Art Appreciation | Urban Living

Art Appreciation

It's official: Gateway has been sold.

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It's official: Gateway has been sold. At least, that's what I hear from Jill Love, director of Salt Lake City's Community and Economic Development Department.

Reportedly, the sale will close escrow before the end of the year, and the new owners will begin a much-needed transformation of the 623,973-square-foot downtown mall.

Gateway opened in 2001 and earned the nickname "Beige Way" due to its stucco exterior—although people on the original paint crew claim they dipped rollers into more than 70 different shades of paint.

Let's all hope for a tasteful remodel. Since it's a redesign with Millennials in mind, its focus will be on entertainment and hip, affordable shopping.

Speaking of entertainment, the new Regent Street experience is being constructed behind the still-under-construction glass high-rise at 111 S. Main and the Eccles Performing Arts Center.

As part of that experience, Salt Lake City is negotiating a contract with an out-of-state artist to grace that street with a sculpture. To create this work, the Salt Lake City Art Design Board issued an RFP for up to $2 million, with an additional amount for technology infrastructure.

One of the largest art grants to come along in some time, it was awarded to Boston artist Janet Echelman, known for her fluid sculptures that move with wind, water and sunlight.

In 1984, Salt Lake City officials passed the "Percent for Art" ordinance requiring that 1 percent of new construction budgets be allocated for art at the project. Recent examples are the various pieces at the Public Safety Building patio east of Library Square, and art at more than 20 Trax stations on the light-rail system.

The selection process should be inclusive of local artists who want to create permanent works, which is why this high-dollar award smells fishy to me.

There were five finalists, including one Utah group. Unfortunately, the local finalists' proposal did not make the cut. What stinks is that our local talent had support from the likes of Sundance and Spy Hop, University of Utah College of Fine Arts and Salt Lake Community College Media & Arts Program.

I'm a huge fan of artists who can work with a collective of community groups across the board to create pieces for all of us to enjoy. Sadly, this local art appreciation most likely won't happen on Regent Street when the area opens for business in late 2016.

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