Editor’s Note: I am pleased and honored to feature Hikmet Loe, an “artist, writer, and teacher whose work draws inspiration from the smaller patterns found in the larger environment and from the changeable nature of land, water, and sky.” She was instrumental in FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake’s work to launch the first Great Salt Lake arts and humanities prize, the Alfred Lambourne Prize. Below, she recounts the importance of this prize and the process of putting it together, as well as the ways artists tell stories, and the importance of those stories, about our inland sea. For more of her work, visit her website at www.hikmetsidneyloe.com.
Imagine you’re standing alone along Great Salt Lake’s shoreline – what do you notice first? The feel of the ground under your feet? The colors of the landscape, the shifting hues of the sky? The water that ranges from still-as-glass to foaming waves? The rustle of the desert’s foliage, the multifarious sounds of the birds?
A story unfolds about this place each time we visit our Lake as senses are sharpened and memories come alive. How we share our version of the Lake takes on as many variations as ways we experience Great Salt Lake. From crafting words, to creating visual art, to writing song and sound, we share the Lake with others through individual, creative lenses. Each of us is impacted by our inland sea.
The creativity the Lake inspires has been recorded for decades. This fact has not been lost on Lynn de Freitas, Executive Director of FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake. FRIENDS organizes the biannual Great Salt Lake Issues Forum on topics affecting the Lake and its shoreline’s inhabitants. The Issues Forum has often included cultural and artistic aspects of the Lake. To reflect this broadened view, Lynn suggested expanding FRIENDS Science Committee to become the Arts & Sciences Committee, which was formed in 2013.
The Arts & Sciences Committee, under Committee Chair Amy Defreese’s great leadership, focused on creating a community celebration of the arts of the Lake. Using FRIENDS Doyle Stephens Scholarship as a model, we determined an annual celebration would be fitting. We named the event – including a prize – after one of the most famous and prolific visual artists the Lake has ever seen: the painter and writer Alfred Lambourne.
The significance of Great Salt Lake to Lambourne, who engaged in his subject across several modes of artistic expression, was key in FRIENDS’ decision to name the annual arts and humanities prize after him. The Alfred Lambourne Prize was born, with information shared at FRIENDS annual fundraiser in 2013. In early 2014, a web site was opened to the regional community, inviting artists to submit their work in any (or all!) of the following categories: visual, literary, sound, and dance. We encouraged all types of media and creativity in multiple formats in the hopes those who submitted their works would have a supportive venue.
The Arts & Science Committee advertised the call for submissions, with the prize of $1000 going to one artist through a juried selection process. As the submissions came in, our excitement grew. Not only were paintings, photographs, and drawings of the Lake submitted, but poetry and prose, and sound pieces. As our contacts with artists grew, so did our desire to create an event to celebrate the Lake. Not only would an artist from each category be selected to receive a top honor from judges, but one prize would be proclaimed.
We searched for a space to showcase this cross section of the arts. Tom Alder, owner of Alderwood Fine Art, graciously offered the majority of his gallery space from September-October. Our event was held the evening of September 19th, and for those of us in attendance, it was an evening for the books. Our program interwove the sound pieces with readings by the literary artists, perfectly organized by Committee member Holly Simonsen. Holly’s program was perfect as one after another artist rose to honor their craft and inform us of their Lake.
By the time the prizes were awarded that evening, the Gallery held over 100 people. Natalie Avery, FRIENDS Board of Directors and Arts & Science Committee member, videotaped the evening’s program. Reflecting on the evening, she stated: “I was overwhelmed by the participation of such a diverse group of people gathered together in celebration of the Great Salt Lake.” That participation culminated in the presentation of the First Annual Alfred Lambourne Prize to Dr. Marden Pond, Sound Artist, for his musical composition entitled “Sanctuary.”
Literary artist Glenda Cotter shared a sentiment many felt that evening: “It was one of the best lake celebrations I’ve ever attended!” I think it’s safe to say everyone felt like a winner that evening, with all artists in attendance: visual artists Michael Bernard, Virginia Catherall, Al Denyer, Alexander Grobstein, Susan Kirby, Johanna Kirk, Chris Nobel, Lance Partridge, Rebecca Pyle (also a literary artist), Dayle Record, Charles Uibel, Ashley Wilson, and Jeffery Winkler; literary artists Glenda Cotter, Cory C. Dangerfield, Joel Long, Laura Manning, and Natalie Young; and sound artists Marden Pond and Mary Lou Prince. The event continued on as a social gathering, with visual art remaining in the gallery through October 9th.
As FRIENDS celebrates the art of Great Salt Lake each fall with The Alfred Lambourne Prize, we look forward to unfolding the treasures our Lake shares. The significance of the event’s name prompted James Lambourne to write: “Three cheers for FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake and Alderwood Gallery for this well-conceived display and celebration of the artists of the Great Salt Lake. The Alfred Lambourne Prize is a marvelous idea and one in which members of his immediate family can take true pride and appreciation.” As Lynn so aptly stated of our first, very successful event, “I was heartened by the collective excitement and contributions that not only made the evening so special but I think helped confirm for all of us that Great Salt Lake has a special place in our hearts and lives.”
For more information about The Alfred Lambourne Prize, and photos from the event, click on the following link: http://fogsl.org/research/alfred-lambourne-prize. We look forward to seeing you again next fall!
Hikmet Sidney Loe
FRIENDS Arts & Science Committee