“This alley is a secret gem,” says Stacey Foster, owner of local Pierpont jewelry store Mineral and Matter.
Tucked behind the iconic Crane building right in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, Pierpont Avenue is a thriving public block with a colorful and historic past. In 1980, Artspace Utah converted Pierpont Avenue into affordable housing for artist studios, office space and retail shops. Though no longer affiliated with Artspace Utah, the Pierpont community remains highly creative and art-focused. Anchored by outstanding restaurants and cafes such as The Rose Establishment and Pallet, a plethora of local businesses are letting their roots sink into the brick and mortar that make up Pierpont.
Foster and business partner Erica Smith (Land of Salt Jewelry) have certainly made a home of their collaborative jewelry space. Not only is the space an illustrious storefront that displays both of their handcrafted creations, but it provides each a workshop to produce their jewelry in as well. “It’s super nice to have someone to bounce stuff off of, because our husbands are tired of hearing about it,” laughs Foster about her and Smith’s partnership.
Getting her start in jewelry in L.A., Foster has been a part of the Pierpont artistic community for about three years now. Her minimal aesthetic features gorgeous gemstones that are often representative of the Utah desert, with additional splashes of rich blues and greens. She and Smith have worked to create and curate a tantalizing selection of not only jewelry but other locally crafted goods such as candles, pins and natural beauty items.
From here on out, the shop owners will have a chance to share their work with an even wider audience as the Pierpont Gallery Stroll kicks off for the summer. Attendees will be able to check out a slew of local businesses in a casual yet intimate setting, in addition to admiring local artists and perhaps even enjoying a tasty appetizer or beverage. The event will occur every third Friday evening of the month as an addition to the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll, and was put together by Foster and a few other Pierpont locals. Foster says, “As artists, sometimes we just hunker down and make stuff, so it’s good to have an excuse to socialize.”
Other Pierpont neighbors, such as the new Fringe Gallery, are enthusiastic about becoming more acquainted with art lovers in Salt Lake City, especially those with eclectic taste. Playing off the term “fringe,” Gallery Director Eric Waddington explains that the space strives to feature perspectives that may stray from what you would typically expect from a fine arts gallery. With pieces ranging from contemporary to abstract, Fringe also loves to highlight unique mediums like wood, metal and plexiglass.
“This space is tailor-made to be a gallery,” says Waddington. “It’s wide open with a lot of cool architecture.” He encourages anyone planning to attend Gallery Stroll to appreciate the history and structure of the row of spaces on Pierpont, adding, “Even if you’re not necessarily into hitting galleries, the Gallery Stroll is a great opportunity to experience a huge variety of local businesses.”
Though roughly half of the pieces featured at Fringe are from out of state, Waddington and his partners are dedicated to providing a space for local artists to exhibit their works in. Beginning in June, Gallery Strollers can expect to see fresh, local art each month featured at the event.
In addition, Fringe will be doing a fine art giveaway each month. Anyone who attends Pierpont Gallery Stroll and stops by the gallery will have an opportunity to enter and potentially win a unique piece of art.
Both Foster and Waddington (and all other participating vendors) look forward to welcoming both returning and virgin visitors to the stroll. Foster says, “Pierpont is kind of a hidden spot, but we’re finding people coming back and knowing that we’re here. They’re really supportive of local businesses, so it’s great to meet all of them.”
For any non-committal lovers of art out there, don’t fret—Pierpont Gallery Stroll is a recurring event, so each month brings an opportunity to come check out what’s new and explore different points of view from some of Salt Lake’s most vibrant specialty shops.
Visit Fringe Gallery at 345 W. Pierpont Ave. For information, go to thefringegallery.com or call 801-202-7511. Check out Mineral and Matter just next door, at 351 Pierpont Ave. Ste. 1B. For information, visit mineralandmatter.com or call 801-916-7987.