Utah Arts Festival celebrating 40 years of creative community

The Utah Arts Festival in downtown Salt Lake City is marking its 40th anniversary.  This year’s event is June 223-26 at Library Square in Salt Lake City. (Nicole Morgenthau)

A handful of Salt Lake City art patrons banded together in 1977 with a single mission in mind: to take professional artistic expression out of museums and theaters and onto the streets for all to enjoy.

Their vision is being celebrated this June during the 40th anniversary of the Utah Arts Festival. It’s going to be nothing short of spectacular, according to the festival’s marketing director Susan Koles.

During its four-day run on the fourth weekend of June each year, the Utah Arts Festival draws more than 80,000 guests to its gates and annually offers more than 6,000 community outreach tickets to underserved and special needs populations, Koles said in a press release.

This year’s festival is June 23-26 at Salt Lake City’s Library and Washington Squares. Festival organizers are offering free admission to all attendees on Thursday, June 23. Attendees can thank the Utah Department of Arts and Museums for a generous grant allowing free admission, according to Koles.

“Free Thursday stems from conversations between the festival organizers and the Utah State Legislature,” Koles said. “We want to invite all of Utah to celebrate with us, not just Salt Lake, but definitely Provo and even all the way out to St. George and Vernal.”

The four-day festival will feature more than 185 visual artists, countless music and dance performances and hands-on art workshops.

The festival will feature over 185 visual artists, countless music and dance performances and hands-on art workshops and classes. (Utah Arts Festival)

Live acts range from enigmatic mystery DJ Slow Magic, international performance art band Beats Antique, Utah Symphony Orchestra and Neighbourhood Watch Stilts International.

Festival organizers have also invited several artists from Utah County to showcase their craft.

Scott and Joseph Rawlings from American Fork will display their handmade leather bags, BYU adjunct professor Leslie Duke from Springville will showcase a selection of her paintings and Provo band Van Lady Love will light up the amphitheater stage on Thursday night.


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