It is impossible to journey down the historic Main Street of Helper these days and not feel inspired. The beauty of Helper is not only being enhanced, more and more of the buildings are being purchased and renovated. One such building on Main Street was purchased by local Anne Jespersen and her husband, Roy, who turned the space into a live/work studio space.
To celebrate the opening of this space as well as to celebrate art and the culture of Helper, Jespersen thought up the idea for the upcoming inaugural exhibit “The Nest.” This exhibition will be sponsored primarily by the Helper Project and by Zion’s Bank and will consist of 19 female artists.
Each of these artists has a special connection to Helper through family ties, calling Helper their home presently or in the past and or participating in the Helper Artist’s Workshops. Some of the women that are contributing to the exhibit are Jespersen herself, Kathleen Royster, who also has a gallery on Main Street in Helper, Karen Templeton and Lisa Chamberlain who was the previous owner of the space.
Around 20 years ago, artists started coming down to the empty little mining town known as Helper and buying property. This is generally the way of urban areas; artists visit a blighted area, property is cheap and needs to be renovated and artists are very capable of the work necessary. It gentrifies the area.
One artist in particular, Royster, spoke about her experience coming into Helper. She stated that she visited the area for the Arts Festival that took place back in 2001. At the time, she was teaching at one of the universities upstate. However, Royster enjoyed the area so much that she ended up buying a home and a building on Main Street.
“It looked like a good place to stop and paint,” Royster stated.
The artistic community that resides in Helper is a strong, friendly one. Jespersen and her husband are so dedicated to the improvement and have such a strong desire to uplift Helper that they began the Helper Project, which is a non-profit organization who’s mission statement is to foster revitalization, promote beautification and cultural enhancement of the City of Helper, Utah. Some ways they have already done this is by purchasing new garbage cans for Main Street, sponsoring the Nest Exhibition, organizing a live performance from Utah’s Youth Symphony coming in the fall of 2018, fundraising monies for the annual Helper Music, Arts and Film Festival and supporting local artists through their Facebook page and web-site.
The exhibition will be open to the public beginning on August 17, 2017 at 6 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m as part of the gallery stroll that takes place during the festival on August 17. The exhibit will run until September 30 and is located at amjworks studio, 167 South Main Street in Helper.
A catalog highlighting the works of all participating artists including an essay by renowned Utah Art Historian, Donna Poulton, Ph.D. will be available for purchase during the exhibition.