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Ogden christens new arts plaza with poetry, music, celebration

By Deborah Wilber - | Dec 4, 2021

Deborah Wilber, Standard-Examiner

People gather at the new Dumke Arts Plaza during a grand opening ceremony in downtown Ogden on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.

OGDEN — Hundreds of people came out Friday night for the much anticipated grand opening of Dumke Arts Plaza in the Nine Rails Creative District at the corner of Historic 25th Street and Ogden Avenue.

After a few words from emcee R. Brandon Long, host and producer of the “Ogden Outdoor Adventure Show,” Weber State University assistant professor of English Abe Smith, Ogden’s poet laureate, captured the audience with a poem he created for the people of Ogden.

Speakers Jeremy Dunn from Weber County RAMP (Recreation, Arts, Museums and Parks); Claire Dumke Ryberg, president of the Dr. Ezekiel R. and Edna Wattis Dumke Foundation; and Cori Anderson, board president of Ogden Contemporary Arts, among others took to the podium to celebrate the completion of what was an empty dirt lot just one year ago.

Inspired by the region’s landscape, the plaza design was led by design firm Sasaki Associates in collaboration with Ogden-based firms IO LandArch and Union Creative Agency. The outdoor gallery, with 700 cubic yards of concrete, was designed to inspire creativity, elevate diverse perspectives and anchor Ogden as a hub for contemporary art.

Weber State University’s Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery and the Department of Visual Art & Design curated the inaugural exhibition featuring a selection of work from American sculptor Chakaia Booker. Anderson said  she views Booker’s exhibition, titled “Revive,” as meaningful and thought-provoking art.

Deborah Wilber, Standard-Examiner

A crowd listens to Abe Smith, Ogden poet laureate, during the grand opening ceremony for the Dumke Arts Plaza in downtown Ogden on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.

Dancers with Ogden MoveMeant Collective performed a finale to the ribbon cutting near members of the Dumke Foundation, the lead funder of the plaza after donating over $2.2 million. The foundation partnered with RAMP, Ogden City, WSU and Ogden Contemporary Arts to create the space for the community to engage with various forms of art.

A live performance from Latin rock band Infusion Rock and C. Valenta were heard from a distance as people walked to their vehicles. Color lit up the night from the plaza and its permanent sculptural piece, the “Beacon,” which now extends over 25th Street.

The "Beacon" sculpture extends over 25th Street during the grand opening ceremony for the Dumke Arts Plaza in downtown Ogden on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.

People gather at the new Dumke Arts Plaza during a grand opening ceremony in downtown Ogden on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.

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