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Old Granite High School transformed into exhibit illustrating the power of dreams

Published: Saturday, May 10 2014 8:45 p.m. MDT

Program directors Ben Ehlert and Johnny Patterson are helping organize an interactive museum, Dreamathon, in the old Granite High School building, Monday, May 5, 2014, in South Salt Lake. Third- to fifth-graders from Granite School District will be going on field trips to the museum.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A former high school is being transformed into an interactive exhibit designed to illustrate the power of dreams.

The Dreamathon, which opens later this month, will lead elementary students and the local community through Granite High School where nearly 150 local artists, designers and musicians are in the process of creating the art gallery.

"We wanted to put together some type of event that would inspire visitors to follow their dreams," said Ben Ehlert, publisher for The Dream Press, which sponsored the event.

Ehlert said the vision for the interactive art gallery is to "inspire visitors to discover their natural strengths, and talents, and passions and then to use those to follow their dreams, to do what matters most to them."

Field trips are scheduled for schools from Granite School District, and the public is invited to attend from 5-10 p.m. May 19-23, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. May 24.

Ehlert said he realized his own dream of starting The Dream Press publishing company while on a trip to Kenya. He was teaching children who only had one pair of clothes and brought tattered notebooks and broken pencils to school.

When he asked them what their dreams were, he said, their hands shot in the air.

"They had dreams to become a doctor or to be a mother or to be a soccer player or a father, a lawyer. Whatever it was, they had dreams themselves," Ehlert said.

It inspired him to promote learning, discovery and teach meaningful stories to children. He also felt inspired to help children in Utah realize their dreams through the Dreamathon.

Johnny Patterson, program director or "dreamcatcher," said the word "dream" is used to guide participants through the museum and teach them how to follow their dreams.

They will move through rooms, one representing each letter of the word: "D" for discover the dream; "R" for remember the reason; "E" for experience every day; "A" for ask for answers; and "M" for make it your mission. In each room, they will view artwork and participate in activities. The children will also take a writing workshop.

"Expect to be inspired," Patterson said. "The Dreamathon is all about illustrating the power of a dream and that it's the work of amazing people who do what they do every day that makes it so that we can all dream big."

A dream isn't something far, far away, he said, but rather what you make of every day.

"It's just that message that we want to give," he said. "It really is all about using your gifts and your talents to make the world a better place, and that's what we hope to inspire."

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com

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