CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Local Artists Find A Home At The Gateway Amid Canceled Events

Aug 15, 2020, 11:47 PM | Updated: Sep 13, 2020, 1:16 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The future is always uncertain, and life itself is often a gamble. Artists who set up shop at local festivals choose to bet on themselves, even though the deck may seem stacked against them.

Amanda McIntyre’s one of those artists. She first uncovered her love of working with silver way back in high school.

“I started making so much stuff that I finally was like, ‘I need to sell some of this,'” she said. “I had piles of it.”

Like many local artists, she bet it all on her dream.

“I was working at an architect firm, and I would do markets on the weekends,” McIntyre said. “I ended up making way more money, so I put my two weeks in, and I went for it.”

She’s been a full-time silversmith for the past eight years, with only a quick look before she leapt. She now runs her own jewelry business, called “Live Your Angle.”

“I was like 22, so nothing seemed that scary at that point,” McIntyre said.

She’s been rolling the dice ever since, and has won big — until now.

“Now we’re a little nervous,” she said. “I think I was in denial for like two months. I was just like, ‘Oh, we’ll get back in the groove,’ and then once May hit, that’s when I heard everything was being canceled.”

Like most artists, McIntyre relies on events to peddle her products and find new patrons to sustain her throughout the year.

“Usually I only work from June to October, and then I build my inventory all throughout the winter,” she said.

“I would do events most weekends throughout the summer, and now they’re all gone,” said local painter, Scott Tuckfield. “It’s been rough. It’s a major chunk of my income, personally.”

“I was in Arizona doing shows when COVID hit, and it was like hitting a brick wall,” said Lynette Nichols, an artist who specializes in geometric paintings of southwestern landscapes. “I came back to Utah and have just been trying to survive, doing smaller shows that come up.”

McIntyre, Tuckfield and Nichols had their booths set up on a Saturday morning at The Gateway — a time when you’d normally find them nearby at the Salt Lake City Farmers Market. But this year, arts and crafts aren’t a part of that.

The Utah Arts Alliance organized this event, called the “Art & Craft Market,” spacing out booths and encouraging everyone to wear masks and shop safely. The event takes place every Saturday from 10 a.m.— 2 p.m. at 400 West and 100 South in Salt Lake City. It has been so popular with vendors that it’s recently been extended all the way to October.

“We don’t have the traffic that we’re used to, but as we’re here longer, word of mouth, it gets out,” Nichols said.

Artists like McIntyre have relied on their social media to help spread the word, and it seems to be working.

“Almost all of the people that came this morning, those are all from Instagram,” she said.

The future is always uncertain, and life itself is often a gamble — but these artists are continuing to place their bets — and keep hoping that eventually, the odds will once again be in their favor.

“It’s been good for everyone to at least be out,” McIntyre said. “It gives a little bit of hope that things might keep going.”

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Local Artists Find A Home At The Gateway Amid Canceled Events