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Primarily parents: Focus of art series

'Evenings at the Museum' invites mature patrons to mingle with artists

The Church History Museum enjoys a beloved tradition of providing regular interactive, fun-filled programs for Primary-age children.

Artist Elizabeth Peterson demonstrates the process in which bobbin lace is made at the Church History Museum's "Artists at Work" event in Salt Lake City on  Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.Mike Terry, Deseret News
Artist Elizabeth Peterson demonstrates the process in which bobbin lace is made at the Church History Museum's "Artists at Work" event in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.Mike Terry, Deseret News Photo: Deseret News

Curators at the Church-owned facility are anxious for the youngsters' parents and teachers to also come to know the museum as a place of inspiration, edification and learning. A series of "Evening at the Museum" events is being organized for those patrons who are long removed from Primary and Mutual roles.

LDS sculptor Ortho Fairbanks speaks to an audience about his work during a recent "Artists at Work" event at the Church History Museum.  The event was staged by the museum to allow artists to interact with museum patrons.  The museum will host similar events throughout the year.
LDS sculptor Ortho Fairbanks speaks to an audience about his work during a recent "Artists at Work" event at the Church History Museum. The event was staged by the museum to allow artists to interact with museum patrons. The museum will host similar events throughout the year. Photo: Mike Terry/Deseret News

"We had the realization that adults are the primary audience for Church history," said Angela Ames a Church history educator at the museum.

The museum hosted its maiden "Evenings at the Museum" on Feb. 27 with a visual arts event entitled "Artists at Work." Hundreds of "mature" patrons watched and interacted with a collection of LDS artists of varied backgrounds and media. Featured artists included sculptor Ortho Fairbanks, oil painters Garth and Ann Marie Oborn, rug weaver Charlene Lind, colored pencil artist Sheri Doty and Elizabeth Peterson, who specialized in intricate bobbin lace.

Utah artist Garth Oborn's art was on display at the Church History Museum's "Artists at Work" event in Salt Lake City on  Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.Mike Terry, Deseret News
Utah artist Garth Oborn's art was on display at the Church History Museum's "Artists at Work" event in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.Mike Terry, Deseret News Photo: Deseret News

Sixteen-year-old Mary Smart performed harp music for the event that stretched across the museum's central gallery.

The evening was relaxed and informal. Folks were encouraged to lean over the shoulders of the artists as they went about their creative works. The artists answered questions, enjoying the interaction of the appreciative patrons.

Heidi Kitchen models for LDS painter Anne  Marie Oborn at the Church History Museum's "Artists at Work" event in Salt Lake City on  Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.Mike Terry, Deseret News
Heidi Kitchen models for LDS painter Anne Marie Oborn at the Church History Museum's "Artists at Work" event in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.Mike Terry, Deseret News Photo: Deseret News

"Weaving is a bit solitary, unless you're working together with a group of weavers," said Sister Lind, who learned her skill on the loom in college. It's important that people of all ages are exposed to the visual arts to ensure that media such as weaving continues through future generations, she added.

"We want visitors tonight to have an uplifting and edifying experience," said Sister Ames. "Hopefully, some of our visitors will be inspired to return to their homes to create art themselves."

Future "Evening at the Museum" events include lectures featuring LDS authors Susan Easton Black and Michael Wilcox and an outdoor, Pioneer-themed summer event.

Russian Impressionist painter Anne Marie Oborn paints a portrait during the "Artists at Work" event at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City on  Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.  Museum goers were able to see artists from painters to weavers make their art inside the museum in an interactive setting. Mike Terry, Deseret News
Russian Impressionist painter Anne Marie Oborn paints a portrait during the "Artists at Work" event at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 27, 2009. Museum goers were able to see artists from painters to weavers make their art inside the museum in an interactive setting. Mike Terry, Deseret News Photo: Deseret News

Patrons can learn about upcoming "Evening at the Museum" events by visiting the museum's Web site at churchhistorymuseum.org or by calling (801) 240-4615. The Church History Museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.