As coronavirus hit the world, the arts scene around the globe changed rapidly. With in-person activities closing suddenly to keep the population safe, artists and art organizations around the globe were forced to pivot and find new ways to showcase art to the public. In Salt Lake City, nonprofit organization Craft Lake City is moving their artisan craft workshops online to continue bringing art to the community.
Formed in 2009 by Angela H. Brown, Executive Editor and Publisher of SLUG Magazine, Craft Lake City was created with a mission to “educate, promote and inspire local artisans while elevating the creative culture of the Utah arts community through science, technology and art.” The organization began through SLUG Magazine, holding its first DIY Festival as an event for the magazine. After the event, Brown saw the potential and ability for Craft Salt Lake to become its own organization. The two officially separated, and Craft Lake City has blossomed over the years as its own organization, continuing to hold annual DIY festivals and launching various artisan workshops.
Now, Craft Lake City is venturing into the realm of virtual workshops to keep art and creation alive in Utah during these uncertain times. “It’s actually been a kind of cool opportunity because probably about four or five years ago, we had the idea to take workshops online,” said Brown. “We really saw taking online workshops as a way to broaden our legs and execute our mission.”
The online workshops offer various craft projects, geared to support a variety of skills, from beginner to advanced.
The workshops are taught by local artists through pre-recorded videos uploaded onto Craft Lake City’s website, accessible through a fee. Brown says they went back and forth, debating on whether to host live, join-in style classes, before deciding against it. “We want to use this as an opportunity to create long-term programming, and if we could film content that could still be relevant now, and once we’re able to get together in person again, we felt that would serve us better,” said Brown. “You can create in the morning, at 2 p.m., by yourself, or you can team up with another friend and create by watching the workshop together.”
These online artisan workshops are geared more toward the young adult to adult art community. For children grades three through five, Craft Lake City is offering six free science, technology, engineering and math workshops, partnering with Google Fiber and Action Center to produce them. “Since school has been canceled for the rest of the year, for elementary educators, specifically Title One schools, these workshops help get out their state STEM curriculum needs in a fun and compelling manner,” said Brown. The STEM workshops will be released to the school systems first, then a week later, posted to Craft Lake City for free access. “We know it’s a stressor on teachers to all of the sudden learn how to teach in a different way,” said Brown. “Again, the opportunity here forced us to think creatively, reach out to some of our partners and think about how we could help the community.”
For additional information on the online workshops, pricing, STEM workshops and the annual DIY festival visit Craft Lake City’s website.