The 300 Plates fundraiser at Art Access gallery is one of the best annual events in the Salt Lake City art community. And even if you missed it, you should NOT miss the show on Friday's gallery stroll.---
Last night was the fundraiser portion of 300 Plates, and the Art Access benefit sure ain't your typical glass-of-wine, silent auction kind of party. Roughly 400 art lovers gather each year for a chance to buy one of 300 11"x10" metal printer plates turned into a one-of-a-kind work of art by 100 different Utah artists. After reviewing the goods, patrons are allowed in the gallery to buy their favorite plate (or plates) based on the luck of the draw; every three minutes, more art lovers are allowed in to grab the goods, until the plates are gone and a good amount of cash is raised for the nonprofit art center specializing in working with underserved communities in Utah.
It's a benefit that actually feels like a party--a rarity, believe me--and the tents set up the parking lot at Art Access Thursday were full of people chatting about the plates they wanted while sipping some vino and eating some catering from Gastronomy.
Just before the Art Access folks started calling out groups to start the buying, I rushed through the gallery to get a peek at some of this year's artwork. I have a Cat Palmer plate from a few years back hanging in my office, and I knew there was bound to be something I liked. And there was plenty, ranging from some Leia Bell works familiar to fans of her ouvre (dogs and kids were featured in the couple of Bell plates I saw) to 3-D plates by Marcee Blackerby. I really enjoyed the somewhat grotesque, Gothic-y work on Cassandra Barney's plates, and plenty of my favorite Utah contemporary artists were represented, from Trent Alvey to Trent Call to Sam Wilson (pictured).
Even though the vast majority of the plates were undoubtedly swept up Thursday, the show will remain on display for several weeks, starting tonight with the Salt Lake City Gallery Stroll. Make a point of checking it out sometime, and I'd be willing to bet you'll want to check out the fundraiser next year.