Gallery Stroll: Art Access – May 2006


If you are like most people, you feel that art is slightly out of your reach. The cost of living today doesn’t afford you the luxury of owning art. Artwork doesn’t have to be stuffy or expensive; it’s actually available in many capacities all around this valley.

The Salt Lake City Gallery Stroll has been opening its doors and enlightening the public about local artists for over 20 years. What started out as a handful of art galleries and a makeshift trolley shuttle has turned into a vibrant community.

At the center of this community are the Pierpont Artist Studios. Pierpont is designed as living and working spaces, the street is a Mecca on Gallery Stroll night. As I look back on the past of Pierpont I can’t help but dread the future; possibly a future home of Starbucks or Gap? As we enter the twilight years of art on Pierpont, I want to recognize and applaud the job this community has done bringing a wonderful and obtainable art experience to Salt Lake.

The center of Pierpont is Art Access. It has been a respected institution for many years, due in part to director Ruth Lubbers and her dedicated staff. The gallery is a beautiful place to see and show art, but it’s also a place for education.

After the elegant receptions are over they roll up their sleeves and employ emerging and established artists to educate the young and disabled in creating and expressing themselves through the visual arts. The Three Hundred Plates show hosted every May is not only a great time to pick up amazing art at phenomenal prices, but a chance for the gallery to fund the upcoming year.

300 recycled printing plates, all uniform in size, are distributed among local artist and priced 50 to350 dollars. Not one of these artists’ work would normally sell for fewer than 350 dollars, but in this rare opportunity you can purchase an original piece of artwork for what you would spend on a night on the town.

The festivities begin with a private function held Thursday, May 19 from 6-9p.m. For 25 dollars prior to or 30 dollars on the day of, you can peruse the plate selection and purchase your favorite piece while enjoying food from Wild Oats, drinks and music. The public reception will follow on May 20 during the Gallery Stroll.

Strolling, westward we approach 351 West Pierpont. Aphelion is a quaint studio known where artist Kali Mellus creates her unique jewelry and accessories. Collaborating with emerging fashion designer extraordinaire Keith Bryce of Filthy Gorgeous Clothing, the pair will premiere their spring clothing, bag and jewelry series at the 2006 Utah Arts Festival in June.

They have found a muse within each other to create unique, urban styles original to Salt Lake. The debut of their collections will take place May 20 at 8:30 p.m. at Aphelion and Artisan Frameworks. There will be an encore presentation following the Gallery Stroll at W Lounge, set to the DJ selections of Tranceform. The W Lounge is a private club for members and there is no cover for the ladies.

When I think of all the places that used to be–the Speedway Café, Bill and Nada’s, the Zephyr–I shudder to think of what will become of Pierpont and how I’ll miss its colorful doors and characters. I will have the memories of Gallery Stroll at least, and I hope you will too. Support Local Art! Use your opportunities before you lose them.