The newly formed Tremonton Arts Council is off the ground and running, with plans to jumpstart the city’s public mural projects, hold a party for local artists to mingle and exchange ideas, and create more public art while attracting more funding from the state.
The council held its first official meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, and started things off by appointing its co-chairs, local artist, Tamara Zollinger and Dave Lasley of the Bear River Valley Museum. The other members of the council include Zach LeFevre of the Parks and Recreation Department; City Councilmen Lyle Holmgren and Bret Rohde; mural artist Jason Nessen; and Liesel Sorenson, who is involved in the theater department at Bear River High.
Next, the council started a discussion of organizing an “artist’s soiree” — a meet and greet bringing as many local artists as possible together, most likely at the Box Elder County Fairgrounds. A tentative date of March 29 was pegged for the event.
“We would want to bring in artists from throughout the Bear River Valley, not must Tremonton,” LeFevre said. “We could set up tables, let people write what they would like to see, just come express their opinions.”
Zollinger suggested including high school teachers as well, and councilmembers agreed that they should be focusing on music, theater, culinary, and other arts beyond just visual mediums. Rohde said there are a lot of people in the area focused on digital arts, and the council should be looking at the possibilities around new technology as well.
One art project that was discussed is an American Flag made up of a composite of images contributed by a variety of artists. A photo contest is in the works, as is a plein-air painting contest (painting outdoor scenes as the painter views them).
Rohde suggested some sort of themed sculptures for downtown Tremonton, similar to the bulls on Main Street in Logan or the horse sculptures in downtown Ogden.
“It would be fun to have two or three sculptures on some corners,” he said. “Something like that could really help downtown.”
Additional movie nights in the park, a talent/variety show and an art walk were just some of the ideas for events that could bring the community together and increase interest in the arts.
Sorenson, whose husband Derek is in charge of the BRHS theater department, said they should organize a community theater production.
“They could practice all summer and then perform a week before the fair,” she said. “We have access to the high school theater already.”
Holmgren agreed with the idea of timing certain events around the county fair.
“It’s one of the largest events in Northern Utah, with some 70,000 to 80,000 people coming to town,” he said. “I’ve always felt like Tremonton has kind of missed the boat by not taking advantage of all those people here.”
Much of the council’s time was spent discussing the city’s mural projects. LeFevre said the city has put off grant applications for new murals until the one at 163 W. Main St. is complete. He said that project ran into some issues last year like lead paint and chipping that have delayed it, but plans are for work to resume sometime in March, putting up scaffolding so Nessen can start painting in April.
The murals are viewed by many as the centerpieces of the Tremonton arts community, due in part to the fact that they received Best of State Awards for public art in 2016 and 2017.
The council will be in charge of finding walls for future murals. Some popular ideas are something themed along with the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, as well as one honoring the Shoshone and other Native Americans that have called the Bear River Valley home over thousands of years.
“I would like to see a prominent location for that,” Zollinger said.
The next big step, she said, will be to get everyone in the same room, as they plan to at the end of March.
“Once we meet with other artists, there will be a lot more ideas coming,” Zollinger said.