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‘Utah’s Beehive’ exhibit showcases beauty of important local symbol

Thursday, February 21, 20132212 views

Have you heard the buzz? A new display at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center will bear some local significance as it will showcase a collection of beehive-themed art and artifacts.

The “Utah’s Beehive” display, which will run from March 7 to May 2 at the UCCC (located at 1355 West 3100 South), is a celebration of a symbol with some special local and historical weight.

“The beehive has always been an important symbol in many different cultures historically, including both the Masons and the Mormons,” Folklorist and Cultural Specialist Michael Christensen said. “It has become an important enough symbol, representing industry, to be featured on the state’s flag, road signs and our police cars.”

The upcoming display at the UCCC will feature many pieces created by local artists using the symbol of the beehive. It will also show other non-local beehive pieces, as well as artifacts ranging from sculptures to old street signs that include the symbol.

The exhibit will also be, for Christensen, an homage of sorts to a previous exhibit that was held at the Salt Lake Art Center in 1980. That exhibit, called “The Grand Beehive” was curated by Hal Cannon, a Utah State Folklorist and one of Christensen’s mentors.

“This has some personal significance for me, as Hal taught me so much about what I am doing today,” Christensen said. “I came across a book about this exhibit and found some of the pieces in storage, and I felt it was time to bring it all back to life.”

The current exhibit will feature most of the pieces from that original exhibit, held 33 years ago. It will also feature new submissions from contemporary artists with the same theme.

“I am really excited, and honored, to re-create this show,” Christensen said. “As a folklorist, working with art with such important local significance is an exciting and inspiring thing.”

An opening ceremony for the event will take place at the UCCC on March 7 from 6 to 9 p.m., and will include presentations by Christensen and others about the symbology behind the artwork.

“I even considered doing a sort of live art piece and getting a tattoo of a beehive during the opening ceremony,” Christensen said laughingly. “But I don’t think everyone would go for that.”

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