Montezuma Creek Elementary school student in fused glass workshop.

When learning shines through

The art of making fused-glass tiles connects science lessons to real life By Ellen Fagg Weist Like any good art project, the fused-glass workshop at Montezuma Creek Elementary School was anchored in careful planning. Under the direction of glass artist Carrie Trenholm, students first worked out their design ideas on a small square of construction paper. Each class’s art assignments …

Utah Locomotive Atlas

By Michelle James | Illustrations by Kerry Shaw Visiting the Golden Spike National Historic Park is a great way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the meeting of the Union and Central Pacific railroads. It’s also a great launch pad for an exploration of Utah’s dynamic railroad history, which can include historic depots, exhibits of old streetcars, firsthand looks at …

Artist Beth Krensky on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.

How a Utah artist found wonder while pushing a handcart

Beth Krensky is inspired to make art out of kites, nightgowns and her cultural memories By Ellen Fagg Weist | Photography (c) Josh Blumental, 2018 Fractured. That’s how Utah artist Beth Krensky felt emotionally. This was a few years ago, when she was burned out from juggling artmaking, teaching and parenting. She had written a book, 2009’s “Engaging Classrooms and …

Poet Paisley Rekdal along the Transcontinental Railroad grade.

In real time: Progress of a (railroad) poem

With sly wit, Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal has been commenting on social media throughout the year she was researching and writing “West,” a book-length poem about the Transcontinental Railroad. Jan. 20, 2018: “This week has been a series of some of the odder requests/assignments: writing for the Journal of Military History, poem solicitation for pamphlet on spiritual practices, a …

Women & Children and the First Transcontinental Railroad

Above Image: Mrs Strobridge entertaining guest in her railroad car, circa 1868, Alfred A. Hart, photographer. Courtesy of Stanford University Libraries. Few women were present during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. This because of wilderness conditions, 19th-century gender roles and biases, economic forces, and state laws that prohibited or discouraged women and children from immigrating.  The women and children …

Abraham Lincoln and the Transcontinental Railroad

On July 1, 1862 after decades of US congressional debate and disagreement on a Transcontinental Railroad and an appropriate route the road should take, President Lincoln brought the debate to a close and brought the enterprise to life, all with a stroke of his pen. On July 1, 1862, one year into America’s bloody Civil War, President Lincoln signed into …

The Story of Human Capital

What did the tapping of the “last spikes” into the final tie represent? The transcontinental railroad tells a story of human ingenuity and labor. Building the railroad not only required massive amounts of funding but human capital as well. The famous “champagne toast” image at Promontory Summit is one aspect of this story, while the reality is that the building …

Art preview: The epic reach of ‘Transcontinental’

With every viewing, the range of artworks keeps surprising me in “Transcontinental: People, Place, Impact,” the new Rio Gallery exhibition. By range, I’m referring to such contrasts as the printed stories and creative railroad interactivity of Stefanie Dykes and Amie Tullius’ well-travelled “Train Tracts,” paired with Gregg Deal’s “The Divinity of Inanimate Objects Omit their Sins,” a vivid collage painting …

Artist Beth Krensky on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.

‘Float Away’

Artist Beth Krensky’s eulogy for her mother, which she had embroidered on a kite (needlework by Jill Moyes) crafted from her mother’s nightgowns, undershirts, gloves and pajamas. I will release my last desperate grasp on you dearest Dotty, and allow you to float away. Loft upward and upward. Surely you will be welcomed through the gates of heaven. You have …

Just what are Utahns reading?

We asked bookmobile drivers about the preferences of Utah’s readers — and we weren’t exactly surprised to find out that the biggest demand came from kids. Kids’ books > Of course. The state’s public libraries, including bookmobile patrons, rank first in the nation for the number of children’s books borrowed per capita. That’s about 16 million children’s books checked out …

Utah bookmobile near Capitol Reef

On Utah’s (Bookmobile) road again

Stocking shelves, truck whispering and technical support are all part of a bookmobile driver’s job in the digitalage. By Ellen Fagg Weist | Photography by Faun Jackson Urban readers — that is, Utahns who live near city and county library branches — might consider bookmobiles a relic of their childhoods. Or maybe the setting for a “gentle reads” novel, the …