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Public Art Advisory Board Talks COVID-19 Impact at Monday Meeting

Jude Grenney, J Go Gallery

Park City’s Public Art Advisory Board met on Monday evening to discuss COVID-19’s impact on future projects and update members on the progress of ongoing ones.


Monday was the board’s first meeting since March and its first virtual meeting, held over Zoom, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Due to the impacts of the pandemic, the board’s budget has been frozen until further notice by the Park City Council and future projects have been put on hold. The Public Art Advisory Board has completed nearly $130,000 worth of projects in Park City since 2018.


The board did discuss projects that were completed or in progress since their last meeting, however. The new mural in the Deer Valley Drive tunnel by Chuck Landvatter garnered particular praise from board chair Beth Armstrong.


“I normally ride my bike through and I actually stopped and parked my bike because I was going too fast,” Armstrong said. “It’s really something that needs to be walked because it’s extraordinary. It really is fine art. I liked it so much. I find it very emotional; I thought it was well done.”


Park City Summit County Arts Council Executive Director Jocelyn Scudder also provided an update on the council’s plans for the summer. She says the annual Summit Arts Showcase in Oakley has been postponed due to COVID-19 and a decision will be made on whether a 2020 show is possible later in August.


Scudder says the Summit County Fair, which was canceled in June, will not be hosting a public art show either and will be focusing on a digital showcase instead. Scudder says the submission deadline for the show is the end of July and two local artists will be chosen by members of the Summit County Council to be featured at the county courthouse in Coalville.


“We also acknowledge that artists are being really impacted by the coronavirus and so we want to find as many ways as possible to support them and help them sell their artwork,” Scudder said.


The discussion around Park City’s Main Street’s temporary social equity murals continued as well. Boardmember Alex Butwinski expressed a desire to be notified of any future art projects the advisory board is not a part of in the interest of better communication between the board and city government. 


The temporary murals were a joint project between Park City Municipal and the Park City Summit County Arts Council.


“Unfortunately, the process part of this has gotten in the way of really focusing on the message,” Butwinski said. “The arts council is very nimble and can react very quickly to a short-term request. For me, personally, I probably would have liked an email that it was going to happen but in terms of the discussion or really being asked my opinion, it probably would have been ‘yeah, go for it.’”


The board also discussed the potential removal of the kinetic sculpture at the Park City MARC due to ongoing maintenance and concerns over the fact the sculpture needs human power to operate. Dozens of people would touch the piece per day pre-COVID-19. 


A decision was made to explore the cost of removal and an estimated cost for taking down the sculpture will be presented at a future board meeting. 


The Park City Public Art Advisory Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 10.

Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.
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