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Draper Journal

Draper Groups Want Community Arts Center

Aug 01, 2016 08:44AM ● By Julie Slama

“The Historical Mural Depicting Early Draper History 1850-1938,” painted by artist Paul Smith, shows prominent leaders such as John R. Park, who is pointing the way toward the University of Utah and higher education. The former Draper elementary and junior high, Park School, bears his name. The completed mural now resides in the Corner Canyon High School Legacy Room. — Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Draper, Utah - It’s at a small beginning, but it’s a big dream. That’s how Draper's Visual Arts Foundation President Lowell Baum described the aspiration supporters have to see a community arts center in Draper, housing visual arts, performing arts and a historical museum. It would unite groups under one roof with the goal to preserve, teach as well as showcase the Draper collection of artwork, historical memorabilia and community talent, he said.

 “We’re at the very first of this, but it is a dream we’ve had,” he said. “Originally, we looked at having it at the old Draper (Park) school, but that didn’t become a reality. So now we’re back to square one.”

 Baum said that they have talked to neighboring communities about their centers and also plan to tour some as they meet regularly to detail their plans.

 Early ideas include enough room for art shows, including the Foundation’s high school senior art competition, as well as to display the existing 70-piece Foundation collection; space to teach Draper children art lessons; an auditorium and ticket office for performing arts; a space for the Draper Historical Society to have its museum; and storage for art pieces, props, costumes; memorabilia and more.

 “We’d love to have people jump on board and help us with this. The city is big enough it really needs a place to support the arts and maintain its cultural activities,” Baum said.

 Foundation secretary Jean Hendricksen has chatted with Mayor Troy Walker about the possibility of an arts center.

 “He suggested we work up a proposal for City Council, which is what we’re working on,” Hendrickson said, adding she hopes they will meet with them by winter. “We haven’t decided what we need as we’re still in the early stages, but he did say there is the possibility of land near City Hall for the arts center. Clearly, there is a value in having the center for people in Draper to appreciate the arts and our history.”

 Draper Arts Council member Mike Weaver, who attended a May meeting that discussed the concept, said that he hopes the center will gain momentum.

 “It’s really preliminary at this point, but if it gains interest, it would be a great facility,” he said. “The Foundation has a really great art collection and it would give others a chance to come exhibit their work. It would be great to get all the collection out of storage so everyone could see them. We could become a community known for the arts.”

 Amongst the pieces the Foundation owns is a Bob Ross untitled piece that Hendricksen’s brother owned after studying with Ross and an historical mural depicting Draper history that once hung in the old Park School, now with a center section addition painted by late Foundation member and resident Layne Brady.

 Many of the pieces of the Foundation’s artwork are distributed at local schools — all three public elementary school’s in Draper — Draper, Oak Hollow and Willow Springs — as well as at Corner Canyon High School. There also are pieces at City Hall, said 14-year Foundation member Leone Smith. 

However, Smith said some pieces are in storage since there isn’t enough places to display them. 

“We, the Foundation, still purchase pieces of art as well as receive donations,” she said. “People give us them because they appreciate what we do, but it’s really hard to find a place to hang it.”

 Weaver also said Draper Arts Council ran into difficulties storing their items used for musicals.

 “We had them stored in the old Park School, but when it was sold, we had to get out rather quickly. We had a discounted deal on a warehouse, but after initially moving there, we looked at that and realized even with a good deal, it wasn’t enough. So we donated many of the props, costumes and everything to Canyons School District,” he said, adding that they can still use the property without rental fees.

 A few items can be stored at the Draper Amphitheatre during the winter months.

 “(DAC member) Leslie Johnson had some concept drawings made years ago with grant money and she had talked to the city manager at that time about a community theater, but this approach will serve more needs. If we have a building for the visual arts, historical society and theater council, we’d work together since we’re all related. It’s really inspiring to meet with other communities who have accomplished the dream we’re motivated to do,” Weaver said.

 Funding will be challenging, Baum said.

 “We’d like to have community support, with donations from businesses and community members. We’d like work with an architect who will donate the work and we’ll look into grants and ZAP (Zoo, Arts and Parks) funds. We’re really getting started here and we’ll need the support from the city, city manager, city council and mayor. It’s not easy to get funding for the arts, but we’ve done it before,” he said.

 That was when the Foundation raised $10,000 to hire internationally known restoration expert Dave Jolley to clean its and Draper Elementary’s art collection after years of having soot coating the paintings as the old school was heated with coal, Hendrickson said.

 There are many community-use possibilities for the center, Weaver said.

 “We could add a grand piano and students could have recitals. It would give us another source of revenue and it would be a benefit to our community. The Draper Arts Council wants to be involved and this would give us another venue to provide a variety of shows that appeal to audiences and those who audition,” he said.

 Smith, who has taught pottery to school children, said the center could allow the Foundation to give them space to teach some of the same mediums they previously had taught, such as watercolor, acrylic, modeling and basic art.

 “I liked seeing the students learn about art, see their appreciation and take it clear up to high school. If you don’t learn while you’re younger, it’s harder to appreciate when you’re older plus it has been proven that the arts have helped to get kids to learn with their coordination, thinking, problem-solving,” she said.

 Baum said it would give the high school competition, which had 60 pieces entered from high school seniors who can attend public, private and charter schools within the Canyons School District, a place to showcase their talent.

 This year’s grand prize winner was Hillcrest High’s Alexus Brazil, who used acrylic with his painting, “Afternoon Change Up.” Brazil donated a piece of his work to the Foundation collection.

 First-place winners include Waterford’s Chelsea Bradly with her entry, “Strokes” in the two-dimensional contest and Corner Canyon’s Sadie Chidester’s handmade wood guitar entry entitled, “Feather,” in the 3D competition. Second place went to Alta High’s Austin Simkins entry, “Finding Potential” and the third-place winner was Waterford’s Matthew Burken with “After Rodin.”

 Baum, who likes to do flower arranging and tinker in acrylics, realizes the significance of their idea.

 “I’m not really an artist, but this is something I do because it is important and this will be lasting to our community,” he said.