SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, 5/21/20 – How does an organization that creates a large-scale event each year with a mission to bring people together to support the art community, continue to deliver on their mission during a global pandemic requiring social distancing and stay-at-home orders? The Utah Arts Festival’s answer is through a virtual art celebration called FESTIVAL VIBES FRIDAYS that starts June 5th and runs each Friday in June.

The staff reached out to its artistic coordinators to float the idea of supporting the artists chosen to participate at this year’s Festival through an on-line platform. “The artistic coordinators have worked tirelessly since last October to develop their programs, artists were selected and contracts sent out when we had to make the decision not to hold the Festival this June. We were determined to find a way to honor the work of our coordinators and support the artists,” said Lisa Sewell, Executive Director.

Festival Vibes Fridays will include a whole new approach to supporting the art community - a free experience where people can celebrate art and their favorite artists while in their own home. Patrons can shop at the Artist Marketplace by visiting the online gallery featuring artists juried into this year’s Festival. Radio partner KRCL will hold on-air interviews with local bands accepted to perform this year at the Festival and play their music during The Midday Show each Friday. Film-lovers will have access to international short films selected as part of this year’s Fear No Film Festival. Our Literary Arts Program will feature poetry readings and live-streaming comic-writing workshops with artists Paul & Anina and a collaboration with local author, Danielle Susi who will be interviewing some of Utah’s best-known literary artists as part of her Dinnerview series. The Children’s Art Yard is open with artist, Maggie Willis, offering at-home videos of how-to art projects for the young ones to tackle. 

Additional programming is being developed around the culinary arts, art & tech, and urban arts areas of the Festival and will roll out over the coming weeks. 

Most importantly, the artists are supportive and interested in participating in Festival Vibes Fridays. Tiera Ptacek and Dustin Lyons from Alkahest Leather said, “We want to send a big thank you to everyone involved in organizing this virtual festival idea.  We, like so many others, are left scrambling for a way to move forward without the vehicle that drives 99% of our business: fairs, festivals, and the like.  What you guys are offering is a big help.” 

About the Utah Arts Festival: 
The Utah Arts Festival is the largest, multi-disciplinary event in the state. For 44 years each June, the community comes together to celebrate the arts in the heart of Salt Lake City. Drawing more than 70,000 attendees, the Festival includes top world, national and local musicians and performers and program slates in the visual arts, literary arts, kids’ activities, dance performances, musical commissions, street theater, art & technology, urban arts, film, and culinary arts.


Ken Kullack