BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
BOUNTIFUL – Bountiful/Davis Art Center organizers are working out the best way to come home again.
Art center board members are looking at two locations in the city, one downtown and one near Bountiful High School, which could potentially house the arts center. Though BDAC Executive Director Emma Dugal said that the possibility hasn’t moved beyond the discussion level, board vice-chair Scott Durrant said that the recent decisions about the Bountiful City Hall have prompted the research.
“Originally, they had planned on us being up here (in Farmington) for two years, but with everything that’s happened it could conceivably be another year,” he said. “In my opinion, that’s too long for us to be out of our home.”
The downtown option is the Redcon building, a suite of offices located just north of the Bountiful Tabernacle and Apple Frame Gallery. The space is large enough to house both the art center’s gallery and classrooms, as well as returning the organization to Main Street.
“It’s in the redevelopment area, so the funding is there if we can come up with a game plan,” he said.
The other option is the current home of Clipper publisher Gail Stahle, located next to the property Bountiful City purchased earlier this year to turn into a park. Stahle plans to move into a new home next April.
Though the house is too small for their current needs, the board is drawn by its proximity to the park.
“We were intrigued by the possibility of that,” said Dugal. “But it’s not anything that Bountiful City has made a decision on. It would have to go through all of the channels before it could even be considered.”
The art center has had some difficulty in getting people to sign up for classes since their move to Farmington. The sign-up window for summer classes was extended this year in the hopes of encouraging more students, and according to Durrant the trend has continued.
“We’re not getting the same amount of people,” he said. “It’s only 10 minutes further away, but people just don’t want to drive it.”
Dugal, on the other hand, feels the drop isn’t necessarily due to the move.
“It takes time for people to get used to a change,” she said. “Also, the trend for the last few years is that we’ve had a little fewer students each year. We’re working closely with Davis County to get the arts more visible.”
Opening receptions for exhibits also saw a drop this summer, though Dugal said that there were a “comparable” number of guests at the recent reception for the “Northern Utah Landscapes” exhibit. Approximately 40 artists were featured in the exhibit, and Dugal said that a higher number of artists tend to draw bigger crowds.
Whether those crowds would return for the art center’s annual holiday art show, set to open next month, she couldn’t say.
“I hope we’ll have a good crowd,” said Dugal. “I don’t have a crystal ball.”
No matter what happens, the art center is likely to stay right where it is until next spring at the very earliest.
“We’ll just deal with what we have to deal with,” said Durrant. “But we need to be back down in Bountiful.”