in Park City selected about 30 of her favorites.

“There is no real requirements about the work except that it was created about the western region in the last year,” said Melissa Hempel, director of the museum. “We have artists from all walks of life.”

According to Hempel, this year’s exhibit features artists from most of the western United States including Hawaii, Wyoming and Colorado.

“Of course there are local artists from Utah, too, which I think makes it very successful,” she said. “It puts our own local artists in the context of what is happening in the contemporary art world.”

Hempel said this exhibit is an exciting change from the student showcases and local artist exhibitions usually offered.

“I want people to get a wider picture,” Hempel said. “It is nice to offer this kind of show for people to see what working artists are doing in the larger scope.”

Local art connoisseurs are impressed by the varied art selection this exhibition has to offer.

“I try to visit every exhibit at the Woodbury Art Museum each year,” said Rondi Lee, a 23-year-old hairdresser from Arizona. “This exhibit is one of my favorites because it gives such a wide range of artists and works.”

Even UVU art students are able to learn new ideas by attending this exhibit.

“I like to see the techniques artists from different areas are using in their work,” said Jeff Gagon, a 22-year-old illustration student at UVU. “It’s a nice view of what is happening in art around the nation.”

Just coming upon its second year for this exhibit, the Woodbury Art Museum is hoping to make the “Art of Our Century” an annual display.

“I think that if people just know that we are going to do it each summer [they will] be on the lookout for a call for entries around April of every year,” she said.

The exhibit will run until Sept. 23 during regular museum hours. The museum is located in the University Mall between Gap and Nordstrom. Admission is free. Information on the exhibition as well as future calls for entries can be found at uvu.edu/museum.

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