Alternative Venues | Visual Arts

Beans & Brews Downtown

photos by Fabiola Labra


David Letterman once said if it weren’t for all the coffee he drank, he’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever. When your identity depends on the coffee you drink, coffee suddenly means more than a simple jump-start to your system – and where you get your coffee becomes just as personal as how you take it.

Coffee shops depend on atmosphere and personality to set them apart from each other. Beans and Brews, with 18 locations from American Fork to Salt Lake City, wants to create a warm, relaxing setting that invites the community it serves to spend time over a cup of coffee, whether it’s for a business meeting or a casual gathering.

The company takes great pride in being part of the neighborhoods they feel privileged to serve, so when the Salt Lake City downtown Beans and Brews (268 S. State) opened in February 2008, they wanted to fit into that unique community. “The attraction to the downtown area included the art district,” says Natalie Kaddas, owner of Beans and Brews. “I feel it is fitting to have a locally owned coffee shop, displaying local art.” The location has been hanging local artwork as part of the Gallery Stroll for a year now. It’s a perfect place to end your stroll (coffee shops tend to stay open later than galleries) and discuss the artwork you saw that night.

Displaying art adds a new dimension to how the coffe shop relates to its customers. “Our regular customers are very excited each month to see the change of the artwork; they have also purchased many different pieces,” says Kaddas, “It is fun to learn about our customers’ different perspectives and critiques of the work. It gives our coffee shop an opportunity to build stronger relationships with our customers.”

Beans and Brews has a professional installation system throughout the store, where they can hang as many as 30 pieces of art. They’ve shown abstract photographers, watercolors, acrylics and more. One of the unique and exciting things about viewing artwork in alternative venues like coffee shops is you often get to see some young, up-and-coming artists with a fresh perspective. Kaddas explains, “Several of the artists we have displayed in the past, [this has been] their first exclusive engagements. It is very rewarding to be able to provide a positive atmosphere to show their artwork.”

The art is a perfect complement to the quality service and coffee served at Beans and Brews. They roast their coffee locally at 4,000 feet above sea level, which results in a fresh, smooth intensity unmatched from coffees roasted at lower altitudes.

For the September Gallery Stroll Beans and Brews is proud to feature local artist Rosanne Blue, whose unique style includes a range from farm fields to fantasy paintings. If you’re interested in showing your work at the downtown Beans and brews, email Natalieand be prepared to come into the shop and submit some samples of your work.

Laura Durham works for KUED Channel-7 in the Creative Services Department, curating community engagement projects for both PBS and KUED productions that foster trust and value to the communities in Utah. She also produces Contact with Mary Dickson and Contact in the Community — a digital series featuring arts and culture groups in Utah. Prior to her work at KUED, Laura spent 15 years at the Utah Division of Arts & Museums in the visual arts program and later managing communications, branding, marketing, and public value projects for all arts and museums programming. She has served the Utah community in various capacities with her role as Vice President of the Salt Lake Gallery Association and Program Director for the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll. She lives in Salt Lake City, sings with Utah Chamber Artists, and loves to contribute to 15 Bytes as often as time allows.

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