Artists hands dance at new gallery
November 1, 2006
Christina Meyer, proprietor of The Dancing Hands Gallery, grew up in California’s Bay Area with a family full of Ivy-Leaguers and Stanford University graduates. She followed their footsteps to Cornell University, but did so in a slightly different fashion.
"I’m a product of the 1967-69 era when they had all the wild concerts and you could see The Doors for $3," she said. "I used to hitch-hike across the country and back."
After college, Meyer stayed in up-state New York then went back to California. While on a hunting trip in Hanna, Utah, she saw a café/bar that had been out of business for a year. She bought it on a whim.
During her years in Hanna, she attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Park City because she felt the most comfortable sharing herself with Parkites.
"I liked the openness," she said. "This is a haven. There are intelligent people here and there is culture here. There is no place like Park City in all of Utah."
Fifteen years of running the café burnt Meyer out. She wanted something different, something she loved.
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"Little by little we just moved up here," she said. "Instead of a hobby the restaurant became a lifestyle. It became too much work and I decided that if I was going to work I wanted to do something I wanted to do."
She was always fascinated with the glass sculptures and ceramic pieces that adorned the walls and end tables of her childhood home. Although she had never tried making art of her own, the medium still captivated her.
"I decided that if I was going to be doing something for the rest of my life it needed to be something I was interested in and I love glass, ceramics and textiles," she said. "I decided that if there was a place for me in Park City I’d go there. Now I’m here."
Meyer watched real estate boom in Squaw Valley after the 1960 Olympics and wanted to jump on the Park City wagon before it got going too fast. She decided to go back to her childhood fascination and seek out glass, ceramic and textile pieces. She bought business space on Main Street and started collecting. She opened the gallery July 1.
"We carry creative glass, ceramics and textile tapestries by artists across the country," she said. "These artists are always exploring new territory, far more so than what I see coming out of Europe. We have a lot of creative, innovative items coming out of the United States. I’ve always loved glass and I’ve always loved ceramics. I’m enamored by what these artists can create."
Meyer said she focused on finding pieces that would be unique to the Park City area, although she does carry two local artists.
"Tim Wilson works out of Salt Lake City as a glass miniaturist," she said. "He does series of scenes, such as an ocean series or a mountain series he’s doing for the winter. Aaron Ashcraft has been in the Park City Arts Festival and has been around this area for a while. He does ceramics and pottery, serving platters and serving bowls."
"What I’m trying to do is to bring the creativity of the glass artist and the ceramic artist to the public," she continued. "Before I even did this I went to all the galleries in Park City to see if what I wanted to do was going to be redundant and what I found is that there was a niche I could fill that would add some creativity to the Park City art scene."
While getting her collection together she tried to come up with a good name for the gallery, although several of her first choices were already taken, such as Meyer Gallery and Phoenix Gallery. The name The Dancing Hands Gallery came from her love of dance and her enjoyment of glass and ceramic art.
"The name came about because I think when artists are creating their hands are dancing," she said. "When I see an artist creating it reminds me of dance."
Meyer said she hopes the proven success of her artists will mitigate her personal lack of artistic experience.
"Most of the artists that we have in here have been working for 20 or more years," she said. "You’re not going to come in here and see something that’s transient. It’s new to people that come in here, but the artists we have here have been perfecting their craft for years. I just wanted to bring their work to the public of Park City."
Meyer is currently preparing for the busier winter season and can’t wait for the crowds to increase; more than for business purposes, she just wants to share her passion for art with those around her, much like she shared at AA meetings.
"I don’t have an art background, but I’ve been fascinated by glass and ceramics since I was a child," she said. "I’ve watched the techniques develop for the last 30 years and I’m just amazed at where both the mediums are going and I love being a part of it."
The Dancing Hands Gallery is located at 591 Main Street and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery can be reached at (435) 649-1414.