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South Salt Lake Journal

World-famous artists bring ‘joy of creativity’ to local workshops

Apr 03, 2022 07:28PM ● By Addie Hunsaker

Artist sketches a portrait at a workshop. (Photo courtesy Workshop SLC)

By Addie Hunsaker | [email protected]

Workshop SLC was born out of the need for artists to keep learning. Lucia Heffernan founded the organization as a way to bring experienced artists from all over the world to Salt Lake City.

“Heffernan would travel to workshops in places like Italy then she thought, why not bring the artists here to Salt Lake,” said Lucia Murdock, who was Heffernan’s artist’s assistant at the time. Murdock recalls asking world-famous artists to come and teach a collective of painters, as well as the excitement it brought to the local art community.

Murdock bought Workshop SLC from Heffernan and has continued to facilitate these local learning opportunities. “We fly famous artists from all over the world to teach very focused, oil painting workshops here at our facility and we also have weekly classes, lectures, classes and workshops,” Murdock said. “There are many great artists in Salt Lake who are professional artists…and we're trying to make Salt Lake a hub and better known capital of the arts.”

Workshop SLC provides a chance to learn specialized techniques in master classes. Students can then say they studied with these world renowned artists and become certified alumni of the artist.

Since 2018 when the organization was founded it has evolved from being an exclusive community to include private studios where artists-in-residence can interact, as well as holding beginner and one-day workshops which cover everything from the foundations of painting to embroidery and monoprinting. Workshop SLC also offers date night classes, children’s classes and lectures. Their upcoming two-day “Fearless Abstract Painting with Metallics” workshop will be held April 9-10 and is taught by Samantha deSilva, one of their artists-in-residence.

According to Murdock, deSilva “steers away from the conventional academic method of teaching” and she teaches using emotion, painting using many techniques, such as painting with pin rollers and using materials that she finds from the Salt Flats or dust from the red rocks in Moab to create all sorts of mixed media.

“Even when people are painting abstracts, I feel like they're trying to come up with something pretty and that makes sense and that they can hang up in their living room. But Samantha pours her heart and soul out. And she likes to set an intention and she writes a mantra on the canvas. And she just encourages students to let go of their fears. And it's just a really, really powerful, really moving experience,” Murdock said.

Workshop SLC offers an “elevated” experience that is nontraditional. Artists are not told step by step what to create but are instead empowered to create original work. Murdock invites people to come participate in this artistic and social community, be inspired to create works of their own and experience the raw joy of creativity.