Happenings in THE BLOCKS to Help You Shake Off Winter

Spring is in the air and all Utahns age 16 and up are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. In other words, it’s time to celebrate. And while the return to “normal” over the next several months will be best described as gradual, the combination of warming temps and the waning pandemic is indeed heralding a joyful return to in-person performances and events. As such, we happily declare that now is the time to FINALLY change out of those sweatpants and into something sassy, and head into THE BLOCKS for one of the following fun things to do.

Image of dancers from Ballet West's Precious Gems

A Return to the Stage

Salt Lake County has announced the reopening of its performing arts venues—including Abravanel Hall, Capitol Theatre, Eccles Theater, and the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center–starting March 25, 2021. Two performances you can expect soon after then include: the Utah Symphony performing pieces by Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss with world-renowned guest conductor Marc Albrecht on March 25 (Tip: tickets for a Finishing Touches rehearsal at 10 a.m. on March 25 are just $15.); and Precious Gems, a sparkling mixed-repertory program performed live by Ballet West at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre, April 9 to 17. (This program replaces The Dream and Bolero, which is not possible to stage due to restrictions caused by the pandemic.) Tickets for both performances are available at arttix.org. (Precious Gems will go on sale April 1 for Ballet West Members and to the public on April 2.)     

Image of Lost Eden Space and Gallery


Art and Social Awareness

Salt Lake City’s newest gallery and co-working space—LOST EDEN—is now open at The Gateway. The concept of providing a place to “decolonize cultural institutions” by “weaving social science, art and emergent technology” was hatched by LOST EDEN founders Moana Palelei Hoching and Chris Moa. LOST EDEN’s inspiring space encompasses work venues and entrepreneurial resources in the back, and an airy gallery space in front. 

LOST EDEN opened its inaugural exhibit, Culture, Containers & Consumption, a collection of paintings and ceramics by Tali Alisa Hofoka, on March 20. Hofoka is a second generation Oceania fine arts painter with a body of work that is uniquely positioned between her experiences and family life in La’ie, Hawaii; Glendale, Utah; and Samoa. According to the LOST EDEN website, Culture, Containers, and Consumption celebrates Hafoka’s distinct storytelling style using vibrant colors and familiar objects to weave a narrative centered around a longing for home and freedom.

LOST EDEN has also been named the official home for the Harvard Oceanic Collections Engagement Fellowship (HOCEF), where, through a partnership between The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, the Harvard Alumni for Oceania, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the University of Utah’s School for Transformation, two awardees from Salt Lake County will receive funding, staff support, and resources to remotely engage with the Peabody Museum collections and a virtual platform to share their reflections on the collections with the public.

Image of artwork at UMOCA

Both the Utah Musuem of Art (UMOCA) and The Leonardo have opened new exhibits in the last several weeks as well. At UMOCA, you can see Horacio Rodriguez’s Radicalized Relics; Alex Caldiero’s retrospective titled Baggage; Plume by Katheryn Knudsen; Allison Schulnik’s Mound; This Storm is What We Call Progress by Zachary Norman; and the group exhibition, Material Issues: Strategies in Twenty-first Century Craft. In the house at The Leonardo is a compelling exhibit made possible through a partnership with the Utah Black Chamber, titled Sorting Out Race. UMOCA is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome and admission is free with a suggested donation of $8. Reservations are strongly encouraged at The Leonardo, which is open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is just $5, which includes access to the Sorting Out Race exhibit.

Image of concert poster

Tunes on the Move

The popular SLC Concert Cruise returns on April 10 with the theme, The Beatles Encore. This safe, outdoor, progressive concert event features five local musicians and/or bands stationed at different locations to perform pop-up style shows for attendees. “Cruisers” are placed in two different limited capacity groups that cycle together between venues throughout the evening; each venue stop will feature a 20-minute performance. Tickets are $35 and are available now at 24tix.com. Each ticket comes with a $1 day passcode good for a GREENBike on the day of the event. 

Image of festival at the Fair Park

Adapted Spring Festivals

A few of the local organizations making a cautious return to in-person, larger-scale events include:

Craft Lake City’s DIY Festival at the Utah State Fairpark, April 13-15. Craft Lake City pivoted on a dime last spring to present its annual DIY Festival makers fair in an innovative online VR format. And though organizers are going ahead with preparations to return its huge showcase of Utah-made jewelry, artwork, body care products, packaged food items and much more in an in-person event at the Fairpark next month, organizers have thrown out the caveat that the DIY Fest will go online again if hosting the live event does not feel safe.    

The Salt Lake Arts Council’s popular Living Traditions Festival will return this year, but rather than one large event at Washington Square, this fest will feature a series of free events and large late-night video projections, all of which will be presented at various outdoor locations through May and June. The events kick off at Washington Square on May 15 and will continue at the Chase Home Museum in Liberty Park on May 22, The Gateway on May 23, the International Peace Gardens at Jordan Park on May 29, and then back at Washington Square for its final event, “A Taste of Living Traditions,” on June 26.

And the Utah Pride Center his reimagining Salt Lake City’s annual and beloved Pride Day parade and festival as a weeklong series of pandemic-appropriate events, June 1 to 7. The schedule tentatively includes a fireworks display, a socially distanced march from the Utah Capitol to Liberty Park, an interactive story garden at Washington Square and more.  

Written by Melissa Fields