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South Salt Lake Journal

South Salt Lake’s creative zone is becoming a go-to destination

Nov 09, 2021 12:40PM ● By Bill Hardesty

People enjoy food, drink and crafts at the third annual Craftoberfest held in the Creative Industries Zone. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

On a chilly Saturday afternoon, the South Salt Lake Arts Council held the third annual Craftoberfest in the new Creative Industries Zone Oct. 9. 


Senior Way between West Temple and Main Street was closed for the event. 

“The attendance exceeded our expectations,” said Lesly Allen, the executive arts director.

The SSL Arts Council started Craftoberfest to highlight the growing number of breweries and distilleries in South Salt Lake. But it became apparent that creative businesses needed to be showcased as well.

“Craftoberfest is fun because it is a local event, unlike any event SSL has done before,” Allen said. “It’s low-key, anyone is welcome, and it’s free. People can come and discover many of the amazing creative businesses in SSL. They can see beautiful art, get to know the Creative Industries Zone better, meet new people and engage with others in Salt Lake County’s new up-and-coming neighborhood as in ‘you knew it was the cool place to be before everyone else knew it was.’”

The Arts Council held a silent auction for handpainted kegs by local artists.

“Craftoberfest was a great success this year—it’s always nice to see our neighbors turn out and support the Creative Industries Zone,” said Erik Ostling of Beehive Distilling.

Creative Industries Zone

While the Creative Industries Zone (CIZ) is not an official zone, it is rapidly becoming a destination for businesses, artists and people across the valley. The work on the CIZ started in 2017.

“The city has worked for over a decade to foster a new downtown, emphasizing new housing and office space in a transit-oriented zone that was once an industrial area,” Sharen Hauri, director  of Department of Neighbors, said. “However, while making its plans and going community and business outreach, it discovered a vibrant economy of small businesses, craftsman, and creative industries had started to move into many of the older warehouses and were giving the neighborhood a funky, fun character.” 

The SSL Arts Council saw an opportunity to support the creative people who were making the area unique. 

“Thus, the Creative Industries Zone was born,” Hauri said. “The focus is a little different—on the people, goods, services and activities that make this a destination.”

The CIZ is built around South Salt Lake’s iconic water tower (195 W. Oakland Ave.) named Horton. The CIZ is generally from 2100 South to Mill Creek (3000 South) and between State Street and the Central Point TRAX station mostly along West Temple. In addition, The Zone, as CIZ is often referred to, includes the growing downtown area. 

“The downtown construction is bringing more people to live and work in this neighborhood and enjoy everything The Zone has to offer,” Hauri said.

“Our city is building a culture of creativity,” Mayor Cherie Wood said. “There are so many businesses already thriving in and around our downtown and water tower. We are bringing them together to help us create a reputation for creative industries and to help us better understand how we can support artists and creatives in South Salt Lake.” 

The Zone is home to 35 murals painted during the spring’s annual mural fest. In addition, there are three distilleries and four breweries. There are 50-plus creative businesses in the CIZ.

“One of the main goals for the Arts Council is to support local art and artists (which includes anyone doing anything creative) and engage our community with and through interactions with these artists and businesses,” Allen said. “The Zone is a way to unite our creative community and create/produce events and projects that do all of this. In addition, we wanted to identify and brand the area so locals and visitors would be able to identify the area, enjoy all it has to offer, and provide marketing, networking, and event/program support to the creative businesses in the CIZ.”

The Arts Council has “also heard a lot about what would make it better—everything from public art to park space and a skate park and housing and studio space that served artists.”

The CIZ became possible as the city changed its alcohol zoning, which allowed unique businesses to grow in the area.

“The city has plans to continue updating zoning to make it possible for more restaurants, shops, and nightlife spots to locate here,” Hauri said.

The city is installing new public art as street sign toppers. In addition, a new logo is in use, and an app is available for both iOS and Android called Creative Industries Zone. 

“We hope the development of both the Downtown and the CIZ build on each other to create one of the most lively, innovative, and connected neighborhoods in the valley,” Hauri said. “We think we are already well on our way.” 

“Our creative community is organically growing, and businesses are enjoying being part of this evolving neighborhood. People are coming to the neighborhood to try all the different breweries and distilleries and see the murals created by Mural Fest, and at the same time, are discovering the other creative businesses,” Allen said. “The events that take place each year in the CIZ, Mural Fest and Craftoberfest, are bringing a great deal of attention to the neighborhood and these local businesses. Businesses moving into the area are establishing themselves in the coolest new neighborhood around.”