A crossroads of the West, Ogden’s bustling railroads brought diverse commerce and culture creating at times, a rough and tumble scene. That embedded diversity is the backdrop for a developing art culture. From theater to a new youth movement, media, painting, vibrant musicians, and sculpture, a call to organize this thriving industry ensuring further development of the arts by weaving them into the fabric of the city, is underway. A fresh Master Plan for Arts and Culture was introduced by Ogden City in 2015 and was approved by the city council in 2017.
Leading the creation of a Master Plan is Jake McIntire, Founder and Lead Designer at Union Creative Agency. “The Master Plan for Arts and Culture is currently under development and is designed to be a roadmap to serve Ogden City and to guide arts and culture activities. It is to be a high level strategic plan and is being developed with a wide variety of community input and time. The master plan is currently in action,” –McIntire
The formation of the Arts Master Plan for Ogden City was in part created by the Ogden City Arts Advisory Committee (OCAAC). The OCAAC is made up of volunteers from the community and includes two paid staff. Ogden City Associate Arts Coordinator Lorie Buckley believes, “a lot of people don’t know our Ogden City Arts Advisory Committee exists, and the members are a great driving force for the arts movement and scene in Ogden.”
The OCAAC is responsible for organizing and marketing multiple events including Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll, the Mayor’s Awards in the Arts, and Arts on the Town. Consisting of a diverse artist background, the OCAAC also makes recommendations on all public art submitted to the city and the Mayor for approval. Local artists can apply for funding through Arts Grants of which the Arts Advisory Committee reviews the applicants for endorsement. Local artists may apply for funding through Art Grants which the Arts Advisory Committee oversees and reviews applications for endorsement.
Art in Ogden is thriving in multiple ways. From new media, to performing arts, literature, sculpture, visual arts, and youth. Nurture The Creative Mind, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to empower youth through an active, positive, and proactive investment using the tools of creativity, education and character development, recently celebrated 10 years of nurturing youth through arts. Founder, Amir Jackson, has a hope of “…Ogden becoming a vibrant melting pot for all creative and artistic culture. While growing into a progressive hub for innovation and ingenuity. I hope we will expand the concept of art and its many applications and benefits to our community.”
Co-owner and operator of Good Company Theater and current Chair of the Ogden City Arts Advisory Committee, Alicia Washington, is excited about local theater. “The current state of performing arts in Ogden, more specifically theater, is emerging. And that’s a really exciting place to be because we have wonderful visual artists and galleries around here but we’re still building up the ability to present different types of performing arts and we have one live venue right now that produces plays and musicals: Good Company. Theater, though it be small, is mighty. But when you go out to other communities like South Ogden, you have Terrace Plaza Playhouse and the Ziegfield Theater. Up closer to Brigham, you have the Heritage Theater and the opportunity to experience performances at Weber State University, so we do have theater that is operating right now in Ogden and surrounding Ogden, but were building up. That’s why I say it’s emerging.” –Washington
Local author, professor, and host of the literature podcast, LITerally, Kase Johnstun, places Ogden writers in a distinctly unique position harkening back to the city’s diversity. “Ogden right now, like many cities across the country that are seen as secondary or subsidiary to larger cities in the state, is producing some great literature out of the grit that defines it — from the voices of the “others” in Utah, and we’re proud of that grittiness, that different voice on the edges of mainstream culture in Utah, exactly where artists thrive and belong.” –Johnstun
Historic 25th Street was once known for brothels, bars, underground prohibition tunnels, and a disorderly nature. The infamous street now plays center stage to the arts once a month during Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll. Gallery’s, performing artists, poetry slams, and installation pieces bring energy and enthusiasm to a now healthy, up-and-coming art scene.
Russ Adams, a Creature Designer, Special Effects Artist, and Owner of Escape’ Design FX, led a “misguided tour” through the First Friday Art Stroll exposing followers to the varied arts. Russ expanded on the emergence of art in Ogden. “If I had to choose one thing I love about the arts it would have to be its diversity. That diversity is exploding in Ogden. Art has always been more than paintings and sculpture, it’s so vast that it can not be categorized any way other than “art.”
If you’re interested in exploring Ogden’s art scene, check out Nurture the Creative Mind or Ogden’s Art Stroll. Don’t forget to browse through Ogden Homes for Sale and find the perfect home near this up-and-coming city full of culture. The Ogden Valley is also a great place to live being only 12 minutes away from the city in the secluded cities of Huntsville and Eden, Utah. Spend the night in the Valley and experience the ambiance of the Wasatch Mountains in a luxury vacation rental.