You might be thinking, What the? Is it possible for our simple little community, which allowed two WalMarts within 3.5 miles of each other, to actually be a premier art destination?
The answer is a resounding “YES!”
Don’t be mislead by the cows-wearing-tutus collection downtown, or the sculpture on USU’s campus that looks like an order of fries. Rest assured that a cultivated and notable artistic underworld exists that could put Cache Valley on the map.
This is what the committee gathered to discuss with the mayor, who actually ended up being unable to attend the meeting for a good reason—I hope. Another city representative did attend in his place, who was very gracious.
Wanting to be properly prepared for the discussion, I did some research about other communities of comparable size who have exquisite art museums, collections and venues that showcase artistry and culture. I brought along brochures, national magazine articles, distinguished art show and auction catalogs which featured numerous Cache Valley artists. As I exposed the artwork of people who make a living incognito as full-time fine artists in our unassuming valley, the committee was flabbergasted to learn that their neighbors, whom they never saw leave the house and therefore assumed they were drug dealers, are actually nationally renowned artists.
So what does this mean for Cache Valley?
What could this do for Cache Valley?
Why in the heck was Kari Rich included on this committee?
These are all valid questions.
I’ll answer the last one first.
I was invited to be on this committee because for nearly 20 years I’ve had the opportunity of up close and personal exposure to a premier fine art world. You see, I happened to be hitched to one of those mistaken drug dealer artists. Please don’t mistake my purpose in writing about this as self-serving because it is far from that. My unique situation has just allowed me to see firsthand the impact of a premier fine art culture on people and communities.
Further explanation of this will answer questions one and two. A community that establishes and supports high-quality art venues becomes more refined, educated and cultured. It invites positive commerce and growth. While we Valleyites are all a bit stingy about sharing our beautiful home with more people, growth is inevitable and healthy when thoughtfully planned and managed. So the artistic culture we promote in this valley is crucial to maintaining and elevating the quality of life we enjoy here.
We are lucky to live in a community that boasts a world-class opera company, theatre company and ballet company—very unique for a community this size. (I hope we properly recognize and take advantage of this!) And we do already have some great fine art venues like Summerfest—a highlight of the year for me. But we do lack an artistic central and cohesive master plan that utilizes all our notable artistic assets for positive community development.
I do hope the mayor will be at the next committee meeting so I can tell him all this.