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.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces?including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis?await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece 7-10 days later.
Founded in 1966 as a professional modern-dance company, the Repertory Dance Theater has a long-standing commitment to engaging the public with dance, both through performances and community programs. In the early '90s, RDT helped to invigorate downtown Salt Lake City's cultural and social presence by building the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, where the company continues to practice, teach classes, perform, and host free lectures on the importance of laundering leotards.
Since 1964, Guitar Center has paired musicians with guitars, keyboards, drums, Pro Audio gear, and necessary accessories, including DJ and recording equipment to capture newly made melodies. An iPad music-stand adaptor ($39.99) connects an iPad to a music stand, allowing musicians to access online programs and music apps on-stage, or to publicly dedicate a song to their online Scrabble partner. A clip-on tuner ($29.99) keeps notes pitch-perfect, and Guitar Center’s array of sheet music produces a wider variety of sounds than singing from a thesaurus, with options that include the C-surfing The Real Blues Book ($31.49). Stitch tighter harmonies by threading notes onto Slinky guitar strings ($3.79), or use the value of today's Groupon toward a larger purchase, such as the Epiphone Les Paul Special II guitar ($169–$179.99). Guitar Center rounds out its collection of gear with Pro Audio and DJ equipment, keyboards, and drums, allowing every band member or solo cymbal player to stock up on their chosen form of expression.
Ken Sanders Rare Books, whose eponymous owner has been featured on Antiques Roadshow and ABC 4 News, ably feeds text consumers with various new, used, and rare volumes ($1.50+). More than 100,000 spinebounds span the 4,000-square-foot shop, which highlights subjects such as art, photography, Native American literature, and children's titles, while many collectible sets and books come bound in leather to trap their two-dollar prepositions and rare seventh-person omniscient narrators. Ken also hones in on pieces that cover Utah and the Mormons, Native Americana, the literary West, and modern first editions. Bookworms can further burrow through the wide variety of modern and classic authors, including Dave Eggers, David Foster Wallace, J.D. Salinger, E.L. Doctorow, and more.