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Taminah gallery rounds11th year

ANNA BLOOM, Of the Record staff
Taminah Gallery owners Linda Lee, left, and daughter Jennifer Lee, stand next to Sandy Scott's bronze pig. Photo:Grayson West/Park Record.
1Taminah

An almost larger than life bronze pig points Taminah Gallery-goers to a world of bronzed forest animals, jewelry made from semi-precious stones and vivid paintings of valleys and streams, to European cafes.

Taminah Gallery owners Linda Lee and her daughter, Jennifer, say most people who manage to find their upstairs stash of enchanting fine art, they typically return. Customers, they say, become loyal and come back year after year.

But the bronzed pig at Taminah’s entrance could stand to greet a few more people, according to the Lees. Often, people are surprised to learn that 2006 marks Taminah’s 11th year in Old Town.

"A lot of people just walk past us on Main Street because we don’t have a store front," Linda Lee says. "It’s really a challenge, because our entry way forces people to walk up the stairs."

This spring, however, the Lees have decided they’re through with being one of Park City’s best kept secrets.

After the snow melts, the Lees plan to give the entire 608 Main Street building a facelift, complete with a new store front window and door to help lead the public to their art. They will also increase their gallery’s size. Currently, the gallery is approximately 1,400 square feet, and later this year, they will add an extra floor.

Jennifer Lee estimates the gallery will be more like 2,500 square feet once the renovation is complete. The renovation was approved by the city just last week, she says.

Linda Lee says that the gallery will soon begin to feature deceased artists as well as the living Western artists that have become the gallery’s signature, featuring the post-impressionist oil paintings of Augustus Dunbier.

But as far as inventory goes, Taminah could use the extra space, notes Lee. "Like most galleries, we can’t hang all of the work we have," she says.

In a celebration of the changes and renovations, Taminah Gallery will change its name to the Montgomery Lee Fine Art Gallery, a name inspired by Linda Lee’s maiden and surname.

According to Jennifer Lee, "taminah" means "cool water spring in sunshine" in Shoshone and is the name of a lake in Jackson Hole, Wyo. a name chosen by former owners of the gallery.

The Lees purchased the entire building, which includes The Mountain Body headquarters and The Envy Boutique, in the late 1980s, and opened Taminah in 1995.

The family lives in Salt Lake City, where Linda’s husband is a dentist.

Art appears to be more than a business, but also a family passion. She has a degree in art education from the University of Iowa, while her daughter Jennifer has a minor in art history from the University of Utah.

Linda Lee says that their gallery has a reputation of being rather selective about the artists they choose to show.

The bronze pig sculptor Sandy Scott is internationally known and Scott’s doorknockers shaped in life-like eagles, bears and deer that are collected by American Presidents, according to the Lees.

The gallery’s current show exhibits the work of Utah painters John Hughes and Greg Wilson, who express wildlife and landscapes with what the Lees describe as "unparalleled passion for light and subject."

The Lees agree that their best seller by far has been a local artist as well: Steve Songer. Songer works in oils out of Huntsville, depicting nearby streams and orange-and-red fall afternoons.

"Our niche on the street is that we carry realism and impressionism [and bronze,]" she says. "But what separates us from other galleries is really the quality of our art and the number of museums our artists are represented in and the awards they have won."

The gallery is also able to help customers commission artwork from the relationships they have established with their artists. Scott, for instance has sculpted a bronze eagle with a 24-foot wingspan, and the gallery’s jeweler, Alexis Darger will craft unique pieces out of semi-precious stones.

Jennifer Lee says her family only shows work that they would hang or mount in their own home. When they expand their gallery and change the name, the Lees plan to continue to carry the same artists has they have for over a decade.

"We’re very proud of our artists," Linda Lee agrees. "We’re just hoping that our new store front will increase our expose and that more people will recognize our [new name.]"

The Taminah Gallery is located at 608 Main Street. To contact the gallery, call (435) 655-3265 or e-mail taminah@xmission.com. For more information, log onto the Taminah Gallery Web site at http://www.taminah.com.


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