Sanpete Valley, Utah is probably not a place you have heard of. That’s alright. This broad valley is nestled between two sets of mountains, behind the larger urban areas in Salt Lake and Utah Valleys. It has a small college, a few small towns, and an excellent arts center, Granary Arts, with a far sighted and thoughtful curator, Amy Jorgensen.
Granary Arts is collaborating with Popwalk to create a digital, site-specific art and culture tour of the valley. This tour will consist of 30 to 40 video works of art and culture, scattered across the valley. Using Popwalk, viewers will be able to experience the particular locations and interesting corners of this valley. The app requires that viewers physically be in specific locations to view the videos, so artists are able to engage specific locations to talk about the valley’s history, ecology, culture, etc. Popwalk will allow this tour to become a more immersive experience of the valley, and give the artists involved a tool for coopting the environment into their artwork.
Sanpete valley’s history goes back millennia. Evidence of very early inhabitants (Fremont Civilization) can still be seen in the pictographs on numerous canyon walls. Sanpete was the home of bands of Utes and Paiutes. Spanish traders and French trappers crossed the valley in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Anglo settlers, particularly from Scandinavia, inhabited the valley as early as 1849. This valley is also the location of the first United States Forest Service research station.
All of these histories are open to the artists and historians that will create video works for this tour. For this reason, it has become an appealing project for local tourism agencies to support. The project is in the initial phases, with an opening scheduled for May 2021.