In the downtown area of Salt Lake, the city comes alive with the artists’ attraction of the Urban Arts Festival at the Gateway Mall. Hosted by the Utah Arts Alliance, the festival features live music, food and strings of creators’ tents from Sept. 3-5.
Not knowing what to expect, I attended the Arts festival alone, soaking in all the variety the different booths had to offer. Feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the number of artists featured in the event, I stopped at almost every booth and couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised by the artists, many of whom I had insightful conversations with.
Boosting Local Artists
I’m no art critic, but from what I gathered through some interviews and shopping around, the Urban Arts Festival highlighted amazing creatives that I’d want to support more in the future. The event is a great way to help local artists, but also an outlet for the community in the artist world. Whether you’re a painter, sculptor or clothing designer, there is space for everyone to share their talents and be inspired by the artwork.
One of the first booths I spotted was Libbi’s Corner, run by artist Cheyenne Libbi. Her work is centered around nature and focuses on handmade pieces in the form of cards, jewelry, prints and stickers. She creates these herself with cardstock or paint, then scans on her products. Libbi describes her creative outlet for her pieces as very retro: “I love everything from mushrooms to little creatures and just anything about love and the 70s vibe. If you listen to a Beatles song, just imagine that.”
Part of the focus of sharing her artwork is the cost of her pieces, so Libbi keeps her customer’s budgets in mind when creating. “Knowing that people can’t always afford the original work, I want to respect that, and knowing that I support other artists as well, I want to give people other affordable options when I make my prints.”
Elizabeth Walsh’s Fine Art and Illustration
Another amazing artist I had the opportunity to speak with was Elizabeth Walsh, a fine artist and illustrator. Her paintings had the look of mandalas, exploding with bright colors and mountain landscapes. “Going with more of a mosaic look, I do one dot at a time with a dowel rod, so you can call it pointillism, but it’s not really pointillism either,” Walsh said, talking about the techniques behind her masterpieces.
Using gold leaf and acrylic paint, Walsh brings natural sceneries to life from the travels she’s experienced. The artist continued on to discuss through her love for the Utah landscape and the inspiration to her paintings. “I really love the mountains, I’m from Wyoming and right before I moved to Utah I was living under Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa and then moving to Utah, it’s just beautiful and super inspirational here.” Selling both prints and framed work, Walsh works based on commissions and her own ideas to explore the beauty of mountains in her paintings.
I stopped at many other vendors including IHSQUARED, which had edgy graphic prints, tarot cards and tapestries. Other ones like Ruby’s Relics, Aquarius Art Studio and Fox and Raven Studio were also great contributions to the festival in addition to so many other incredible artists.
With so many booths that I wished I’d had a chance to explore more, the Urban Arts Festival was the perfect way to spend my Friday afternoon. I got to speak to incredible artists and scope out a community that I wasn’t well-versed in. Now knowing about all the eclectic creatives in SLC, I recommend everyone take a chance to go out and support local artists and take time to appreciate all that there is to offer in the artistic community in our city.