The Utah Arts Festival wrapped up its 43rd year on Sunday, with the four-day event showcasing a wide variety of unique artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers and more.
Vendors at the artist marketplace took advantage of this opportunity to exhibit their best work.
Sculptor Malen Pierson says he has been collecting the materials and re-using them in his sculpting practice for the last 25 years. His partner, William Bartley, explains the process.
“We make sculptures out of old farm equipment,” Bartley says. “We wash it down then cover it with a protective spray that makes it waterproof.”
Erik Jensen makes art out of recycled computer keys. He says that companies can’t re-use the keys on computers due to the types of plastic used and that 99% of computer keys end up in the landfill.
“I make pixilation pictures using the computer keys, and then I spell words within the artwork,” Jensen says. “I usually put quotes of things I’ve been thinking about into the artwork so that I can go back through later and it’s like a journal of the things I’ve been thinking about.”
Michal Rynkiewicz displayed his collection of hand-blown glass, saying he learned the technique from his father, Mariusz.
“You dip a pipe into liquid glass and you blow it,” Rynkiewicz says. “[Then you] make it hollow and shape it.”
Rynkiewicz’s father journeyed from Poland to Spain in the mid-1980s, eventually making it to the United States to live out his dream as an artist.
A unique and memorable collection of life-sized, metal animals also roamed the grounds of the festival. The street theatre act, Saurus, was a fan favorite, attracting hundreds of onlookers.
The performers operated inside large dinosaur costumes and managed to interact with the crowd and “eat” from the trees while balanced on stilts that made them nearly 20 feet tall. The costumes are made from scaffolding, complete with a sound system that plays mystical soundscapes and dinosaur roars.
Salt Lake Community College’s own Community Writing Center warmed hearts with their letterbox vending machine, which housed festivalgoers’ letters to strangers and hand-crafted zines. These letters and zines were then available to purchase for one quarter by other attendees of the festival.
One such letter encouraged the reader to stay true to themselves and shoot for the stars, perfectly encapsulating the spirit of Utah’s greatest and largest gathering of artists.
The 44th Utah Arts Festival will be held June 25-28, 2020.
Photos by Ashley Stenger