Residents on display give South Jordan artists a place to show their talents
Charles Larson and his wife, Sonja, pose in front of one of Larson’s oil paintings on display at the Gale Center. (Katie Lindquist)
When Charles Larson had his stroke while serving a mission to New Jersey in 2009 for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his wife, he knew he’d have a long way to go to get his life back in order and that included his lifelong passion for art.
“I see differently now,” said Larson, who grew frustrated when he tried to take it up again but found it nearly impossible to draw a straight line that coincided with other lines.
Larson, a resident of South Jordan his entire life, was introduced to art by a teacher in the third grade who had him start with shading.
“I did that it, and it was amazing to me,” Larson said. And while distractions, such as cars at 16, and life events, like his stint in the Army Reserves and LDS mission at 19, might have occasionally taken him away from it, he always came back to his love of creating beautiful works of representational art. He even managed to take some extension classes at the University of Utah. When his son was in the hospital with Leukemia in 1991, Larson again picked up graphite pencils and pens and began sketching, eventually taking some extensions classes in watercolor and oil painting, where he says his true love lies, particularly in landscapes, though he has created portraits of his family in graphite.
The South Jordan Residents on Display program has been going on for eight years and is an opportunity for the city to show off its artists and for artists to get their own one-man show, said Claron Perry of the Gale Center of History & Culture, who has been a part of the program for four years.
“We invite any artists or photographers who want to come and present their work for two months,” said Perry. “We want people to know we care about art in South Jordan.”
Invitations to most artists to submit for the program are typically chosen at the annual judged art show, but anyone interested can contact the Arts Council to apply. Perry said at first it was difficult to find people who were interested or had enough pieces in their body of work, but now they’re booked up several months in advance. Pieces are displayed for one month at the Gale Center and one month at the South Jordan City Hall.
The Residents on Display is a joint venture between the Gale Center and the South Jordan Arts Council, a city council-appointed committee composed mostly of volunteers.
“Residents on Display is one of the Arts Council’s most favorite program because it’s really grown since it started,” said Katie Lindquist, liaison between the Arts Council and Gale Center, “It’s amazing to find so much talent in one city.”
The Arts Council has been toying with several ideas for expanding the program, including adding 3-D and performance art pieces and eventually adding a youth category, as currently only adults over 18 can enter.
“We really like to encourage and build confidence in young artists as well,” said Lindquist.
All of the 28 pieces that Larson submitted for display come from before he went on the mission to New Jersey and had his stroke.
Larson’s wife, Sonja, was the one who insisted he show his works to the world and signed him up to be part of Residents on Display without telling him.
“I always said I was a closet artist, that I painted and put it in the closet,” he said but admits that it was a fun experience for his family and himself. “Family is supportive. I’m grateful for my family.”