SALT LAKE CITY — Look for downtown Salt Lake City to be aglow on Friday and Saturday evening as the Utah Arts Alliance launches its free Illuminate Salt Lake event, featuring more than 30 artists, 3-D light projections, an augmented-reality art walk, live music, a kids short film festival, interactive light art, food trucks and more.
Utah Arts Alliance Executive Director Derek Dyer, an artist who's worked in light and projection art, said the event has been in the making for quite some time.
"I've been wanting to do a festival like this for two decades," Dyer said. "I think the timing is finally right because there are enough artists to do a full-fledged festival instead of just a show. It’s our time and we’re ready for it."
Dyer said art displays, performances and activities will be happening in three venues on both nights, including The Gateway, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and the plaza on the Regent Street side of the Eccles Performing Arts Center. He noted a custom content piece — featuring a look back at some famed Utah tech innovators like Atari founder Nolan Bushnell and Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull — will be projected in an 80-foot-tall image on the side of the nearby Walker Center parking garage.
"Utah has a rich history of arts and technology," Dyer said. "We want to revisit that legacy a little bit as part of this festival."
There will also be a plethora of eye candy, including three-dimensional projections, LED installations and a novel, augmented-reality art walk. Dyer said the Arts Alliance developed the mobile app necessary to view the augmented works and was worried that his team may have overreached when they began the work, but successfully completed the application. Illuminate AR is available now to Apple and Android users at their respective app stores for free.
Dyer said attendees will be able to view 15 augmented-reality pieces distributed across all three venues by looking for AR "markers" and using the Illuminate app. The works include a piece by American pop artist Jann Haworth, probably best know as the co-creator of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.
And music will feature in the array of entertainment options as well. Local DJs and visual artists Skittish and Bus will be spinning music as well as assembling their trademark ADAM light display as part of the festivities. Darren Gonzol, aka Skittish, said he thought the event was a reflection of Salt Lake City's continued evolution.
"I think the arts community here, as a whole, has been trying to create and find spaces to show work and engage the public," Gonzol said. "Things are getting more awesome and more accessible here."
Tara Mleynek, aka Bus, said finding space for "cool art to exist in the public space" was a sign that Salt Lake City was earning its stripes as a true metropolitan city.
The two, who DJ as a duo, have been featured at clubs in Salt Lake and other cities, including Las Vegas, and have also worked with the Tumbleweeds Film Festival, a Salt Lake-based effort that's been hosting an annual kids film festival since 2008. The organization will also be featuring a program of short films during the two-night event, which Dyer said has been developed specifically to be a family-friendly event.
To learn more about Illuminate Salt Lake, visit http://utaharts.org/illuminate-salt-lake/.