When Jane Font was growing up in Utah, Ogden was not the sort of place people wanted to go. But when she was looking for a site for a small art gallery, downtown Ogden called out to her.
“It kind of chose me,” she said.
The gallery, 155 25th St., has been around for close to two years, according to owner Jane Font. This August marks the two year anniversary for the gallery.
Salt Lake had been the first place Font looked, but she quickly decided that a small art gallery would quickly get lost in the big city. Ogden had been in the back of Font’s mind, and it had changed so much from her childhood.
“I remember what 25th Street was like growing up,” she said. “Now I’m wondering why I even considered anywhere else.”
Font decided she had to open an art gallery when she went to other galleries, and they didn’t feature art that caught her eye.
“I was kind of frustrated with the art scene or the lack of one in the area,” Font said.
Pandemonium has an interesting aesthetic, mostly due to the fact that many of Font’s friends didn’t have a place to showcase their unique art. The gallery started out with her friends’ work and has had many different artists on display in the past two years.
“When word got out that the place was opening, I just became bombarded with other artists,” she said.
Font hasn’t had to go out searching for artists. They end up coming to her.
“Everyone who doesn’t fit into the typical mold come to Pandemonium,” Font said. This gallery is focused on showing local Ogdenites’ art that they aren’t normally used to.
Not only is it important to give the community unique art, but it’s important to give it art in general. The arts give a community a sense of morale and gives it something to look at or think about, Font says.
The arts help Ogden in particular because it’s changing how people perceive the town.
“I’m actually starting to hear people refer to Ogden as the ‘art district’ now,” Font said. “I never thought I’d hear that.”
Despite Pandemonium’s growing popularity, there are still those who think going to an art gallery isn’t something they can just go do.
“I have a lot of people who will walk by and look or peek their head in but keep walking,” she said. Coming to art galleries can offer a different perspective and get people thinking in a different way. The unique art offers visitors a perspective they might not have thought about otherwise.
“Whether you buy art or not, coming into an art gallery does something to your mind that helps process the world around you I think,” he said.
Not only does Pandemonium offer good art, it also offers paint parties that double as a painting class. The idea of paying a fee for materials and taking a shot at painting an already-created work has been popular around the country for some time. Font has taken that idea and done her own version.
Many places dictate which colors are used and don’t offer much creative freedom. In Pandemonium’s paint party, the painter has free rein.
“I encourage people to be really creative,” she said. Many may hold on to the idea that these activities are only for those who consider themselves artists. However, these parties welcome anyone with any degree of skill.
In general, people who don’t know much about art think that they aren’t welcome in galleries such as Pandemonium. That perspective can easily be changed by just going into one and looking around. This offers support to the gallery, while spreading the perspective of the artists on display.
“I have a lot of people come in who apologize because they aren’t buying anything, but I don’t care,” Font said. “By you coming in and looking, telling other people and spreading the word, it helps create a base for this art culture we’re trying to build.
You can’t build it if people don’t at least come in and talk. The open sign is on, just come on in.”