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Art as a Means of Community Improvement & Identity – The Case for Salt Lake City, Utah

Last weekend, November 1st, 2019, I was a part of something big…

So big in fact, it’s larger than a 747 Jet or 10 interstate billboards…

I had the pleasure of being a part of erecting the largest mural in Utah to date, aptly named the Big Fish Wall (#bigfishwall).

The effort was put on by Hamlet Homes, as a community aesthetic restoration project in Murray, Utah and as part of their development of the neighborhood.

They provided the following insight regarding the mural locations past, present, and future:

Many years ago, on this same property stood what locals  refer to as “The Fish Food Factory.” An iconic Murray landmark, The Fish Factory was demolished following a fire in 2015. To keep the local history intact, muralist David Habben, of HABBENINK, used this historical inspiration for his amazing artistic details in the Granton Square Mural. Thanks to supply donations from RMC Painting and PPG Paints, the mural  a 286’ wide and 20’ tall masterpiece — is soon to be an icon itself for the Murray community. ” – Hamlet Homes Press Release 

The Big Fish Wall was a big hit. And not only did a great crowd from the community show up for the official ribbon cutting for the new development in the community just in front of the wall, but everyone was invited to put their mark on the wall as well by being allowed to paint a fish of their own, with assistance from the artists (and on a crane, how cool!).

The gathering also included being able to walk through a beautiful Hamlet Homes model home, and get some free munchies that included some AMAZING barbecue, and people lining up for some miso.

Why it’s a big deal

Well, part of human live is the aesthetics of our daily lives. We may not take this into account or recognize the strength of our surroundings on our daily happiness and life, but it is immensely powerful.

I’ve noticed that communities that have fostered public art in such a way as street murals have found a way to give the community a voice, and an identity, something that truly brings people joy and artistic outlets. I’ve seen it in Denver, Miami, New York… large scale murals like this improving the neighborhood and bringing more beauty and growth for years to come. 

Needless to say, I’m in full support of works like this and I look forward to seeing more of this type of work throughout growing cities and the country!

I got to participate in putting up a fish myself. It was my first experience legally tagging a wall and in a crane, which was pretty cool in itself lol, but I also like knowing that I made a literal impression on a community for years to come! 

If you didn’t already know, Salt Lake City, Utah is the capital of the mormon church. Let me start by saying I am personally not religious, but I have a deep appreciation for art and architecture from all cultures.

In the middle of city is what is called Temple Square, and includes their main temple as well as other free and open to the public “visitors centers” that include some incredible artwork as well, including this immersive-like spiral up to a 11-foot tall Christus statue in the middle of what looks like the galaxy. I’m not religious, but it was definitely epic in proportions.

Personally, I am a HUGE fan of street art. So I went hunting for more modern murals I could find around downtown.

I find myself being more drawn to and spiritually moved by these modern art pieces than those of historical museums (I can’t help it.)  I found these gems littered across the downtown area, not far from Temple Square.

(If you know any of the artists that I haven’t tagged, please let me know!)

I hope you enjoyed my recollection of my time in Salt Lake City through some of the city’s art scene.

Do you have any examples that come to mind of art that has become a major part of the community?

Please share your thoughts if any on this post!


The Adventure Bitch