It’s time for the Utah Arts Festival. And as the “How to Festival” page on UAF.org suggests with its use of the word “festival” as a verb, there are a number of ways to enjoy the annual June celebration of the arts, suited to different people’s needs, and different kinds of artistic experiences.
Fest for Families
The Utah Arts Festival—June 20-23—is a great family activity, and it’s now a lot easier for families to have a great time. Admission is free for children 12 and under, and the Art Yard is an area of the festival specifically designed for kids, with the fun theme Monsters & Mischief. The Summerhays Music Center Instrument Petting Zoo provides an opportunity for future musicians to experience hands-on music-making. A number of nonprofit groups—Art Access, The Tracy Aviary and others—are offering make & take projects. The Fear No Film festival has two sets of kid-centric films, one for children 3 and up and the other for children 8 and up. Kids can learn to make their own comic books with the Salt Lake Community College’s Community Writing Center, or try their hand at magnetic poetry. And last but not least, what child could go to the Arts Festival without getting their face painted?
June signals the beginning of the hot part of Utah’s two-season weather, but you can beat the heat with the Fear No Film festival in the Salt Lake City Main Library. More than 50 films from around the world—including the entries for the 2013 Utah Short Film of the Year competition—will explore the theme “Origins.” The All-State Utah High School Art Exhibition showcases student works in the library’s main gallery (opening reception Thursday June 20, 6-7:30 p.m., exhibit runs through Aug. 1), and the Urban room on the first floor will house artist demonstrations. Festival admission now also gets you into The Leonardo next door, with a plethora of exhibits and classes. In addition, shaded areas of the festival like the Big Mouth Stage spoken-word venue offer respite from the sun, as well as the chance to hear some of the best of the local poetry-slam poets and other literary artists.
If you aren’t content just looking at the handiwork of others, but feel inspired to make your own, there are opportunities for that, too. Craft Lake City’s Be A DIY Engineer workshops, located outside The Leonardo, will feature three different projects that allow you to create crafts with electronics. If you choose the LED balloon project, you can add it to Craft Lake City’s LED balloon sculpture, which will be lit up and on display throughout the festival. At the Urban Arts area, you can grab a spray can and add your own mark to a community mural, and do a little DJ-ing at Spy Hop’s Found Sound Studio. If your medium is more literary, the Wasatch IronPen Literary Marathon and Ultra Marathon competitions challenge wordsmiths to create new works in under 24 hours.
Celebrating Artists at Work
You can witness festival artists performing their magic, creating works of art right before your eyes in Creative Collaborations at The Leonardo. Liberty Blake, David Habben, Shawn Rossiter, Chad Crane and others will construct large-scale pieces in The Lab @ The Leonardo. The Artist Marketplace, with several hundred booths, provides a chance to meet artists as well as view some of them at work, and you can vote for your favorite to be brought back next year as a returning artist. Invited artists this year include painter Jeff Hepworth, wearable-art creator Sandra Seifert and digital artist Stephanie Swift. Among the best artists at the Artist Marketplace are 3-D mixed-media artists Dave Borba and Patrick Nichols, and digital artists Chris Madsen and Shawn Ray Harris.
For the Foodies
The Big Deal Brunch—at the Festival Hospitality Patio near the City & County Building—is a great chance to enjoy a scrumptious Sunday morning (10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.) jazz set, with the sounds of the Red Rock Hot Club; you can also get in on a private art sale, and even meet some festival performers. The regular food vendors at the fest include Epicuriosity whipping up culinary artworks, and the Crooked Line Tent, where you can mix and match beers with small-plate dishes.
Less Crowd, Less Cash
If you want to avoid the crush of visitors, as well as save a little money, the smart bet is the Lunchtime Special, with a reduced $6 festival admission, from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday; historically, Thursday is also the best day to attend if you’d like a less-crowded experience. And if you are getting to the festival on two wheels, the Bike Valet special nets you $2 off admission when you use the Blue Sky Bike Lot (400 South between State Street and 200 East).
UTAH ARTS FESTIVAL
Salt Lake City & County Building
450 S. 200 East
Noon-11 p.m. daily
Adult single tickets $10 on Thursday, $12 Friday-Sunday, four day passes $35; seniors $6; kids 12 and under free