Salt Lake City has a new Arts Hub. Normally, an “Arts Hub” earns it name over months or years, but if you’re Derek Dyer, Executive Director of the Utah Arts Alliance (UAA), and your programs serve over 50,000 people throughout the year, and you just acquired a 30,000 square foot building, I think you have the right to call it an
Dyer has a knack for finding unused space and filling it with art. Under his direction, the Utah Arts Alliance has revitalized several buildings in their eight-year existence. When Dyer mentioned to the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) that he needed more space and would like to have more UAA programs under one roof, they gladly directed him to the vacant construction company offices at 663 West 100 South. Along with the support of Salt Lake City, Dyer was able to secure a five-year lease with an additional five-year option, which should allow plenty of time for him to prove the lofty namesake.
Dyer isn’t completely new to this neighborhood, or to utilizing large vacant spaces. Prior to the Gateway’s opening, only artists and club-goers braved the wild-west side of 300 West. Derek leased a large warehouse space at 100 South 500 West known as The Warehouse. The Warehouse housed avant-garde performance art like The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, large group shows, installations and artist receptions. Like this new space, it had plenty of room for opportunity, creativity and community to come together to make something magnificent. Now back on the same street almost a decade later, Dyer and the Utah Arts Alliance can continue their mission: “To foster the arts in all forms.”
The arts community has been very welcoming and, understandably, has high hopes for this new center of activity. Neighbors have already shown up to welcome UAA to the neighborhood, and many of the 35 available studio spaces have been spoken for. The Arts Hub has a spacious performance space, private studios, community meeting rooms, office space for non-profits, a copy and printing center, gallery space and hourly studio or photo session space. Current residence and programs include; Salt Lake Capoeria, Samba Fogo, B-Boy Federation, the Incendiary Circus, Cat and Blake Palmer, Keith Eccles and the Gray Wall Gallery. The Arts Hub will house the Urban Arts Festival, the UAA permanent collection and the Connect events. Eventually, it will house a sculpture garden, events center, ceramics classroom and Mr. Dyer’s own, Guinness Book of World Records-certified “World’s Largest Disco Ball.”
Because revitalizing and keeping the arts accessible are a priority to the Utah Arts Alliance, they plan to keep their Main Street Gallery at 127 South Main St., which houses the UAA recording studio and label, Midnight Records, and hosts shows and artist receptions on the first Friday of the month.
For more information on the Arts Hub, Utah Arts Alliance and its many programs, visit utaharts.org.