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Guides » City Guide

Salt Lake City Art Galleries

Art Stops Here: 10 ways to engage Salt Lake City’s visual-arts scene.


The local art scene, along with the rest of the art world, has undergone changes in the past several years: not just stylistic evolutions, but in the way art is showcased. Open houses at Captain Captain (825 S. 500 West, and Poor Yorick (126 Crystal Ave., are two of the biggest art events of the year, giving an opportunity to view artists in their native habitat. Farmers markets, street fairs and festivals have grown exponentially, showing art in the open air.

Still, the best place to view Utah art in a dedicated setting is in a gallery. Many galleries have come and gone; there are some new faces on Salt Lake’s Gallery Stroll night (held the third Friday of every month, earlier in December) and some old standbys that have stood the test of time. Perhaps reflective of the local visual arts scene itself, local galleries have never been more vibrant and energetic.

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Art Access Gallery
As local chapter of VSA—a national nonprofit organization with the mission of providing arts opportunities for people with disabilities and underserved communities—Art Access Gallery (pictured above) hosts some of the most unusual local exhibitions, through area artists mentoring the disabled and its Art Positive program with Utah People With Aids Coalition. As a result, some artists whose work might never otherwise be displayed can be seen here. Works like Vance Mellen’s Illuminated Paintings (embedded with light fixtures) and Troy Hunter’s Essential Tremors (a series of photographs affected by his neurological condition) showed that a passion to create art can be damned near unstoppable. 230 S. 500 West, No. 125, 801-328-0703,


Art Barn
Once local artists have shown at The Finch Lane Gallery—known as the Art Barn—they know they have “arrived.” The home of the Salt Lake City Arts Council demonstrates that the open area of a barn is a great space to show art, and some of the most accomplished local artists are on display here. This space allows artists to do interesting things with sculpture as well as fascinatingly arrayed group shows. 54 Finch Lane, 801-596-5000,


At the site of the defunct Garfield Elementary School in Sugar House, the building is also the site of the Visual Art Institute’s after-school art programs for children. The Garfo gallery has featured artworks by VAI students, as well as theme shows like Containment, an alternative look at figurative works, with pieces from international names as well as local up-and-comers. They are all exploring new ways of garnering art submissions; the Friends of Friends show uses artists to ask other artists for work. This is the most surprising new place in town to see unique exhibits. 1838 S. 1500 East, 801-484-3796,


House Gallery
After her experiment with the Livingroom Gallery—which was exactly what it sounds like—painter Julie Dunker Pattee started House Gallery at the site of the former L. Lorenz knife shop on 400 South. House Gallery is dedicated to filling the niche of abstract art, showing the most adventurous local artists, such as Weber State University professor Matthew Choberka, as well as noted national abstractionists. 29 E. 400 South, 801-910-1736,


Kayo Gallery
Since Shilo Jackson took ownership of the Kayo Gallery, it’s become a linchpin in the local Gallery Stroll, featuring favorite local artists such as Trent Call and Gentry Blackburn, tending toward smaller formats and intriguing theme shows like Side Show with its exuberant carnival concept. 177 E. Broadway, 801-532-0080,


Mestizo Coffeehouse
Lots of local coffeehouses display art, but Mestizo is more than a coffeehouse: It’s a cultural center for citizens on Salt Lake City’s west side and all who would come together and celebrate the diverse cultural tapestry of our city, with literary readings and arts and crafts festivals. As the English translation of the name implies, it’s a place for people to come together and “mix.” 641 W. North Temple, No. 700, 801-596-0500,


Phillips Gallery
Phillips Gallery, housing the largest collection of local art by a private collector, this local institution founded by Bonnie and Denis Phillips tends to exhibit more upscale works and receptions, but its playful rooftop sculpture garden is one local art fixture that demands to be experienced. Aside from being a destination for collectors, exhibits by people like Teresa Flowers and Gary Vlasic are some of the most challenging local artistic visions. 444 E. 200 South, 801-364-8284.


Salt Lake Art Center
The Salt Lake Art Center’s new leader is former attorney Adam Price—who merged his 337 Project with the Art Center. The center is home to contemporary and socially provocative visual exhibits and hopes to be more inviting to those who might not have stepped inside its doors before. Price kicked off his tenure with Contemporary Masters, a fully playable miniature golf course with holes designed by artists renowned both locally and nationally, which became one of the most talked-about art shows of 2010. The Art Center has also been selected to host “New Frontier” screenings at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. 20 S. West Temple, 801-328-4201,

Salt Lake County Art Collection
One place to learn about Utah’s art history and the standouts in the current local arts scene is at the Salt Lake County Complex on 2100 South. More than 500 works of art in all media, valued at upward of $2.5 million, capture the essential artistic life of this state, going back to not long after the Mormon pioneers arrived in the 1800s. It’s not just a history lesson, however; new purchases each year follow local artists to watch. 2001 S. State, 801-468-3517

Utah Arts Alliance/Contemporary Art & Design Gallery
Founded by Derek Dyer, the Utah Arts Alliance nonprofit arts organization has supported a wide range of local groups, including the Salt Lake Photo Club, Salt Lake Capoeira and Rubaiyat Dance Company. Its Main Street location houses an elegantly appointed site featuring Michael Melik’s Contemporary Art & Design Gallery, Dyer’s Utah Arts Alliance Gallery and Midnight Records Studio, a nonprofit recording studio with state-of-the art equipment. 2191 S. 300 West; 127 S. Main, 801-651-3937,

Other galleries to check out: Blonde Grizzly (15 E. 400 South, 801-355-9075), FICE (160 E. 200 South, 801-364-4722), Gallery UAF (230 S. 500 West, No. 120, 801-322-2428), The Hive Gallery (Trolley Square, 505 E. 600 South), Nobrow Coffee & Tea Company (315 E. Broadway, 801-364-3448), Signed & Numbered (2105 E. 2100 South, 801-596-2093), Stolen & Escaped Gallery (177 E. Broadway).