For 39 years, The Utah Arts Festival has been bringing  diversity and rich culture to the Salt Lake area, creating a revenue for local businesses, sponsors and attending artists.

From June 25-28, people gathered at Library Square for the all-day event, which hosted a variety of artist booths, stage performances and the Wasatch Iron Pen contest.

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Utah Arts Festival attendees observe the garden sculpture works of Casey and Deborah Bridges on Friday, June 26. (Emily Crooks / The Signpost)

“I personally like walking around looking at the art and everything that the people have made, like jewelry and pottery,” said Julie Thompson, Utah Arts Festival staff member. Thompson also expressed enthusiasm for next year’s, “the big 40th celebration.”

Artists from around the country set up booths ranging from classical fine arts to performing arts and even culinary arts.

“I love the process [of creating art]. It’s a major stress relief to have that creative outlet,” said Sarah Zilbershteyn, owner of SJZ Custom Works and local artist from Cottonwood Heights.

Zilbershteyn specializes in stippling. Stippling is the use of dots to create shading and texture in illustrations. She has been creating stipple art for five years and has attended the festival twice.

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Sarah Zilbershteyn’s rabbit stipple art took over 100 hours to create. The piece was one of many on display at Utah Arts Festival from June 25-28. (Emily Crooks / The Signpost)

An average piece takes anywhere from 60-80 hours to create.  Although, Zilbershteyn reported that she spent well over 100 hours on her rabbit and owl pieces.

Visual art was not the only art form at the festival.

For the past 9 years, the Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center, SLCC CWC, in partnership with the festival, has hosted the Wasatch Iron Pen Contest

“My favorite part of working here is working with different writers with different needs because it’s a challenge as a teacher, coach and writer myself to see things from a different perspective” said Nic Contreras, SLCC CWC writing coach and volunteer coordinator.

The contest is a 24-hour writing marathon where writers can participate in three different categories: fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Writing enthusiasts can also take on the Ultra Iron Pen challenge and submit pieces in all three categories

Participates were given a prompt after registering online for the contest. Then authors had 24 hours to hand write their literary masterpieces. Winners were announced Sunday at noon at the Big Mouth Stage. Prizes included cash, gift cards to The King’s English Bookshop and goody baskets.

No need to worry if you missed the festival this year. Next year, the Utah Arts Festival will be back bigger and better than ever with their 40th annual festival celebration.


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