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The City Journals

Performance and literary arts among the programs expanding through South Jordan

May 08, 2018 01:28PM ● By Keyra Kristoffersen

South Jordan Improv group the Sock Puppets teach workshops in comedy along with their shows at the Gale Center. (Sock Puppets)

By Keyra Kristoffersen | [email protected]

This spring, the South Jordan Arts Council is looking to expand its sights into new venues and media to go along with the Quilt Show and Chalk Art Contest.

"We're just trying to expand the arts here in South Jordan and touch a little bit of all aspects of art, performing art, literary art and visual arts," said South Jordan Arts Council Chairman Heather Smith, who believes that it's time to move further into all available aspects of art.

For the first time, South Jordan will put together a writing conference featuring local writers, editors and publishers to help connect aspiring writers with those who have proven successful in the business. 

"I wanted it to be something that even the very beginning author could feel comfortable going to," said Smith. 

Workshops and classes will be held at the South Jordan Community Center on May 26 in fiction and non-fiction with such writers as Meg Kinghorn, Greg Luke and Charlie Holmberg on topics like suspense, writing about kissing, fleshing out characters, writing personal stories, publishing, polishing and maintaining health and well-being as authors. The Keynote speaker will be Lisa Mangum, author of The Hourglass Door and managing editor at Shadow Mountain Publishing. She has been a part of the publishing industry since 1997.  

"We have all genres covered from romance to horror mystery," said Smith. She feels the Salt Lake Valley is largely underserved in terms of writing conferences that aren't huge projects just to attend. "I wanted another opportunity for writers to attend a quality workshop."

With the success and interest of this conference, Smith hopes to springboard into future writing workshops and classes for anyone interested in building their literary skills. 

"This was a program that we thought was an opportunity to bring in something new, something that was bigger and exciting for a group of residents that we really haven't represented up to this point," said Smith.

Several of the authors will be presenting at the Storytellers Conference later in May and are members of the League of Utah Writers who are helping to promote and help make the South Jordan event a reality.

To register for the SoJo Writer's Conference, visit the writers conference event on the South Jordan City website

After rolling the idea around among the arts council board the last few years, they've opened up the Resident on Display project in March to children ages 5 to 18 for display at the South Jordan Library (10673 South Redwood Road). The pieces, which must be 2D art and already framed, are being hung as the Young Artist in Residence thanks to the space the library has available in their youth and teen section. While it won't be a regular display like the adult exhibits, artist's work will be rotated three to five times throughout the year as the space becomes available. Artists may submit six to eight pieces in media such as charcoal, painting, watercolor and photography.

The annual Chalk Art Contest will be taking place June 2 as part of the first weekend of the SoJo Summerfest taking place at Heritage Park from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is $25 and currently available through

For the end of summer, Smith said they're hoping to organize a Plein Air Festival on the Jordan River, an activity that has a long history of popularity in Utah.

"We're hoping to bring in some big artists for that and have a day of Plein Air painting," said Smith.

The arts council is now sponsoring an Improv Comedy group at the Gale Center called the Sock Puppets. While the group began in Herriman, most of the players are South Jordan residents and will be teaching comedy workshops once a month, in addition to their evening shows. For information about Sock Puppet performances and Improv Workshops, visit the South Jordan website. 

In keeping with the expansion of the performing arts opportunities, South Jordan has partnered with the Missoula Children's Theatre, an acting group that began in 1998, to perform a show the first weekend in May. The company arrives with full sets, lighting and costuming and will audition elementary-age children on Monday, April 30. There will be 50 to 60 children cast, they'll spend the week rehearsing and on Saturday, May 5, perform two shows at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Other communities in Utah have invited them to come and set up performances as well.

"Murray was doing it and contacted me to come," said Smith, "It was just delightful."