Utah Arts Festival 2018

Join the SLCC Community Writing Center and the Utah Arts Festival for four days packed with fun writing activities for all. From workshops for kids and adults to the Wasatch Iron Pen competition, there’s something for everyone!

Have Your Say! Gigantic Magnetic Poetry Walls

Everyone can be a poet, especially with gigantic magnetic words! Come share your words on the CWC’s magnetic poetry walls.

Write Fest Activities

Stop by the Community Writing Center any time to participate in a variety of fun writing activities. Create a pocket zine, snap a selfie in our photo booth, write a postcard story, check out our new Letter Box Project vending machine — and watch for our storytelling bike throughout the festival grounds!

Wasatch IronPen Literary Marathon and Ultra Marathon

Artists of the written word face off in a 24-hour writing competition. Adult and Youth writers can participate in one of three categories (Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry) or take on the Ultra IronPen challenge and write in all three! Winning writers will receive prizes and have a chance to read their work on the Big Mouth Stage!

Writers of all genres and experience levels can register for the marathon beginning on May 1, 2018 at the Community Writing Center (located at Library Square) or register online here. After receiving the prompt on Friday, June 22 at 5:30 pm, writers will have exactly 24 hours to write. Submissions are due Saturday, June 23 at 5:30 pm. Read the rules and regulations for more details or call the CWC at 801-957-2192.

  • Registration fees: IronPen: $10.00, Ultra IronPen: $15.00
  • Registration closes on Friday, June 22nd at 5:00 pm.
  • Youth and Adult competitions judged separately and anonymously.

Workshops & Events

Thursday, June 21
12:30-1:30

Workshop: Hand Lettering
Join us for an introduction to creative hand lettering. You’ll create a personalized hand-lettered greeting card to send to a loved one or friend.  

2:00 - 3:00 Workshop: Making Comic Books
Comic book artist Paul Guinan and writer Anina Bennett will help you collaborate on a story drawn by Paul, or get started on creating your own comic book. (Come early, as space is limited.)
3:15 - 4:15 Kids Workshop: Stories That Spring to Life: Pop-up Books
Craft a story and make it spring to life in three dimensions with your very own pop-up book. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children.
4:30 - 5:30 Workshop: Food Writing
Food can be as expressive as words. Join us for this workshop, with food tastings, to learn the art of writing about food!
6:30 - 7:30 Youth Open Mic
If you’re 18 or younger and have something to say, take the stage at our youth open mic! Share your art and inspiration! No need to sign up first.
Friday, June 22
12:30-1:30 Workshop: Matchbook Shrines

Is it a book? Is it a shrine? Is it a secret place to tuck away your favorite quote? You decide. In this workshop we’ll find inspiration from Mexican matchbox art to artist books and explore what kind of tiny masterpieces we can create. Guest Artist: Céline Downen

2:00 - 3:00 Workshop: Making Comic Books
Comic book artist Paul Guinan and writer Anina Bennett will help you collaborate on a story drawn by Paul, or get started on creating your own comic book. (Come early, as space is limited.)
3:15 - 4:15 Workshop: Amulets of Hope
Reflect on your hopes and dreams by creating an amulet of hope, a cleverly folded book. Use the book and its message as part of goal-setting or creative activism.   
4:30 - 5:30 IronPen Writing Workshop
This workshop will introduce you to the IronPen writing contest. Learn tips for writing competitively, and discuss elements of our three competition options: fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
5:30 Wasatch IronPen Literary Marathon and Ultramarathon START!
Get to the CWC for submission guidelines and the visual prompt to start writing your 24-hour masterpiece! If you can't make it to the CWC, the visual prompt will be posted on Facebook (@CommunityWritingCenter) and Instagram (@slcc_cwc) at 5:30 pm.
6:30 - 7:30 Community Reading: DiverseCity Writing Series
Join community writers in the CWC's DiverseCity Writing Series as they share writing about what makes us all human.
Saturday, June 23
12:30-1:30 Workshop: Creative Journaling
Make a simple hand-bound book and use it to get started with creative journaling! (Space is limited, so come early.)
2:00 - 3:00 Workshop: Making Comic Books
Comic book artist Paul Guinan and writer Anina Bennett will help you collaborate on a story drawn by Paul, or get started on creating your own comic book. (Come early, as space is limited.)
3:30 - 4:30 Kids Workshop: Blackout Poetry
Create your own poem and a work of art by cutting and erasing words from existing poems and song lyrics. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children.
5:30 Wasatch IronPen Literary Marathon and Ultramarathon ENDS!
All submissions are due by 5:30 pm on Saturday, June 23. Participants can deliver paper copies to the Community Writing Center or can submit online.
Sunday, June 25
12:00 - 2:00 Wasatch IronPen Winners Reading at Big Mouth stage
We’ll announce competition winners and celebrate everyone who participated in the Wastach IronPen and Ultra IronPen! Writers who participated in the 30 Poems in 30 Days competition are also welcome to read.
2:00 - 3:00 Workshop: Making Comic Books
Comic book artist Paul Guinan and writer Anina Bennett will help you collaborate on a story drawn by Paul, or get started on creating your own comic book. (Come early, as space is limited.)
4:00 - 5:30 Workshop: Interactive Fiction
Learn the basics of Twine, a tool for creating interactive fiction. Create a virtual experience that is something like “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” meets video games. No coding experience necessary.
6:30 - 7:30 Open Mic
Calling all musicians, poets, spinner of tales, comedians, and lovers of same. Join us at the Community Writing Center to share your words in any medium.

Guest Artist bios

Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett are a creative couple who’ve been collaborating in print since 1989. Together they created the groundbreaking science fiction comic book Heartbreakers, one of the first comics to feature a team of female action heroes. Their 2005 graphic novel Heartbreakers Meet Boilerplate was nominated for an Eisner Award for Paul’s innovative art.

Anina and Paul's most recent books are illustrated hardcovers that blend historical fiction with science fiction, using a unique mix of narrative techniques. Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel, the biography of a 19th-century robot soldier, dramatizes formative events at the dawn of the 20th century. Frank Reade: Adventures in the Age of Invention is a steampunk historical adventure that re-imagines a vintage dime-novel hero as a real-world inventor, complete with vintage science fiction illustrations. These critically acclaimed volumes have been called “a tour de force” (Publishers Weekly), “utterly enchanting” (F&SF), and “a retrofuturist visual feast” (The Wall Street Journal). Learn more about Paul and Anina at their website.

Céline Downen has a BA in Photography from Columbia College. Having grown up in Salt Lake City until she was 11, she has always considered Utah her home and moved back in 2006 with her husband. She now divides her time between taking care of their two sons and making art.