Nestled in northern Utah’s Cache Valley, the vibrant city of Logan is consistently named among the best places in the state to live. It’s known as a great place to raise a family or pursue an education, and its gorgeous natural surroundings make it an alluring destination for outdoor recreation—all just 80 miles from Salt Lake City. One of Logan’s most colorful facets, though, is its lively arts scene, which has earned it the nickname "Utah’s Heart of the Arts."
Performing arts have been a major part of the Logan community throughout its history. More than 150 years ago, as the town was being built, a theater was among the first buildings Mormon pioneer Brigham Young instructed settlers to prioritize. The Thatcher Opera House burned down in 1912, and Logan was quick to replace it, putting up the Caine Lyric Theatre the following year. The Capitol Theatre went up a decade later, and the Utah Theater was built in 1924.
The town has continued to update and reinvigorate its historic theaters in the intervening years, and, in the summer of 2017, even designated the block containing those three buildings a Historic Theatre District. Between those three theatres, a thriving arts program at Utah State University, and music and visual art throughout the town, Logan is home to a dynamic arts scene. Cultural events are held throughout the year, so whenever you’re visiting the Cache Valley, you’re in for a healthy dose of the arts.
Lyric Repertory Company’s 50th Anniversary
Utah State University’s Caine College of the Arts celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017, and as such, the 2017-18 academic year has been designated the Year of the Arts. To mark the year-long milestone, USU will host a gala with Tony Award Winner Kelli O’Hara October 18, 2017. The Chase Fine Arts Center will continue to host live music and theatre performances throughout its 50th year, including exhibitions by musical, performing, and visual visiting artists to the university.
Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre’s 26th Anniversary
Logan’s 1923 Capitol Theatre served as the city’s primary performing arts venue for decades until it fell into disrepair. The building’s beautiful neoclassical architecture was restored and it reopened in 1993 as the Ellen Eccles Theatre of the Cache Valley Center for the Arts. It features an array of performing arts events year-round, but its most notable tenant is Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, now in its 26th year. The company brings artists from across the nation to put on four Mainstage productions, classes, tours, concerts--more than 130 presentations each summer from late June through early August. ## Summerfest Arts Faire There’s something for everyone at the Summerfest Arts Faire, held the Thursday-Saturday of Father’s Day weekend each June on the shady grounds of the Logan Tabernacle, a great example of early Mormon pioneer architecture. It’s been standing on Main Street since 1891. Summerfest Arts Faire features 150 artists—specializing in a huge range of media, including painting, sculpture, fiber arts, pottery, and photography—from all over the country. Admission is free, and visitors can check out a variety of bands and excellent food vendors, too. ## Seasonal Shows at Cache Valley Civic Ballet
Formed in 1982, the Cache Valley Civic Ballet features both a professional company and a school of ballet, founded in 1986, where community members of all ages and ability levels can learn the art of classical ballet. Get in the seasonal spirit by catching a performance of the classic Dracula, a crowd favorite put on at the end of October, or kick off the Christmas season by taking in The Nutcracker, a beloved family tradition the company performs at the end of November at the Ellen Eccles Theatre.
The Block Film & Art Festival
Filmmaking is alive and well in Logan. It’s home to the Northern Utah Film Commission, an excellent resource for local filmmakers, and the town hosts The Block Film & Art Festival in early October. The event is Logan’s premiere film festival and includes more than 50 film screenings, 30 art installations and shows, and more than 40 live music events, plus a variety of educational panels and a robotics competition. Screenings take place in several venues throughout Logan, including the newly designated Historic Theatre District.
Canyon Jams Concert Series
Nestled just east of town in scenic Logan Canyon, the Stokes Nature Center is a hub of cultural and educational opportunities. The nature center offers classes for both kids and adults, and in the summer and fall, hosts a series of eight Canyon Jams concerts. Listeners are invited to picnic by the river as they listen to the incredible lineup of bands, all in the fresh mountain air of the Northern Wasatch. At $10 for general admission, tickets are affordable, and music aficionados can even purchase discounted season tickets to see all eight shows.
Written by Emma Walker for RootsRated in partnership with Utah Office of Tourism.