Students spending time in the Shepherd Union Building can visit the Watershed Exhibit in the Shepherd Union Gallery from now until Jan. 30.
The exhibit showcases the mountains surrounding Ogden City and the Weber Basin. Part of the exhibit, “Basin and Range VI,” is an artistic response to the issues facing the local environment in the year-long, campus-wide Waterworks Series. It features photographs by Tom Bunn, paintings by LeRoy Jennings, a display about “The Water Cycle” and a public art display by Chevo Studios/Andy Dufford, as well as maps and poems about water.
Photographer and Weber State University graduate Bunn’s work in the gallery shows many of the waterscapes and landmarks around the Ogden area. Pictures from Ricks Spring, Blacksmith Fork Canyon and the Great Salt Lake are just a few of the destinations shown.
“I am drawn to water. Quiet pools glimmer in the sun, hissing over rocks, torrents carving the earth,” Bunn said. “Water is the cause and effect.”
Ogden native Jennings’ paintings depict the depth and surface of different bodies of water.
“Painting has been a very good way for me to closely examine beauty and portray it with my art,” Jennings said.
Caril Jennings, marketing director for the WSU Department of Performing Arts and wife of the featured artist, coordinated the “Basin and Range VI” exhibit for the Waterworks Series.
“One of my favorite figures of speech is ‘art is a vehicle for social commentary’,” Caril Jennings said. “So that’s essentially using the exhibit for people to see and then feed back onto the fact that we’re having this discussion about water here at the edge of a desert.”
The northern Utah basin is unique in the fact that the rivers which make up its watershed only lead into the Great Salt Lake. Therefore, all of the reservoir water comes from captured snowfall.
“The Water Cycle” by Dufford and Chevo Studios is located next to the Ogden River. The stone and metal sculpture shows the water cycle from snowfall to runoff through a collection of metal birds that cast a snowflake-shaped shadow on the mountain.
“It’s kind of an Ogden secret,” Caril Jennings said. “If you don’t know that that snowflake is going to appear, you’d miss it, because it only happens on the solstice.”
In addition to the art exhibit, speakers will come to the campus to speak on various topics concerning the water in and around the basin. On Jan. 24, Shalae Larsen, principal landscape architect at Io Design Collaborative, will present “Oasis: Meaningful and Sustainable Landscapes in the Arid West.”
“If we didn’t have water, we wouldn’t be here. If the pioneers hadn’t been clever enough to capture water, we wouldn’t be able to support as many people here,” Caril Jennings said. “And yet, because we’re not out of water yet, we’re not desperate to conserve it.”