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The City Journals

Local artists draw a crowd for first Art on the Town

Jun 07, 2021 01:00PM ● By Rachel Aubrey

Mary Nielsen, a local artist, showcased her works in polymer clay and alcoholic ink at the Art on the Town Event. (Rachel Aubrey/City Journals)

By Rachel Aubrey | [email protected]

On May 1, the city of South Jordan hosted the first Art on the Town Event held at the South Jordan Towne Center from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Artists and vendors were set up directly in front of City Hall and neighboring retail stores, and showcased many different forms of media in an effort to connect the community through art and expression. 

For many artists and small business owners, the past year left little opportunity to connect face to face with the community at large and to showcase their talents and passions, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This outdoor event was a way to connect residents to artists and their work while still maintaining a safe and comfortable environment. The city worked closely with a local vendor management company, SoJo Markets LLC, and its owner Laura Gaillard, who runs the Daybreak farmer’s market, set to begin again on June 5. 

“I love having it here in South Jordan, I sometimes feel like the north end of the valley gets a lot of things happening, and I love to have it open here, I feel like it gives our community a place to go, and strengthens it,” Laura Gaillard said, a Daybreak resident and owner of SoJo Markets.

The community was able to experience local artists like Mary Nielsen, who has been creating art all her life. Nielsen’s philosophy of head to heart to hand has become a way of not only creating art but teaching it as well. Nielsen worked as a volunteer in public school art programs for many years and imparted the idea to students that art comes from your head, through your heart, and out your hand.

“Art can’t be wrong,” Nielsen said.

The art Nielsen showcased to the community at the event consisted of polymer clay tiles and alcoholic ink portraits.  The medium of alcoholic ink, Nielsen said, can be unpredictable but can lead to really creative pieces. Nielsen has prints available for purchase on her Etsy shop named after her art philosophy.

There was a little bit of art for everyone, from alcohol ink, graphic design, pottery, jewelry, even apparel.

“We’ve got all different types of art, it's so wonderful to see the types of art that there are,” Gaillard said.

Art comes in all forms and can be displayed in various ways. South Jordan resident Brandon Thomas brought his artistic approach to apparel design. Thomas began creating original designs four years ago which eventually led him to screen printing the graphics on high-quality t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and totes out of his garage. Thomas now sells his designs at art markets across the Wasatch front.

“To me art and creating is a fun way to express my own personal interests and lifestyle,” Thomas said. 

Thomas’ brand, SoJo clothing, is inspired by all things that Thomas enjoys, the beach, tropical weather, and the fun activities that can be done outdoors such as skateboarding and biking. Followers of SoJo Clothing were recently invited via Instagram to suggest design ideas for the upcoming summer season, the vote was wildflowers. 

“The ultimate joy is when I see someone out and about with some of my art you can wear,” Thomas said.

South Jordan artist, Nate Brimhall, expressed that art is about humanity. That is how Brimhall views his work and his artistic approach, using metal sculpture as his medium. Brimhall creates large framed sculpture pieces that have been displayed around the valley, including Southern Utah.

“I want to keep humanity in the daily equations of life,” Brimhall said.

On display at the art on the town event was a sculpture that Brimhall referred to as diligence, a piece he said was inspired by onward movement and continuation, creating a sense of hope despite the chaos of the past year. Those wanting to see more of Brimhall’s work can visit Oquirrh Hills Middle School, where a piece he calls "Elevate” is situated on campus.

The city hopes that there will be more events like this in the future.

“The reason I like to do these, and why I get so excited about them is because it gives local small businesses, tiny businesses, an opportunity to sell their creative works and to come out and be successful,” Gaillard said.

For more information about art events and programs visit www.southjordancityarts.com or follow the City on Facebook at @SouthJordanCity.