When December 01, 2022 at 11:00am 16 days 6 hrs
Contact REZA SAFAVI / Thomas Grocery and Pump [email protected]

While Reza Safavi was driving through Sanpete Valley in March of 2021 he passed an abandoned building in Sterling, UT - Thomas Grocery. This white frame building with a single gas pump out front is located on the west side of US Hwy 89, about a half-mile into town. The store seemed to be frozen in time with items still stocked in the dusty windows. Intrigued by this building, with its unknown past, and uncertain future, Safavi stopped to digitally scan it. He spoke to residents about the building and discovered that a woman named Lillie Thomas worked there continuously for 74 years, with the exception of 3 years during World War II, while living in a white cottage next door. The store was open six days a week, from 7am to 8pm, and Lillie covered most of those hours. In an interview Safavi found, Lillie talked about the struggle to survive with the arrival of big-box stores and mentioned one of the highlights of working in the store was a summer in the 1990s when Wilford Brimley visited Thomas Grocery a number of times while shooting a film in the valley. While known for being an actor, Wilford was also an accomplished musician and singer. For the soundtrack in this video, Safavi chose his rendition of “It A’nt Easy being Green.” Wilford passed away in August of 2020. To imprint the experiential magic of this building and create this video work, Safavi used 3D scanning technologies and 360 video, digitally preserving this example of vernacular architecture in its current state in 2021. Safavi aims to create an experience of Thomas Grocery that serves as a virtual monument to the hard work and dedication of this unique woman and her contribution to the community. ABOUT THE ARTIST Reza Safavi examines how technology shapes experience. He uses video, code, sound, drawing, performance, sculpture, analog, and digital devices as well as living elements to create interactive experiences that highlight the interfaces between communities, technology, consciousness, and the environment. Reza has been a member of several artists’ groups, in addition to his individual practice and his artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Safavi holds an MFA from the University of Oregon, and a BFA from the University of Victoria. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. Visit his website at <a class="x1i10hfl xjbqb8w x6umtig x1b1mbwd xaqea5y xav7gou x9f619 x1ypdohk xt0psk2 xe8uvvx xdj266r x11i5rnm xat24cr x1mh8g0r xexx8yu x4uap5 x18d9i69 xkhd6sd x16tdsg8 x1hl2dhg xggy1nq x1a2a7pz xt0b8zv x1fey0fg" role="link" href="https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hi-reza.com%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR2QGAOx2hVC-bsnI-CHBuSKLmOto1NcIH6ZSwWYb5GQdHD6lLBUyumrlLk&h=AT1JvZL0vEQ5v6P54ukxrRYb--4Qce0xRtqGmX3zF7VNclNMGuGP2hGbl1Mhr2zvgwu6ghqy90FotrKpjJWsw2s0F41WJtCiRDo7aC7SLxQf35YKKqlvpUB6oDLFi4AFmY4pZlveNQ&__tn__=q&c[0]=AT3fMdk-_fbIWv4YAOWZbYxlqjds4S8O0ngnHAQVjBXJCDxOQRvtmbjwjcRuZDdp9OCXtlP9i-0c5pvu9sjjD056O6biElkohbC3PtRBgIWWORJwgPpPfvJu64kQv38DpzgUeOA4OqfY8mADHNpj1ahrlTe-v6g4nSPNFDHPEHxFsxebIgPFag" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">www.hi-reza.com</a> or follow him on Instagram @rezgram Event is free and open to the public. <em>Granary Arts is supported in part by Utah Division of Arts & Museums, with funding from the State of Utah and the National Endowment for the Arts, VIA Art Fund in partnership with Wagner Foundation, Sorenson Legacy Foundation, The Paul T. Walton Jr. Charitable Foundation, The Sam and Diane Stewart Family Foundation, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, The Ephraim City RAP Tax Fund, Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, Sites Set for Knowledge and Utah Humanities, Sanpete County Travel, and generous support from Ephraim City.</em>