"Fine Art, Serious Fun" this slogan, adopted by the 1988 Utah Arts Festival, promises more serious art and quite a bit more fun for the thinking public that the festival wants to attract.
Festival director Linda Bonar and her staff have spent considerable time thinking what direction the Utah Arts Festival should go, and have decided their offering should be angled toward the more committed and serious arts lover, with "the chic, sophisticated '80s replacing the laid-back funk of the '70s," as Bonar puts it.Accordingly you'll see quite a few thoughtful things going on among the fun and games at this year's 12th annual festival, which will run at the Triad Center's Devereaux Plaza, on South Temple between Third and Fourth West, June 22-26.
Recognizing the need for more significant visual art, the festival has collaborated with the Utah Arts Council and the Union Pacific Railroad to stage "Exhibition," a showcase of 51 paintings from Utah's own large fine arts collection, on display in the Union Pacific Station. See seldom-displayed works of J.B. Fairbanks, Leconte Stewart, Francis Horspool, Don Olsen, Lee Deffebach and Bonnie Phillips, among others. Festival planners hope to make "Exhibition" a permanent feature, selecting different works each year.
Visual arts and crafts are integral to the festival, and this year's exhibit booths will number 80, more than ever before, chosen by a panel of artists and experts. They will include last year's eight award winners, and five invited artists.
"We wanted to bring the sort of artist who has grown beyond this sort of festival, and can't really afford to attend unless we can offer them added incentive," said Bonar. "We are paying some of their expenses, and this year all but one of them is from Utah. We hope to continue this project, and while artists will not always be from Utah, but we are glad this year's are."
Also new is the artist of the day, who will show his wares in Booth 56 - again an expert who cannot commit to the entire festival. In addition, 10 demonstrating artists will show their specialties and instruct the audience.
The Children's Art Yard, coordinated by Meredith Moench, will feature a labyrinth, a sound wall, a camera obscura, puppet workshops, and each day between noon and 2 p.m. (12:30 to 1:30 on Sunday), animals from Hogle Zoo. Face painting is back, along with the Marion Carter storytelling festival.
Performing arts, with close to 60 favorite Utah groups or soloists participating, will be staged in fewer but more cool and comfortable locations this year. Afternoons events will be in a grassy park stage near the entry on Third West. Then at 6:30 or 7 entertainers begin to double up, on the plaza stage, located west of South Temple, and the large, permanent amphitheater stage, behind Devereaux House.
Highlights among the many evening events include Wednesday opening ceremonies at 7:30, followed by Ballet West and Joe Muscolino Big Band; Thursday, Children's Dance Theatre, Eastern Arts Dance, Utah Symphony, A Company of Four and Saliva Sisters; Friday, Repertory Dance Theatre and Utah Regional Ballet; and Saturday, Jensen-Woodbury Duo, Synthesis Big Band, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.
Classical music enthusiasts may want to keep in mind Brunch with Bachauer, at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, featuring the gold medalist of the 1988 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.
Four visiting artists of considerable national reputation lead the roster of attractions. On Friday at 8:30, Daniel Lentz brings his group to the Plaza Stage, followed by Fattburger jazz at 10 p.m. And on Saturday, Elisa Monte Dance Company will take the amphitheater stage at 9:30, with The Rippingtons on the plaza stage at 10 p.m.
Composer Lentz and his small instrumental ensemble spring from the minimalist persuasion, but with a more melodic approach. He's received favorable reviews for last year's "Lentz," an LP recorded with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Fattburger is a quintet from San Diego, specializing in contemporary jazz stylings, strong on rhythm. Recent LPs, "One of a Kind" and "Good News," have done well in Billboard's jazz charts.
Elisa Monte danced with Pilobolus and Martha Graham companies before founding her own modern company in 1981 and has choreographed for Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theatre, among other companies. The Monte Company tours extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
The Rippingtons, led by guitarist Russ Freeman, likewise have a Billboard-winning record, "Moonlighting," and specialize in compositions tailored to the specific players _ drummer Vinnie Coliauta and saxophonist Brandon Fields, along with percussionist Steve Teid, who uses an assortment of more than 30 instruments.
The Utah Media Center's Video Environments feature video art by national and local artists, headlined by Nam June Paik, whose piece, "Spring/Fall," created in collaboration with Paul Garrin, will receive its area premiere.
Among environmental arts proj-ects this year, Jana Pullman's "a point of INBETWEEN" uses a variety of papers to create a colorful, fluid, 40-foot sculpture. For "Moving Words," Utah artist Mark Brest van Kempen projects words on a series of screens 70 feet long with multiple projectors, at different sizes and speeds, to which the viewer brings his own perceptions. And "Flying Fish," directed by Day Christensen, will feature a profusion of original kites made and painted by children from 500 Utah elementary school classrooms, flying from 20-foot poles throughout the festival.
A literary arts booth will be staffed by a sampling of Utah authors, headlined by poets Leslie Kelen and Larry Levis. Festival-goers are invited to drop in and browse, and meet such authors as Joe Bauman, Kent Miles, David Kranes, Linda Sillitoe, Calvin Grondahl, and Harold Schindler.
Twenty-one booths offering a gourmet assortment of drinks and ethnic foods will refresh festivalgoers.
Working with Bonar are Rebecca Heal, assistant director; Phyllis Schubach, publicity director; Jamie Leigh Galli, administrative coordinator; and Robyn Nelson who coordinates a staff of hundreds of volunteers. The festival is supported by individuals, private business, state, city and county government, and has grown steadily since its beginning in 1977.
Festival hours are noon to midnight Wednesday-Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission, good for re-entry during the whole day, is $3 adults, $1 for children 12 and under, or senior citizens 62 and older. On Wednesday-Friday, a $1 lunch admission may be applied toward an evening ticket. Family passes, for parents and up to four children 12 and under, are $7.