A Local Brewery Supporting Local Art: Shades Brewing Hosts Weekend Art Shows Featuring Local Artists
Interviews & Features
154 W. Utopia Ave., South Salt Lake
M. 3–7 p.m. | Tu.–Th. 3–9 p.m.
F. 3–11 p.m. | Sat. 1–11 p.m. | Sun. 12–6 p.m.
Drink pairings have always been a lively topic of debate within the gastronomic community. Red wine pairs well with steak, IPAs pair well with chicken and at Shades Brewing, beer is pairing with art this summer. In an innovative move to promote both local art and local beers, the brewery is hosting a variety of Utah-based artists during their weekend art shows throughout the summer.
The shows, which take place every Saturday from 1–4 p.m., feature an eclectic mix of artists including photographers, painters, woodworkers and a variety of other artisans. While the partnership might seem unusual to some, Shades has always had strong ties to the Salt Lake art community. In addition to being a Co-Owner of Shades, Alexandra Ortiz is also an artist who has always had a pulse on the local art scene and understands the struggle emerging artists can face.
“It’s about sharing the love of my art and the process of making it, and having it come to full fruition during a show is really satisfying.”
The concept for Shades’ current art shows grew from informal art gatherings several years ago where a local photographer hosted a show at the brewery. The brewery began hosting more informal shows, starting off as a place for photographers to sell their work occasionally and then growing to encompass painters and other artists. Normally, to sell their work, artists need a location, which usually costs money to rent and can be a significant financial burden. She wanted to give them a space to show their work without any strings attached, so Shades began hosting semi-regular art shows until the pandemic forced them to shut down operations in the spring of 2020.
As restrictions slowly lifted, Ortiz and her staff began planning a way to bring the art shows back. The art shows host, on average, about seven to 10 artists per show and feature an eclectic mix of mediums including painting, sculpture, ceramics, pottery, jewelry, textiles, woodworking and more.
All participating artists are local; most of them are from the Salt Lake City area, but some are from surrounding cities as far away as Ogden. Dominique Gaylord, an artist who works in both canvas and digital print mediums, uses the shows to supplement his income with additional revenue, but for him, the show is also about more than just making sales. “It’s about sharing the love of my art and the process of making it and having it come to full fruition during a show is really satisfying,” he says.
For Ortiz, the art shows benefit both the brewery as well as the local artists. “As you know, COVID has really negatively impacted the art community,” she says. “Most artists are great at making art, but not so good at marketing or selling. Many of them rely on events and outdoor markets. Even during the best of times, there aren’t many opportunities for emerging artists to showcase [their work]. At Shades, we provide a safe space for artists to share their passion with friends and family.”
Admission to the art shows is free and Shades does not charge artists for space or take a commission from any sales made during the art shows. In addition to giving back to the art community, the shows are also a chance for people to take a break and enjoy a variety of food and drink specials alongside rotating performances by local musicians. During these Saturday art shows, Shades offers a $5 special for a can of their Livli Hard Seltzer and a shot of vodka
While the artists present their work, Shades is using the opportunity to showcase some of their newest beer releases. One special feature includes their Shades Premium Lager. They are also taking the opportunity to highlight some of their newest sours (Plum Berliner Weisse and Pina Colada Golden Sour Kveik), their iconic classics as well as new and limited edition special brews.
“I know how hard it is to find the confidence to show your art and, much more, to find a place to exhibit.”
Shades is hoping that the shows will give local artists exposure and sales, with Ortiz noting that Shades promotes the events on their social channels, website and event pages. “I know how hard it is to find the confidence to show your art and much more to find a place to exhibit,” Ortiz says. “The art shows at the brewery are a great way to reconnect with friends, enjoy and support the artists over some delicious beer.” More information can be found on the Shades Brewing website, shadesbrewing.beer.