Visitors to the Utah Arts Festival stride across concrete promenades and grassy lawns sprawled out between fountains and modern buildings, which have glass walls that reflect the fest’s vibrant paintings and eclectic sculptures. Since its inception more than 35 years ago, the four-day festival has taken over a multiblock radius to accommodate hundreds of visual artists, musicians, performers, and culinary artists, each celebrating modern art and the local community. Throughout indoor and outdoor exhibitions, visitors explore varied works of visual art represented through special exhibitions and hands-on workshops with featured artists. A marketplace also gives artists a place to sell their paintings, wearable art, and sculptures to help disseminate their crafts and raise enough money for van Gogh’s ghost to move out of their basements.
Musicians score the festival throughout its days with worldwide genres on several outdoor stages, and storytellers and other literary artists tickle ears with eclectic tales and recitations of the UN staff directory. Across the grounds, festival staffers recycle the fete’s discarded plastic, aluminum, and cardboard as well as food scraps and vegetable oil, and promote eco-friendly practices with a protected bicycle lot and bike valet.
Within Clark Planetarium's space-exploration-themed facility, the interactive displays and immersive IMAX and planetarium shows enlighten visitors with interesting scientific facts. Spread out across 10,000 square feet, more than 15 hands-on exhibits entrance guests with artifacts such as photos from the Hubble Space Telescope and a moon rock brought back from the Apollo 15 mission.
Audio in the ATK IMAX Theatre emanates from a 14,000-watt digital surround-sound system as the 70-foot wide, five-story-high screen accommodates Hollywood hits and insightful documentaries in 3-D. More entertainment abounds in the Hansen Dome Theatre, where six high-definition projectors fill the 55-foot domed screen with seamless images during scientific films and cosmic light shows.
This month’s Comedy Showcase invites a trio of jokesters to excavate laughs in The Depot’s urban space. Comic J. Chris Newberg enlivens standard standup with his blend of audience interaction and short songs that bait giggles with a grab bag of controversial topics, from religion to the usefulness of the metric system. Newberg’s edgy humor nabbed him stage time with Dane Cook, on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Comedy Central. A seasoned DJ and comedian, DJ Cooch sweet-talks microphones with confidence gained from co-hosting MTV’s Rock the Vote with Ashton Kutcher and flying overseas to entertain troops in Iraq, and funny woman Jen Murphy dissects dating and intergender communications. Before the show, host AJ from 97.1 ZHT warms up the stage with only a microphone and a huge electric blanket, as audiences settle into the urban interior of the old Union Pacific Station.