Salt Lake City is looking a little more colorful lately—and it’s not just the changing leaves.  The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (RDA) and Salt Lake City Arts Council recently announced the names of 15 artists commissioned to create 11 large-scale murals throughout the City’s Downtown-adjacent Granary District neighborhood.   As part of a public call for submissions, the selected artists submitted designs that reflect the Granary’s industrial history and unique energy. The artists’ work is well underway, and upon completion in late-September, the murals will collectively add  more than 6,200 square feet of art to the Granary, making it the most mural-dense area of Salt Lake City.

The City will be hosting a celebration and tour event on Saturday, September 29 from 5 to 8 p.m.  Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, City Council Member Derek Kitchen, and the Granary District Alliance will offer remarks to the community.  Following the ceremony, the public is invited to participate in walking and biking tours of the murals throughout the neighborhood, where artists will be on-hand to discuss the inspiration and artistic process for their works.

The Granary District disrupts the traditional idea of urban and regional infrastructure with its warehouses, silos and gritty industrial landscape. It is one of Salt Lake City’s oldest neighborhoods made up of a community of hard working makers, diverse residents, and grounded tenants who are already aiming to be the City’s next local hotspot.  rsz_granarymap2017

The majority of the Granary District is also located in a Community Reinvestment Area (also called a “Project Area”) wherein the RDA has been investing funds into redevelopment and community projects for the past 18 years. The $150,000-Granary District Mural District Grant Program is the most recent RDA effort to revitalize the neighborhood while preserving its historical character and promoting its unique identity. The RDA’s Granary District Adaptive Reuse Loan Program has facilitated the transformation of industrial buildings into spaces now occupied by local businesses Atmosphere Studios, Fisher Brewing, and the forthcoming TF Brewing.

The murals also support goals set forth by the Main Street America program and resulting Granary District Alliance to revitalize the area, preserve its history, and attract more audiences that are hungry for inspiration.

“Murals provide people with a connection to the places they frequent, and make neighborhoods more welcoming and walkable,” says Salt Lake City’s Public Art Program Manager Kat Nix. “The collective nature of a public art project such as this creates a sense of ownership and identity for not only the artists, but also for the community.”

Murals are a useful tool for economic development.  “Arts programs and creative placemaking initiatives such as this mural project help promote surrounding reinvestment, which ultimately makes our neighborhoods better places to live, work, and visit.” says Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development Deputy Director, Ben Kolendar. “It’s an exciting time to be in the Granary District.”

RSVP for the celebration here and help spread the word.  See you there!