Spori Art Gallery opens doors for new exhibit

On Thursday evening, the Spori Art Gallery welcomed the “Looking for Something” art collection, a series of industrial creativity masterpieces created by artist Justin Wheatley.

Guests were able to observe the exhibit from 6-9 p.m. as well as meet the artist and indulge in refreshments.

Justin Wheatley, born and raised in Utah, is surrounded by a family of girls: his wife, Camille, and four daughters, all under the age of nine. All of his daughters have inherited his creative gene, and he hopes they stick with it.

Wheatley has been interested in art since junior high.

“My teachers were so cool,” Wheatley said. “I wanted to be like them … so I studied art and got a teaching certificate.”

Europe has some of the oldest and most unique architecture in the world, which first drew Wheatley to study abroad in Germany. His classes led him to analyze the militaristic industrial architecture; he calls it the “Pittsburgh of Germany.

Young family enjoying the artwork.

Young family enjoying the artwork. Photo credit: Dakotah Barclay

This experience focused him on finding the spiritual aspect of architecture, which now populates the walls of the gallery.

“You can have a spiritual experience through a building,” Wheatley said. “(I) enjoy the relationship between the buildings and the space that surrounds them.”

Although the Wheatley is happy with his collection, he confessed the reality of his creative career.

“I’ve wanted to give a painting lots of times, it’s an emotional roller coaster,” Wheatley said. “You spend all this time getting ready for a show … you’re really excited and then it’s the night of the event … and then it’s just done. You’re back to ‘What do I do next?’”

Those pursuing a creative passion can relate to this feeling, but Wheatley encourages people to just try anyway.

Among his collection, there are pieces with deep meanings and others that merely showcase the impressive color and construction of certain buildings Wheatley has encountered. One of his more meaningful pieces is called the “Tree of Life,” featured on the second floor of the exhibit.

A couple entering the museum.

A couple entering the museum. Photo credit: Dakotah Barclay

“I just needed to do it,” Wheatley said. “It was 2015 and there were a lot of anti-LDS going around.”

He wanted his painting to serve as a reminder of what truly matters in times of contention: the Savior Jesus Christ.

All are welcome to peruse the entrancing collection displayed in the art gallery in the Jacob Spori Building and listen to the intro about the artist, located at the entrance.

Hours are from Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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