Our Victorian-style cottage was built in 1912 and is located in Poplar Grove just five minutes west of downtown Salt Lake City.
Some of the best features of “this old house” are its beautiful original wood flooring, its high ceilings (with a secret hidden ceiling in the master bedroom) and the large master suite and attached master bathroom, which features original exposed brick, a claw foot tub and a pedestal sink.
It has a wonderfully remodeled two-bedroom, two-bathroom interior and was newly painted a trendy gray with white trim on the exterior. With the open layout of this home, all areas provide large gathering or work spaces, including the huge pantry and kitchen.
The home was remodeled by the previous owners, but we have recently replaced the sewer ejection pump and turned the claw foot tub into a stand up shower. We painted a wall in the kitchen and added grass, flowerbeds, a raised veggie garden box and a fire pit to the back yard. We’ve also removed random cement slabs from the ground.
Resting on one of the largest lots on its street at .25 acres, our home has plenty of room for activities and pets. The property once housed a single-car garage and enclosed chicken coop where we found cardboard sewing patterns built into the walls as insulation. Our research found that the patterns are now worth $200 or more. When the garage and coop had to be torn down due to the hazardous condition they were in, the antique windowpanes and door were salvaged and are currently used as home and yard décor.
Our home will be going up for sale in October of 2018.
We bought our house two years ago because it was about as small, efficient, and easy to work on as you could imagine – a fixer-upper, starter home for a lower-income student/nonprofit-employee couple.
Everything in our house is a little crooked: the windows, the doorways, the floors, maybe a wall or two, so the bar is low when it comes to working on it. We love what it has become: modest, low-stress, cozy, filled with goofy art, easy to heat, cool and maintain.
The house was built in 1905. It is a single-story cottage/bungalow divided into five interconnected rooms with no hallways. The bathroom is basically a closet that connects the kitchen and a second bedroom, and the basement is a partially finished dugout perfect for art projects and bike repair, as well as easy access to plumbing and wiring.
After being home to an elderly woman and her cats for decades, it had been done up as a typical renter/flipper, with cheap carpets and fixtures and discount tile everywhere. The house was inexpensive because it is on a tiny lot with another house shoehorned in behind it, and it needed a new roof.
We immediately got to work, tearing up the carpet and sanding and sealing the old fir, double-layered subfloor in the bedrooms into a warm, deep-finish surface. The tiny bathroom was gutted and subway tiled. We did a skim coat of concrete over the tile in the kitchen, built new cabinets with butcher-block countertops, put up some shelves throughout and laid new hardwood in the living/dining room.
We also built in an accessory gas fireplace to give the place a cozy hearth for Christmas. When we replaced the roof, we put a dozen solar panels on it, which have thus far generated enough electricity to cover our entire annual usage.
With the exception of the solar and the roof, all the work was done by the two of us. We learned, fought, broke things, and generally had a great time. KSL classifieds was our best friend as we scavenged materials and came up with weird solutions, including a claw-foot tub from a farmhouse in Logan, a butcher-block workbench from an octogenarian electrician in Provo, and a chandelier light from a late 1800s bordello in Carson City, Nevada.
We've filled the house with local art, random antiques, and books – as well as two humans and two dogs. It's a never-ending project (don't even get us started on the train-wreck of a yard), but we're happy to call this crooked little place home.
The first time we saw our home, we were seated in our living room over 2,000 miles away in New Jersey. The housing market was so competitive last summer, and we had nearly given up on the idea of homeownership by our scheduled move to Salt Lake City in mid August of 2017.
Then, a search on Zillow turned up the perfect house – a historic home on a beautiful property blocks away from downtown.
Nick, who grew up in Salt Lake City, sent his family to see the listing, and they immediately decided this was our future house. With their help and that of our wonderful realtor, Joan Pate, the house was soon to be ours, sight unseen.
Our small Victorian eclectic home was built around 1886, and every renovation reveals a little bit of history from the past 130 years. Behind the drywall are layers of paint and wallpaper chosen by all the previous homeowners, giving us a glimpse into the many eras it has stood.
A home like this, standing after so long in this city, is not just a testament to its architectural integrity, but the love each person has put into it over the years.
As first-time homeowners, a 132-year-old house is a crash course in home repairs and maintenance. As soon as one repair is made, another pipe begins to leak or an appliance breaks down. It’s truly a labor of love (and mild frustration).
Our favorite feature of this home is the quarter of an acre it sits on. We spent many days this spring building the vegetable garden of our dreams. We used the clay-fired bricks we found scattered and buried around the property for the walkways and built raised beds in a unique and functional design.
It is quite the step up from growing tomatoes and peppers in buckets on the roof of our old one-bedroom apartment just one year ago.
The best part of this home is being able to share it with family and friends. Whether it’s having a barbecue in the backyard with our loved ones or hosting our East Coast friends before a mountain adventure, it’s the perfect gathering space.
We also love exploring our new neighborhood. We bike or run on the Jordan River Parkway almost daily, and we frequent the International Peace Garden to walk our dog and get ideas for our garden. We’ve tasted tacos, tamales and enchiladas from each nearby Mexican restaurant, and it’s too hard to pick a favorite. I think we can officially declare that the west side is the best side in Salt Lake City, and we are grateful to live here.
Artes de México, a local cultural nonprofit, is engaged in artistic and literary activities this month throughout Utah in an effort to promote Mexican art and Spanish language with a poetry and short story contest.
The nonprofit's mission is “to promote the appreciation of Mexican art in Utah,” and their vision is “a community united through cultural appreciation and connection.” Over the years they have organized art classes, traveling exhibitions, and workshops and crafts for all ages.
The organization began in 2010 after founder Susan Vogel, an American, lived several years in Mexico and taught her daughter Spanish. She knew the importance connecting people to their roots. “It’s important for people to know their history,” says Fanny, board chair of Artes de México.
Their new location at Hartland Partnership Center in the Glendale neighborhood will be instrumental in catering to citizens of Mexican descent who live on the west side. “Before our current location, we had a lot of exposure to central and eastern parts of town. It’s good to educate the predominantly white population there, but we also need to educate our own,” says Fanny.
Artes de México is hosting their sixth annual Sor Juana Poetry writing contest. The contest consists of two categories: poetry and short story. It is open to high school students and adults living in Utah. Submissions are to be original and written in Spanish. They are due June 30. More information can be found on their website, artesmexut.org. Winners of each category will win $100 dollars cash prize. Winners will also be announced at the Utah Humanities Book Festival in Salt Lake City this fall. Winning submissions will be published on social media and various local Spanish language newspapers.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (commonly known as Sor Juana) was a nun, scientist, poet, and composer. Most of her writing touches themes on love, religion, and the perversities of males. She is nicknamed “the tenth muse.”
She was born in a village near Mexico City in the second half of the seventeenth century during Mexico’s colonial history. She was a self-taught scholar and rare renaissance figure and prodigy that by age thirteen she hung around authorities in physics, math, musicology, and philosophy.
Much of her later life was devoted to a religious and monastic lifestyle. She sold her scientific equipment and chunks of her library for charitable causes. Her exposure to sick patients caused her to die of the plague in 1695.
Today she is a national figure in Mexico; a highly revered and debated author in Mexico’s literary and intellectual scene; and featured on the 200.00 Mexican peso banknote.
Mexicans and Mexican-Americans living in the United States should be proud of their rich literary tradition from Mexico that is often understated by the English-speaking world. Often, people of Mexican descent living on the west side are clueless about the poets, authors, artists, and filmmakers of their country of origin . Artes de México is playing an important role in fostering both pride and awareness of some of Mexico’s remarkable contributions to the world.
Organización local de artes mexicanas promueve la lengua española y las contribuciones literarias y culturales mexicanas
Escrito y traducido por Atticus Agustin
Artes de México es una organización sin fin de lucro cultural está comprometido en actividades de artes literarias este mes durante todo Utah en una lucha en promover las artes mexicanas y la idioma española con un concurso de poesía y cuento corto.
La lema de la organización es “Promover la apreciación de las artes mexicanas en Utah. Nuestra visión es una comunidad unida entre una apreciación cultural y coneccion. sobre los años han manejado cursos de arte, exhibiciones, talleres y artesanías para todos los edades.
La organización comenzó cuando la fundadora Susan Voguel, una estadounidense, vivió varios años en México y enseñó a su hija español. Ella sabía la importancia de conectar gente a sus raíces. “Es importante que la gente sepa de su historia”, dice Fanny, presidenta de la mesa directiva de Artes de México.
Su una ubicación en Hartland Partnership Center será instrumental en abastecer con ciudadanos de ascendencia mexicana who viven en las áreas occidentales. “Antes de nuestra ubicación actual, teníamos mucha exposición en áreas centrales y orientales. Es bueno educar la predominantemente gente blanca [anglosajón] de esas áreas, pero debemos educar a nuestra propia gente”, dice Fanny.
Artes de México organizará el sexto anual Sor Juana Poetry Writing Contest. El concurso consiste de dos categorías: poesía y corta historia. Está abierta para los estudiantes de preparatoria y adultos viviendo en Salt Lake City. Entradas deben ser escritas ser original y escritas en español. Entradas deberán ser entregados el 30 de junio. Más información se puede encontrar en artesmexut.org. Ganadores serán premiados cien dólares y también serán anunciados en la feria de libros Utah Humanities Book Festival en Salt Lake City este otoño. Entradas ganadoras también serán publicadas en redes sociales y varios periódicos locales de lengua española.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (comúnmente Sor Juana) fue una monja, scientifica, poeta, y compositora. Ella escribió durante el siglo de oro de literatura española y durante el barroco tardío. Muchos de sus poemas tocan temas de amor, religión, y las perversidades de los hombres. Ella es apodada “La décima musa”.
Sor Juana nació en un pueblo cercas de la Ciudad de México en el segundo medio del siglo XVII. Fue una catedrática de auto formación y una figura rara renacentista y prodigio que a los trece años se reunía con autoridades en la física, matemáticas, música, y filosofía.
Mucha de su vida fue dedicada a una vida religiosa y monástica. Vendió su equipaje científicos y cantidades de su biblioteca para causas caritativos. Su exposición a pacientes enfermos hizo que contagia la plaga, murió en 1695.
Hoy, ella es una figura nacional en México; una autora altamente alabada y debatida en círculos literarios e intelectuales en México; y es mostrada en el billete de 200.00 pesos.
Mexicanos y Mexicanos-Americanos residiendo en Estados Unidos–en particular los barrios occidentales–son claramente orgullosos de la rica tradición literaria de México que es a menudo subestimada en el mundo parla-inglés. Muchas veces, se ve que mexicanos en el exterior y connacionales no tienen idea sobre los poetas, autores, artistas, y realizadores de su país de origen frente un vaivén educativo y cultural anglosajón. Artes de México juega un rol importante en estimular tal orgullo y conocimiento.
Megan Hallett started her nonprofit, Framework Arts, in 2014 as a “projects-based nonprofit” to “show other people’s stories.” She focuses her efforts on the west side of Salt Lake City because, as she puts it, “Not all arts and culture organizations have worked as hard as they could have on the west side.”
Hallett has no staff and enjoys the flexibility she can maintain with a small-scale operation. Flexibility must be part of the reason this former coordinator of the Children and Family Program for the Utah Museum of Fine Arts is thriving as a teacher of elementary school children, a teacher of art teachers pursuing master’s degrees at the University of Utah, and an organizer of multiple family-focused art projects to benefit her own school and the wider community.
Hallett works full-time as the K-6 art teacher at Escalante Elementary School in Westpointe and loves her job. She interacts with every child in the school, and after seven years in the same school, she has developed strong bonds with many of the children. Through Framework Arts, Hallett has become more than a school-day presence in the lives of many of her students. She has shaped a project – the Family Art Studio – to address her special take on the needs of her west-side school.
Parental involvement in a child's school life is recognized as a strong contributor to academic success, explains Hallett, and because the west side of Salt Lake City has a concentration of the common barriers to that engagement, such as language and time constraints, many parents may feel a sense of alienation. Perhaps others feel awkward because they have had limited or negative school experiences themselves. Over the past three years the Family Arts Project has welcomed all interested members of an Escalante Elementary household to attend a series of six to eight two-hour evening meetings once a week.
Dinner is served to a mix of generations, and arrangements are made in advance for interpreters to attend as needed. (Sometimes it is necessary to use grant money to pay an interpreter, but often, a PTA parent will volunteer.) Each series averages about 30 people per night. Provisions are also made to accommodate very small children.
Typically, a family is asked to create a “picture portrait without a person in the portrait.” Family groups work together at Escalante to create 'books' of art in which each week a page answers a given question related to the family in the form of an illustration. Using a theme as a prompt, the picture answers are created as family members interview each other. Working in a school setting is important – barriers are worn away as everyone feels welcome.
Hallett wants more than art appreciation for families at Escalante. Yet, that is part of the package. The evenings begin with Hallett’s presentation of visual art that fits her project theme. Recent topics have been “Movement and Immigration” and “Identity.” The purpose of the presentation is to broaden understanding – copying is discouraged. As the teacher says, “That’s not the way I’m interested in teaching,” because it is a “disservice to reproduce someone else’s work.”
The projects have led to “beautiful artwork,” says Hallett. The results have not only delighted the teacher, but prompted Escalante administrators to support efforts to invite families from other elementary schools in the area to participate.
The Family Art Project is the main, but not the sole project of Framework Arts. As a non-profit, Framework Arts has also funded and presented art and craft projects at the Day Riverside Library and the Sorenson Unity Center, and the Main Salt Lake City Library in downtown Salt Lake.
“Every day I drive to work, I see this mural and it makes me happy.” That was the best compliment Salt Lake City artist Josh Scheuerman received while painting his Bears Ears mural, located in the Granary District on 800 South between 300 West and 400 West. “When I was painting, I had a lot of citizens stop by and talk about how the mural was changing the feeling of the bleakness into something more beautiful,” Scheuerman said. “I believe it'll bring more community feeling into the area and help brighten the once industrial area into a center open-air gallery for the city.”
A multitude of messages and meaning can be conveyed within the frame of a mural. Murals can sprawl from religious to social to personal to communal. In his 1976 academic journal [ITALICS]Tiene Arte Valor Afuera Del Barrio: Murals of East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights, Louis Holscher, who studied the significance of Chicano murals in Latin American communities, stated: “murals are newspapers on walls, and a wealth of information is contained in them. They can be valuable to educators, politicians, sociologists, political scientists, architects, and planners.” As a canvas for expression, murals provide the unique opportunity for an entire community to come together to articulate common concerns, hopes, and values.
Right now, the Granary District is aiming to do just that. In a project put forth by the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, grants are being provided to local artists to “create artwork that contributes to the beautification, diversification, and economic vitality of the historic Granary District.” As the Granary District changes and develops, local businesses housed within the Granary District boundaries hold on tighter to preserve the historical significance of the area. Once an area of factory and commercial development around the railroad, the Granary has now become a rich community of warehouses and industrial spaces inhabited by artists, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, and other locals hoping to take grass-roots control of how the area develops. “The Granary Murals will contribute to a new version of the city, which is showing support for local artists and businesses to create more art for the public to enjoy,” Scheuerman said.
Murals incite energy into a community space. They ask to be seen and to be heard. “Art has always been and always will be the most important communicator in the world. It transcends language and time,” said Scheuerman. Mural work can represent much more than a community’s effort to find artistic expression - it can provide an opportunity for critical examination of what’s going on in our city. Murals may be unique to a neighborhood, but when you track murals in Salt Lake City from building to building it begins to paint a bigger picture about issues our city considers to be important. “I believe the Bears Ears Mural, and similar large murals, started a conversation unknowingly with cities across Utah,” Scheurman explained “At the time [of painting the mural] we had just lost Outdoor Retailers due to the threat of downsizing Bears Ears National Monument and I wanted to remind everyone why it was important to keep protected.”
The use of murals to preserve the Granary District is significant. Murals create pride in the neighborhood. They offer a window into a town’s history and interweaves it with our present reality. In a time of gentrification of the west side, the Granary District provides Salt Lake the opportunity simultaneously to step back in time and look forward to the future - a future decided by locals looking to protect what makes Salt Lake City unique. “Murals revive communities and share a combined language. Art has healing power and it has shown us for thousands of years that we can create beautiful and inspiring works of art, which don't have to be protected under glass,” said Scheuerman.
Grants for the Granary Mural Project are currently being awarded to selected artists and murals are expected to start going up in the neighborhood in June.
Salt Lake City is home to a vibrant jazz music culture
Jazz emerged as a form of popular music 100 years ago, and achieved a high peak of popularity by 1945, when twenty-three-year-old Joe McQueen arrived in Ogden with his tenor saxophone. McQueen soon started leading his own jazz group and accompanying nationally known jazz stars who travelled by train to Utah in the days when Ogden boasted the largest community of African Americans in the state.
Jazz records moved up and down the charts over time, but the music evolved to rival classical in the skill of its players and innovations of its composers.
Today, Utah’s colleges employ top-notch, distinguished jazz musicians, such as Chris Johnson, Director of Jazz Studies at the U of U, who are fueling a resurgence of live jazz along the Wasatch Front, supported by audiences of vastly different ages.
Last summer, 8,000 twenty-somethings heard Kamasi Washington play from his award-winning jazz album, “The Epic” at the Twilight Concert Series, while audiences the same age and older attended two other Jazz shows the same night. Almost two dozen venues across the Wasatch Front present Jazz regularly or occasionally throughout the year, including the west side’s Sugar Space.
The Garage on Beck, near the west side’s northern tip at 1199 Beck St, has featured Jazz on Thursday nights since 2011, beginning with fine local musicians Mark Chaney on drums, Harold Carr on bass, and the late guitarist Keven Johansen. “[Johansen] was one of the finest musicians ever to come out of Salt Lake,” said Chaney, “Everyone’s favorite sideman!”
“We played three Thursdays every month,” he said, “and built up a friendly Jazz crowd that wasn’t there [at the Garage] before.”
The Garage devoted the first Thursday of every month to the Joe McQueen Quartet over those same years, with ace musicians Don Keipp from Weber State University, Brad Wright of Ogden, and Ryan Conger, music teacher at Fast Forward Charter High School in Logan.
“The Joe McQueen Quartet solidified at the Garage,” said keyboardist Conger, “We had been gigging around, but playing at a regular location allowed us to really develop.” Noted local musicians such as “Bad” Brad Wheeler, Keven Johansen, and Jay Lawrence sat in with the band.
Conger described his relationship with McQueen as “learning life lessons all the time.” “There is this grandfatherly feeling; he is a strong male role model. Working with him is being a part of a bigger thing. Besides his history in music, he was part of the Desegregation Movement, and so much more. ”
McQueen’s active role against racial segregation is documented in the book “Jazz & Cocktails: Rethinking Race and the Sound of Film Noir” by Jans Wager, plus films by the Ogden Standard-Examiner and Issac Goeckeritz about Ogden’s 25th Street and the Porters and Waiters Club.
Excellence in the Community concert series celebrated McQueen’s 99th birthday at the Gallivan Center in Downtown Salt Lake City in May. There was cake for everyone, and his multi-generational quartet performed skillful, nuanced arrangements of standards like “Willow Weep for Me,” and McQueen’s own tune “The Thing.”
Jazz disk jockey Steve Williams of KCPW 88.3 FM, who has been on Salt Lake Radio since 1979, was “really excited” to be MC at the concert. “Joe McQueen is such a great man,” said Williams, “For me, anytime I can be with Joe is a treat – anytime you get a fellow around who has the credentials he does. He’s an innovator and a motivator for all of us guys.”
Williams is also a regular MC for Jazz concerts at the historic Capitol Theater presented by JazzSLC, which Gordon Hanks started twenty-four years ago, with influential jazz DJ Wes Bowen as announcer at first.
Williams has been on the Excellence in the Community team since 2005, an organization that has promoted over 400 concerts by the best musicians in Utah.
“Excellence” teamed up with the Gallivan Center in 2011, and now produces free concerts every week there throughout the year, in addition to other free concert venues. “We may only have a few celebrities in Utah, but we have lots of excellence,” said Excellence in the Community Founder Jeff Whitely.
That excellence includes McQueen. “We made an album a few years ago,” said Conger, “but Joe’s playing so well right now that we are recording another one called “9 by 99,” which we will release this autumn.”
“The Lord has blessed me with a long life,” McQueen tells the audiences at his shows, “and I hope he blesses everybody just as much!”
Salt Lake City’s Glendale community is booming with musical experiences this summer. Immerse yourself (or your kids) in music with a creative Bucket Percussion Drum Circle – a music workshop hosted at the Glendale Library with the “Strike a Chord” Library summer program, vibe with classical guitar workshops at the Sorenson Unity Center, or check out the Saturday group piano classes at Sorenson Center’s Harmony Hub – all free of charge and brought to you in part by a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit called Mundi Project.
Mundi Project is one of a handful of organizations that bring music, art and culture to underserved communities through creative, hands-on musical initiatives. Hana Janatova founded Mundi Project in 2006 with the vision of increasing access to pianos, because she believes that “every child deserves the opportunity to have music in their lives.” Mundi contracts with artists and teachers to bring music programming into the community. Their Piano Bank program even puts pianos into public spaces (Glendale Library and Sorenson Unity Center) and individual piano students’ homes.
Bringing together a vision that has been embraced by community, Mundi Project brings performances to the Sorenson Unity Center that showcase the results of workshops that help students connect with classical music. In 2017, Mundi Project joined forces with Utah Classical Guitar to offer youth and adult guitar ensemble instruction. Janatova feels that the partnership is giving musical life to the Sorenson Unity Center.
I recently participated in guitar classes taught by Gabino Flores at the Sorenson Unity Center’s “Harmony Hub” space – a product of the Mundi Project /Sorenson Unity Center partnership. During the first session I sat and listened to Gabino and his students as he animatedly taught them proper technique and theory for classical guitar. Gabino then separated the classroom into two groups – one for people with no knowledge of guitar that Gabino would teach, and another for the more advanced classes taught by Gabino’s student, Rebecca. who after only three years of study, has advanced quickly into her musical craft by being extremely disciplined.
When I came back for a second time, the students introduced themselves and welcomed me kindly. Gabino then taught the proper technique of holding a guitar and how to keep my hand naturally parallel and flat against the neck of the guitar. He listened to another student and gave constructive feedback that I felt the student received really well. We then got up and went into a nearby black box theater, where a Harmony Hub student recital was going on. We listened to performances by Riley Elementary guitar and piano students. Pieces, such as 007 Theme music and Malagueña were performed by the students. Students, teachers, and community members listened supportively.
The west side community of Glendale is tapping into its musical talent in part because of arts programming provided by Mundi Project, in partnership with the Salt Lake City School District, Utah Classical Guitar, and Salt Lake City’s Division of Youth and Family Services.
I have been working at the Glendale Library for a little over a year now, and I have found the vast majority of community members to be musically gifted. I believe it is no coincidence that many of the youth can play “Heart and Soul” on Mundi’s Piano Bank piano; music seems to be a staple, feeding the soul of the community.