Walking through the Urban Arts Gallery, the Heart of SLC’s Art Scene


Langley Hayman

Local artist Vivian Arthur’s art displayed at the Urban Arts Gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah on Oct.r 7, 2021. (Photo by Langley Hayman | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Drew Reynolds, Arts Writer


Whether you’re an artist or simply a spectator, the Urban Arts Gallery has something for everyone. From handmade jewelry to artful stickers to local artist paintings, the gallery houses a diverse selection of art by local artists.

Artist and Community-Centered Gallery

Out of all of the art galleries I have visited in Salt Lake, Urban Arts seems to be the most artist and community-driven gallery. Run by local non-profit Utah Art Alliance, the gallery offers multiple points of entry for both artists and non-artists alike. Their programming is based around artist talks and both monthly and yearly exhibition schedules, and the gallery centers on local community voices and artists.

The gallery itself is split into three main exhibits — the monthly Connect Art Wall, the monthly thematic exhibit and the year-long artist in residence spaces. This rotating schedule creates a space that centers not only different local artists but also on relevant issues in the SLC community. All three exhibitions are open for everyone to submit works to, which anyone can view on their website through Artist Opportunities.

In the Gallery Connect Art Wall

This was by far the most interesting art submission process I have heard of. Once a month, Urban Arts hosts an open call for art where you can bring anything in. During this art night, people can submit their artworks to be hung on the Connect Art Wall. At the end of the night, everyone votes on their favorite work and the top four votes are displayed on the wall until the next art night.

There have been quite a few wacky pieces that end up on the wall. But out of all the exhibition spaces in the gallery, this one remains the most community-centered. From its open call for submissions to the community jury, this space has its finger on the pulse of the SLC art scene.

In the Gallery — Monthly Exhibitions

The theme for October’s larger exhibition was ‘Spirit in Disguise’ — an exploration of masks and their many forms. This amazing show brought together vastly different styles and mediums, creating a powerful, community-centered exhibition.

Sheena Wolfe’s glass masks in particular caught my eye. The vibrant colors and unnerving stares of the masks stay with you as you walk the gallery. Each of Wolfe’s glass masks is vastly different in style and form but create a cohesive and memorable collection. From minimal multi-piece masks to full-in-the-round faces, Wolfe’s works leaves a lasting impression.

Their latest exhibition is “Gathering of the Guilds,” featuring artisans from the Glass Artists Guild of Utah, the Woodturners Guild, SaltGrass Printmakers Guild, the Metal Arts Guild and the Sewing Arts Guild.

Supporting Local Artists

The rest of the space is dedicated to the gallery’s yearly artist residencies. From large-scale paintings to demonic baby head cups, these residencies offer artists a permanent spot in the gallery to exhibit and sell their art. 

And don’t be discouraged from buying something that catches your eye — artists keep 60 percent of each sale, which is the highest of the galleries I have seen in SLC. So whether you are an artist hungry to exhibit or sell your work, or you just need a new fancy T-shirt, the Urban Arts Gallery has everything you’re looking for.


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