Ogden's Art Festival displays creativity in the community

(Photo by Bryan J. Smith) Dancers performed outside the Union Station at Ogden’s annual art festival.

Peacock feathers took shape in shades of green, purple and blue on a glistening gold piano outside the Union Station Saturday morning.

Every summer pianos painted by local artists are displayed throughout Historic 25th Street before they are sold. The pianos are a project organized by Nurture the Creative Mind Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower youth in the community through art and creativity.

Local artist and art teacher at Northridge High School, Lindsay Huss, worked with her student and member of Nurture the Creative Mind, Taylor Christensen, to paint their first piano at Ogden’s annual Art Festival.

“The pianos are just really interesting because it’s bringing different art together,” said Huss. “Because visual artists and musicians are both attracted to them.”

Huss believes in the importance of art and mentioned that the pianos help encourage and advocate for art in the community.

“Everybody wants to interact with them, so everybody wants to get a taste of art,” said Huss. “I think it gets people excited about art, and art is beneficial to everybody.”

From the inside-out, the Union Station on Historic 25th Street was transformed into a diverse art center.



Tents housing local artists’ work covered the lawn, while live music provided by Mojos, Ogden’s music venue, echoed through the plaza. The festival provided opportunities for artists, children and art admirers in the community to get involved in Ogden’s culture and art life.

“I just really like that everybody gets a chance to see what’s happening in the community. I think it’s really great for the businesses down here to have people coming down to see what Ogden’s all about,” said Huss. “Ogden really is a great place.”

Every kind of artist was present, from painters to photographers, jewelers to potters and even musicians and dancers.

(Photo by Bryan J. Smith) Lacey Johnson (left) and Megan Simper (right) perform in their band, Hoodoo, at the Ogden Art Festival last Saturday.

Lacey Johnson, member of the Logan band Hoodoo said, “It just makes sense to combine all the arts. It’s wonderful to be able to enjoy things visually and orally.”

Christensen said she enjoys the diversity of the festival.

“It’s really cool, I love the music and all the different people,” Christensen said.

Tom Szalay, long-time photojournalist who now teaches at West High School in Salt Lake City, has attended the festival for several years. This year, Szalay and his students were featured in the festival.

“It’s a great community activity,” said Szalay.

Gallery 51 of the Union Station was the home of the Holga Fest—an exhibit displaying Holga photography. Some photos were by Szalay but most of the photography was taken by his students.

Szalay explained the difficulties of Holga photography.

(Photo by Bryan J. Smith) Holga photography was displayed last Saturday at Ogden’s Art Festival in Gallery 51 of the Union Station. Several photographs were taken by students of West High school in Salt Lake City.

“Holga is a plastic camera with plastic film and lots of light leaks, using big square negatives, and you only get 12 shots,” said Szalay. “To be a photographer is about experiencing the world, about capturing photography’s short little poems.”

Szalay also mentioned how he thinks the Plein Air exhibit is great.

The Plein Air exhibit is open to anyone looking to get creative. The morning of the festival, artists paint a scene anywhere outdoors in Ogden. The paintings are then displayed in the Union Station and auctioned off to the public.

The paintings ranged from scenes of the industrial part of Ogden to Ogden’s scenic landscape. An impressionistic painting of the Lucky Slice Pizza pub on 25th Street took second place in this year’s contest.

A shared gallery as well as individual artist’s booths filled the Union Station. This year, local artist Vanessa Colunga experienced running a booth for the first time.

“I hope that this will be my first of many years here,” said Colunga.“I love it. I’ve met so many people, so many of my fans that follow me on Facebook. I was hoping that maybe one day I might meet them and just thank them for supporting me even though they had no clue who I was.”

Colunga’s works are dark, like Edgar Allan Poe, and exemplify the horror of Stephen King.

“I get my inspiration from a lot of horror shows,” said Colunga. “Anything creepy fits my personality. I’ve always been the creepy girl that collects tarantulas and has a dead bug jar in her room.”

Colunga said artists should never give up because it doesn’t matter what you’re doodling or even if people like it. The important thing is to just keep at it.

“It’s supposed to be fun and relaxing. You can lose yourself in a completely different world,” said Colunga. “Never give up. Just follow your dream. If you believe in yourself others will believe in you.”

Colunga will be painting a piano that will be displayed the first of July.