The Salt Lake City Arts Council is pleased to present three new murals at Salt Lake City area homeless resource centers. The murals were created by the Roots Art Kollective at the Gail Miller Resource Center (The Road Home) and the Geraldine E. King Women’s Resource Center, and a mural by Matt Monsoon at the VOA Homeless Youth Resource Center.

“Art in public places continues to be a priority in Salt Lake City, including places that individuals experiencing homelessness call home. During the pandemic these residents were disproportionately impacted, and our goal is to contribute to a sense of place and pride within the places that many call home. “Public art can provide comfort, stimulate social interaction, inspire people, and can enhance the places where we share our identities, values, and hopes as diverse and vibrant communities,” says Salt Lake City Arts Council Director, Felicia Baca.

The Roots Art Kollective and Matt Monsoon were selected from the Salt Lake City Arts Council Public Artist Pool to create these murals. The Arts Council worked with the Salt Lake City Homeless Engagement and Response Team to coordinate and select sites. Artist selections were made by representatives of the homeless resource centers. To create imagery that was meaningful to the residents and staff of these resource centers, the artists went through a process of surveys and feedback with residents at each location. “The team has done excellent work incorporating the ideas from staff and residents, and it’s greatly appreciated,” writes Lindsey Hector, Operations Coordinator for Shelter the Homeless.

The mural at the Gail Miller Resource Center incorporates cascading colors framing a word which was mentioned frequently through the engagement process: HOPE. In addition, the mural includes a phrase from the Gail Miller Resource Center, “together, we can make a difference.” In the words of the Roots Art Kollective, “the colors [in the mural] represent the different seasons of the year such as Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall to symbolize the continuous cycles in life. The patterns represent growth, healing and unity.” The Roots add, “residents will be able to interact with the mural by being able to sit down and immerse within the vibrant colors to connect with the feeling of hope.”

The mural at the Geraldine E. King Women’s Resource Center represents the concepts of healing and growth. At the center of the mural is a lotus flower, which symbolizes self-regeneration and rebirth according to the Roots Art Kollective. “The colors of the mural represent a sunset or a sunrise to give an emphasis of the closure of a cycle and the beginning of a new one. The mandala patterns represent transformation,” write the Roots Art Kollective.

Matt Monsoon coordinated the colors of his mural at the VOA Homeless Youth Resource Center to align with the murals by the Roots Art Kollective. Monsoon’s mural depicts a detailed image of the Salt Lake Valley and surrounding mountains. The image is framed by pigeons, who Monsoon sees as narrators for the scene. The concepts behind his image reflect resilience and adaptation. As Monsoon writes, “There is a beauty to life that is challenged with a tough environment and yet adapts and thrives as a result.”

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