Not Just Another Pretty Face is not just another fund-raiser. The Salt Lake Art Center’s annual benefit is a work in progress that began last February. Salons were held in homes of trustees of the center, as potential patrons were introduced to works of 65 artists. The finished commissions from these artists were shown at the Gala event on June 6, with 25 portraits by 19 artists. The work will be on display to the public through July 4.
This benefit is extraordinary, rejuvenating a diminishing tradition: a relationship and communication between artist and patron. The portraits have been commissioned to artists such as Hyunmee Lee, Tom Bettin (his “Red Bridge” is pictured), Anne Morgan Jespersen, and Angela Van Wagoner, reviving the medium most used for commissioned work traditionally. The resulting work is definitely not just another pretty face. The subject may be of the patron, a landscape that is representative of a mood or the patron’s dogs.
There is something absent from the standard gallery dynamic where the patron buys a work from an artist he or she will never meet. The Art Center hoped to revive that personal connection this year, and has successfully done so. Promoting this symbiotic relationship with these commissions and the culminating unveiling of the portraits, the Center is keeping a tradition going, while keeping its own tradition and its immense contribution of exhibitions and art programs alive for its own patrons of Salt Lake City.