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South Salt Lake Journal

Bad Dog Arts: a community centered approach to art programs

Feb 23, 2022 07:00PM ● By Addie Hunsaker

After-school outreach program with Salt Lake City School District. (PxHere)

By Addie Hunsaker | [email protected]

Bad Dog Arts is a nonprofit organization that has been around for over 25 years. They operate as a partnership with South Salt Lake and have hosted workshops at venues such as Historic Scott School and the newly remodeled Columbus Center art room.

“We started out with the idea to provide art programming exclusively for underserved children,” said Victoria Lyons, director of Bad Dog Arts. “Our reach has grown way beyond that over the years and now we work with kids beginning at age five, teens, adults of all ages and moving into programming focused on working with seniors.”

Bad Dog Arts collaborates with local artists who work with a variety of mediums and come from diverse backgrounds. The organization is then able to reach out to local schools and provide workshops for the public. Traditionally Bad Dog Arts has also had an after-school program onsite in their studio, but due to the pandemic the schools in the Salt Lake City School District now send requests for an artist to come in and work at the school. Bad Dog Arts then arranges the project.

In the past years they have done things like mural painting with youth, such as the one found at Trolley Square next to Whole Foods. In the upcoming weeks the organization will be working with kindergarteners at Mountain View Elementary. During the spring and summer breaks, Bad Dog Arts also offers camps geared toward students of all ages. The partnership with South Salt Lake, has allowed them to continue holding in-person workshops in larger spaces that people can social distance in.

“Our numbers have to be really limited and part of the beauty of being able to partner with South Salt Lake is their larger spaces and we can teach a good number of people while keeping everybody socially distanced and safe. During the first year of the pandemic, we were almost exclusively virtual…since reopening in-person classes they have been filling up consistently,” Lyons said.

Workshops are tailored primarily to what medium the artist works in and may include painting, drawing or sculpting. Bad Dog Arts also offers workshop series, fully equipped with art supplies, running at $40 for four classes and are free for South Salt Lake residents.

“We have relationships with many different artists who have experience with a lot of different things…and this gives the residents of South Salt Lake opportunities to try a lot of types of media and ways of working with art,” Lyons said.

Their upcoming workshop series will be held Tuesdays in March from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Historic Scott School. Register at The series will be taught by Nicole Lavely who started teaching for Bad Dog during her undergraduate years at the University of Utah with the goal of becoming a high school art teacher. Since accomplishing her goal she has recently come back to Bad Dog to teach during the summer. The upcoming workshop provides participants an opportunity to explore mixed media journaling with other members of the community. Lyons hopes that by participating in art, participants will be able to find relief and an outlet to express themselves in a fun atmosphere where social connections can be made. A list of more upcoming events and information can be found online at