Story and Photos by NATALIE MUMM
SALT LAKE CITY — From paintings to photography, contemporary to antique pieces, professionals to hobbyists, the realm of visual arts has a diverse assortment greater than our own imaginations. In Salt Lake City, see it all in one night as select downtown-area galleries open their doors after hours, waive admission fees, and allow guests to browse the various art displayed.
“The gallery stroll is valuable because it allows the public the opportunity to see the talents of local artists while also fostering a sense of conversation about those pieces with others in the community,” said Sara Kemp, a University of Utah student attending the event for a fine arts class assignment.
The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll is a gathering of local galleries and other businesses to promote visual art, and to bring the value of visual art to the forefront of Salt Lake City’s cultural identity.
On the third Friday of each month–with the exception of December, when the event is on the first Friday–the gallery stroll provides educational opportunities to introduce individuals to art. “I am not very educated in the arts, but the more galleries I attend, and more artists I speak to, my interest in art sparks a bit more, and I forget I was simply told by my professor to attend,” said Kemp. “It instantly started feeling like less of a chore to be there, and more eye opening and intriguing to learn more, and become more appreciative of art.”
The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll strives to promote and provide access to expression, interest, appreciation, and understanding of the visual arts throughout the city to further increase the reputation of Utah artists and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally.
Through the event’s website lists participating galleries including an address and a short description of what the gallery carries. Individuals can then choose which galleries are the most convenient and intriguing to themselves.
“Art is one of those things that goes under appreciated in our society, and having events to display this provides easier access to those who are not only interested by art, but inspired by it,” said Connor Cox, an employee for the Gallery Stroll located at 15th Street Gallery. “People should attend the Gallery Stroll in order to expand art culture in Salt Lake City.”
The Gallery Stroll is intended to expand art culture in Salt Lake City, as well as to encourage artists to continue pursuing their careers and developing their skills. The Gallery Stroll does not promote individual artists; it promotes galleries and visual- related businesses. While artists are frequently present to share their work, some galleries feature work from artists who are physically unavailable. “Some artists come to us, some artists we go to, some artists we just have a standing network relationship with,” said J. Brett Levitre, a partner at ANTHONY’S Fine Art & Antiques, and a participant in the stroll.
“Some of the artists we have on consignment, where we sell it and split the sale price 50/50, involving the artist more in our establishment, while some of them we just like and buy outright and sell for what we like to sell it, displaying the art and artists name in our own possession.” Whether you attend a gallery to see the artist display their work, or view the work of artists not present, educated individuals involved for the time being leave every guest attending the Gallery Stroll, more knowledgeable about the art.
With so many possible venues participating in the stroll on any given third Friday, it may seem like an overwhelming art maze. Be that as it may, The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll’s website is simple to navigate yourself through, to finally discover a new gallery in the area that you wish to attend. The level of enjoyment and education received from the event is entirely up to you.
Visual art time and time again surrounds everyone. “I was overwhelmed to see so much art in once place that was so beautiful and not commercialized,” said Kemp. “It reminds you that talented people can do this, and there is more to what we just see on the media.” The stroll takes viewing art to a more interactive and personal level, engaging conversation, and genuine reactions between the artist and the spectator. The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll aids making art more obtainable to the average individual. That being said, it should highly encourage everyone in the area to indulge themselves, and appreciate the art and culture representations their community has to offer for a night.