Wildcat-run studio brings contemporary art to Ogden

O-Town Arts is a studio started by four artists, alumni of Weber State University and current students, to provide a place to work and hold art shows.

“It serves a couple of different purposes,” said Holly Jarvis, one of the artists renting the studio space. “We want, first of all, to provide ourselves with a space to make art out of college and keep working as artists. A few of us have already graduated, and it’s really hard to keep working once you’ve graduated. So we wanted a space where we could do that and have the support of one another.”

The studio space is used to showcase local artists as well as the artists who work in the studio. On Feb. 8, O-Town Arts had its second art show, Ontological Instantiation.

“It’s great to bring this contemporary art scene into Ogden,” said Venessa Gromek, a studio artist. “Ogden isn’t very big with the contemporary art. You know, you got a lot of Western art, landscaping, painting, the 25th Street scene. We’re all contemporary artists, and we really want something close to us to share with the community.”

Gromek said the process of having an art show isn’t just fun, but also great for artists’ resumes. She said the studio sent out a call for art, then decided what pieces will be included in the shows. The shows are one-night occasions.

“It’s fun to see something like this happening in Ogden where community is being supported,” said Derek Rigby, a WSU student.

Rigby said everyone involved shared responsibilities that made the show happen. He said everyone helped with making sure the submissions got in on time and hanging them up, as well as getting the food together for the night.

“We had a ramen bar for the food,” Rigby said. “We had a couple crockpots full of ramen noodles and several more filled with broth, and then we had bags full of different garnishes and foods and tofu and seaweed that you could throw in there.”

Rigby said they provided beverages and a small fire to keep warm outside as well.

Gromek said the last show had a lot of different kinds of art in it. She said there was everything from quilts to a video game.

“So we really don’t discriminate materials,” Gromek said. “We like to see a wide variety of materials used.”

Rigby said having all different kinds of materials, such as a sculpture made out of candy, provided a great opportunity for the people who attended the show to interact with the art in the show.

“Seeing people go up and smell the different sculptures made of candy and interacting with the artwork like that (is great),” Rigby said. “In turn, the people end up interacting with each other and they start talking about the artwork.”

Rigby said having this art show here will not only give people a great opportunity to meet other artists, but to continue to further the art dialogue happening in Ogden.

Rigby, Gromek and Jarvis all said O-Town Arts will hold more shows to get its name out and provide a space for artists to share their work.

“We want to hold more shows,” Jarvis said. “We might also do a couple other things, like maybe some solo shows, so only have one or two artists show in the space at a time.”

Jarvis said the next show will most likely be in the summer.

“Ogden has such great potential and is a great place,” Rigby said. “It is cozy. It has lots of different things that we can do here in the area, but we also want to have more of presence in that way. Showcasing work from Weber State and having people know what we do here is one of the motivations for that.”

The future plans are growing, according to Gromek and Jarvis. Gromek said she would like to see the place become a full-time gallery with separate studio space someday, but for now, O-Town Arts will continue to do shows.

“Honestly, the purpose is to get the contemporary art scene in Ogden,” Gromek said.