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Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Art lovers show up in force to view and possibly purchase art at a show at Art Access in Salt Lake City where "300 Plates" is on display through June 13.

When this wall of energetic art confronts you — nearly 375 recycled printer's plates resurrected by 82 Utah artists employing diverse mediums — it is visually impressive.

Landscape, still life, portrait, pop art, abstract expressionism, realism, surrealism, post-impressionism, assemblage, oil, acrylic, ink, photographic emulsion, plastic, metals — there's all of this and more in "300 Plates" at Art Access Gallery, 230 S. 500 West, through June 13.

"It's like walking into the middle of a kaleidoscope," said Ruth Lubbers, gallery executive director. "It's just a sea of color. It takes people a long time to walk through and look at individual plates. There's so many discoveries."

"300 Plates," which began as a fundraising event six years ago, is now one of the most anticipated annual exhibitions in Salt Lake City.

"A lot of nonprofits go to a hotel ballroom and have a big dinner," Lubbers said. But she couldn't make herself do it. "That just isn't us."

Lubbers and company wanted something they could have in their own gallery. "We wanted something that was indicative of who we were and was accessible to people and artists."

Former Art Access board member and artist Joe Ostraff, who was part of an earlier exhibit incorporating hundreds of 11- by 10-inch printer's plates, suggested that Lubbers give 30 artists 10 plates each to work on and call the finished exhibition "300 Plates."

This year, plate prices started at $65 and increased sequentially in one-dollar increments, with a small selection of plates being set aside for a silent auction.

"The money made goes to support our programs for people with disabilities and people who are underserved in other ways," said Lubbers.

All of Art Access' programs depend on professional artists to teach, or mentor, or be an artist in residence. "And we pay artists to do those things," Lubbers said, "so in a way some of the money goes back to support the artists."

Over the years, "300 Plates" has become popular with Utah artists, many pleading to be part of the fundraising exhibition.

As in the past, this year's participants reads like a Who's Who of Utah's painters, photographers and printmakers.

Each artist received an 11- by 10-inch metal plate (some were given up to four or more) to create a small work in their recognizable style. The plates were then collected and exhibited just centimeters apart, covering the walls of the gallery space.

"It's gotten to be quite a wonderful bunch of artists," said Lubbers. "We show both well-established artists and artists who are just breaking through. That's the fun of it."

While many of the plates were purchased opening night, there are still excellent works available at a price new art collectors can readily afford. And, fortunately for us, all the pieces, whether purchased or not, will remain on display until the end of the show.

If you go . . .

What: "300 Plates"

Where: Art Access, 230 S. 500 West, #125, Salt Lake City

When: Through June 13

Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

How much: free

Phone: 328-0703

E-mail: [email protected]