Bull River is an area in Highland (around the other side of the Point of the Mountain) where a number of artists belonging to the North Mountain association live. But it is more than a geographical area, according to graphic artist Ray Morales.
"Bull River is a community that is an invitation to more open thought, more solutions, in a creative environment. It is very isolated here and though we need to travel to the larger cities to broaden our exposure, we always like to come back to the quiet.""North Mountain is an expectation. It is an exchange among artists with diversified disciplines such as architecture, sculpture, painting, graphics and pottery. This diversification is a good sounding board for a common dialogue. Too much ingrowth in one profession has a tendency to develop styles and art should be more than styles."
"The North Mountain Art Walk will be an event, identified by name and location. It is for people to have fun, with no big issues, just pleasantness centered around art, we want to open up the window for a moment."
Morales' comments represent the enthusiasm of the North Mountain artists on their upcoming May 28, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. art walk to be held in Bull River. On this occasion artists Neil Hadlock, Roger and Gwen Davis, Gary Smith, Dennis Smith, Ray Morales and Frank Riggs will be showing their work in the studios. Trevor Southey and Jenni Christensen will also be exhibiting.
Neil Hadlock, Dennis Smith, Frank Riggs and Gary Smith have been the driving force behind North Mountain during the last 15 years, to which they say: "North Mountain is a term for a nebulous concept that binds us together - something we created as an excuse to get together. It is an organization that has the dimensions of education and culture, but vague because we have never sensed the need to do one specific thing; we have all gone our separate ways and occasionally we get together and do something of which we are all a part.
"Initially we thought a school would give us security. Now security isn't critical and education means more - we've stepped into it and it is comfortable. North Mountain is a place where we can focus our energies by communicating internally among the artists and externally with the public through seminars, art walks and art classes. We want to bridge the gap of understanding between the artist and public. Two years ago we had a tour of the artists' studios and last year we had art classes in the Bull River meadow. This year's first annual Art Walk is our most ambitious undertaking.
"Our first annual Art Walk is one of those binding events. First, and foremost, it is going to be a fun experience. A lot of people ask if they can visit our studios, and we want to give them that experience. More than the artists gaining exposure and possible sales, we look at it as a way for the public to have a fun time and keep in touch with some of Utah's artists.
"Eleven years ago the 100 acres of Bull River was a wild tract used for cattle grazing. Since this time we have groomed it and added houses but the nature of trees, shrubs, grasses, deer, pheasants, raccoons etc. still dominates. We have integrated ourselves within the environment. North Mountain maintains approximately ten acres of open space for our sculpture gardens - art pieces upon a lawn that rolls and pinches and then opens into vistas and broad meadows with sculpture against groves of trees. These are places where the artists place their pieces and see how they work in a frame of natures's landscape."
Dennis Smith capped their dialogue when he said: "As a child of 12 growing up in Alpine, I would have thought that I had died and gone to heaven if I could have had that kind of experience. Seeing real artists and their work in this kind of environment."
(SB) Joseph Linton is an architect in Highland, Utah County. He welcomes other viewpoints.