(KCPW News) The Utah Arts Festival kicks off at noon today at Library Square and Washington Square in downtown Salt Lake City. Lisa Sewell, executive director of the festival, says she's expecting a bump in attendance this year because of the good weather and the bad economy.
"I was really concerned earlier this year because of the economy. I though, ‘Oh, I hope the artists do well.' And when I was talking with some of the other arts administrators, I said ‘How are the artists doing? You know, are they selling art?' And they said ‘Yes.' Surprisingly, the artists have been doing really well," Sewell says. "And I wondered if it was part of that whole people are staying home instead of you're taking these big long trips and they may have a little bit more disposable income to spend on some art."
The arts fest attracts about 80,000 people over four days to check out the work of about 140 visual artists and more than 100 performers. It features live music, dance, poetry, comedy and film screenings.
Sewell says the festival also offers visitors an opportunity to make some art of their own. One workshop she's excited about this year teaches how to make a bag or wallet out of recycled vinyl from billboard advertisements.
"And I think I think it's fun because I just remember when I was in junior high and elementary school, we used to do this in the summertime. You know, we'd get to go and make stuff," Sewell says. "And I think as an adult we miss out on those opportunities. I think we're a little intimidated by it and we think, ‘Well, I'm not an artist. I can't do that.' But it's kind of cool when you have some opportunities for people to be able to do that."
The Utah Arts Festival is the largest outdoor arts festival in the state. It runs through Sunday, from noon to 11 p.m. You can get $3 off admission if you ride your bike to the festival this year. More information and schedules are online at UAF.org.