Square One: Helper Artists of Utah - January 12 - February 23, 2018

Please Join Us January 19 during SLC Gallery Stroll
Panel Discussion 5PM - 6PM. Artist Opening Reception 6PM - 9PM

Below is your invitation and a Curatorial Essay by Donna Poulton, Ph.D.

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The Finch Lane Art Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition:


Once an abandoned mining town, Helper, Utah is now a thriving art community.

The success of Helper was an unintended consequence of the desire of a number of

educators, led by art professors David Dornan and Paul Davis, who found that the

lonely town offered not only the solitude they needed for creativity in their own work,

but aordable space to teach serious art students the fundamentals of drawing and

painting contemporary realism. Armed with the mantra, “learn your craft,” the Helper

school opened in the spring of 1995. The school’s teachers didn’t just tell students how

to paint, they showed them how to paint. Dornan noted “…if a student wants to paint

a better apple, show them how to paint a better apple, don’t start talking about the

relevance of an apple.” For Paul Davis, the school oered space for clarity, “after a while

it got so that you could see what a student was thinking while looking at their drawing

or painting, then you could help them to understand that the problem had nothing to

do with mere talent, but that the issue was more about the way in which they focused

their minds.”

The lesson they hoped to teach students is that draftsmanship along with extended

periods of immersion in one’s craft are among the fundamental building blocks for

creativity. This exhibition examines the work of a number of extraordinary artists who

studied at the Helper school and who attribute their level of artistry and success to the

generosity and talent of its teachers. These distinguished artists sell work throughout

the country, some directly from their studios in Helper. While they share the lineage of

their craft, with slight and subtle veins of thematic and stylistic similarities, each has a

distinct style.

Donna L. Poulton, Ph.D., Exhibition Curator

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All images and text © 2018 Janell James Studios and Janell James Artist.