For members of the lowrider car community, an automobile isn’t just a mode of transportation — it’s a canvas.
“From chrome to paint to candy to sparkle, it is on our vehicles,” said Jose “Shorty” Cornejo, part of the Good Times Car Club’s Utah chapter. (“Candy,” to car artists, is clear paint with translucent pigments.)
Lowrider car culture is the latest street-art genre to go on display at the ninth annual Urban Arts Festival, set for Sept. 21-22 at the Gallivan Center and, on the 22nd, on nearby Regent Street and McCarthey Plaza. Admission to the festival, put on by the Utah Arts Alliance, is free.
Some 20 customized cars will be on display on McCarthey Plaza on Sunday, Sept. 22. Also that afternoon, some cars will take part in a “hop off,” to see which driver can get his or her car’s front tires to bounce the highest.
Freddy Alvarez’s 1982 Buick Regal could be a contender for that crown. In a demonstration at a news conference Tuesday, the front end of Alvarez’s car lifted some three feet — and Cornejo said it could go higher, if they wanted to risk damaging the back bumper.
With Salt Lake City Councilwoman Amy Fowler in the passenger seat, Alvarez also demonstrated how the Regal could lift up one front wheel — first left, then right — a couple feet in the air.
In addition to the lowrider car exhibition and “hop off,” the Urban Arts Festival will feature many facets of street art, with more than 150 artists and vendors, with painting, photography, jewelry, clothing and sculpture.
Musicians and dancers, both local and touring acts, will perform on two stages. The Saturday headliner is the British-born rapper Slick Rick The Ruler, who’s celebrating the 30th anniversary of his landmark debut album “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.”
Also in the festival’s lineup:
• The Hard N Paint Street Basketball 3-on-3 tournament and slam dunk contest.
• Live painting demonstrations.
• A kids’ zone.
• Food trucks, including a vegan Bloody Mary brunch on Sunday, Sept. 22, from noon to 3 p.m.