Inspired by Our Home Town
The majestic and varied landscapes of Wasatch County have inspired artists from across the globe since the early pioneers first settled here. Today our valley’s mountains, rivers, fields, farms, and skate parks are inspiring a whole new generation of young artists.
The year 2020 brought about a lot of change for everyone — in Wasatch County, a group of PTA presidents representing the district’s elementary, middle, and high schools, decided to change things up a bit too. After much deliberation and discussion, it was decided that Wasatch County would break away from the Parent-Teacher Association and create their own Wasatch Parent Network — the only thing holding them back was the PTA Reflections program. For those unfamiliar with Reflections, it is a nationally recognized art contest. The WPN wanted to make sure that students in Wasatch County could continue to participate in art competitions. So they rolled up their sleeves and went in search of ways to offer challenging opportunities for K-12 artists.
During a district meeting, it was mentioned that the Wasatch Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) was creating a website for their art contest — Emergence. Emergence’s goal is to help, “Grow Young Artists.” The contest’s art categories include 2D drawings, paintings, graphic designs, and photography in addition to 3D works like pottery and sculptures. This seemed like a perfect match. Angie Neuberger, President of the Wasatch High Wasatch Parent Network shared, “It really came down to the Wasatch County School District, the CAPS program, the Wasatch Parent Network, and Heber Valley Life Magazine, working together to create this amazing art contest. The hardest part was that each student could only enter one category — so they had to decide if it was going to be a painting or a photograph or whatever they liked best.”
Once submission and contest rules were decided things began to move fast. Open to all students in grades K-12 in Wasatch County School District the contest was announced in March with all entries being due just after Spring Break in April. Angie laughed as she shared, “We had 175 entries this year — our first year — which was just great and kind of a crazy time too. It was a bit tricky trying to find judges but we were really thrilled with the response from the students and those who volunteered to judge. We had six judges; all from the community and all involved with art in some way.”
The judges had a blast and said that it was really difficult to choose; however, they all mentioned that their favorite part of the process was reading the descriptions of the artwork. The theme for the 2021 Emergence art contest was “My Home Town”. The artists’ works, words, and how they related to the theme puts into perspective just how unique and amazing our home town is.
Angie explained that “I feel like with Reflections we couldn’t do anything like this, each school was always on their own – with this [Emergence] we all came together and we made it better.” Angie also shared that, “the way the Wasatch Parent Network, Wasatch County School District, the CAPS program, and Heber Valley Life came together to highlight the arts was just so amazing. I am so appreciative of the support everyone has given us to do our own thing. I love the name Emergence and everything that it encompasses . . . I just think the kids were so great with creating artwork that they are passionate about
Spring by the Stream
Hannah Berrett loves creating art with graphite, but when it came time to decide which of her pieces to enter in the Emergence art contest, she decided not to play it safe.
“I had already been working on a landscape painting, my first, and I put so many hours into it, and I was just super proud of it. I loved the story about how it was of one of my really good friend’s backyard here in Midway — and that it fit so perfectly with the theme.”
Hannah is Wasatch High School’s Visual Arts Sterling Scholar; during her interview, she was able to talk about what a privilege it was to represent Wasatch High School, her community, her painting, and the Emergence art contest. Hannah says that she is grateful her art teacher told her about the contest and how honored she was to win and be able to present and be recognized by the school district. “I’ve done Reflections before, but it was always a little confusing; I think that this [Emergence] was awesome. It was really cool that it was more personal, and they focused more on the talent within our community instead of being a big competition.”
Hannah developed a love for art while drawing with her grandpa, Kay Watson, who is most famous for his artwork created for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hannah seems to be following in her grandfather’s brush strokes as she recently started a business painting all sorts of things like movie posters, album covers, and whatever people want on their shoes. The most unique thing she has been asked to paint was a skateboard deck.
Hannah loves creating for others and shared, “My favorite part of doing artwork is when people ask me to do commissions because I love being able to not only work on the artwork but work with the people in my community. I love being able to learn more about them and being able to express something that they want into a piece of art, and it’s just amazing seeing their reactions. I get videos and pictures, and I just love it.”
Moving forward, Hannah plans to become an Art Therapist and will be attending the University of Utah next year, where she will double major in Psychology and Visual Arts.
A Kid in the Park
As an eventer in the world of Equestrian sports, Lily picked up her mom’s Pentax and started snapping photos of horses and people riding — and something happened. She found a new talent and a new passion. Completely self-taught, Lily has been experimenting with all types of photography for the past six years. This year she enrolled in film photography — her first time taking a photography class.
Lily’s recent obsession has been photographing her friends who skateboard. When she heard about Emergence, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. She explains, “. . . with the theme ‘My Home Town’ I wanted to highlight this little community we have here in Heber Valley. We all see the skateboard park as we drive by, and there are always lots of little kids there during the day, but at night all the big kids come out to play, and it’s so fun! We’ve got some seriously good skaters here . . . everyone is so nice and supportive of each other no matter their level . . . it’s such a fun vibe!
Her photo titled, A Kid at the Park represents one of the more important parts of ‘My Home Town’ for Lily. “This picture is of Crew, who I’ve been best friends with since second grade. So that was just really cool that it won.” She continued, “I really enjoyed Emergence. I feel like it’s more community-centered and that the students get a little more recognition for their work and for whoever won. I think that it is cool that they are putting us in the newspaper and the magazine and that we got to go to the district office. I thought that it was really awesome that they did that for us.”
So, what does Lily want to do next? Well, she’s got some pretty big plans. Lily says it best, “One of my all-time dream jobs would be to be a photographer for National Geographic or an outdoor adventure brand like Patagonia or The North Face. It would take me to cool places and give me the opportunity to meet such cool people and to be able to capture it all with my camera . . . it would just be awesome.”
Katie Henderson moved to Heber when she was in 8th grade and was not too excited about living here. Katie loves to ride horses and housed her horse at a barn in Northfield. Katie shared, “I was going out to Northfield five days a week, and one day there was this blizzard, it was the coolest thing. It was so simple but so beautiful, just the prettiest thing you could ever see.” She captured the moment on film and knew it was the photo she wanted to enter for Emergence.
“I’ve done photography all through high school and fell in love with it, so I took every single photography class there was offered at Wasatch. I’m in AP studio art right now for photography, I saw the fliers up at school, and my photography teacher told me that he thought it would be perfect for me. I take photos of Heber all the time. I probably have 100 sunset photos of Timpanogos alone. I just take photos whenever I can, and I just thought it [the photograph] fit so perfectly.”
When asked if she used any type of sepia or grayscale filter, Katie said, “No, I didn’t use anything. It was just contrasted that morning; it was crazy cool how black and white it really did look.”
“I’ve done Reflections throughout my life, and the thing that I loved about this contest is that it was very community-oriented and I saw that this was something special we could do close to home, and it was personal to every single person in the valley. I thought that was cool.” She also enjoyed presenting her artwork to the school board, “It was really special getting that extra boost of ‘Yay!’ from the Principle and Vice Principle and board members.”
Katie’s photograph titled Simple Elegance represents more than just a beautiful day in our valley. Katie explains, “I’ve come to adopt that theme myself – My Hometown. Because starting from not wanting to move here to this being my favorite place in the world. I think that it is really special that I found that simple elegance about Heber that I find so amazing.”
Katie will be attending Utah State University in the fall and shared, “I would love to at least minor in photography and get a good base there and see where it takes me.”
It’s a Good Life
This painting represents how I live a good life and the beauty we all can enjoy as we slow down in life to look up. Looking up at the sky brings perspective on where we stand. One of my favorite parts about living in the Heber Valley is God’s canvas is all around me! I love how the mountains draw a line in the canvas separating the Earth from the Heavens. I love how climbing the mountains makes me feel closer to the sky as well as the Son.”
“Many people like to see the attractions of a town. I, on the other hand, choose to illustrate the sights that cannot be man-made. Midway is a natural wonder and I want people to realize that through my drawing.”
“This is a picture of my home town with the most beautiful tall mountains. I like coming home to Midway because it has pretty scenery and sunsets. The painting represents how I feel when I come home after being gone.”
“I did a picture of my family at the Ice Castles in Midway at night time. My favorite thing to do in my home town is to visit them every winter. They are so pretty at night with the rainbow colors all over them. I really like going on the slides, walking through all the tunnels, and seeing the new things they can build. It’s a special thing about our town because people come from all over to see it, even my cousins and grandma and grandpa.”
A huge shout out to our Judges
K-2 | MACKENZIE Howard
3-5 | MILLIE Taylor
6-8 | CICELY Larsen
9-12 | HANNAH Berrett
9-12 | KATIE Henderson
9-12 | LILY Child
The top seven winners in each category will have their artwork on display for one year at the Wasatch County School District’s Office located at 101 E 200 N, Heber City.