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Park City sculptor wins Utah Arts Council grant

Stacy Phillips sculpts and paints across the street from one of the last mink farms in Peoa. The fields roll out in front of her studio and are green enough to make California cows moo with jealousy for not being there.

"I’m starting a series of heads tomorrow," she said Monday. "I usually work in threes. One piece feeds another piece. It feeds the process."

If there were cows across the street rather than mink, Phillips might be talking about their digestive tracks. Three stomach chambers feeding each other, three throats ready to turn grass into energy. Three heads rolling.

But Phillips is not talking about cows, grass or decapitation. She’s talking about her art.

Phillips was one of handful of artists chosen to exhibit her work June 21 at Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City. She will be in good company.

The 14-foot wall space she has been asked to adorn with frames, discs and human heads will be shown alongside the work of Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet.

"We’re recreating a salon in France in the 1800s," she said, "so it should be amazing."

That’s not all.

In addition to the museum show, Phillips was one of 20 visual artists to win

an individual artist grant from the Utah Arts Council. The $1,733 will allow Phillips to pay rent for her studio while she works as an artist-in-residence at the Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snow Mass, Colo. for three months starting in January.

"I feel really, really lucky," Phillips said. "I get to go and just experiment and work without the distractions of everyday life. . . . You just learn so much from other artists."

Phillips said the trip will cost her just $100 for three months. "Anderson Ranch is really supportive," she said.

So are local gallery owners. Connie Katz, who owns Coda Gallery, carries Phillips’ work in Palm Springs, New York and Park City.

"When I first started out, I put a body of work together and invited Connie to come see it. Her representing me and giving me that outlet has been amazing."

Since Phillips sold Flat Rabbet Gallery in Park City for eight years she has had seven shows in the last eight years.

She said working both as a seller and creator of art has given her a unique perspective on the art world.

She sold her gallery in 1993 to pursue her own work. "I have to turn one side of my brain off because I owned my own gallery," she said, "and I know what sells, but I don’t want to make art that will just sell."

The female figure is a source of inspiration for Phillips and one of the most dominant motifs in her sculpture. "I’m interested in how we create space around each other," she offered. "I look at a lot of things in nature, historical differences, different cultures whether its African or Indonesian or wall paper, old wall paper, I’m addicted to the process."

Twenty visual artists were awarded a total of $28,181 through the Utah Arts Council’s 2008-2009 Individual Artist Services Grants program, according to a press release. Grants were awarded for painting, sculpture, mixed media, and filmmaking.

Individual Artist Services Grants are offered on a cycle alternating between the visual arts, and the performing and literary arts. Grants are awarded to two categories of applicants: emerging artists, who are eligible for up to $500, and established artists, such as Phillips, who are eligible for up to $2,000. Works by all grant recipients will be featured in a showcase exhibition at the Utah Arts Council’s Rio Gallery in December.

For more information on Individual Artist Services Grants, visit the Utah Arts Council website at http://www.arts.utah.gov or contact Grants Coordinator Katie Woslager at 801.236.7549 or kwoslager@utah.gov .


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