“Square One: Helper Artists of Utah” is being featured at the Finch Lane Gallery until February 23. This exhibit focuses on the artwork of students that have been taught in a special art community located in Helper, Utah. Helper was once an abandoned mining town but has flourished into an artist community comprised of professors and students. The solitude at Helper provides a much-needed space for artists to hone their abilities and focus. Originally founded in 1995 by the hard work of educators and professors Paul Davis and David Doran, the Helper school has become an artists paradise complete with galleries, shops and the annual Helper Arts, Music and Film Festival.

The Helper art community is credited with taking a different approach towards teaching students the fine arts; instead of telling the students, they show the students (Square One.) When it comes to the fine arts there is no better teaching method than actively showing students through examples and real work. Showing rather than telling gives an artist the opportunity to learn quickly and build their skills by observing how their teachers work.

The main lesson taught to the students at Helper is the significance of craftsmanship and immersion. Students learn that hard work and a regular focus on their art can help to spur and maintain a constant creative flow (Square One.)

The “Square One” exhibit featured works from 25 painters and 3 sculptors. All featured artists possess extraordinary talent and credit the Helper Art School as a crucial influence on their work. Many of these artists sell their artwork across the country and a few select artists actually sell their work in Helper, Utah (Square One.) Artists in this exhibit include Rob Adamson, Lane Bennion, Erin Berrett, Brian Blackham, Doug Braithwaite, Charles Callis, Wendy Chidester, Paul Davis, Sylvia Davis, David Dornan, John Erickson, Nick Frappier, Janell James, Anne Morgan Jesperson, Anne Kaferle, Kate Kilpatrick, Patricia Kimball, Marilou Kundmueller, Kathryn Martinez, Aaron Memmott, Ryan Peterson, Zachary Proctor, Hadley Rampton, Kathleen Royster, Andrew Skorut, Brad Slaugh, Charley Snow and Ben Steele.

“Square One: Helper Artists of Utah” will be exhibited from January 12 until February 23. Finch Lane Gallery is located at 1340 East and 100 South, within walking distance from Presidents Circle. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free to the public.

Alina Hansen is a Writer for the Arts and Entertainment section for the Daily Utah Chronicle. She is a Senior at the University of Utah graduating in Spring 2018 with a Major in English and Minor in Writing and Rhetoric.


  1. I’m from Helper, grew up there in fact, and I feel it necessary to note that this town was never “abandoned”. There have been residents, a post office, gas stations, grocery stores, schools and restaurants/cafes in this town since it was founded in the 1800’s. While it is wonderful that more people are taking interest in our little town and community, it would be even more wonderful if the people writing articles about our little town and its history would bother to do so accurately and consistently. Just a little food for thought from a person living in a town that was never abandoned, just on a decline.
    Thank you.


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