by Mariah Mann Mellus
photos by Tami Baum
Kayo Gallery opened seven months ago after a facelift transformed this previous optical center into a sleek contemporary art gallery and studio space. Located at 300 South at 315 East in Salt Lake City, Kayo Gallery sparked new life into this otherwise matured neighborhood. The list of emerging artists who have shown here reads like a who’s who of new artists in Utah. Recent shows include the “Print Exchange” series hosted by Camilla Taylor and August’s graffiti show, curated by local comic book creator and artist Trent Call.
While attending the University of Utah, gallery owner Kenny Richins saw the need for new venues focusing on young artists. His ambition and drive are a welcome addition to the Utah gallery scene. I find it inspiring to see emerging artists getting recognition in a formal gallery setting — especially when the selected media and styles are nontraditional.
The physical space at Kayo Gallery is functional, transitioning from cozy art gallery to lofty installation space. I asked Richins if this particular space was modeled after an art gallery he had seen or admired and he noted that Plus Gallery, which Cordell Taylor owned/operated for a time in Denver Colorado, had a similar look, with exposed brick and long available walls. “The gallery had a great space and the people there where just amazing; to this day I can still count on them when I have questions.”
Questions may well come up for this young entrepreneur as he not only opened one new business, but three: Kayo Gallery, The Frame Shop on 6th avenue and L Street in Salt Lake City, and Art Speak, an art magazine now in its third issue.
From the promoting of local artists via magazines to hosting the show itself and then framing the work afterward, Richins has his hands on all the cards to a successful business. He admits it’s been a lot of work, but he has high hopes and many exciting shows in the future. September brings artists Sri Wipple, Garrett Atkinson, and Brady Ganelle to the gallery and if the past is any inclination, this show will be as brilliant and well executed as the rest.