In Plain Site | Visual Arts

Public Art in Downtown Provo

Provo is getting serious about art in its downtown. This summer, the Provo Downtown Business Alliance announced the unveiling of 14 new sculptures in the downtown area. On Aug. 11, the Business Alliance announced the commissioning of a new 75-foot mural to grace the walls of Bingham Cyclery.

These announcements herald a facelift for the downtown area, centered at the intersection of University Avenue and Center Street. Downtown already features the work of Gary Price, Tyler Meadows Davis and two pieces by Andrew Smith, and these 14 new works, by established and emerging artists, have created a tremendous visual impact, exposing drivers and pedestrians alike to the area’s local talent.

“We have art that requires contemplation and may take a while to digest, while other pieces are easily consumed and enjoyed instantly,” says Raquel Smith Callis, program director for the Downtown Alliance. “But, each work of art—each gallery—adds its own spice to the downtown mix.”

Many of the pieces are being loaned to the Downtown Alliance while the artists gain exposure for their work.

Dahrl Thomson, 56, says she is excited to be displaying two of her pieces on the streets of her hometown. “I think it will be fun for people in Provo who maybe don’t go to many galleries to have the chance to come out and see art on the streets,” Thomson said. “Hopefully, people in Provo will react positively.”

In addition to Thomson, sculptures by the following artists can be found downtown: Laura Lee Bradshaw, Michael Coleman, Tyler Meadows Davis, Anton Brent Gehring, Carol Jackman|, Jason Millward, Rod Morgan, Nick Ryan and Kelly Thurgood.

The Bingham Cyclery mural, which is being painted by international artist and sculptor Asen Balakchiev, is progressing smoothly, and is expected to be completed in early September. The mural revisits a time when downtown Provo featured locomotives and tradesmen rather than minivans and restaurant enthusiasts.

“There were a fair number of bars downtown for entertainment, a few restaurants, a few confectionary stands and some drugstores,” says local historian and author D. Robert Carter. “Some of them had soda fountains.”

Mayor Lewis Billings also noted during the recent sculpture unveiling how the downtown streets once accommodated Brigham Young and presidents of the United States.

The mural is part of the Downtown Alliance’s commitment to make downtown a destination for the arts. This intersection is already home to an oceanic mural painted on the wall of Starry Night in 2003. It can be found on the west wall of Bingham Cyclery (187 W. Center St.).

Photos Matthew Graff. For more information on Downtown Provo visit www.downtownprovo.org

 

With our In Plain Site byline we feature publicly viewable art, both official and street art, throughout the state of Utah.

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