Summer Brown says the checks are in the mail.
The director of the Salt Lake-based National Congress of Art & Design told the Deseret News Wednesday she had begun mailing checks out to winners of her "ArtReach '88" art show and would mail the rest Thursday.Brown said she would have more details about the money on Thursday, but she failed to show up for an interview Thursday afternoon. Brown called the Deseret News late Friday.
She did say Wednesday, though, that the prizes will be a combination of cash and purchase awards.
From the beginning, controversy has surrounded the exhibit in Eagle Gate Tower Plaza. Some of the participating artists from around the country became angry when, instead of passing out the $20,000 in awards at the Aug. 26 opening reception, she gave out blank certificates and told winners they'd get their money on closing day.
Police were called in, but the artists were told Brown had until Sept. 29 to make good on her word.
Brown said she didn't understand why the artists had expected the money up front, because the call for entries had not promised that.
But on Friday, artist Cari Regehr, Sandy, provided the Deseret News a copy of a press release she said her husband had gotten from Brown, which was marked for Aug. 14 publication. It said: "Opening reception will be Friday, Aug. 26, 1988, from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. $20,000 in cash and purchase awards will be presented at the ceremony to the winning artists."
When Brown called Friday she said, "I have never written that in a press release ever." She said she may have given a press release to Regehr's husband, but she never promised to distribute the prize money at the show's opening.
She said she has now given a list of all the prize winners and the amounts of their awards, whether cash or purchase awards, to the police detective handling the case.
She said she will make this information public on Tuesday.
Detective Steve Cheever, of the Salt Lake Police Department, said he is continuing to investigate the case.
"We haven't determined yet that a crime actually took place. If they have a claim at this point it may just be civil problems." Criminal intent, not just poor business practices, must be proved before it can be shown that a crime has been committed, he said.
Cheever invited artists who feel they have been victimized to call him, because he does not have a list of the winners who are owed money.
First-place winner Carol Wald, Detroit, was so upset at Brown's statements at the reception that the next day she withdrew her five entries from the show.
Brown said Wald's decision to withdraw had made it harder to work with corporations that she was trying to get to buy pieces.
"They make a commitment (to buy), and your first-place winner walks out with her painting. What do you do?" She said she had had a $14,400 purchase award arranged for Wald's winning painting.