Ogden Arts Fest brings diversity, inclusion; moves to Union Station next year

Thursday , June 07, 2018 - 12:34 PM

OGDEN — This weekend is your last chance to catch the Ogden Arts Festival at the city’s amphitheater on Historic 25th Street.

Next year, after a four-year absence, the event will move back up the street to Ogden’s Union Station, at 2501 Wall Ave., according to festival director Amir Jackson.

“The amphitheater is a nice space, and our partnership with the city will continue,” Jackson said. “We just believe the Union Station deserves some activation as far as community attendance.”

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Jackson said that while Historic 25th Street is the hub of Ogden, Union Station seems to be isolated from that hub — primarily because of busy Wall Avenue, which divides the station from the rest of downtown. He said the community has been conditioned not to expect many events happening at Union Station, but city and community leaders hope to change that in coming months and years.

“In addition to the Ogden Arts Festival next year, we’re hoping other events will come to Union Station, and that it changes that perception,” Jackson said. “As the city is growing, the amount of events here is growing, and this is a conscious effort to go beyond 25th Street and extend to Union Station.”

But for this year, anyway, the festival will again be centered in and around the amphitheater.

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The 2018 Ogden Arts Festival is scheduled for June 9-10 at the Ogden Amphitheater, 343 Historic 25th St. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For the past three years, Nurture the Creative Mind, a local nonprofit art organization for youth, has produced the festival. Jackson, founder of that organization, said the annual two-day event promotes the arts here locally.

“Simply put, we want to celebrate the arts and arts organizations in Ogden,” Jackson said. “Our goal is for the arts festival to be a platform for artists, art enthusiasts and art supporters of all kinds. We want it to be inclusive and diverse, and expand the umbrella of what art and artists are.”

To that end, Jackson says what stands out about this year’s festival is that the performance area is a little more diverse than it has been in the past. He said they’re offering three theater performances this year, which is something that hasn’t been highlighted in the past. There will also be dance performers on stage, as well as a salsa/Latin jazz band, Rumba Libre of Salt Lake City, as the headliner.

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The event will feature a few community murals that festival-goers are invited to help paint. Those murals will be displayed on Historic 25th Street after the festival.

Another thing that stands out about this year’s festival, according to Jackson, is that they’ve expanded the number of artist vendor booths by 15 this year. Organizers are expecting about 70 booths at the festival.

“So, this year the festival will be a bit more inclusive and diverse in its offerings, more interactive, and have more booths,” Jackson said.

And those booths have to meet strict art-related standards. Work has to be original — no duplicates — and Jackson says it has to be what the festival committee considers art, not crafts.

“We allow only handmade, original works at the arts festival,” he said.

A big part of the festival is the children’s art area — what Jackson calls “Kids ARTivities” — featuring 15 community partners offering spin art, rock-painting, face-painting and other hands-on art activities for the young ones.

This year’s festival will also include an “urban arts area,” according to Jackson. The space will include a skateboard competition, as well as six urban arts muralists (think: highly artistic graffiti) painting live at the festival.

Food and drink will be sold at the event, including “adult beverages,” according to Jackson. Several food trucks will be on hand.

Saturday’s entertainment schedule will include:

  • Noon — House Music
  • 12:35 p.m. — Marny Proudfit
  • 2 p.m. — Grassroots Shakespeare Theatre
  • 3:25 p.m. — Katya Murafa
  • 4:30 p.m. — The Treehouse Theatre
  • 5:15 p.m. — Capoeira
  • 6 p.m. — Grassroots Shakespeare Theatre
  • 7:15 p.m. — Taiko Drummers
  • 8:10 p.m. — Rumba Libre

Sunday’s entertainment schedule will be:

  • Noon — House Music
  • 1 p.m. — Josaleigh Pollett
  • 2:30 p.m. — Panthermilk
  • 4 p.m. — Earthestra
  • 5 p.m. — Show Me Island

An increasingly popular tradition the last three years is the community water-balloon fight held at the festival. Organizers will provide 1,200 water balloons for this H2O “free-for-all,” which begins at 3 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s just a fun thing for kids — and big kids, adult kids — to participate in,” Jackson said.

The water-balloon fight is a way to inject a little more fun into the annual arts event, according to Jackson.

“We don’t want the arts festival to come across as stuffy,” he said. “We want people to enjoy themselves and be entertained.”

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In years past, there was a suggested donation of $3 for all Ogden Arts Festival participants. This year, admission will be a required $5 for adults, free to those age 18 and younger.

“We made it a hard admission cost for adults,” he said. “But to be understood, that money literally goes to supporting our organization, which offers free art activities for children.”

Looking to the future, with the return of the Ogden Arts Festival to Union Station, Jackson says organizers are also bringing back the Taste of Downtown event next year. The two events used to be hosted in tandem, before Taste of Downtown was discontinued.

Jackson said the growing number of cultural events in Ogden these days — including the Ogden Music Festival, the Ogden Film Festival and the Ogden Arts Festival — help to support a culture of arts in the city.

“More importantly than building a thriving arts festival, I would like there to be a thriving arts culture here,” Jackson said. “Together, we can build a culture of arts we all can benefit from.”

For more information on this year’s festival, visit ogdenartsfestival.com, or call 801-710-4238.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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