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Rising Stars: Meet Roxanne Gray

Today we’d like to introduce you to Roxanne Gray.

Hi Roxanne, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
801 Salon was co-founded by myself and Stephen Lundquist of Vis —an optical shop with a focus on niche, independent designers. As a choreographer and dance artist, myself, I know that one of the biggest barriers for artists is space.

At 801 Salon our mission is to create that space for artists to showcase their work and connect with the Salt Lake arts community. I knew that I wanted to create a platform for artists that would be sustainable and affordable, while still giving them the visibility and professionalism that they deserved. I also wanted to prove that art does not always need to exist in a professional gallery or on a polished stage.

I was interested in making art more accessible, approachable, and attainable for artists and patrons. At 801 Salon, we do not charge admission, we do not take a commission from sales, and we do not charge fees for use of the space. We offer the space as a vessel to be filled, and we ask that patrons support the artists through their presence, and possibly their purchases and donations.

When Stephen designed his space at Vis he worked to make the space beautiful and accessible, with the idea that it might be a place where the community could come together. Stephen and I have been good friends for years, so we soon discovered that we were on the same wavelength and worked to hatch a plan for the Fall 0f 2021.

Within a few weeks, we scored our first curated show with Andrew Alba, in collaboration with Modern West Fine Arts. We had an outstanding turnout for that first show, and everything has really taken off from there.

801 Salon holds monthly, curated events at Vis., featuring artists of all mediums—everything from visual art, to music groups, to choreographers. Every month is different, and it’s amazing to see how each artist takes the space and makes it their own. We have held 8 shows since we started, and are booked out through next Fall.

We are always looking to feature both emerging and established artists and work hard to bring in diverse programming.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Producing events can always have its struggles, of course. Things can go wrong, something can break, or timelines can be short. But, we are lucky to have had a good run, so far.

The artists that we have worked with are always professional creatives, who are excited to bring their work into the space, just as we are excited to bring their shows to life.

In the future, we are hoping to gain funding through arts grants in order to support the Salon and keep it a sustainable part of our arts community.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I have my fingers in many pots, as some would say. I have a BA in Dance, and I am currently a candidate for the Modern Dance MFA at the University of Utah.

I have spent the last decade of my career creating and producing dance work independently in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now in Salt Lake City, where I moved a little over a year ago. Most recently, I have choreographed and directed a couple of dance films, one of which was featured at the Utah Dance Film Festival in 2021.

But, I also have experience in event production, marketing, and merchandising. I worked for an experiential marking company in NYC, TH Productions, to produce pop-up events around Manhattan. I also currently work as the Merchandising Manager at Mochi Kids, a modern children’s boutique at 9th and 9th.

I think the thing that sets me apart from others, in regards to the Salon, is that I am able to curate our events with my background as an artist myself. I feel that I can better serve the artists that we work with, knowing what the obstacles are, knowing how creatives work, and knowing what they want.

My job is to help bring their vision to life, and I feel suited to rise to the occasion.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Come to 801 Salon! Another part of our mission at the Salon is to build community. I have enjoyed seeing people come together at our events, network, make connections, and even find jobs. I have witnessed creatives literally finding just the person they need for an upcoming project.

It is a great, casual environment to meet people who are working in all mediums of art if you are hoping to collaborate. And, it’s an awesome space to meet someone that you have been following or have looked up to, where you can engage in conversation over a glass of wine. Being new to the Salt Lake art scene, I have met so many people through our events, and they have really helped me tap into the art community.

Also, don’t be afraid to reach out. A cold call might sound daunting, but in my experience, most creatives are more than happy to chat. My best and most valuable tool since starting the Salon has been “meeting for coffee.”

I have found that almost anybody is willing to meet for coffee, and these coffee dates have been where much of my learning, networking, and community building has happened!

Contact Info:

  • Email: 801salonslc@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @801.salon

Image Credits
Sam Gray and Mario of @alcouter.photo

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1 Comment

  1. Steve

    May 11, 2022 at 6:02 pm

    This is what every community needs. How exciting!

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