Utah Arts Alliance presents Urban Arts Fest Elements, a COVID pivot for Utah’s largest free art event

Utah Arts Alliance presents Urban Arts Fest Elements, a COVID pivot for Utah's largest free art event

Urban Arts Fest Elements is a pivot from the two-day festival to a month-long, COVID-friendly arrangement of exhibits and outdoor events, celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Urban Arts Festival. Elements will be based at The Gateway, an urban destination for shopping, dining and entertainment in Downtown Salt Lake City.

In a typical year, the Urban Arts Festival would draw tens of thousands to celebrate and engage with local and touring artists. This is not a typical year. To pivot, we will present the signature pieces of the festival over the course of the month as Urban Arts Fest Elements. This plan will allow us to present the more popular elements of the festival without drawing large crowds. Urban Arts Fest Elements invites everyone to use this month to engage with a new art form or to reconnect with a past retrospect. 

“In response to the COVID pandemic, we have pivoted the event to be able to safely connect artists to the community through Urban Arts Fest Elements. Instead of the large two-day festival  that draws tens of thousands of people,  we are splitting up the signature elements of the Urban Arts Festival over the month of September. We invite the community to safely enjoy and celebrate these free and accessible elements of community-driven expression,” noted Derek Dyer, Utah Arts Alliance Executive Director and founder of the Urban Arts Festival. 

Please note that Urban Arts Fest Elements will be following the most current CDC and State of Utah Guidelines for COVID-19 protocols. Details below.


September 5, 10 am – 2 pm: Live Painting Exhibition and Art & Craft Market 

Rio Grande Street at The Gateway

Some of Utah’s best muralists and graffiti artists come together for a live painting exhibition intermingled with local artists selling their hand-crafted artwork in an open air setting. 

September 6, noon – 4 pm: Hard-N-Paint Street Basketball 

Rio Grande Street at The Gateway

Hard-N-Paint is a Salt Lake City basketball league for the youth and adults, bringing authentic basketball to the community since 2012. This exhibition includes a 3-point shootout, slam dunk contest, pick up game (open to the public) and the Hard-N-Paint Street Fashion booth.

September 6, noon – 4 pm: Lowrider Custom Car Culture Exhibit

Rio Grande Street at The Gateway

Take a look under and over the hood of these custom lowriders, hoppers and bikes. Awards will be given for Best in Show, Best Engine, Best Display and more. 

September 18, 5 – 10 pm: Night Market

Rio Grande Street at The Gateway

Artists practicing any and all mediums are invited to sell their handmade artworks at this open-air street market. Shop for one-of-a-kind pieces to add to your collection or for amazing gift giving. Support local artists!

September, all month: Urban Arts Festival Artist Retrospective

Outdoor Exhibition at The Gateway using vacant storefronts

Visit The Gateway all month to experience a collection of artworks created at the festival over the past 10 years. The retrospective includes works from local and international artists that have been invited to share their creations.

September, all month: 10th Annual Skate Deck Challenge

Urban Arts Gallery, 116 S Rio Grande St.

Continuing an annual tradition, the 10th Annual Skate Deck Challenge is  a vibrant and diverse collection of artwork made with blank skate decks. Local artists are invited to submit artwork—the only rule is that it must be made with a blank skate deck! The result is a colorful and delightful glimpse into the endless creativity of Salt Lake City. 


The Urban Arts Festival began 10 years ago with the Skate Deck Competition. The community responded in a big way, and the momentum to bring this style of art to the public exploded into a festival of graffiti, mural arts, basketball, breakdancing competitions, custom car culture, fashion, national touring musical headliners and local artists of all mediums showing off their skills. 

“This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Utah’s largest free art event. The Urban Arts Festival has been and continues to be a catalyst for change in our community. Over the past decade, the festival has helped to usher in a new era of art and artists in Utah. We shine a light on underrepresented artists and art styles and  continue to expand the definition of art,” said Derek Dyer, Executive Director of the Utah Arts Alliance and Founder of the Urban Arts Festival. 

Recognized for its efforts, the festival has received several awards including being named the “Best New Festival in Utah (2010)”, “Best Indie Art Event in Utah” and “Best Fest for the Rest”! Urban Arts Festival was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts, Our Town Grant in 2017. 

COVID Protocols for Urban Arts Fest Elements:
We care about the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and patrons. Events will be held in outdoor spaces with ample room for physical distancing. If you are attending any of the Urban Arts Fest Elements, adhere to the following policies:

  • If you are feeling unwell, stay home
  • If you are unwilling to adhere to these policies, stay home
  • Maintain 6 feet of physical distance while in public, look for our markers
  • Wear a mask or face covering at all times while in public areas
  • Wash or sanitize hands often. Bathrooms and hand sanitizer stations will be provided and maintained. 
  • Use a credit card, debit card or cashless app
  • Attendees may be subject to temperature checks and/or contact tracing while at these events

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Stuart is the founder, writer and wrangler at several sites including Gastronomic SLC, Utah Now and, The Utah Review; Stuart is a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune and has worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.