The Mountain West state of Utah is known for many things, including world-class outdoor adventures, phenomenal vistas, and the Mormon community’s cultural influence. But Utah is also home to a thriving art scene, replete with artist-run spaces, imaginative dual-purpose venues, and established galleries that support artists at every stage of their careers, attracting attention from locals and visitors alike.
Hosting a gallery out of an eyeglass store, in this case Vis Optics, may seem to work in theory only because vision is aligned with visual art. The exhibitions organized by 801 Salon, however, appeal to more than just the eyes. 801 Salon spotlights a local visual artist each month and incorporates different elements such as dance, poetry, and music. A recent showcase of work by artist Jill Whit began as an exhibition of her quilted and airbrushed parachute tapestry and ended with a performance of her music. The shows remain on view at Vis Optics for approximately one month, allowing visitors to the gallery and patrons of the store alike to experience the work.
801 Salon/Vis Optics (instagram.com/801.salon)
801 South 800 East, Salt Lake City, Utah
Located next to the immersive interactive art installation Dreamscapes, Bizarre Bazaar is a locally focused gallery that displays work from Utah’s most eclectic and non-traditional artists. Created and supported by the Utah Arts Alliance (UAA), Bizarre Bazaar accomplishes the UAA’s mission to create space for artists of all backgrounds and media and aims to further local artists’ exposure and opportunity through their platform. From large canvas acrylic works to small hand-crafted robots made from recycled materials, Bizarre Bazaar keeps their collection mysterious and magical.
Bizarre Bazaar (utaharts.org)
10450 State Street, #2320, Sandy, Utah
An intriguing staple of Ogden, located on Utah’s charming and historic 25th Street, Gallery 25 is known as the oldest gallery in town and is an integral part of the monthly Ogden Art Stroll. The gallery displays work from both its “owner artists” and “guest artists,” including David J. Crowther’s vibrant nature photography, Keith Dabb’s comedic acrylic brown bears, and Susan Jordan’s abstractions. A collective of artists offers portrait commissions, and the gallery features a different artist and their work each month.
Gallery 25 (gallery25utah.com)
268 Historic 25th Street, Ogden, Utah
Located in a historic building in the Nine Rails Creative District in Ogden, Utah, the Monarch has hosted Ogden Contemporary Arts (OCA) and operated as an event space and creative studio since 2019. The Monarch also hosts studio space for local artists who display their work in the gallery, offering increased exposure through events and art walks. Perhaps the Monarch’s most notable exhibition within the OCA was The King’s Mouth, an immersive art experience created by The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne in 2021.
The Monarch (themonarchogden.com)
455 25th Street, Ogden, Utah
Moab attracts nature-loving tourists with its red rocks and scenic outdoor excursions, and the downtown area extends the adventure with lively bars, gift shops, and the collaborative endeavor Gallery Moab. Aiming to foster the arts community in Moab, the eponymous gallery hosts works from local painters, sculptors, photographers, and more such as Antonio Savarese, whose oil paintings depict the red Moab landscapes. On the more kitschy end of the spectrum is Michael Porter, who uses ceramic to morph vintage license plate imagery into the shape of a mug. Whether you visit for landscape art or for a souvenir, Gallery Moab captures the work inspired by its striking hometown.
Gallery Moab (gallerymoab.com)
59 South Main Street, #1, Moab, Utah
JKR Gallery consistently adds to the art scene of Provo, Utah with art exhibitions curated under specific themes as one of two types: open calls and curated invite-only. Previous shows such as Autumn Apparitions and the upcoming God’s Grace offer artists the opportunity to complete a piece under the themed prompt, resulting in similar messages portrayed through various mediums and perspectives. Emerging and experienced artists alike participate in this tradition, offering both visitors and locals something to look forward to month after month.
JKR Gallery (jkr-gallery.myshopify.com)
1675 North Freedom Boulevard, Unit 7B, Provo, Utah
Medium Studio is bringing culture, creativity, and learning to the Sugar House neighborhood in Salt Lake City. By hosting events such as Utah Black Business Market, collaborative jazz nights, AAPI events, and Pasifika storytelling events, Medium helps create connections between the city’s downtown community and diverse cultures and backgrounds. With a focus on design, Medium’s gallery exhibits work such the Moody Cactus’s concrete sculptures and pieces from local furniture designers like Alise Anderson and Emily Cates. Uniquely curated, Medium gives space for community growth and exploration.
Medium Studio (instagram.com/medium.slc)
2006 South 900 East Front, Salt Lake City, Utah
Urban Arts Gallery
Urban Arts Gallery gave Salt Lake City’s The Gateway a breath of life when it made the shopping center their new home. While the gallery is known for hosting works such as the psychedelic painting of Scott Tuckfield and annual submissions of their Annual Skate Deck Challenge, it plays a much larger role in Salt Lake’s artist community. The space keeps the love for local art alive by spearheading the recurring gallery stroll, supporting up-and-coming artists, hosting artist workshops, and featuring open-call opportunities such as the Watchlist exhibit.
Urban Arts Gallery (urbanartsgallery.org)
116 South Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, Utah