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Arts and Culture

Home Turned Into Art Gallery For Little Bloomsbury Festival

gallery with artwork
Taylor Halversen
Utah Public Radio

As you open the gate of the small historic house, a colorful teepee to your right as you walk the pathway steps and music wafting as you enter the front door, you realize this is no ordinary home; it has been transformed into a haven of art and community. 

Eight years ago, Dr. Brenda Sun moved to Logan, Utah and decided to open her home as a housewarming party, which turned into something much more. 

Inspired by the small art galleries in London, where Sun lived for 10 years, she decided to create a local gallery experience, highlighting local artists, poets and musicians by once a year converting her abode into the Little Bloomsbury Art Festival.

“I don't think I could possibly do something like this anywhere else, but in Cache Valley you just bump into talented people who are poets and painters and photographers and, you know, pianists and musicians. I think we have a critical mass here of  wonderfully talented and exceptionally kind people,” said Sun.

"There were quite a few artists that received more than one award; it's just because they're just so exceptional in more than one area. So this is what actually sort of comes out rather strongly to us this year," said Sun. "But I would say if we care to go deeper, to understand the people better, it's just like really understanding paintings, it's the same thing. Getting to know a piece of painting is like getting to know someone; the deeper you dig, the more good stuff you find." 

Dr Sun and artwork
Credit Taylor Halversen / Utah Public Radio
Utah Public Radio
Dr. Brenda Sun opens her house each year, as an exercise in community building, she says.

Above all, Sun calls the exhibit an exercise in community building. 

“We have always had students at all levels and we also have teachers too and housewives and construction workers, bankers, so we have people from all sorts of backgrounds,” said Sun.
"We do get a lot of families so children can run around and enjoy themselves, and they often have a lot to offer too in terms of enjoying the art, appreciating the art and often we get young children saying 'Oh, in that case I can do something too, I could submit something too!'," said Sun. 

Sun says visitors often have a transformative experience in their perceptions of art.

"Before they came, they thought art was too 'high-brow' so they wouldn't go to an art gallery per se, but then after they come, they often change their mind. Because art is for everyone. It's just a way of expression," she said.

Artist Tyler Swain, whose work is highlighted at the exhibit, talks about one of his pieces. 
“Every piece has a story behind it. One of my most recent is this red one, it's called Genesis. I call it Genesis because it has to do with creation--creation of the world and all that that entails," Swain said. "Basically the story from Genesis out of the bible. The line work I did around the rose is actually taken from a figure study from Albrecht Dürer, master painter of the Northern Renaissance. It's kind of alluding to the divinity and divine potential that man has, and also just the perfection we all strive for."

Though the exhibit requires many volunteer hours, Sun says it is worth it. 
“Every year we have a lot of sleepless nights trying to put this together, but one thing that really makes it worth it is people really enjoy each other's company because when they come together, they meet other people and they get to really interact with one another. The one thing that really sort of keeps us going is to see  how promising art is, budding artists get validated," she said.

The annual event will open its doors to the public April 24-26, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will take place at 181 N. 200 E. in Logan, Utah.