Salt Lake City has a long standing tradition of celebrating and encouraging art in all forms. The Salt Lake City Arts Council, founded in the late 1970s, was created to ensure that the community established a local arts organization to provide public programming and support for the arts. Recognizing the social and economic benefits realized through an aesthetic experience in public spaces, the public art program’s percent-for-art program was established in 1984 to add high quality, site-specific artists’ work to the natural and built environments. In addition, many City divisions, departments, and residents see the value and need for art in their public spaces.
It’s always a pleasure to see and hear from staff and citizens outside of the Arts Council doing their best to create a more vibrant and inclusive atmosphere through the arts. For instance, the Arts Council’s sibling in the Department of Economic Development, the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, has consistently implemented public art and arts programming into the project areas it serves. Do you want to add an example or two here? Perhaps just mention Flying Objects.
The newest request for arts inclusion was received this week via a call from the Urban Forestry Division. They had removed and replaced a few 13-foot trees and desired to see the wood go to an artist for reuse. What a fantastic idea! Also, the Graffiti Removal team is consistently thinking creatively about ways they can nurture street artists’ craft while preventing property damage. Their solution – to create a free expression space that welcomes street art in public spaces. These two ideas are yet to be executed, but the fact that the arts are being used as solutions to community issues is exactly what we at the Arts Council LOVE to see.
The Arts Council and the Mayor’s Office also support communities in finding innovative, artistic solutions to problems plaguing them. A few weeks ago, the Rose Park neighborhood took it upon themselves to increase safety and bolster neighborhood identity by doing a Paint the Pavement project on 800 North and American Beauty Drive. The Transportation Division is currently conducting data studies at the intersection to see just how much the art calms the traffic in the area. Another community group, The Seven Canyons Trust is partnering with loveDancemore and local artists, Wendy Wischer and John Mack, to create awareness around the Three Creeks Confluence by staging a series of performances and installations in the Glendale community this summer—be sure to check them out!
It doesn’t matter when or where – we want art and we’re happy others do too!
*Blog post contributed by Dana Hernandez, Salt Lake City Public Art Program Manager