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Sugar House Journal

Sugar House Art Walk brings local businesses, artists together

Nov 19, 2019 14h03 ● By Jenniffer Wardell

In addition to indoor venues, artists will often display their works in outdoor pop-ups along the street during the Sugar House Art Walk. (Photo courtesy Laurie Bray)

By Jenniffer Wardell | [email protected]

Sugar House wants to show off its art. 

Residents can look at the area’s newest creations during the upcoming Sugar House Art Walk, set for Dec. 13 from 6-9 p.m. at locations around the city. The event highlights some of the newest local art found everywhere from galleries and outside installations to local office buildings and restaurants. The event is free, and some of the artists will be on hand to talk about their work. 

“It’s a great community event,” said Laurie Bray, who organizes the walks. “It brings people out.” 

Unlike other art walks, the offices, restaurants, and wellness centers are an important part of the Sugar House Art Walks. Bray said that one of the main goals of the walk is to get local artists into local businesses, a partnership that ends up benefitting everyone.  

“It gets people to come into Sugar House and go into the businesses,” she said. “Sugar House is developing at lightning speed, so there’s a lot people are missing out on unless they go exploring on their own.” 

And, just like the residents, both the artists and the businesses often end up coming back for more.

“Some of our venues jump off and on, but most of them are pretty consistent,” she said. “It increases visibility to both the businesses and the artists.” 

In fact, the walk itself has adapted to work with local businesses. Though it used to be held once a month, Bray started scheduling them once a quarter last year to make sure audiences always got to see new pieces. 

“Some of the businesses have trouble changing their art that often,” she said. 

Still, the walks sometimes stretch outside the boundaries of nearby buildings. Sometimes the walks will have outdoor installations, many of which are set up in Hidden Hollow. Bray remembers one of the first walks held in the area, where dancers performed as part of one such outdoor installation. 

“It was extraordinary,” she said. 

The walks depend largely on social media and word-of-mouth to draw attendees, which can have mixed success. Sometimes, that means huge crowds filling the streets. 

“Our June walk went viral on Facebook,” she said. “It was kind of astonishing. I’ve never seen that many people on the plaza, even during the dedication.” 

Other times, organizers have more of a challenge getting people to come out. Bray said that it’s harder to get people to come out for the winter walks than it is for the summer walks, especially if it’s particularly cold or stormy. 

“People tend to want to go out only if the weather is good,” she said. 

No matter what the weather is like, the constant construction is also a challenge. 

“The (lack of) parking is making it more of a challenge, too,” she said. “It’s easier for people who live here to come out, but we’re trying to bring in more people.”

No matter what the season or the parking situation, however, there are some stalwarts. Bray said that Commerce & Craft is always one of the most popular stops on the walk, with a variety of artists and craftspeople.  

“They always have pop-ups in the front yard, even in the winter,” Bray said. “They’ll invite artists who aren’t part of the store to come be a part of the pop-ups.” 

She added that it’s businesses like that, and events like the art walk, that will help keep Sugar House the kind of community that everyone knows and loves. Some businesses have already fallen to demolition, and visitors help the remaining ones stay open.  

“With all the development going on in Sugar House, it’s more important than ever to support local businesses and artists if we want to keep them around,” she said. 

A complete map of all locations participating in the walk will be available online at before the evening of the event.