Artistic Opportunity on Block 70


(Photo by Jermy Thomas | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Abigail Raasch, Arts Writer

Since this article has been published, the Block 70 project has been postponed. The Public Art Program is currently considering a new timeline to bring back the program in 2020.

Artists in Salt Lake City are blessed with the amount of support and opportunity created by the local art community. There are festivals, shows and other events which continuously show support for the culture the community greatly appreciates. Block 70 is the latest artistic project, calling out for all visual artists to submit work.

The Salt Lake City Arts Council’s Public Art Program, headed by Kat Nix, is currently working in collaboration with the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City and the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater to provide a public art display on Block 70, also known as Regent Street. This call is for local artists to submit a piece of art which will be displayed in the windows of the Eccles Theater on the Regent Street side in downtown Salt Lake City. There are 18 panels to be filled, each approximately 74 feet long and about eight feet tall.

Individual artists or artist led teams can submit their site-specific work proposals — the main stipulation being that it has to be capable of transforming into a vinyl piece for the sake of the windows. “It is up to the artist on how they respond to the space,” Nix said. Two proposals will be chosen to elevate the urban environment of Regent Street. These pieces will most likely have to be produced or reproduced digitally, meaning artists who focus on digital graphics may have a bit of an advantage. 

Building at Block 70, Downtown Salt Lake City. Captured on Saturday, October 12th, 2019. (Photo by Jermy Thomas | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

“In the reconstruction of Regent Street, there were funds set aside to activate Block 70,” Nix said. The Arts Council decided that this would provide the perfect opportunity to display this temporary public art — especially since such projects are rare in Salt Lake City. Regent Street has become a center for the arts and a cultural hub since the remodel. This project will help amplify the artistic atmosphere of the area. 

Not only did the Arts Council choose this endeavor due to the funds available, but they also saw the opportunity to, as Nix said, “Support artists at all stages of their career.” The opportunity for an artist to have a fabricator and support system already in place for a piece of work is rare and wonderful. Additionally, translating a vision into an installed, site-specific piece provides a challenge for any artist and encourages them to take advantage of the fabricator available.“It gives the artist the chance to learn how to lean on other people,” Nix said. This acts as a large learning curve for an artist, and it can jumpstart that transition from being an emerging artist to working in the public eye. 

The two proposals will both show for six month increments. The first will be on display starting in March 2020, and the second one will take its place in October 2020. “I am super grateful to have partnerships with local art organizations,” Nix said. These organizations, like the Public Art Program, the Eccles Theater and the Redevelopment Agency, enable our local artists and supporting their future careers. 


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