In the vibrant arts community of Utah, it’s always possible to give the memorable gift of classy culture. City Weekly arts contributors offer their thoughts on how to make the holidays artful for those on your shopping list.
Tickets to future arts events make for great holiday gifts for a number of reasons. They’re easy to wrap, since you can just include them in a greeting card. They’re not just one more piece of crap sitting around taking up space after the holidays. Best of all, a few months later, when most people have long forgotten who gave them what, they’ll spend a much-needed night out and remember the nice person who made it all possible. Several arts organizations around Salt Lake City offer holiday packages with tickets to the remaining events of their seasons; there’s always the option of full season tickets, or even just one event. You can sometimes even buy gift certificates for set amounts. Consider options like The Philadelphia Story at Pioneer Theatre Company (300 S. 1400 East, 801-581-6961, PioneerTheatre.org) in January, Beethoven’s Seventh symphony and Mendelssohn’s First played by the Utah Symphony (123 W. South Temple, 801-355-2787, USUO.org) in February, or spread the joy out over several months and three performances with Ballet West’s Family Package (50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, BalletWest.org), which lets you take in performances of The Nutcracker, Cinderella and the world premiere of Aladdin. (Geoff Griffin)
Clay Arts Holiday Sale
There’s no question about it: Handmade tableware is just better than the factory-produced, slip-cast stuff available at chain stores. A potter throws a slab of wet clay on the wheel, and from this shapeless mass lovingly crafts a teapot, bowl, plate, pitcher or bottle form. The clay submits under the potter’s hand to assemblage and embellishment—and there is something magical about the moment when the finished pot finally emerges, utterly transformed, from the Vulcan flames of the kiln. Clay Arts Utah is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the potter’s art through education and community service. Its 13th-annual holiday pottery sale (Sugar House Park Garden Center, 1602 E. 2100 South, Nov. 23-24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., ClayArtsUtah.org) features work by artisans throughout the state. “It’s the only place that you get that many ceramic artists from Utah together in one place,” says CAU board member and event co-chair Dave Socwell (whose work is pictured). “There are a lot of really good ceramic artists participating this year.” Past sales have featured excellent deals on high-quality, beautiful items not found anywhere else. Proceeds from a silent auction will help fund CAU’s educational efforts, including workshops and gallery exhibitions. (Brandon Burt)
Antiques, secondhand, thrift, consignment—these offer pleasurable shopping experiences and promise rare and unique finds, and can also be more affordable. Salt Lake City specializes in the secondary market. For the casual but eclectic person on your list, at Ken Sanders Rare Books (268 S. 200 East, 801-521-3819, KenSandersBooks.com), you can find not only interesting books, but also rare maps, posters, prints, postcards and much more for around $10. For in-the-know extended family, look at The Green Ant(179 E. Broadway, 801-595-1818, TheGreenAnt.com) for chic and retro furniture, or a stunning mid-century round bottle-necked vase. For the more discerning giftee, the world of antiques opens up at Euro Treasures LLC (470 W. 600 South, 801-364-6390, EuroTreasuresAntiques.com); find a framed print by regional artist Robert Eadie for $125. Serious treasure hunters should consider City Creek Antiques (169 E. Broadway, 801-328-4004, CityCreekAntiques.com), where you might walk away with a one-of-a-kind 19th-century Cupid-shaped bronze pocket-watch holder (pictured) for $225. And for the bibliophile, Red Queen Book Arts (171 E. Broadway, 801-214-8191, RedQueenBookArts.com) offers spectacularly illustrated books. A rare edition of Chinese Babies, which features nursery rhymes indigenous to China, translated into English for the first time by Evelyn Young in 1933, makes a special gift for the true aesthete at $300. (Ehren Clark)
The gift of a membership to a local arts organization is a good way to ensure that a friend or loved one feels like there is a place they belong, not to mention a fine way to spread a little bit of culture throughout their lives. There are plenty of worthy museums (Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, 801-581-7332, UMFA.Utah.edu), gardens (Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 801-585-0556, RedButteGarden.org) and societies seeking artistically minded people to join their ranks. Also consider giving the film buff in your life a circle of friends that includes the likes of Akira Kurosawa, Jean-Luc Godard and an entire family of Coppolas. For as little as $50, the Salt Lake Film Society (SaltLakeFilmSociety.org) is offering privileges including rentals from the Tower Theatre’s incredible video library, discounts on gear and screenings, exclusive invites to member-only events, and free popcorn. But keep in mind that if the likes of Damien Hirst, Marina Abramovic and Matthew Barney are better kindred spirits for your gift recipient, for about the same price you can gift a membership to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (20 W. South Temple, 801-328-4201, UtahMOCA.org) that includes free parking, gift-shop discounts, insider lectures and even more invite-only events. (Jacob Stringer)