James Adelman is the owner of The Joint chiropractic clinics in Sugar House and Cottonwood Heights. Inspired both by his uncle, who started the Scottsdale, Ariz., art walk 38 years ago, and by his teenage son, Nicholas, who’s an artist, Adelman realized that Sugar House was a prime place for an art walk. Now, the art walk is a year old, occuring the second Friday of each month except for December and January, with as many as 18 venues involved. The next art walk will take place Nov. 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. Visit SugarHouseArtWalk.com for more information.
Why did you decide to start an art walk in Sugar House?
It really all started with me walking around, seeing different art venues—mainly studios, not galleries; there’s a difference—and thinking, “This would be a great place to do an art walk.” I got involved originally to get a few venues involved in displaying Sugar House artists, ranging from high school artists to professional artists that frequent them. Since then, it’s kinda taken a life of its own.
How did the art walk grow?
There’s a core group of venues that are consistently open and help with the marketing, which is like herding cats when it comes to getting artists together. We’ve met every month, typically at Sprague Library. They allow us to have live music out on the patio. We’ve invited lots of young musicians from MusicGarage.org. We’ve had a lot of studios stay open and actually have live art going on. It’s like a living, moving thing. Sugar House is a pretty artsy-fartsy neighborhood to start with, in little patches, and to cohesively get people together to show up and stay open, it’s taken a lot of work, but it’s been awesome. We made something in a year that’s been really fun to watch.
What makes the Sugar House art walk different?
The No. 1 thing that coins the Sugar House art walk is that it’s actually walkable. You can walk from one end of the map to the other in 15 minutes. We’re branding Sugar House as a destination. When the streetcar ends here in about a year or so, people will be able to come in from the south valley, the west valley, downtown, and take the streetcar right to Sugar House and see what we’re doing.
What will a person see during the art walk?
You don’t have to be a gallery to be a part of it. We’ve had local condo developers, new Pilates studios, a new orthopedic company, Two Dancing Cats. … We’ve had potters that show their work; we have a watch-repair company that does live repairs on old clocks and watches. We really promote that people change it up so it’s not stale or boring—if you go to the same studios and see the same thing every time, a lot of people don’t come back.
How have the community and venue owners responded?
[The owner of] Unhinged, a really cool clothing store, turned part of his store into a gallery and has continued to do that because he’s been so successful with people showing up. There’s a local pottery company called Adjusting Sails Dirtwork. I had to convince [the owner] to stay open on a Friday night. The first art walk [in 2011], I think he had 40 or 50 people who’d never been there before, and people ended up coming back and enrolling in his classes.