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Bill advances to declare Spiral Jetty as official ‘state work of art’

First Published      Last Updated Feb 04 2016 01:07 pm


Sculpture » Iconic Great Salt Lake feature would add to long list of state symbols.

The Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake is cruising toward becoming Utah's official "state work of art" — and also the first artwork to be declared a state symbol anywhere in the nation.

The House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee voted 7-1 on Tuesday to endorse HB134 to honor the jetty.

Its sponsor, Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, said it is "an opportunity for us as a state to do a little bragging" and is "a way to shine the light on something unique and special."

She said too few Utahns know about the sculpture that was made in 1970 by Robert Smithson. It is a 1,500-foot-long, 15-foot-wide counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore — somewhat near the Golden Spike National Historic Site.



"It is one of maybe the top 10 artworks made in the world in the 20th century," said Gretchen Dietrich, executive director of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, adding that it had "incredible impact" on artists worldwide.

Shelley Shupe, whose art students at American Fork High School and Utah Valley University proposed the new designation, said "it feels like it is more well known by people outside the state than those who live here," and the designation might encourage more to experience it.

"Every time you go to the jetty it is different, you have a different experience," because of changes in the lake, she said. "It's a work that is constantly evolving."

The one opposing vote came from Rep. Timothy Hawkes, R-Centerville. He said other means may more appropriately promote the sculpture than adding it as another entry to Utah's list of official symbols.

Some of those include an official emblem (beehive), bird (sea gull), animal (elk), flower (sego lily), cooking pot (Dutch oven) and even a gun (Browning model 1911).

Others are: state folk dance (square dance), fossil (allosaurus), fish (Bonneville cutthroat trout), fruit (cherry), vegetable (Spanish sweet onion), historic vegetable (sugar beet), gem (topaz), grass (Indian rice grass), insect (honeybee) and mineral (copper).

Still others include the state motto (industry), rock (coal), tree (quaking aspen), winter sports (skiing and snowboarding), song ("Utah This is the Place) and hymn ("Utah We Love Thee").

 

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