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It took bold vision to turn Ogden’s notorious “Two Bit Street” from a dark, dangerous place to the vibrant center of arts, retail, dining and entertainment it is today. That same kind of vision now has its sights set on the area between there and the Eccles Art Center.
Ogden planners, including Ogden City Arts and private organizers want to stretch the arts district up 25th street to Jefferson. They have received NEA grant funding to invest in the expanded arts corridor. The first step in this new vision was just taken by arts-focused nonprofit Ogden First with the September 2 opening of PLATFORMS, on the NW corner of 25th and Adams.
PLATFORMS consists of eight concrete slabs that will be used as an outdoor venue to showcase a wide variety of arts installations and performances: poetry, music, dance, sculpture, paintings and more. While PLATFORMS has programming in place through November, the hope is for organizations, individual artists, and the community in general to participate and contribute to future installments during the next 16-24 months.
There is plenty of “blank canvas” potential in the area. Except for the Ben Lomond Hotel and the office building across the street, most of the sloped block between Washington and Adams is taken up by either vacant lots or long-shuttered businesses. Scott Patria, of Ogden First, hopes PLATFORMS will become “a significant node in the expansion efforts.” He predicts that it will play an important part in “catalyzing more arts interventions” in Ogden.
While the pads are in place now, future additions will include power, lighting, and “just about anything” to support the installations. Patria envisions features like tents, walls, and bleachers as a part of the ever-changing monthly installations.
For September, PLATFORMS is hosting an installation critiquing the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle. “We The People” are encouraged to participate by recording our views on the current U.S. political climate. Each platform solicits viewers’ input via chalk responses to questions posed.
Upcoming installations will be in conjunction with Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll and will include a sculpture exhibit and an opportunity for community members to try their hands at throwing pots (in conjunction with the O-Town Throwdown).
Patria is excited about the early response to PLATFORMS. He cites a visitor to the opening, a dance troupe director, who immediately began envisioning how she could choreograph a performance to take advantage of the unique features of the venue.
Organizers are actively seeking volunteers and exhibition and performance proposals for spring 2017. Interested parties should contact Scott Patria at firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also learn more about what will unfold with PLATFORMS on the Ogden First page on Facebook.
Steve Coray has a background in photojournalism and now runs his own business providing creative, affordable event and portrait photography to clients all along the Wasatch Front and beyond.