Salt Lake Gallery Stroll Spotlight: Mod a-go-go

Story and photos by PEYTON M. DALLEY

Clear pane windows line the walls and the smell of old furniture fills the room. In the background, a smooth-jazz album spins on the record player.

Welcome to Mod a-go-go, at 242 E. South Temple in Salt Lake City,  and step into the scene of the iconic sitcom “Mad Men.” Jon Hamm’s character, Don Draper, would not be disappointed. With local artwork on the walls as well as a compilation of old-school furniture, this store-turned-gallery is just one of the 36 galleries featured in the monthly Salt Lake Gallery Stroll.

On the main floor, buyers or patrons of the event can look at both furniture and artwork.

But the real masterpieces are located upstairs, where Mod a-go-go hosts its stroll event. And on the night of Feb.19, that event, which focused on landscapes, captured the essence of what artists here in Utah have to offer.

The idea became a reality

Eric Morley and Marcus Gibby are the owners of this local gallery. When artists choose to have Mod a-go-go promote them, Morley and Gibby split the profit 50/50. “We’re a launching pad for artists,” Morley said. “We have had people here who now are featured outside of Utah.”

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Eric Morley, left, and Marcus Gibby, owners of Mod a-go-go, enjoy a break during February’s Salt Lake Gallery Stroll.

He and Gibby set up everything for the artists. “We don’t even require volunteer work,” Morley said, unlike some galleries. “Our goal here is to get artists out of cafes and restaurants and give them a place to showcase their work.”

Morley came up with the idea for the gallery during a project he was working on as part of his MBA. He said his entrepreneur class at Westminster College in Salt Lake City helped spark the idea, because students had to identify a gap in the market. Morley knew the business of art, while his business partner, Gibby, was an artist. Together, the two balance out the scene of the gallery.

Emergining artists

Artists who are interested in showcasing their work through Salt Lake Gallery Stroll must contact the specific gallery they want to work with. For example, Mod a-go-go has an online application that individuals can submit with a sample of their portfolio.

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Artist Laura Beagley and husband James stand by a piece they designed together. James creates the base, and Laura uses copper wire and precious stones to construct the piece.

Artist Laura Beagley promoted three pieces for the first time at Mod a-go-go. She showed delicate sculptures created as part of a “Wishing Forest” theme.

“Wishing trees and the tree of life are what inspire me. Every culture has a tree of life in it [that] links us to the world and heaven,” Laura said. She handcrafts the works with copper cord and precious stones that her husband, James, finds from the Utah mountains. He also helps her set the foundation for her works of art.

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Artist Oscar Da Silva stands in front of his canvas artwork portraying the theme of the West. He was exhibiting for the first time at Mod a-go-go.

“I get different inspirations. I like the feeling of the seasons,” Laura said. Her pieces also reflect a mythical approach and include fairies and fantasy.

Local artist Oscar Da Silva also had his first showing at Mod a-go-go. He had on display six of his original oil pieces portraying the theme of the West.

“I like working with subjects that don’t limit my creativity,” Da Silva said.

He said he prefers to paint portraits, but said he loves the land.

“Take a look around you, that’s inspiration,” Da Silva said. “Inspiration comes, let it find you.”

He is passionate about what he does. S0 passionate, in fact, he quit his full-time job in customer service at the University of Utah to pursue his art. He has shown in galleries across northern Utah.

Gallery Stroll draws crowds of all ages

Word of mouth, and promotions by local media such as City Weekly and SLUG Magazine, are how artists and viewers alike get a snippet of what is offered at the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll.

Natassja and Ryan Turek said it is their second time attending the gallery stroll. They said they are merely “art appreciators,” but hope to one day buy pieces of their own.

The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll on the night of Feb.19, 2016, drew crowds of all ages to venues such as Mod a-go-go. With the scent of old finished wood still lingring in the air, and the record player spinning jazz music, the gallery slowed down for the night. But a  few visitors lingered in the “Mad Men”-like setting.