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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Artist of the Month exhibit in City Hall celebrates local history, landscapes and artists

Jun 03, 2024 01:19PM ● By Megan McKellar

The “Utah Women Making History” exhibit displayed in April. (Megan McKellar/City Journals)

As visitors step into Cottonwood Heights City Hall’s lobby, they’re greeted by a display of art that showcases local artists and highlights regional history, themes and landscapes.

An exhibit titled "Utah Women Making History," a collection of artwork celebrating the achievements of Utah women who have played key roles in the advancement of women's rights, was displayed in April and featured illustrations by Brooke Smart.

The Cottonwood Heights Arts Council, in partnership with the Utah Division of Museums Traveling Exhibit program, hosted the exhibit which was presented by Better Days 2020, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting Utah women's history and leading statewide celebrations of these historic milestones. 

Commissioned to commemorate three major women's rights milestones in 2020 (the 150th anniversary of Utah women's first votes, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act) Smart's artwork depicts these influential figures who have made significant strides in areas such as arts, business, education, law, medicine, military, music and politics. The exhibit showcases the diverse contributions and efforts of Utah women across various fields and is accompanied by the illustrated book "Champions of Change: 25 Women Who Made History," written by Naomi Watkins and Katherine Kitterman and illustrated with the artwork shown in the exhibit.

The exhibit features well-known historical figures in women’s history such as Martha Hughes Cannon, America’s first female state senator and Emmeline B. Wells, Utah’s leading suffragist; but also highlights lesser-known Utah women like Zitkala-Sa, co-founder of the National Council of American Indians, Hannah Kaaepa, an advocate for Hawaiian women’s rights, Barbara Toomer, who was jailed 35 times for protests to make public transportation accessible, and the women of the Kanab Town Council, one of the first all-female city councils in the country.

“We lose the full scope of the work and diversity of the people involved in making history when we only tell the same stories about well-known people,” the accompanying book explains.

In May, the city hall art exhibit featured two Brighton High School alumni, 

Savannah Cottam and Kylie Pregill.

Cottam, a design and architecture student at the University of Utah and advocate for the environment and people's well-being, aspires to “actively use forms of art that engage in initiatives that contribute to meaningful transformations in people's lives and advocate for positive change,” according to the Cottonwood Heights Arts Council website.

Passionate about landscape and wildlife photography, Pregill was raised with a deep love of nature thanks to her outdoors-loving family who taught her about the natural world’s beauty. Her goal is to transmit the beauty she sees through her lens to those who view her photography.

In June, the art exhibit will feature works by Miguel Alejandro Pabón, a painter who discovered a passion for mountain landscapes while attending college and graduate school in Utah. Pabón’s artistic intention is to “convey the beauty of Utah landscapes and beyond in a colorful, playful, and contemporary format while enjoying the process of drawing and painting,” according to the artist’s biography.

Located in the Cottonwood Heights City Hall lobby, 2277 E. Bengal Blvd., the art exhibits are open to the public on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. λ