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Main Street, Helper

Bill Williams has long been a supporter of visual arts, but not in the arena of traditional paintings, drawings or posters. His business of supplying materials and equipment to automotive repair facilities throughout the U.S. has led to the support, training and public exposure of hundreds of air-brush artists involved in restoring and customizing automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles.

His support of these artists included the purchase and rehabilitation of this two-story, burned out building on Main Street in Helper. The purpose of rehabilitating this building was not only to preserve a distinctive and unique 1929 building, but also to assist groups of airbrush artists to live and work in this up-and-coming artist's community in central Utah. By preserving its historic appearance, including over 4000 square feet of 1929 vintage fir flooring and upgrading the outdated and "quirky" mechanical systems, artists can live, work, and show their art in the context of this remarkable historic building. As with every project unforeseen obstacles made this project a labor of love for the owner, who took on the project in Helper despite living in West Valley City.

Located in the center of downtown just north of Helper's performing arts center at the Rio Theatre, the building recently sold to a local resident and restaurant owner. This building and those nearby currently house other working artists and has become a center for collaboration and celebration of the visual arts and is showcased annually at Annual Helper Art's and Music Festival every August. With the preservation vision of people like Mr. Williams, Utah's small communities will continue to thrive.

Utah Heritage Foundation presented the Heritage Award to Bill Williams for the restoration and adaptive use of Main Street buildings in Helper.