Stunning murals on view at Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Good Things Utah

2020: From Here on Out features four murals by Utah-based artists that express our community’s response to 2020. We chat with Meggie Troili, UMFA coordinator of adult and University programs in the first segment, and three of the mural artists in the second.

The UMFA was inspired by the ways in which artists have responded to the events of 2020 through mural making, and decided to hand this gallery over to some of the muralists in our own community. They wanted to acknowledge the great work being created as well as to continue important local dialogue.

UMFA staff reached out to Roots Art Kollective to help conceptualize and create this exhibition. Together they stepped outside the authoritative curatorial model and used a call for artists. Participating artists were selected by a committee of community partners including not only Roots but also Artes de México en Utah, the U’s Department of Art and Art History, University Neighborhood Partners, and the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs.

Participating muralists are: Roots Art Kollective, comprised of Luis Novoa, Miguel Galaz, and Alan Ochoa. Roots is devoted to expanding public art to create a vibrant environment showcasing the cultures that enrich our communities. Ella Rises, featuring artists Zully Davila and Evelyn Haupt. Ella Rises is a Provo-based nonprofit whose mission is to inspire Latinas in junior high and high school with hope, confidence, and purpose. Girls who have participated in Ella Rises art camps and workshops inspired the artists’ design and helped to paint it, too. Bill Louis, an Eagle Mountain-based urban abstract artist whose work reflects a combination of his Polynesian culture, graffiti, and family. Vaimoana Niumeitolu, an artist and educator born in Tonga and raised in Hawai’I and Utah.

What’s really cool is how the muralists incorporated community response in developing their mural designs. They talked with people in their own communities and also got ideas from audio recordings that other community members made through our Voices of 2020 hotline. So the murals are really a beautiful expression of how the community experienced this difficult time and hopes are for the future. You can still participate in leaving your own message on the hotline!

The exhibition will be on view indefinitely, with no closing date at this time. UMFA offers two free admission days every month—first Wednesdays and third Saturdays.

UMFA | Marcia and John Price Museum Building | University of Utah | 801.581.7328 | umfa.utah.edu

In our second segment, we chat with Roots Art Kollective, comprised of Luis Novoa, Miguel Galaz, and Alan Ochoa. The artists of Roots Art Kollective believe murals are especially relevant right now because we are living through times where people crave a sense of healing and and an outlet for storytelling, not only to tell their own experiences but to commemorate and create long-lasting memories of family and friends lost to COVID-19 last year. There’s a strong need to tell these stories in a visual and public way. Murals have a unique power to share messages that may inspire positive change in our society.

The Roots artists are also excited about being involved with a project that brings murals into the art museum space. They point out that the simple act of painting a mural inside a museum could have a big impact on the kinds of work and artists museums showcase and how museums approach their work.

We hear about the symbolism of their stunning piece, the role of the artist in a collaboration of this magnitude, and the creation of an indoor mural.

Roots Art Kollective IG @therak.murals

Deena Manzanares
Deena Marie Manzanares is a Utah native, but lived in NYC for a few years while attending the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. Locally, she has worked as a professional actor for years in both stage and film.

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