The upside to a down economy Local students creating new restaurant

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In an effort to revive Provo’s struggling art culture, five current and former BYU students are opening a new restaurant that promotes local visual and performance talent.

Several Provo galleries have closed their doors in the last year, including Gallery OneTen, Sego Art Gallery, Mode Boutique, Metropolitan, Pennyroyal Café and Coal Umbrella. This unfortunate trend has left local artists with few opportunities to let the public see their work.

Ashley Mackay, Chandler Hatch, Colin Hatch, Carol Ann Litster and Justin Hyatt, respectively studying English, philosophy, media music, teacher education, and mechanical engineering, have combined their knowledge and skills to develop the concept for the restaurant, called The Upside.

The food will be healthy, affordable and local, the walls will be covered with art, the music will be live, and the venue will also screen local and other independent films.

“People have been flocking to support us,” said Hyatt. “Whenever we explain our project to someone, they ask ‘How can I help?’ ” Thus far, locals have helped by creating a stop-motion fundraising video, taking photographs for the menu and building a website. Once the owners have enough money to lease a building, they have a local architect’s promise to design and draft a code-compliant kitchen. Local bands are donating tracks and CDs as rewards for those pledging funds.

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