The Future is Now // Engaging Artists and Local Youth in a Creative Collaboration
Art serves as a mechanism to bring community together. It inspires conversation. It is an outlet for expression. Its product can generate hope. Street art is a purposeful tool for community activation. It is a contemporary form of creative expression designed to engage the public, generate an emotional response, and symbolically communicate an idea.
Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District, Park City Summit County Arts Council, and the Summit County Public Art Advisory Board have come together to develop a project called The Future is Now to engage local young people in the creation of an interactive street art mural in the tunnel under Highway 224 -- a literal and figurative connection point for the Park City community.
This project has been in the works since 2016 and has been driven by community demand for a more connected and inclusive spirit among local youth. "Art has the ability to create connections and provide a reference point for people to talk about important issues” notes Hadley Dynak, Executive Director of the PCSC Arts Council, a partner on the project.
Park City is a community of contrasts -- a small mountain resort town with big city amenities. Approximately 7,000 people live in the city itself, and 55,000 more reside in the surrounding areas that are more rural and/or suburban. During the resort season, our population can swell to over 100,000, with visitors traveling here from across the world.
Underserved populations make up a growing percentage of our year-round population (~25%) and are generally employed in our service sector jobs. Many are first generation immigrants from Latin and South America and the Caribbean, bringing rich heritage and culture. Yet there is a substantial gap in cultural awareness and a fear among many of what diversity means to our community.
Additionally, despite the outdoor lifestyle, substance use, suicide, and mental illness are significant community challenges, particularly among our young people. In Fall 2016, two boys died of opioid overdoses and several other youth were hospitalized, bringing the extent of the problem to light. Many organizations and groups in the community are working to provide productive outlets for young people and to create pathways for inclusion for our underserved residents.
In the Fall of 2016, the SCPAAB and the PCSC Arts Council approached Basin Recreation to explore options for installing a street art mural in the Tunnel to serve as a youth engagement opportunity, innovative public art installation, and community connection point. This location is under the jurisdiction of Basin Recreation and has become a de facto site for graffiti and tagging. A street art project will shift it to becoming a place of community pride and creative expression.
Hadley explains further that "this project is designed to bring a diverse group of young people together to design and produce a piece of public art in a place that is a literal connection point for our community. An important aspect is to build new relationships among local youth and to engage them in the process of creating a piece that reflects their creative vision."
The Future is Now mural project will engage an experienced street artist or art collective to work with local young people. Together they will conceptualize and execute a mural that reflects a youth-oriented vision of community and illustration of their hopes for the future. Bringing in interactive design elements are encouraged.
Any artist or team of artists interested in creating a two dimensional mural driven by design ideas and participation of local youth, to be completed in spring 2018, may submit a proposal in accordance with the guidelines provided in the Call linked below. The project budget is $10,000, and the deadline to submit proposals is January 31, 2018.
For more details about the Call and to apply, please visit http://summitcounty.org/259/Public-Art-Opportunities. If you are connected with a youth organization in Summit County, UT and are interested in getting involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.