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Historic Farmer Cooperative in Springville being transformed into art foundry

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Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine who writes columns for many local and national publications. She currently resides in Payson, and enjoys looking for good happenings in her area and sharing them for others to read about. For more of her stories, search "A Mother's Write" on Facebook.

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Just west of the dairybron Main Street in Springville, a renovation is about to begin, giving thebrformer farmer cooperative a whole new look and purpose developers hope willbrplease residents.

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The project that willbrbegin in the coming months, pending permits, will transformbrthe building into a modern, fully functional art foundry.

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Originally built inbr1946, the co-op served as a point for farmers tobrbuy and sell farm supplies.

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On the north end of the building are two tall squarebrsilos that were used for grain, and on the south end, there was a truck scalebrso that farmers could weigh the contents of their trucks.

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According to the general contractor over renovating thebrhistoric building, Rich Lewis of R J Lewis Inc., the co-op was a staple in abrcommunity that values farming and agriculture.

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But if there’s something that the city of Springvillebralso values as part of long-standing history, it’s the arts.

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It is because of the city’s dedication to the arts thatbrnew owner, Baer Bronze has purchased the building for its foundry.

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“Baer Bronze has beenbra Springville based business for many years,” Lewis said. “Fine art isbrsynonymous with Springville. This location will allow for needed expansion asbrdemand grows. I consider this renovation an investment not only in Baer Bronzebras a business, but in the surrounding community.

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“We hope that thebrtransformation to the building will add value to the community while preservingbrour history. We hope that the building itself will be as classic and timelessbras the bronze that will be cast within its walls.”

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Lewis said the plan isbrto preserve as much of the building as possible, including the look of thebrbuilding inside and out, as well as repurposing parts of the old truck scalebrfor the stairway inside. Upgrades would be done to increase its efficiencybrwhile still preserving the interior brick walls and rustic plank floor.

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And while retainingbrthe integrity of the building is what Lewis has been commissioned to do, MikebrBaer of Baer Bronze hopes focus on having quality art created within its wallsbrand maintain the art history that he says had been part of the building forbryears.

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“We are excited aboutbrthis project because it will be a beautiful addition to Art City,” Baer said.

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“What some people maybrnot know is that the building was an art foundry for one of Utah’s greatestbrsculptors, Hughes Curtis. When he first cast his sculptures in bronze, therebrwas not an art foundry in Utah, so he built his own foundry in his backyard inbrSpringville. After he started working with other artists, it got to be too muchbrfor his backyard. That was about the time that this building stopped being abrfarm supply store, so Hughes moved his foundry here, making it the secondbrlocation of the first art foundry in Utah!”

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Baer said he isbrgrateful for the opportunity to expand his bronze business while at the samebrtime keeping the small town feel of historic Springville.

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“We are grateful to bebrable to expand the space for our growing business, servicing sculptors aroundbrthe West as well as other parts of the county,” he said. “We love thebrsmall-town, country feel of this area, including the four acres our buildingbrsits on, which includes a pond and horse pasture. We are excited to continuebrthe historic art tradition of Springville.” (Brown is a Serve Daily contributor.)

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