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The Arts Issue 2019

Our yearly Arts Issue goes with everything.


  • Derek Carlisle

There is only one simple thing you can say about art, namely: There is no one simple thing you can say about art.

The word is too expansive, and its practitioners too varied, to have it mean only one thing. Sometimes it's the classical dignity of an operatic or symphonic performance; sometimes it's the taboo-busting euphoria of a drag performance. It can make you cry, it can make you laugh, it can make you angry. And all of those things are real, all of them legitimate, all of them necessary.

This year, our overview of local arts is as wide-ranging as the word "art" itself. From the story behind the creation of Abravanel Hall to the shut-down-by-the DABC daring of Madazon Can-Can, from the complexities of building a theater season to the unique missions of local art galleries, there's never a shortage of stories to discover in Utah's arts scene. You can use our performing arts calendar to help plan your year, but maybe also give yourself permission to explore something you've never seen before. Dig in and look around, and let yourself be surprised by what you might find. Because if art is anything, it's a little bit of everything.

Scott Renshaw,
Arts & Entertainment Editor

  • Jake Penrose

Yes They Can!
Burlesque performer Madazon Can-Can's one-person show explores deep themes—and ruffles feathers along the way.
By Kara D. Rhodes

Madazon Can-Can has a clear mission: To push the envelope and challenge Utah's stodgy laws—one pasties-clad performance at a time. Case in point: Genit-Hell Yeah, their one-person show birthed from a master's thesis. After being shooed away from The Gateway (the DABC and even hinted nudity don't mix, kids), it has found a home at Salt Lake Community College—along with the rest of Wasatch Theatre Co.'s Solo series. "When the going gets tough, apparently academia gets going," Can-Can jokes. In a frank chat with City Weekly, Can-Can talked about walking the line between censorship and artistic expression, the need for community and their unwavering mission to "change things with tits."

How was
Genit-Hell Yeah born?
It was an experiment. I remember writing up my proposal—I've written my master's proposal at least six times and it has changed immensely—I took all the pieces that I have been working on in the past few years and I strung them into a show and called it Genit-Hell Yeah. I had a moment in my life where I was just, like, I cannot be defined by my body any longer. I cannot be defined by how tall I am; how short I am; how long or short my hair is; whether I have tits or I have a dick or whatever I have on my body. I cannot be defined by that, because I am so much more than that. And those things have influenced how I experience the world naturally, because your casing is what people reflect back to you. ... I cannot exist as just a body any longer and I have to teach people that the body is more like a vehicle: It doesn't actually tell you a lot about the person. So [that's how] Genti-Hell Yeah came around.

Did you expect any backlash?
Expectations are funny. I truly am like a clown. Once I figured it out, I went backwards and I realized that is what I have been my entire life. An audience sees that [points to the ground] but the clown doesn't. It trips and falls, and we laugh because we relate to that inner fool that knows better and should be able to perform better, but doesn't, right? So expectations for backlash was never a thing for me. I mean, obviously I should have—I am in SLC and I'm getting naked. When the backlash did happen, my posters were taken down, Wasatch Theatre Co. brought me in and the DABC said, 'You cannot get naked around liquor.' That was a shock. I think that's where the immediacy of my anger came from. Because not only was I not expecting it, I was, like, 'No, this is a violation of everything the arts stand for ... you're just trying to control things with alcohol, and I'm just trying to change things with tits.'

Were you surprised by the DABC's involvement?
I was, yeah. Here is the terrible thing about the world we live in: Everyone knows this isn't right; we shouldn't be censoring art. It's in the First Amendment, and all the laws to protect the arts, and all the laws to protect the theater and all the laws that protect freedom of speech. And yet, even with this knowledge [we still] censor artists ... censor any theater [and] censor a body. I ain't that hot. It's not like I am going to turn a million people on. It's just the very nature of censoring a human body that's in service of an art—and not only art, but an education for social change.

Knowing Genit-Hell Yeah would be performed in front of local audiences, were you ever tempted to soften its content?
No. Absolutely not, and that was one of my platforms, right? I cannot be filtered. I spent most of my life being filtered. I am not going to soften anything I say or anything I do, because it's like asking don't be who you are.

What was your first audience's reaction?
Laughter—which I love—and shock. But shock and laughter are the same thing, especially because I am so safe. They know what they are getting into—my posters are overtly obvious, which is why they got taken down, and anybody who knows me or has seen me perform elsewhere knows there is this sense of safety. I am not threatening, and I think that not every performer has that.

What's the biggest hurdle burlesque performers must jump through in Utah?
The biggest hurdle is to make sure the audience knows they're safe. I know that sexuality in this state is taboo, I know it's hard and that people don't know exactly what to do with nudity and with sexuality. ... Because of the nature of the state of affairs, you have to encase it in a way that they can consume it without feeling dirty ... So the biggest hurdle is to not only create a safety net but to create the understanding and education that not only is this stripping—and that's OK—but this is also theater; this is also education; this is also political; this is expression; this is freedom; this is everything that you don't have that you want. The reason it's exploded in the past few years is because Utah has seen it and they crave it. Another hurdle is the costuming aspect. Any performer from out of state has to buy a whole new costume for underneath, because we aren't allowed to use pasties or g-strings ... How much ass, how much tit [is exposed] is highly regulated [and that's hard for] them to understand why.

What is the running theme of Genit-Hell Yeah? Body positivity? Sexuality?
It's all of it. I don't say much. It's not like abortion is in there—though I do birth myself on stage—and it's not like, hey, I can fuck who I want, when I want and how I want. All of those are sub-messages to the actual story line that is very cotton candy, very simplistic, very easily digestible. And, obviously, I am a naked female body, so all of those things are put onto me but, I play as a man. I come out as a naked person and then I put audience members into drag. I put the girl into the 'pink zone,' I put the boy into the 'blue zone' and then I'm, like, 'that doesn't look right,' and then I switch them. So, it's more identity-based. But I also have uterus pasties and I have a giant vulva and these giant labia that come out. So there's not directly a birth conversation, but the idea that I have autonomy over my body is linked to that. So it's identity, sexuality, autonomy, play.

Finally, what advice would you give little queerdos and outside-the-box thinkers out there who are reading this and are waiting to break out of their shell?
This is a hard one for me, because I'm thinking about what I would say to my younger self, right? I would say, because I've been there, lean on your community. The biggest thing you can do is lean on those people who really see you and give you the chances you need to shine. Because, as much as we can get validated and we can connect with things that are occuring outside of our physical sphere, there is a distinct need to stay connected physically in this city. And that's the only way you're going to see your desires, your dreams, your visions—whatever it is you have that you want—the only way that is going to happen is having community support behind you. You don't exist in a vacuum. You are no longer the lone artist alone in a room in the middle of nowhere; success relies on the success of all. So that's what I would say to the queerdos: Just really lean into your community and don't be afraid of connection. At the end of the day, you need to lean on the support that supports you.

This interview was edited for clarity and length.

Genit-Hell Yeah
SLCC's Blackbox Theatre
1575 S. State
Thursday, Sept. 26, 6:30 p.m.;
Saturday, Sept. 28, 3:30 p.m., $10, 18+

O.C. Tanner, center, at the 1979 dedication of Symphony Hall - ABRAVANEL HALL ARCHIVAL
  • Abravanel Hall Archival
  • O.C. Tanner, center, at the 1979 dedication of Symphony Hall

Abravanel Hall at 40
The history behind a Salt Lake City arts landmark.
By Scott Renshaw

This month, Salt Lake City's Abravanel Hall celebrates its 40th birthday. Dedicated on Sept. 13, 1979, as Symphony Hall, the new home of the Utah Symphony immediately became a beloved part of the city's growing arts infrastructure, renowned for its acoustics. But like many things that become landmarks, it easily could have been a very different thing—or, indeed, never happened at all.

Here's a historical timeline of how Abravanel Hall came to be, based on documents from the Utah Symphony archives and the histories recorded by several of the key players. Forty years later, their efforts continue to be appreciated by Utahns who love beautiful music.

While the Utah Symphony used the Tabernacle at Temple Square as its home, a new symphony hall was originally considered as part of a very different project: The new Salt Palace Convention Center. Designs for the new facility initially included plans for a symphony hall. After construction began, costs increased to the point where it became necessary to axe the hall entirely from the project. O.C. Tanner—who compiled an in-depth record of his involvement in the long history of developing a symphony hall, and at that time a member of the Utah Symphony board—made a motion to delay plans to construct a symphony hall until a later point when funds might be available, and reserved the plot of land north of the Salt Palace for such a facility. Then-Utah Symphony conductor Maurice Abravanel was reportedly deeply disappointed in the decision, saying "My board has betrayed me!"

April 1972: Then-Utah Gov. Calvin Rampton initiates a plan for a Bicentennial Center for the Arts, part of a nationwide project that was planned to include federal funding. Tanner agreed to chair the committee overseeing the efforts, but in 1973, that expected federal funding was withdrawn. The Legislature approved $6.5 million for the project, on the condition that the committee could match that amount in additional public fundraising.

Construction of Symphony Hall - ABRAVANEL HALL ARCHIVAL
  • Abravanel Hall Archival
  • Construction of Symphony Hall

1975: This pivotal year became the critical moment for whether funding would be available. The Legislature set a deadline of Dec. 31, 1975, for securing the matching funds, and a state Supreme Court ruling on how bonds could be valued required taking the measure to a general election bond measure. Tanner reached out to political consultant Richard Eyre—who had worked on Jake Garn's successful campaign for the U.S. Senate—to guide the efforts to win public opinion for the bond measure. It won, and funding was in place to begin the project.

The plans take another turn when the construction committee, headed by Jack Gallivan, approached Dr. Cyril Harris—a respected Columbia University acoustical engineer whose other projects included the Kennedy Center for the Arts and Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall—to serve as the acoustical consultant for what was initially planned as a multi-purpose performing arts center. Harris declined, arguing that multi-purpose facilities were inadequate to the acoustics required for a first-rate symphony hall. He said that he would work on a facility that was intended exclusively as a symphony hall, and recommended considering another facility to serve as home for other performing arts organizations. As a result, the project came to encompass renovations to the Capitol Theatre, which still serves as home to several of those organizations' performances today.

In fall 1975, Gallivan's committee reaches out to John Price of John Price Associates to serve as an architectural consultant. Price explores building material alternatives to reduce costs, and agrees both to donate his consulting fee back to the project, and to bring in the three projects—Symphony Hall, renovations of the Capitol Theatre and what would become the Salt Lake Art Center (now Utah Museum of Contemporary Art)—in under the $20 million budget. Price—who also served as U.S. ambassador to Mauritius and the Seychelles—wrote in his 2011 memoir When the White House Calls, "To my knowledge, this was the first civic project of this size in the country to be built under the construction management concept. Initially, there were mixed feelings about this approach: as noted, the architects were not too happy under this arrangement, and neither were some of the arts groups, who wanted more embellishments than could be provided with the available funds."

1977: Groundbreaking ceremonies in March are moved indoors to the Salt Palace as a result of snow, and include former Gov. Rampton, current Gov. Scott Matheson, Mayor Ted Wilson and members of Tanner's Bicentennial Commission and Gallivan's Planning Committee. Weather is more cooperative for the laying of the cornerstone in October of that year, which also included a performance by the symphony.

1979: On advice of his physicians, Maurice Abravanel—who had undergone open-heart surgery in 1976—retires as conductor of Utah Symphony after 32 years, making him unable to take the baton for the dedication of the new Symphony Hall. It will eventually be renamed in his honor in May 1993.

September 1979: Symphony Hall is dedicated with a program under conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski that includes the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra and Brahms Symphony No. 4 in E Minor. Dr. Cyril Harris, upon hearing the results of his efforts during the Utah Symphony's first rehearsal in the hall, says, "I already knew it was a hall of excellence. I just didn't know how excellent ... I think it would be safe to say the hall is second to none in acoustical quality."

  • Scott Jarvie/Utah Symphony

The Sound from the Stage
A veteran Utah Symphony musician considers performing before and after the new hall.
By Scott Renshaw

After more than 40 years with the Utah Symphony, Jamie Allyn, pictured, has a unique perspective on playing in Abravanel Hall. He's one of the few musicians whose tenure allows them the ability to compare what it's like to play in Abravanel to the Symphony's previous home in the Tabernacle at Temple Square.

Allyn, who plays double bass, joined the symphony in 1978, during its final season playing in the Tabernacle. His recollection of that space centers on how long sound would resonate throughout the space. "It's a very live hall; the echo just goes on forever," Allyn says. "It bounces off all kinds of surfaces. It made ensemble really difficult. Bass are on the periphery, so it made hearing across the orchestra challenging. Am I really hearing the violin, or the echo?"

He recalls that there was excitement among his colleagues regarding the soon-to-open Symphony Hall during that 1978-79 season, but not just because of the potential for improved acoustics. Logistically, it was difficult for the musicians to be using a performance space that wasn't completely their "home." "They were just so excited to be moving into a place where we could rehearse and give concerts," Allyn says. "We used to have to rehearse at places around town. So with the new facility, we could keep instruments in the hall, and not have to lug instruments back and forth."

Once the Symphony Hall opened in 1979, it was clear that the custom-designed symphony hall had different acoustics. Yet for Allyn, those acoustics were designed less for the musicians themselves than for those in the audience. "It was clear that it was much easier to hear colleagues on the other side of the orchestra," he says. "But for me, the sound on the stage, the sound that I make, is not particularly gratifying. It sounds better far away. I've been in halls where the sound under your ear is much deeper and warmer—Carnegie Hall, or the Symphony Hall in Boston. Here, you go out in the audience, and it's a totally different story. ... If I put a tape recorder out in the hall, and play on stage, I like the sound I hear on the recorder."

He also notes that there, as with any building, there are acoustical quirks in different onstage locations. "There are little 'hot spots,'" Allyn says. "If I sit my stool right up against the side walls, on the east side of the stage, you get enveloped in that. It's a really nice warm sound. I wish it sounded like that when I'm 15 feet away."

While Allyn acknowledges that every musician's experience and perspective can be different, he remembers an anecdote from one of the first seasons at the Symphony Hall involving the celebrated violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who was visiting to play with the Utah Symphony. At the end of the performance, Allyn recalls, "when the applause died down, [Menuhin] said, 'The sound of halls is sometimes much nicer if you go to the back of the hall.' So he went to the back wall and did his encore. At that point I thought, 'Well, I'm not crazy.'"

  • David Daniels
  • Fun Home

How to Build a Season
Before shows get on stage, there's the work of deciding what those shows will be.
By Scott Renshaw

Every spring, local theater companies begin teasing their audiences with news about the new season that will commence the following fall. Those audiences are left with a few months of anticipation before getting a chance to see any of those shows—but they probably haven't considered the many months of planning and logistical challenges involved in making those season slates possible.

Every company's story behind building a season is slightly different, based on factors including the mission of the company, and the limitations of budget and physical theater space. In every case, however, there's a dedication to finding the best available stories to tell, and navigating the potential challenges of acquiring rights and figuring out how best to keep audiences challenged and buying tickets.

Karen Azenberg, Pioneer Theatre Co.
As a large Equity company with a 932-seat proscenium theater, Pioneer Theatre Co. would seem to have an advantage over many smaller local companies when it comes to putting together a season. Yet there are still very specific challenges faced by artistic director Karen Azenberg as she begins the process of considering shows for a season of seven full productions and one staged concert production.

For Azenberg, the back-schedule for planning seasons might go back a year or two before locking down the titles in late January or early February for the upcoming season, from a short list of 12-14 plays and musicals. Availability of titles is always a consideration—a planned national tour or Broadway revival of a specific show might mean that its rights are not available for regional companies—as well as the goal of balancing the schedule and avoiding titles that might overlap too much. "Some of it is, 'Wait, if I do that Shakespeare play, I might not want to do Something Rotten!," Azenberg says.

While PTC's size gives it certain advantages, Azenberg still has to consider a wide range of logistical factors. At times, that means the technical requirements indicated for a show—everything from the special effects to the number of cast members—can remove it from consideration. "There are strange things like, I really love this musical, but it's only orchestrated for 26 musicians, and we can only fit 16 musicians in our pit," Azenberg says. "Or, we really want to do the show, but we can't have 17 flying rigs."

Even once the specific titles are identified and confirmed, there's the matter of which titles go in what slot during the calendar. During a season, one show generally already has begun rehearsals before the previous show has completed its run on the PTC stage. That means two groups of actors are in town at the same time—and even for a company that has the resources and facilities to cast nationally, there are limitations in what can be done. "We have 20 apartments," Azenberg says; "how many people can we bring into town at one time? Doing two big shows one after the other can be very difficult for us, for our [costume and set design] shops and the logistics of our housing capabilities. ... Our shows don't run back-to-back, but we're running back-to-back."

It's even worth considering how the slotting of a specific production could be impacted by the way other local arts organizations schedule. For many years, PTC planned a big musical production for the holiday season, but Azenberg considered a different approach. "The last couple of years, you may have noticed a rejiggering slightly, doing a musical in February," she says. "With all the holiday offerings in this area, maybe we can do better than normal, because now we can capitalize on a time when there isn't as much musical family entertainment in the community. So some of it is a game."

Bringing in ticket-buyers is indeed an inevitable factor for scheduling a season, and for many years, PTC has specifically offered audience members an opportunity to weigh in with a survey that is included in programs during one production each year. Azenberg says that these surveys rarely offer surprises—"At this point, 90% of the time, I can tell you which shows will do well on the survey," she says—yet they can offer guidance in some grey areas. "They're more helpful in, 'Do more people know this title than I think, or vice-versa," she says. "Or if there's a title that's like, maybe that one can work, but it does really poorly on the survey."

While audience input and the perspectives of a few other select PTC staff members might be part of the process, when push comes to shove, Azenberg is where the buck stops with making the season selections. "That's the top line of my job description—season programming," she says. "It's my responsibility, and if you don't like it, you can come to me. ... If I make the circle too big, I can find somebody who's going to say what I want to hear—or what I don't want to hear—about any title."

Cynthia Fleming, Salt Lake Acting Co.
In finalizing a season in January for the upcoming year, Salt Lake Acting Co. faces some challenges now that it didn't used to, according to managing director Cynthia Fleming. But some of those challenges are self-imposed, and with socially-responsible goals in mind. "It used to be, 'the best plays, period,'" Fleming says. "But now, equity, diversity and inclusion have to be considered: female playwrights, playwrights of color. ... Partnerships are very important to me, so sometimes I'm thinking that this play would be a great partnership with this organization. So there are a lot of new variables."

In creating SLAC's short list, Fleming says she's reading plays all year long for consideration for the next season. Sometimes, she might know that a specific title isn't going to be available for the next season, but that doesn't mean you can't begin the process of lobbying to get the rights down the road, as was the case for the Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home a few years ago. "I first heard the CD, and I was like, I want SLAC to produce it, I love it so much," Fleming recalls. "We started asking for the rights before they were even available. When they did become available, we kept going, 'Hello, hello, we're here.' ... And we got the rights."

Salt Lake Acting Co.'s physical theater space is smaller than that of Pioneer Theatre Co., and inevitably those physical limitations have some impact on choices. Yet Fleming says that she's tried to stay open to the possibility of shows that might have seemed impractical in years past. "Years and years ago, SLAC was turning down some great plays because they had too large of a cast," she says. "When I came, I thought, I don't want to do that. Let's figure out a way. Ten to 12 cast members is about the limit for our space, and last season was a season of large casts. I can be swayed to take the risk to present a play that has a larger cast, or is technically difficult, if it's such a great play."

She also acknowledges that the current political climate might have some impact on decision-making. "I have to say, since Trump has been in office, I've really looked for new contemporary work that leaves us enlightened," she says. "Sometimes, [those plays] can be really dark. Until our culture changes a little bit, I'll try to choose plays that will bring light, and leave aside the darkness."

Once the finalists for a season have been identified, Fleming encourages members of the SLAC staff to read them all, and to provide feedback. Yet one of the things Fleming doesn't worry about is the notion of whether a work will be "commercial" enough to draw an audience—a luxury she attributes to the company's loyal, open-minded subscribers. "A third of them don't even know what the season is" when they re-subscribe, she says. "They're coming for the adventure. I just have to make sure the artistic excellence is enough for them, and that the work is smart. Those are the only considerations I have."

Fran Pruyn, Pygmalion Theater Co.
Thinking about the next season is a year-round proposition, according to Pygmalion Theater Co.'s Fran Pruyn. As part of the National New Play Network, Pygmalion gets solicitations from playwrights all over the country all year. "If I don't have a play in front of me for consideration, I go looking for one," Pruyn says. "There's always something on my dining room table I'm looking at."

Pruyn describes a three-part checklist for consideration that she always has at the forefront of her mind when looking at scripts for a season that generally includes only three full productions: "Does it drive the mission statement [to present work 'through the eyes of women']? Can it fit in the [Rose Wagner Black Box]? And can we afford it? ... We tend not to look for shows that have been done to death, even if they do fit the mission statement. A lot of it is, do we have the passion for this play?"

As a small theater company, Pygmalion also faces the reality that they can be competing for certain plays with other local companies, and that those companies might have an advantage. "Full Equity houses will get first crack," Pruyn says. "Just because it's perfect for us, it might be perfect for them, too."

Also an important consideration for a small company is the matter of selling tickets. Without the buffer of a large season-subscriber base enjoyed by PTC and SLAC, each individual show needs to be able to draw patrons. "There's a reality about the fact that just because the theater community knows a script really well, the general audience doesn't," Pruyn says. "Then sometimes it's just the tone of the show. There are times when you read a script and go, 'Yeah, that show is really, really good, but it's also really, really depressing, and I don't think people want to go to see depressing shows right now. There's so much opportunity for entertainment in so many different places, and disposable income is so limited. You really need to provide something that people want to see."

While programming new plays can present a challenge in marketability, it can also come with unique opportunities—and specific questions beyond the quality of the work. Pruyn notes that when staging new work, often with the involvement of the playwright, it's worth considering the reputation of the writer in terms of being easy or hard to work with, and how receptive they are to suggested changes. "With Sweetheart Come, we spent a whole year workshopping it," Pruyn recalls. "I said [to playwright Melissa Leilani Larsen], 'I love this script, but this set is impossible. Can you workshop this so we can figure out how to make the set work?' She had a tree in the middle of the stage. She was really thinking cinematically."

And while there are more obvious logistical considerations—like the cost of hiring musicians—that factor into programming decisions for a company on a limited budget, it's the things you'd never even consider that might be the difference between a company saying "yes" and saying "no." "One play I looked at, the playwright had salad dropping from the sky," Pruyn says. "I don't want to have to clean up salad."

Finch Lane Gallery - STEPHEN KEEN
  • Stephen Keen
  • Finch Lane Gallery

Stroll Call
A look at just a few of the hubs for SLC's vibrant visual arts scene.
By Kylee Ehmann, Colette A. Finney and Casey Koldewyn

Salt Lake City offers a wide range of places to experience exciting showcases for classic and contemporary work by local, national and international artists. This introduction is only the tip of the Utah artistic iceberg; visit, and for many more places to expand your horizons.

Art Access Gallery
For 35 years, Art Access has been working to create a space where looking at and creating art is, well, accessible to everyone who is interested.

Joy Davidson, gallery coordinator, says diversity and inclusion are at the core of their mission. "We tend to think outside of the box—this helps us to remain nimble and excited about a gallery and exhibit space where we can share provocative art made by a wide variety of artists," Davidson says. "Our gallery, in turn, feeds back into our distinctive programming. It's a synergy that seems to have powered us through the decades and continues to inspire our supporters."

Art Access is Utah's only arts organization that focuses primarily on serving individuals with disabilities, featuring disabled artist's works and reaching out with programming such as the Epilepsy Art Project and the Open Studio for Artists with Disabilities. Other programming, like Resilience: Art by Survivors of Sexual Assault, are designed to elevate other minority communities.

Art Access participates in the monthly SLC Gallery Stroll. Their current main exhibit, Poiesis, showcases artists who create three-dimensional print-based artworks. (KE) 230 S. 500 West, Ste. 125, 801-328-0703,

Finch Lane Gallery
In 1933, the Finch Lane Art Gallery was called the Art Barn. Located at 54 Finch Lane, the gallery is managed by the governmental nonprofit Salt Lake City Arts Council to "promote, present, and support artists, arts organizations, and arts activities in order to further the development of the arts community and to benefit the public by expanding awareness, access, and participation."

Across Salt Lake, SLCAC makes possible annual events like the Holiday Craft Market or Living Traditions Festival. Within the Finch Lane Gallery itself, traditional landscaping, abstract sculpture and digital media, from emerging and established artists, all have access to display in its space.

"We really fit this great role ... having a more traditional gallery space, supporting artists with activities in our space but also fostering art that's happening in SLC outside of our gallery," Sarah Hobin, visual arts and community outreach manager for SLCAC, says. Speaking on the art scene in Salt Lake City, specifically the underground art scene Hobin has noticed, she adds, "I think Salt Lake is at this really awesome place for the art just exploding here. It's figuring out how to keep that momentum going forward."

Upcoming calls for entries to the gallery include one for the Holiday Craft Market, closing Oct. 15, the Finch Lane Short-Term Projects closing Oct. 21, and for the Block 70 Vinyl Wrap Murals opening Sept. 27 and closing Nov. 1. (CK) 54 Finch Lane, 801-596-5000,

Modern West Fine Art
A downtown destination since 2014, the Modern West Fine Art gallery is a popular stop on Salt Lake City's monthly gallery strolls.

Created by owner Diane Stewart, the contemporary gallery strives to educate and inspire the community through thoughtful events which illuminate bodies of work that are relevant and meaningful for today's audiences. Expanding into a much larger location last spring, this mission is a lot easier to fulfill with a new canvas of 10,000 square feet.

"With our expansion, we have integrated a curated selection of books by arts publisher Taschen and an outdoor sculpture courtyard, along with a co-working creative space upstairs," Stewart says. "And the gallery is focusing on expanding our reach by including local guest artists in curatorial driven shows."

Situated in a growing arts complex, Modern West carefully selects artwork from emerging and established artists. A supportive hub for all creatives and community members, the gallery also offers engaging artist's workshops and lecture series, and provides rental spaces such as the photography studio or areas for private functions.

"The vibrancy of the gallery is really important to me," Stewart says. "Every time a patron or collector comes into the gallery, I want them to see something different." (CAF) 412 S. 700 West, 801-355-3383,

Urban Arts Gallery
Fostering the arts in Salt Lake City since 2013, the award winning Urban Arts Gallery has evolved into an eclectic space showcasing art through a variety of exhibits and events.

"The gallery is uniquely situated to feature a very diverse spread of local artists working in a wide variety of styles," gallery manager Scott Tuckfield says. "We serve as a launching pad for artists on the early stages of their journey, while still offering top-quality work from more mature artists."

Founded by executive director Derek Dyer, the gallery is a venue for the nonprofit Utah Arts Alliance, which broadens exposure for the more than 200 artists who exhibit their work within its walls. With a mission to create a connected community, Urban Arts hosts a free monthly gathering inviting local artists to bring up to two pieces to display that evening. All in attendance vote on their favorites, and the top five works are hung the following month.

"There's really a ton of talent here in Salt Lake City, and the arts scene is getting more and more vibrant," Tuckfield adds. "I believe our gallery offers people a chance to engage with art in a way that's accessible, interesting and fun." (CAF) 116 S. Rio Grande St., 801-230-0820,

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
Although the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art has gone through multiple names and locations since its founding in 1931—most recently in 2011, when it rebranded from Salt Lake Art Center to the current name—the mission has always been to showcase contemporary, innovative and avant-garde art.

But the museum doesn't just want people to be able to see the artwork of local and national contemporary artists, they want them to be able to understand it, too. Visitors can participate in a variety of workshops, tours and lectures at every ability and education level to learn to appreciate, comprehend and even create contemporary art.

Their most unique outreach program that brings weird and exciting contemporary art to the masses is the Art Truck. This roaming vehicle brings community-made art and an educator to places throughout Utah for free. This year, the Art Truck features Work: An Audio-Visual Exploration of Effortful Lives, a collective and participatory project generated by the students and families living on the west side of Salt Lake City that analyzes the concept of "work" and represents it through sound and images.

Admission is free, and there is a suggested $5 donation at the door. (KE) 20 S. West Temple, 801-328-4201,

  • Adelaide Ryder
  • UMFA

Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Housed in the Marcia and John Price Building, the gallery known officially as the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and colloquially as UMFA, has grown from its small 1914 origins as an art gallery on the University of Utah's campus. Now, it's an accredited art museum containing 20,000 objects and traveling exhibitions of national and international renown.

Mindy Wilson, director of marketing and communications for UMFA, says the museum is known for its collection's expansiveness. She adds, "the UMFA's mission goes much deeper. Our goal is to inspire critical dialogue and illuminate the role of art in our lives."

"The [Salt Lake City] scene has grown so much over the past several years, with greater appreciation for more diverse artists, and a growing scene of artist-activists coming together to use visual art to support important causes," Wilson says.

UMFA's efforts to inspire dialogue are part of its yearlong partnership with SLC-based nonprofit Artes de México en Utah. A Día de los Muertos Celebration takes place Nov. 2 at UMFA in connection with the art piece "La ofrenda" by Diego Rivera, on display for the next year. Other exhibits include "DE | MARCATION" and works by Georgia O'Keeffe, Thomas Moran and Alma Thomas. (CK) 410 Campus Center Drive, 801-581-7332,

Modern West Fine Art - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Modern West Fine Art


15th Street Gallery
Specializes in showcasing award-winning and emerging Utah artists. 1519 S. 1500 East, 801-468-1515,

"A" Gallery
This gorgeous gallery and courtyard combo also offers custom art consultations, installations and space rentals. 1321 S. 2100 East, 801-583-4800,

Alice Gallery
Located within the historic Glendinning Mansion, hosting collaborative exhibitions for Utah artists and their communities. 617 E. South Temple, 801-236-7555,

Alpine Art
This well-lit, spacious fine art gallery doubles as a framing workshop to accommodate local business and designer needs. 430 E. South Temple, 801-355-1155,

Anthony's Fine Art and Antiques
Housed in a 100-year-old church, this eclectic collection of museum-quality art and antique decor is staffed by a multi-generational team of specialists. 401 E. 200 South, 801-328-2231,

Art Access
Educational and professional programs, as well as exhibitions, provide opportunities for artists with disabilities and from other traditionally marginalized communities. 230 S. 500 West, Ste. 125, 328-0703,

Art at the Main
In partnership with the Salt Lake City Public Library, this cooperative gallery supports and features members of the local art community. 210 E. 400 South, 801-363-4088,

Arts of the World Gallery
Offers a distinct selection of international and hand-crafted treasures.
802 S. 600 East, 801-532-8035,

Brushworks Gallery
Features a variety of Utah artists specializing in oils and watercolors, plus custom framing.
160 E. 800 South, 801-363-0600,

Commerce & Craft
This original small-production art house promises each piece was handmade and lovingly procured. 1950 S. 1100 East, 801-207-1030,

David Dee Fine Arts
Art collector and connector David Dee mainly features work of the early American West, plus other art services. 1709 E. 1300 South, Ste. 201, 801-583-8143,

David Ericson Fine Art
Featuring high quality works, David Ericson builds his galleries with care while offering consulting and art appraisals. 418 S. 200 West, 801-533-8245,

Downtown Artist Collective
Locally funded and staffed, DAC regularly spotlights new artists. 258 E. 100 South, 801-234-0679,

DRAW Inc. Gallery
Serving marginalized communities with youth art classes, DRAW also operates a top-notch online store. 752 Sixth Ave., 801-893-2404,

Evergreen Framing Co. & Gallery
A platform for unique artist exhibitions, providing a comprehensive catalog of collectible gifts. 3295 S. 2000 East, 801-467-8770,

Evolutionary Healthcare
An unexpected gallery on the walls of a private health care facility, open during regular business hours. 461 E. 200 South, Ste. 100, 801-519-2461,

Finch Lane Gallery
Located in Reservoir Park, this celebrated gallery switches its exhibits year-round and any artist can apply. 1340 E. 100 South, 801-596-5000,

Flow Art Space
Presenting local and national, emerging and established artists working in a variety of media. 363 S. 500 East, Ste. 208, 612-242-8796,

Fringe Gallery
True to its name, Fringe exhibits unconventional and contemporary-focused art pieces. 345 W. Pierpont Ave., 385-202-7511,

God Hates Robots
SLC's premier experimental art gallery. 314 W. 300 South, Ste. 250, 801-596-3370,

Hope Gallery
This gallery displays a classy collection of European works and reproductions. 151 S. Main, 801-532-1336,

Horne Fine Art
Tall ceilings and open skylights make this a sharp exhibition space and working studio. 142 E. 800 South, 801-533-4200,

Lanny Barnard Gallery
This gallery offers a mix of styles, art mediums, as well as a varied selection of gifts. 110 Trolley Square, 801-364-4482,

Mestizo Gallery
This gallery brings together artists, activists and educators to create social change through art. 631 W. North Temple, Ste. 700, 801-596-0500

Modern West Fine Art
This gallery supports modern and contemporary artists across mediums and influences, with an emphasis on Western themes. 412 S. 700 West, 801-355-3383,

Nox Contemporary
Nox champions challenging works that shy away from the conventional. 440 S. 400 West, Ste. H, 801-289-6269,

Phillips Gallery
A gallery space for Utah-based artists that offers other consultation services. 444 E. 200 South, 801-364-8284,

Relics Framemakers & Gallery
Relics is known for its quality craftsmanship, expertise and regional artist support. 4685 S. Holladay Blvd., 801-272-8312,

Rio Gallery
Historic and collaborative gallery nestled in the lobby of the Rio Grand Depot. 300 S. Rio Grande St., 801-245-7272,

Sego 3 Fine Art
A procurer of high-quality American Great Basin artwork. 661 S. 200 East, 801-328-9848,

The Stockist
This lifestyle boutique hosts a variety of unique vendors and products. 875 E. 900 South, 801-535-3458,

Urban Arts Gallery
Located in The Gateway, this free gallery showcases contemporary work, often with pop-culture themes. 116 S. Rio Grande St., 801-230-0820,

Utah Cultural Celebration Center
Preserves a permanent collection of cultural art installations and artifacts. 1355 W. 3100 South, 801-965-5100,

Williams Fine Art
Buying and selling the finest works by both living and deceased Utah and Western artists. 132 E St., 801-712-7577,

Winderemere Real Estate's Redman Gallery
Enjoy breathtaking views from this elevated gallery on the upper floors of the Redman Building. 1240 E. 2100 South, Ste. 600, 801-485-3151,

Natural History Museum - TOM SMART
  • Tom Smart
  • Natural History Museum


Chase Home Museum
The only museum in the country dedicated to displaying a state-owned collection of contemporary folk art. Liberty Park (600 S. 900 East),

Church History Museum
Discover the story of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through educational exhibits and programs. 45 N. West Temple, 801-240-3310,

Clark Planetarium
Hands-on, interactive exhibits to help understand our world, space, the solar system and beyond. 110 S. 400 West, 385-468-7827,

Discovery Gateway
Hands-on exhibits, both permanent and touring, with a family-friendly focus on imagination, science, art and exploration. 444 W. 100 South, 801-456-5437,

Fort Douglas Military Museum
Exhibits and educational programming to engage and inform the public about Utah's rich military history. 32 Potter St.,

Hill Aerospace Museum
Featuring nearly 100 aircraft and thousands of artifacts depicting the history of aviation. 7961 Wardleigh Road, Hill Air Force Base,

The Leonardo
Combines science, technology and art in activities that inspire creativity and innovation. 209 E. 500 South, 801-531-9800,

Museum of Ancient Life
One of the world's largest displays of mounted dinosaurs, with 60 complete skeletons, plus hands-on exhibits. 2929 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, 801-768-2300,

Natural History Museum of Utah
Illuminating the natural world of Utah and the place of human cultures within it. 301 Wakara Way, 801-581-4303,

Pioneer Memorial Museum
An extensive collection of authentic 19th-century artifacts from early Mormon settlers. 300 N. Main,

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
This award-winning museum connects guests to contemporary culture and education. 20 S. West Temple, 801-328-4201,

Utah Museum of Fine Arts
This museum houses a charming café, gift store and rotating collection of multicultural art. 410 Campus Center Drive, 801-581-7332,

Kimball Art Center - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Kimball Art Center


Bret Webster Images
This gallery honors and exhibits the photography of American artist Bret Webster. 312 Main, 435-200-8258,

Gallery MAR
Gallery MAR always keeps their collections fresh while providing a comprehensive list of art services including installations. 436 Main, 435-649-3001,

J GO Gallery
J GO charms guests with its American Western aesthetic and conversational atmosphere. 268 Main, 435-649-1006,

Julie Nester Gallery
This diverse collection offers event rentals and an original selection of art. 1280 Iron Horse Drive, 435-649-7855,

Kimball Art Center
This center uses education, exhibitions and events to connect the community. 1401 Kearns Blvd., 435-649-8882,

Lund's Fine Art Gallery
Nature and landscape paintings are the focus at Allen Lund's refreshing studio-gallery. 591 Main, 435-655-4349,

Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery
This gallery observes the beauty of nature through the captivating photography of Thomas Mangelsen. 364 Main, 435-649-7598,

Meyer Gallery
Located in Park City's Historic District, this gallery puts guests first with its customer service and striking artwork. 305 Main, 435-649-8160,

Montgomery-Lee Fine Art
This clean multi-level gallery features the fine art of both internationally acclaimed artists and new faces. 608 Main, 435-655-3264,

Mountain Trails Gallery
Featuring Western and contemporary artists; also offers commissions and bronze-monument installations. 301 Main, 435-615-8748,

Prothro Gallery
This Park City boutique encourages a friendly atmosphere and specializes in modern works. 314 Main, 435-200-8866,

Susan Swartz Studios
Susan Swartz' dramatic and colorful paintings of the natural world are commemorated in this studio. 260 Main, 435-655-1201,

Terzian Galleries
This gallery's well-rounded staff is known for making meaningful connections with artists and clients. 625 Main, 435-649-4927,

Trove Gallery
This cozy local favorite represents a variety of talented Utah artists. 804 Main, 435-655-3803,

Compiled by Samantha Herzog and Scott Renshaw

2019 Performing Arts Calendar

  • David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons
  • Chelsea Handler


Kingsbury Hall (
Nov. 22: Chelsea Handler

Live at the Eccles (
Oct. 11: George Lopez
Oct. 24-25: Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me Live
Feb. 7: Jeanne Robertson
Feb. 8: Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live

Wiseguys SLC(
Oct. 4-5: Deon Cole
Oct. 11-12: Joe Machi
Oct. 18-19: Gary Gulman
Oct. 25-26: Adam Carolla
Nov. 1-2: Esther Povitsky
Nov. 8-9: Chad Daniels
Nov. 9: Doug Loves Movies podcast
Nov. 15-16: Matteo Lane
Nov. 21-23: Brendan Schaub
Nov. 29-30: Steve Simone
Dec. 5-7: Sinbad
Dec. 20-21: Dusty Slay
Dec. 27-28: Steve Rannazzisi
Jan. 3-4: Ian Bagg

Wiseguys West Jordan (
Sept. 27-28: Jacob Leigh
Oct. 4-5: Drew Lynch
Oct. 11-13: Preacher Lawson
Oct. 18-19: Eddie Ifft
Nov. 8-9: Felipe Esparza
Nov. 15-16: Pump and Dump
Nov. 22-23: Pablo Francisco
Nov. 29: Xazmin Garza

The Nutcracker - BEAU PEARSON
  • Beau Pearson
  • The Nutcracker


Ballet West (
Oct. 25: Ballanchine's Ballets Russes
Nov. 8-9: Snow White
Dec. 7-24: The Nutcracker
Feb. 7-15: Giselle
Feb. 22: Night of Shining Stars
April 17: Bolero & The Dream
May 14: Choreographic Festival 2020

Kingsbury Hall (
Oct. 3-19: Performing Dance Co.
Nov. 8: Axis Dance Co.
Nov. 21-23: Ballet Showcase
Dec. 5-7: School of Dance Graduate Thesis Concert
Feb. 4: Guangdong Modern Dance Co.
Feb. 6-15: Utah Ballet II
Feb. 13: Blizzard: Flip Fabrique
March 5-21: School of Dance Gala
March 14: Air Play

Odyssey Dance (
Through Nov. 2: Thriller
Dec. 17-23: Redux Nut-Cracker
Spring TBD: Shut Up & Dance

Repertory Dance Theatre (
Oct. 3-5: Inside Outside
Nov. 21-23: Sounds Familiar
Jan. 3-4: Emerge
March 7: Regalia
April 16-18: Earth Tone

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Co. (
Sept. 26-28: Traces
Jan. 31-Feb. 1: Allegory
April 9-11: Catalyst

SB Dance (
Jan. 31-Feb. 1: Sleeping Beauty
June 2020: New work TBD


Utah Symphony (
Sept. 27-28: Respighi's Pines of Rome
Oct. 25-26: Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Nov. 1-2: Disney/Pixar's Coco Live in Concert
Nov. 8-9: Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3
Nov. 15-16: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue
Nov. 19: America's Wonders in 3D
Nov. 22-23: The Rite of Spring
Nov. 30-Dec. 1: Messiah Sing-In
Dec. 6-7: A Broadway Christmas with Ashley Brown
Dec. 7: Here Comes Santa Claus
Dec. 10: Celtic Woman
Dec. 13-14: A Celebration of Christmas
Dec. 20-21: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Live in Concert
Jan. 3-4: Debussy's La Mer
Jan. 10-11: Isabel Leonard Sings Mozart
Jan. 31-Feb. 1: Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto
Feb. 7-8: Fischer Conducts Gershwin & Dvorák
Feb. 14-15: Women Rock
Feb. 28-29: Singin' in the Rain Live in Concert
March 6-7: Sketches of Spain
March 19: All-Star Youth Pro-Am
March 27-28: Carmina Burana
April 10-11: Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2
April 14: How to Train Your Dragon Live in Concert
April 17-18: The Temptations
April 24-25: Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony
May 1-2: Beethoven's Symphony No. 5
May 16: Gala with Joshua Bell
May 22-23: Beethoven's Eroica
June 19-20: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Live in Concert

  • Deen van Meer
  • Frozen


Broadway at the Eccles (
Oct. 15-20: Miss Saigon
Dec. 3-8: A Christmas Story: The Musical
Jan. 21-26: Fiddler on the Roof
March 4-14: Dear Evan Hansen
April 15-May 3: Frozen
June 9-14: Anastasia

Grand Theatre Co. (
Oct. 3-26: Curtains
Feb. 13-March 7: Musical of Musicals: The Musical
March 16-April 11: To Kill a Mockingbird
May 14-June 6: The Producers

Hale Center Theater (
Sept. 9-Nov. 16: The Addams Family
Sept. 23-Nov. 9: Phantom
Nov. 25-Jan. 18: Seussical
Nov. 30-Dec. 26: A Christmas Carol
Jan. 20-May 2: Bright Star
Feb. 5-April 11: Strictly Ballroom
April 29-July 11: Mary Poppins

An Other Theater Co. (
Nov. 1-23: Doubt
Dec. 6-21: The Santaland Diaries
Jan. 24-Feb. 15: Safe
March 20-April 11: Trifles and A Number
May 15-June 6: Good People
July 10-Aug. 1: The Normal Heart

Pioneer Theatre Co. (
Sept. 20-Oct. 5: Cagney
Nov. 1-16: The Lifespan of a Fact
Dec. 6-21: The Play That Goes Wrong
Jan. 10-25: Mary Stuart
Feb. 21-March 6: Once On This Island
March 27-April 11: Ass
May 8-23: Something Rotten!

Plan-B Theatre Co. (
Nov. 7-17: Oda Might
Feb. 13-23: Singing to the Brine Shrimp
March 26-April 5: The Audacity

Pygmalion Theater Co. (
Nov. 8-23: Two-Headed
Feb. 14-29: Flying
May 1-16: Body Awareness

Salt Lake Acting Co. (
Sept. 11-Oct. 20: Death of a Driver
Oct. 16-Nov. 17: Form of a Girl Unknown
Dec. 6-30: Pete the Cat
Feb. 5-March 8: A Doll's House, Part 2
April 8-May 10: How to Transcend a Happy Marriage
June 17-Aug. 23: Saturday's Voyeur 2020

Utah Opera (
Oct. 12-20: La Traviata
Jan. 18-26: Silent Night
March 14-22: The Barber of Seville
May 9-17: Thaïs