While waiting to buy tickets for a dance performance or a play at the Covey Center for the Arts, its walls were once noticeably calling for something to enhance the rather ordinary lobby area it encloses.

“It’s been three years since we’ve opened,” said Danae Friel, marketing coordinator for the center. “We’ve been adding things as we go along, but we haven’t addressed visual arts as much.”

Currently, it hasn’t changed much, but come Sept. 3, the center will open the Eccles Gallery in the lobby. The gallery space will be showcasing the work of local artist Joe Ostraff, and the inner gallery will be showing additional pieces by other local artists. This will be the first time the center hosts two visual art exhibits concurrently.

“We want the space to act like a funnel,” Friel said. “We want the transition into the performance spaces to become more fluid.”
The Eccles Gallery will likely be seen by almost everyone that comes in to wait for a performance,  purchase tickets or possibly even sell tickets making their visual art pieces more accessible to many of those coming through.

“Since it’s here in the lobby, it will give people that extra ambiance that the Covey Center for the Arts is known for,” said Ben Cummins, director of ticket sales. “It’s part of your own community and it’s fun.”

The opening of the gallery is just a small part of a growing focus on the visual arts at the center. They want to start planning some of their exhibits up to a year in advance. They have also put together a screening committee and are looking for more artists to showcase in both of their gallery spaces.

Interested artists can submit a full exhibition resumé and portfolio in addition to a description of the works and space needed.

“There’s a lot of talent in this area, and we want to highlight the very best of this valley, even if people don’t know,” Friel said.

The opening of the Eccles Gallery will be part of the Downtown Provo Gallery Stroll that takes place on the first Friday each month from 6 to 9 p.m. and usually covers 8 galleries. The center plans to provide refreshments at the opening as well.

In addition to the gallery stroll, it will be open to the public from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays.