SLCC Proves it Cares About Art Students in 2022 Student Showcase


Frank Gardner

Student Art Showcase at Salt Lake Community College (Photo by Paige Gardner | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Frank Gardner, Assistant Arts Editor


The 2022 Student Art Showcase at Salt Lake Community College opened last week, marking the end of the school year and a return to in-person gallery events and showcases across the valley. The show featured work by dozens of student artists with representation across various mediums. Each piece is a reflection of the hard work SLCC has done to make the arts a priority, giving artists the space to grow and develop professional skills in an academic setting. I was glad to have a chance to take a look at some of the fruits of that labor and was impressed with what I saw.

The Space

I transferred to the University of Utah from SLCC, where I was a student for nearly four years before the pandemic. I took classes at several different campuses which are spread throughout the valley as far south as Sandy and South Jordan, sprinkled here and there all the way up to the airport. Of all the campuses I’ve visited or taken classes in, South City was my absolute favorite. 

The campus is housed in the old South High School — companion school to East and West High Schools, as well as an alleged North High School my grandma is set on convincing me once existed. It’s right off of State Street but it’s surprisingly easy to miss. A couple years ago, after I was a student there, the administration added giant, white block letters reading “SLCC” to the grounds in front of the campus and two big banners to the front of the building which otherwise bears no distinguishing markers.

The façade, from the view of State Street, has remained unchanged over the years but from the back, a giant new addition is visible. An add-on to the back of the school, a little less than half the size of the original structure has been built and is dedicated to the arts. A large gallery space, the school’s original theater, new classrooms for film and media technology and other state-of-the-art equipment are housed here — the perfect place for the student art showcase which sits at the far end of campus right across from Innovations Early College High School which SLCC has also made room for on the grounds. 

The Show

Photo Artwork “Phantasmic” by Emma Muller (Photo by Paige Gardner | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

The multipurpose room where the showcase is being exhibited is tucked away behind the bookstore and library. This proximity has an effect on the space, shedding some of its modern architecture, public library-esque feel on the room. It is a distinctly academic setting that prepares the viewers for a deep dive into the explorative work being done by students. 

The show ranges from a digital ballet performance to traditional painting to photography and digital illustration. In another setting, it might feel disjointed, but here it feels collaborative and exciting. 

Many of the pieces are displays of the tried tropes of young artists reckoning for the first time with social justice issues and existentialism. Others, like “Phantasmic,” a photo by Emma Muller, really seem to capture the mood and aesthetic inclinations of our time. For me, it’s usually the less obvious works that do this — give us subtle intimations of relatability and self-awareness in a way that’s almost empathetic. There are other more literal works like some typographical pieces one of which reads “Every Revolution Begins with a Spark” and addresses the recent banned book push by conservatives. 

Hopeful Moment for Utah Arts

In a city hell-bent on dumping money into police and luxury housing developments, artists are often left with very little wiggle room to build creative community. However, the artists, craftspeople and creatives in our city are resilient, consistently finding new ways to build radically inclusive spaces for the arts to thrive. SLCC is certainly among these bright spots and the showcase is evidence that the arts are alive and continuing to grow.