For those who think Western art is for tourists, think again. The themes, colors and subjects unique to the western United States have fascinated artists for hundreds of years and they still do.  Look for an article about Utah-inspired art in the May-June issue of Salt Lake magazine. It will be on newsstands in a few weeks. 

In the article, we interviewed Donna Poulton, formerly curator of Art of the West at Utah Museum of Fine Art. She explained that painters of the West don’t try only to show us what the scenery looked like—they want us to know what the West felt like.

You can get see (feel) what Poulton is talking about at the gallery she and collector Diane Stewart opened last week in downtown Salt Lake City: Modern West Fine Art.

The spacious, light-filled gallery is in the former bicycle shop at Second and Second and it's the antithesis of the typical sterile white modern art gallery. Instead, there's comfortable seating—maybe you want to think about a piece for awhile. At the opening party, catered by Frida Bistro, champagne was served in tall pale green flutes and the whole menu reflected the Southwest feel of the gallery. 

The party was packed with Utah's art-igentsia—Gretchen Dietrich and Mindy Wilson from UMFA were there, Mikel and Traci O'Very Covey

were there,

Jann Haworth,

Libby Blake, Vern Swanson—and of course, lots more I didn't know because I am not an Art Person. Plus, a host of city suppoerters like Jason and Jeanne Mathis, thrilled to see another addition to downtown.

More impressive than the guest list was the art—everything from old Indian and Western blankets,

to jewelry to painting to sculpture, including a pair of cast tumbleweeds. 

Check out the gallery, if only to remind yourself why the heck you live in Utah.