- You already know you'll find spectacular sights in downtown Salt Lake this time of the year; among them are colorful decorations along Main Street, festive displays in store windows, and a wonderland of lights on Temple Square.

But stunning attractions are not limited to only outside downtown buildings. Inside are some visual treats just waiting to be viewed."An Elegant Emerging" is a stunning exhibit at the Salt Lake Art Center that focuses on a historical view of computer graphics.

As you descend the steps and enter the Main Gallery, you'll immediately see two arrows. If you take the one to the left, you will enter the world of light, intuition and art; the one pointing to the right welcomes you to the world of logic, science, and math.

Either path, however, eventually leads you to the other world. Suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a liaison between science and art.

Curator Kenvin Lyman says that this liaison was inevitable. "It was brought on by their own insatiable curiosity and the general advancement of technology."

He continued, "The primarily left-brain pursuit of computer science and the primarily right-brain pursuit of visual art observe natural law as surely as all else, and in the process, march toward a higher state of wholism, each caressing the other with a kind of Darwinism elegance."

Your journey through the history of computer graphics will be made easier if you spot the "traffic signals" and read what they mean. Red circles indicate that the piece is a pre-computer work; yellow, that the computer process has been mixed with other processes; and blue, that the images have been created entirely in the computer.

Accompanying the two-dimensional art that hang on walls are one movie projector, four slide projects, eight headphones, and 12 TV monitors. This equipment is working. And as you view many of the TV programs and commercials where computer graphics have been used, you'll soon realize the impact this art/science is having in the world today.

One of the most fascinating videos focuses on Ron Resch building his computer-assisted structures. Here, you will learn all about the creative process, as Resch probes imaginative approaches and experiments with a variety of materials. He expended considerable creative energy putting "flesh and bones" to his ideas.

"An Elegant Merging" continues at the SLAC through Jan. 15. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Suggested donation for this show is $2 for adults, $1 for senior citizens and children under 12.

- Only a block away, you'll find a different kind of exhibit; "Reflections on the Kingdom: Images of LDS History and Belief" is being featured at the Museum of Church History and Art.

The show contains more than 120 art works and surveys LDS historical and religious themes from 1820 to the present time. It has been expertly curated by Robert O. Davis, who already has many successful exhibits under his belt.

Davis said the exhibit shows "the common religious heritage of Latter-day Saint artists worldwide." But each artist expresses himself in diverse traditions and styles.

An international flavor can be seen in samples of tapa cloth from Tonga, batik from Indonesia, a carved gourd from Peru, etc.

Many works have been viewed by LDS members before, since they have graced a number of LDS Church publications for many years. But you will thrill when you find yourself only a few feet away from the original paintings.

Several of Arnold Friberg's original paintings of Book of Mormon people and events are there, including "Baptism in the Waters of Mormon." These paintings were originally commissioned in the early 1950s by Adele Cannon Howells, General Church Primary president. They were to be used in the Children's Friend.

Since then, however, these reproductions have been found in many other publications, including some editions of the Book of Mormon.

A story line of the exhibit is developed around six themes: Joseph Smith and the restoration, the gathering of Zion, the kingdom of God, the Mormon landscape, scriptures of the restored church and LDS beliefs and lifestyle.

Sculptures that particularly appealed to me were Avard Fairbanks' "The Vision" and "The Tragedy at Winter Quarters"; Torlief Knaphus' "The Handcart Family"; and Laura Lee Stay's "Reverence." Top drawings and paintings include Kent Goodliffe's prismacolor "Yoke"; Arnold Friberg's "Richard Ballantyne Organizes the First Sunday School"; Nancy Glazier's "Without Any Ire," Minerva Teichert's "The Miracle of the Gulls," and LeConte Stewart's "North Farmington, Utah."

"Reflections on the Kingdom" will remain on exhibit for 16 more months - through April 9, 1990. Hanging concurrently with this show is C.C.A. Christensen's "Mormon Panorama."

Davis said, "The museum is putting special emphasis on Church history during the coming year. These exhibits will remain in place while a major permanent exhibit on the history of the Church is completed."

Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and some holidays. For further information, call 240-3310.