FRIENDS celebrates the relationship between local artists and one of Utah’s most precious natural resources, Great Salt Lake. Through artistic expressions, we enhance our capacity to build awareness about the Lake and our need to preserve and protect it for the future.

The 2024 Alfred Lambourne Arts Program will open for submissions on March 1, 2024 and close May 15, 2024. Click here to submit your work. 

2024 Jurors:
Samantha da Silva, visual arts: Samantha da Silva (1978) is a Brazilian-born artist living in Salt Lake City, UT. She is a third-generation artist shaped by migration, assimilation, and her desire to create. She has moved over forty times as a result of natural disasters and life circumstances. Like many who have experienced migration, she underwent a process of assimilation at the crucial age of 10, and her relationship with things was forever altered by having to leave so much behind. Her artwork has become a navigational tool that helps to connect her to new surroundings and provides a form of consistency in a life full of movement. She is best known for her large-scale relief sculptures that resemble topographic maps and cracked earth, made from found materials such as dirt and sawdust. The themes of this body of work revolve around belonging, spirituality, mapmaking, and resourcefulness. As an educator, da Silva has taught at various public and private institutions in Canada, the United States, Hawaii, and France, and her work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Bravo TV, HGTV, and others.

Will Neville-Rehbehn, literary arts: Will serves as Co-Executive Director and Executive Editor at Torrey House Press. Will directs fundraising, marketing, and community development and works with publisher Kirsten Allen and creative director Kathleen Metcalf on acquisitions, always seeking to advance THP’s mission and impact. Throughout his career, he has helped organizations expand their capabilities, engage new audiences and tell stories that change the world. He received a BA in Theatre from Davidson College and a master’s in Political Management from The George Washington University. A Utah native and lifelong book nerd, Will returned to Salt Lake City in 2020 with his husband, their young son and very old cat.

Allison Spehar, sound: Allison Spehar is a passionate, adaptable professional dedicated to socially just organizations and focuses on building relationships to drive change with care. She holds a BFA in dance and a MED in Education, which are the foundation for her 15+ years in arts administration and program development in schools, government institutions, hospitals, and corporate settings. Her work as an executive, educator, arts administrator, equity director, and consultant have been driven by her commitment to a humanizing approach in equity, learning, and organizational development that includes all community members as their authentic selves. Allison’s work with her community is for a future of radical self-love.

Jared Ray Gilmore, sound: Jared Ray's vast array of skills and interests encompasses music, psychology, spirituality, and much more. With his background as an audio engineer, piano technician, music producer, pianist, and composer, Jared combines his technical expertise with his profound understanding of Jungian psychology to create a unique blend of art and introspection. 

Program History: 

In 2014, FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake established The Alfred Lambourne Prize, an annual recognition and celebration of regional creativity inspired by our inland sea. FRIENDS invites creative work inspired by the Lake in the forms of visual arts, literary arts, sound and movement.

The prize takes its name from the renowned painter and writer Alfred Lambourne (1850-1926). Born in England, he moved with his family to the United States and settled in Salt Lake City in 1866. Lambourne’s artistic talents were put to use painting scenery for the Salt Lake Theater. He developed an early and passionate interest in Great Salt Lake, inspired in part by reading Captain Howard Stansbury’s account of the 1850 survey of the lake (Exploration and survey of the valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, 1852). Lambourne traveled the lake by sailboat and lived for a time on Gunnison Island in the hopes of obtaining land there through homesteading.

Lambourne is remembered for the dozens of sketches and paintings he created of Great Salt Lake as he captured facets of water, light, and land in the romantic style reminiscent of the Hudson River School painters. His writing, based upon his time on Gunnison Island, stands out as the earliest, most evocative prose penned on the Lake’s physical attributes and psychological impressions. Lambourne melded fact and fiction as he wrote first in serial fashion about the lake for The Deseret News then published these writings as Pictures of an Inland Sea (1894; 1902) and Our Inland Sea: The Story of a Homestead (1909).

Visually inspired and poetic in nature, Lambourne bestowed upon us the Lake through lyrical prose:

"There is another phenomenon to be seen at infrequent periods on the Inland Sea, one that is unpaintable, and also, I believe, entirely local. It is to be witnessed during the calm summer twilights, when the pale, fairy-like tints on the water are breathed upon by opposite currents of languid wind. As they interplay in bands, in points, in shifting isles of amber, azure and rose, the whole surface shimmers and glistens like a silken robe studded with countless pearls."

The significance of Great Salt Lake to Lambourne as he engaged in his subject across several modes of artistic expression was key in FRIENDS’ decision to name the annual arts and humanities prize after him.

Program Director

DSC04647 2

Artist and writer, Holly Simonsen, directs the Alfred Lambourne Prize Program for FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake. She is responsible for administering the prize, establishing the judges, and cataloging the submissions.

Feel free to contact her at

Holly works in ecopoetic collaboration with Great Salt Lake, where her creations explore the relationship between language and ecologically disrupted environments. Although primarily a poet, her work often migrates off the page into 3D spaces. She earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was a recent fellow at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT and at the Djerassi Resident Artists’ Program in Woodside, CA. She currently works as an adjunct professor of English and literature at Westminster College and as the Membership & Programs Director for FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake. Links to her published work can be found at

View the Program Download PDF

Congratulations to our 2023 Alfred Lambourne Program Winners:

Scout Invie, visual arts

Willy Palomo, literary arts

Beth Krensky, movement

Dallas Herndon, sound