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South Salt Lake Journal

Mural Fest artists make South Salt Lake a more colorful place

Jun 28, 2018 04:11PM ● By Holly Vasic

Live mural painting of a panda and cherry blossom during Mural Fest 2018 (Holly Vasic/City Journals)

By Holly Vasic | [email protected]

The annual Night on Commonwealth event was changed this year in South Salt Lake to the new Mural Fest. Thirteen artists were commissioned to create a large-scale piece on businesses around the city, and the work was celebrated on May 19 with food trucks, live music, drinks and, of course, art.

Brandon Brumfield and Justin Johnson created the mural on the Art Factory; Chuck Landvatter’s work is on the Commonwealth Room; Roger Whiting’s art is on Mr. Muffler’s south side, and Billy Hensler’s is on the east side; Jorge Arelleno’s mural is on Picasso; Veronica Zak’s piece is displayed on ROSI; Josh Sheuerman’s art can be found on Signed and Numbered; the west side of Counterpoint Studios is done by Jann Haworth, and the south by Daniel Overstreet; and Utah Coffee Roaster’s mural was created by Elaina Court and Elisabeth Bunker. 

“A committee of jurors with the South Salt Lake Arts Council chose the 10 artists to participate in the mural festival,” Whiting said. “We had to submit examples of our works as well as a resume and bio of our previous experience.”

Once selected, the artist had to come up with a proposed design, which was then presented and approved by city officials.

“We were all given just over three weeks from the time of approval to paint our designs on the walls, which were donated by local businesses as canvases for the festival,” Whiting said.

Whiting had a unique experience, unlike the majority of participants.

“I was invited to collaborate with the Promise South Salt Lake after-school programs to create a mural commemorating the 80th anniversary of South Salt Lake as a city,” he said.

As a community artist, Whiting brainstormed with Promise students in after-school programs at Historic Scott School and Lincoln Elementary, allowing the kids to create designs which some became apart of the final piece.

“My favorite part of the design process was seeing the excitement in one girl's eyes, knowing her character, Clyde, the large freckled boy in the mural, would be on the wall for good,” Whiting said.

Landvatter said, unlike Whiting, he was a part of the group that was able to propose any idea he wanted.

“To have this creative freedom on a public piece of art is encouraging, as it is rare and shows how much trust the organizers placed in the artists,” Landvatter said.”

For inspiration, Landvatter drew on the fact that TRAX riders would be passing his art every day, though the piece is currently in a temporary location not facing the light rail its permanent spot will be.

“I wanted to be the reason commuters had an upbeat, not too serious piece of art to greet them at the beginning and end of their workdays, just in case their job gets too serious and they need a break,” he said. “I felt like the colors were calming, the shapes were fluid, and the portrait’s facial expressions were weird or nonsensical, hopefully conveying levity and a sense of just loosening the hell up.” Landvatter said he enjoyed the experience and hopes to have the opportunity to do it again next year,

The South Salt Lake Arts Council is planning on Mural Fest 2019.

On the night of Mural Fest, another mural was being added to the mix, “Sprayed With Spray Paint,” by Brumfield, with contributions from Johnson and Wes Peterson. Event attendees watched the magic as the artists did their work, and a panda on a cherry blossom branch came to life before their eyes. Music by the band Pixie and the Partygrass Boys set the tone with their upbeat blue grass style that got the crowd dancing, especially the kids. The May 19 festivities wrapped up the mural extravaganza in a neat little bow and gave everyone a chance to celebrate the work that had been done making South Salt Lake a more colorful place.