The demolition of portions of the Salt Palace began this month in preparation for the groundbreaking early next year of the new $70 million convention center.

The renovation of this facility is good news for artists, since County Commission chairman Jim Bradley announced that the county is committed to a 1 percent expenditure on art for the project. The figure quoted is $470,000.According to Vicki Panella, arts facilitator for the project, call for entries attracted over 100 applicants and 1,000 slides. The Salt Lake County Public Art Committee, appointed by the County Commission, reviewed all proposals carefully before whittling down the number to 14.

The ones still under consideration for the Salt Palace project were on display from Dec. 10-24, in the lobby of the north building in the Salt Lake County Government Complex, 2001 S. State.

Seven of the artists whose proposals are still being considered are Utahns James Avati, Ursula Brodauf Craig, Susan Fleming, Neil Hadlock, Paul Heath, Allen Bishop and Willy Littig.

It's most appropriate that so many Utah artists are in the running, since one of the goals for the Salt Palace Public Art Project is "identifying and celebrating Utah's unique natural environment and specific sense of place." Who can capture the variety of imagery and moods found in Utah than those living here.?

Out-of-staters whose proposals are also being considered are Larry Bell, New Mexico (two proposals); Carolyn Braaksma, Colorado; Barbara Grygutis, Arizona; Paul Housberg, Rhode Island; Jun Kaneko, Nebraska; and Patrick Zentz, Montana.

Artists are competing for space at six locations both inside and outside of the convention center.

- Site 1: The interior of the central tower.

The two artists vying for this space are Paul Housberg and Bonnie Van Allen.

Housberg proposes a suspended sculpture of glass and stainless steel which will respond to the changing conditions of natural and artificial light as well as movement of the viewer. He plans to use stainless steel and dichroic glass to construct this 80-by-16-foot suspended sculpture.

If Van Allen's proposal is accepted, she will combine metal tubing, chromed aluminum, stained steel and copper tubing to make her 6-by-62-foot hanging sculpture resembling a tree.

- Site 2: The exterior space on South Temple between Abravanel Hall and the convention center.

Barbara Grygutis' proposed sculpture is composed of free-standing letters forming the word "listen." It will be constructed of concrete, ceramic tile, steel and grout.

Neil Hadlock has submitted ideas for a sculpture made of cast bronze and installed on flame granite. It's carefully designed, abstract shapes are representative of the sculptor's popular style.

- Site 3: The exterior space south of the Salt Lake Art Center.

Larry Bell and Carolyn Braaksma are both being considered. The latter's "Tree of Life" will consist of cast concrete, gravel, sandstone and plants.

- Site 4: Exterior on West Temple located south of the convention ballroom.

James Avati has submitted two options - both bronze sculptures mounted on concrete. One is of two seated figures sculpted in a realistic style; the other, more impressionistic, features two standing figures.

Ursula Broudauf Craig's "Breeze" features two rectangular cast concrete columns supporting two free-flowing abstract stainless steel sculptures.

- Site 5: Exterior space on West Temple between 100 South and 200 South.

Patrick Zentz has created a series of windmills, and Bell proposes four abstract sculptures cast in concrete, each composed of two sculptural elements.

- Site 6: Interior space connecting north and south concourses.

Proposals by five artists are being considered here.

Susan Fleming proposes a series of 20 visionary oil paintings, three of which were on display in the exhibit.

Paul Heath's concept is comprised of 55 paintings of views of Salt Lake City. Placed along the concourse stairwell, they would combine 2-D and 3-D images.

Allen Bishop suggests two options - a 14-by-72-foot acrylic painting along the concourse or a 23-by-24-foot painting along the ballroom's stairway wall. For his proposal, the artist has focused on the land "of and around Utah" as a departure point.

Also being considered are Willy Littig's sandblasted images on thermal-paned glass as well as Jun Kaneko's ceramic slabs. The latter offers two options: 22 ceramic slabs or 1,468 slabs. The artist's idea here is to give "a visual presentation of the powerful nature of Salt Lake City and surrounding areas with a horizontal field of the Great Salt Lake and desert and the vertical environment of the Wasatch Mountains."

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A careful look at the entries gives definite proof that all the artists have exerted incredible creative energy in planning, designing and making 3-D models. Making the final decision on which ones will be accepted and which ones will be rejected will not be easy.

Making that selection will be the nine members of the Salt Lake County Public Art Committee: David Eveson, Sam Gappmayer, William A. Gibbons, Tom Guinney, Carleen Jimenez, Dorothy Ann Palmer, Marcia Price, Michael J. Stransky (chairman) and Gary Swen-sen.

According to Swensen, that decision will be reached at the next meeting of the Public Art Committee on Jan. 4, 1994.

Keen competition has motivated artists to submit their best, most inspired works. But Utahns won't give their nod of approval until October 1995 - the projected date of the completion and grand opening of the Salt Palace Convention Center.

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