Seize the Day! Five Can’t-Miss Art Experiences in THE BLOCKS

What we’ve been looking forward to all summer long is finally here: the balmy evenings and crisp nights of fall. And the Downtown Alliance is making it even easier to take advantage of the golden season with Downtown SLC Open Streets – Closed for Fun: on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings through October 10, streets along THE BLOCKS’s Main Street core will be closed to vehicular traffic and open for expended patio dining, busker performances and art displays. It just so happens that the DTA’s Open Streets initiative coincides with the opening of several downtown performing arts organizations fall events and seasons as well. Following are five awesome art experiences to enjoy in THE BLOCKS this fall.

The 10th Annual Skate Deck Challenge

The only rule of this annual, open-call Skate Deck Challenge is that artists must use a skateboard deck to create a piece of visual art. Seventy-four submissions make up this year’s exhibition, which is on display now at Urban Arts Gallery (116 S. Rio Grande, The Gateway). Visit the gallery to vote for the one that speaks to you through Friday, September 18 at 5 p.m. People’s Choice winners will be announced during this month’s Salt Lake Gallery Stroll, also on September 18, from 6 to 9 p.m. All skate decks from the exhibit (minus those that are sold) will be on display at Urban Arts Gallery through October 4. 

Utah Symphony’s Strings Celebrations

Music is again filling Abravanel Hall as the Utah Symphony resumes its performance schedule, albeit abbreviated. For safety, performances will focus on string instruments, distancing between musicians as well as patrons and reduced tickets sales, among other measures. (For a complete rundown of the Utah Symphony’s COVID-19 safety protocols, click here.) But we’re OK with all that and simply cannot wait to settle into a seat and let the music wash over us. Concerts will be held on September 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 and October 1, 2 and 3.

Date Night at UMOCA

Back by popular demand is UMOCA’s Date Night at the Museum. This super-cool evening includes a curator and artist led tour of the museum, a hands-on art-making activity and dinner. UMOCA held its first round of Date Night events just before the museum reopened to the public in July. Each event sold out quickly—it’s no wonder as having this kind of intimate art experience is rare, at best—so get your tickets while you can. But if you miss date night and want to lend UMOCA some much-needed support during this challenging time, consider attending its annual gala, appropriately dubbed Brave New World, scheduled for October 24.  

Sackerson’s Cherry Wine in Paper Cups

Watching this tenderly funny story of a couple’s dance toward (and away from) beginning a relationship while I sat on the lawn at Library Square Park felt like a cold drink of water after a hot day in the desert. The creative minds behind Sackerson, known for creating art in unusual places, have created a much-needed theatric experience that feels safe and not at all awkward and that is really good. Cherry Wine in Paper Cups will be performed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings until ticket sales dwindle.

Utah Opera’s Season-Opening Double Bill

The Utah Opera opens its 2020-21 season with The Human Voice and Gentleman’s Island, a double bill exploring the need for human connection. The evening begins on a more somber note with The Human Voice, the story of a woman’s final phone call with her former lover, who is now in love with another.  The mood changes significantly with the second half of the double bill, Gentleman’s Island, a comedic tale of two English gentlemen, a tea taster and indigo importer, who are stranded on the same deserted island but ought not to speak to each other as they have not been properly introduced. Tickets are still available for this opera’s performances on October 9, 10, 15 and 17. 

Written by Melissa Fields