Mayor's Artist Awards

Mayor's Artist Awards
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Join the Utah Arts Festival and Mayor Erin Mendenhall in celebrating the work of these great artists.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall is excited to honor five outstanding members of the Salt Lake City arts community. This year’s recipients embody the values that make our city an engaging, lively, and inclusive place to live. Mayor Mendenhall’s priorities for Salt Lake City focus on growth for good, ingenuity, environment, and equity and access-all of which are reflected in this year’s recipients.

Shandra Benito

shandraShandra Benito is a social worker, disability rights advocate, trumpet player, and art enthusiast from Seattle, WA. She is a graduate of the University of Washington Masters of Social Work Program and has worked alongside and served many different communities including individuals with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, immigrants, refugees, and native and indigenous people. She is proud to identify as a person with a disability and as a member of the Deaf community. Benito joined Art Access as executive director in January of 2017, and loves being part of the Salt Lake and Utah arts community. She is passionate about Art Access' Breaking Barriers program in partnership with the Utah Division of Arts and Museums to work with organizations along the Wasatch Front to make our cultural community more accessible.

Pilar Pobil

pilarThrough vivid color, form, light and shadow, Salt Lake City-based artist Pilar Pobil’s expressive work defines what she wants the viewer to see and feel. Born in 1926 and raised in Mallorca, Spain, Pilar is a published author and self-taught artist working in various mediums including acrylic, watercolor, oil and clay. Pilar came to Salt Lake City in 1956 when she married Utah native Walter Smith. Pilar was named one of Utah’s 15 Most Influential Artists by Artists of Utah in 2019, was a recipient of the Utah Governor’s Award for Visual Arts in 2012, and was knighted by the King of Spain in 2016 for her extraordinary contributions to the arts and to Spanish culture.

Pilar Pobil’s paintings and sculptures have been exhibited and collected throughout the United States as well as Mexico and Spain. Her work can be found in the collections of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the University of Utah College of Humanities, the Springville Museum of Art, the Salt Lake County Collection and the Utah Arts Council Permanent Collection. In 2013 the Pilar Pobil Legacy Foundation was created to continue and expand Pobil’s community involvement. The foundation is dedicated to educational programs, exhibition opportunities for local artists, and the preservation of Pobil's iconic home and artwork.

Brittany Reese

brittanyBrittany Reese is the Director of Sugar Space Arts Warehouse, Founder of the non-profit Sugar Space Foundation, and is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Dance. She has performed, taught and choreographed with a variety of companies in Taiwan, Brazil, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and throughout the United States. She developed Sugar Space in 2007 out of a need for a curated, professional training and showing venue in Salt Lake City. Its mission is to provide space and support for artists of all disciplines as well as engage the community. It supports innovative and experimental artists as well as hosts multi-disciplinary arts programs, residencies, performances, classes, and exhibitions. Sugar Space has provided a gallery, rehearsal studios, art studios, and a performance venue for independent and underground events ranging from dance to theatre to music. They recently added a Pop-up Cafe for families that allows children to play and explore, while parents can work or socialize in a friendly creative space. Sugar Space Arts Warehouse also currently houses the Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts. Reese has also sat on the boards of the South Salt Lake Arts Council, Utah Presenters Network, and Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts.

1520 Arts (Formerly the Bboy Federation)

1520 1520 Arts is a non-profit organization founded in 2009 that showcases Hip Hop Arts as a viable path to success through competitions, workshops, performances, mentorship, and education for youth and adults. Formerly called Bboy Federation, the organization’s programs combine art and movement with context and education about Hip Hop Culture. 1520 Arts acknowledges that Hip Hop was a means for youth to avoid gang violence and was a musical form that brought multiple cultures together that may have not spoken the same language or shared the same culture. The name, 1520 Arts, pays homage to 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx which is an iconic Hip Hop location. Joshua Perkins is the Chief Executive Director of 1520 Arts.

Clever Octopus Creative Reuse Center

Clever Octopus Incclever oct is the only creative reuse organization in Utah offering unique art and craft materials diverted from the waste-streams of individuals, businesses, and industries. In 2020, Clever Octopus experienced unprecedented growth and expanded its location to a larger building in South Salt Lake where we house a variety of classes and workshops for the community. As a non-profit, we offer our community a high level of customer service, inexpensive art and craft materials, engagingly unique volunteer programs, and quality educational programs at our creative reuse center and throughout the community. Together we create an inclusive community of respect amongst all generations through mentoring and creating together. Sheri Gibb and Jen Lopez are Co-founders of Clever Octopus.