Pop-Cultured: Give the Locals Some Love


(Design by Malithi Gunawardena | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Kate Button, Arts Writer, Copy Editor


As much as I love tracking artists with large followings and seeing them continue to reach new levels of fame, I think it’s also essential to support local artists. Especially here in Utah, the local scene is thriving. To these artists, it makes a big difference in what events or venues you attend. In fact, it means the world. While some events have been put on hold as a result of COVID-19, this break from large events offers a space where we can reflect upon our own choices. It pains me to see local organizations struggling in light of fewer patrons, but once the storm blows over, hopefully, even more people will return to their regular activities that involve supporting local art.

Now, when I say “local art,” I think it is imperative to recognize that this art can exist in a variety of mediums — it could be painting, making music, creative writing, sculpture, food, theatre, photography or any other artistic platform. For me, I first realized my passion for local art by visiting the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. I grew up around these venues and they helped spark my passion for the arts. But, as I realized my passion for music and attending concerts, the Kilby Court venue really allowed me to explore a space that was built to cater to local artists. For the first show I saw at Kilby, I went with a friend to see Castlecomer, an Australian rock band, but as we waited for them to take the stage, a few local acts served as the openers — and instantly, I was hooked. The bands that I saw were ones that I had never heard about, and I wouldn’t have known about their music without seeing them in this capacity. I’ve always loved the process of discovering new artists, and this venue directly catered to this never-ending search for more art. 

Local arts can inspire greater love and appreciation for artistic mediums, but the benefits go far beyond that. In an email interview with one of the founders of Happy Valley Rockers — an Instagram page dedicated to promoting and highlighting local artists around Utah Valley — Bex said, “Local arts makes our surroundings and our world more beautiful… Supporting local artists to me, personally, has meant building a community, a family and a home for myself and others… Supporting local artists means showing your support of individuality, of self-expression, of building a community where those things are valued, treasured and most importantly, respected.” 

The local art scene has an inherent community associated with it. As small acts grace a stage, host gallery openings or otherwise showcase their work, the audience itself that surrounds the artist feels like an intimate community. Whether or not you go out of your way to meet others who attend these events, the atmosphere created by supporting local artists feels welcoming and comforting. Local artists might not attract huge crowds, but the following that they have is one that is characterized by a sense of community, shared value and deep appreciation for the arts. 

If the pure emotional benefits and the chance to experience the arts on an intimate scale is not reason enough to engage with local artists, supporting local art in turn directly supports the local economy. When you buy tickets, merch, prints, or other items, those purchases directly support other individuals from your same area. Additionally, Utah has grown acts like Panic! At the Disco, Imagine Dragons, The Killers and Neon Trees — so you might even be able to say that you’ve seen now inescapable radio artists perform in garage-like venues by supporting local art. 

In terms of the logistics of supporting local artists, “Show up. Go to shows, art openings, talk about the amazing things you’re going to on social media, then after share about how amazing they were. Tell the artists you see them and appreciate the beautiful things they are doing. They are putting all they’ve got into their work, their deepest darkest selves, tell them that you see that and what it means to you,” Bex said. “It’s a perfect opportunity for human connection.” At the end of the day, art is all about expressing yourself and connecting with others, and there seems to be no better way to feed into this practice than by supporting the local artists in your community. 

For some of her favorite local artists, Bex mentioned The Djinn, The Scrub Oaks, Hobosapien, Cudney, Commander Salamander, Little Moon, Sammy Brue and Say Hey. She also mentioned Third Space Studios, The Rise, Bill’s Warehouse, 3hive Record Lounge, Heavy Metal Shop, Kilby Court, The Beehive, Goldblood Collective and Velour as especially welcoming and supportive venues that give a home to this community of local arts.

For me, some of my personal favorite local bands include Brother., Blue Rain Boots, Dad Bod, Choir Boy, The Backseat Lovers, Ritt Momney, The Rubies, The Aces and The Solarists. But, the unique part of local art that I keep coming back to is the element of community. I would not have known about any of these bands without seeing them perform at small venues or hearing friends talk about their music. The local art scene is such a vibrant and wholesome community and I strongly encourage anyone who’s passionate about art — in any sense of the word — to look into what local artists are creating.

Art is all about expressing yourself and finding connections and reflecting upon the world — these elements are only fostered through the community and home that local art scenes encourage.


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Editor’s note: Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, tiredness, and shortness of breath. These symptoms are believed to occur between 2 and 14 days after a person is exposed to the disease. If you have these symptoms and have recently come into contact with a person who is known to have COVID-19, or if you have recently traveled to an area with community spread of the disease, you should call your doctor. Areas with community spread of COVID-19 are believed to include China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Seattle. If you do not have a doctor who you visit regularly, please call the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 or the University of Utah Health hotline at 801-587-0712. Do not go to a healthcare facility without first making arrangements to do so.