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THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR SEP 2 - 8 

Soldier Hollow Classic, Urban Arts Festival, Psychopomp @ The Arts Castle, and more.

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Soldier Hollow Classic
After the record-breaking Utah heat of June and July, August didn't feel quite so much like the "dog days." Nevertheless, late August in Utah traditionally has folks preparing for another set of dog days over the Labor Day weekend. Once again this year, after its 2020 COVID-necessitated hiatus, Midway's Soldier Hollow (2002 Soldier Hollow Lane, Midway) hosts the Soldier Hollow Classic, a four-day festival celebrating the unique skills of sheepdogs and their human handlers.

The centerpiece event is the Sheepdog Championship, with nearly 40 participants—including returning 2019 champion Angie Coker-Sells and Soot (pictured)—vying for the gold medal. The invitation-only competition puts the pairs to work on the Olympic Hillside, as dogs working up to 400 yards from their handlers round up wild-range Rocky Mountain ewes, bringing them down along a pre-set course and through a variety of gates. And at the bottom of the hill, in front of the spectator stands, the dog is required to separate certain sheep from others and get them into a small holding pen—all in 13 minutes or less.

Beyond the engaging spectacle of the dogs at work, the Soldier Hollow Classic offers a full-fledged festival with food, craft vendors and a wide range of entertainment, including the Earthwings Bird Show, dog agility demonstrations, the Salt Lake Scots pipe band and more. The event runs Sept. 3-6, with single-day tickets running $7.50 - $15.50 and family passes (2 adults and up to 5 youth) for $46.50, parking included. Visit soldierhollowclassic.com for ticket and additional event information. (Scott Renshaw)

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Urban Arts Festival
As summer winds down, it feels like arts festival season is just in full swing. Hot on the heels of last weekend's Utah Arts Festival comes the 11th anniversary of the Urban Arts Festival, Utah Arts Alliance's free community event that this year brings its diverse scope of arts, entertainment and activities to The Gateway (400 W. 200 South) in downtown Salt Lake City.

More than 80 artists from throughout the intermountain West bring their paintings, sculpture, photography, illustration, crafts and much more to the Artist Marketplace, offering guests another chance to support the work of local artists. The annual Skate Deck Challenge invites skaters to take a blank deck and turn it into a work of art, with Urban Arts Festival visitors able to vote on their favorites on Saturday and Sunday. You can experience "augmented reality" by downloading the festival app and checking out unique enhancements on The Gateway's mural art, or witness the creation of new mural art all weekend long. Sunday also features Hard-n-Paint Street Basketball and the Lowrider Custom Car Exhibit. And the Urbeez Kids Zone offers family-friendly art experiences offered in collaboration with Discovery Gateway and Clever Octopus. All that, plus live music, aerialists, stilt walkers and much more street entertainment.

The 2021 Urban Arts Festival runs Friday, Sept. 3 (5 p.m. – 10 p.m.), Saturday, Sept. 4, (noon – 10 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 5 (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.), with all activities free to the public. Visit utaharts.org/urban-arts-festival for full schedule of festival events, directions, COVID protocols and additional information. (SR)

ROGER BENINGTON
  • Roger Benington

Psychopomp @ The Arts Castle
Roger Benington has had many homes as an artist, including New York City and London. But it was in part his experience here in Salt Lake City—where he ran Tooth & Nail Theatre for several years—that inspired the creation of his most recent work, Psychopomp. And when it came time to decide on a place for the U.S. premiere of the play which launched in the U.K. in 2017, Benington says, "It felt right to bring the play home to Salt Lake."

Born in part as a response to the ascent of Trumpism in America and attempt to understand the psychology behind it, Psychopomp takes as its central characters an unnamed Mormon father (played by veteran Utah actor Paul Kiernan) and his son (Tyler Fox) grappling with their place in a rapidly-evolving country. As the father puts it, expresses frustration at the notion of being privileged, "Was a time not long ago, a man could plot his life: mission, marriage, mortgage. ... Nothing of that now. Fired, knocked down, laid off, foreclosed ... Look around, where's the so-called privilege?"

Psychopomp runs Sept. 2-19 at the Art Castle (100 S. 915 West), a new venue of the Utah Arts Alliance. Tickets run $15-$25, with a $5 discount for three-day advance purchase and a "pay what you can" performance for the Sept. 2 opening. In order to ensure social distancing, only 30 seats are available for each performance, divided on three sides of the performance stage. Visit psychopompplay.com to purchase tickets and for additional information. (SR)

MIMI RODES
  • Mimi Rodes

Fabulous Fibers!: A Celebration of Utah Fiber Arts
Even those of us who consider ourselves lovers of art can sometimes be limited in our definition of what that word "art" encompasses. For more than 60 years, the Mary Meigs Atwater Weaver's Guild of Utah has promoted the idea that working with yarn, thread and textiles is a true art form, and supported those who work in that medium. And as the organization's website explains in its description of the upcoming Fabulous Fibers!: A Celebration of Utah Fiber Arts exhibition at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center (3333 Decker Lake Dr., West Valley City), "We anticipate that many of the entries (but certainly not all) will have been created during the pandemic as our fibers became our friends and important sources of inspiration during difficult times."

This 26th bi-annual exhibit—sponsored by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums— features both traditional and modern applications of a rich variety of textile and fiber art, with all entries designed and hand-crafted by Utah-based fiber artists. This colorful, juried exhibit showcases traditional handwoven items (e.g. rugs, clothing, tea towels, etc.), tapestry, art quilting, embroidered art, handmade lace, a variety of surface design techniques and other fiber related art forms.

The exhibition runs Sept. 2 – Oct. 13, with an opening reception held on Sept. 2, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. There will be an awards ceremony starting at 6:45 pm, followed by a presentation from Robyn Spady on "Great Weave Structures for Color and Texture Using Novelty Yarns."Visit culturalcelebration.org for daily hours of operation and additional information. (SR)

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