From Water Tower to Wind Power

Posted October 19, 2011 in

Isaac Mureithi, Victoria Lyons and Daryan Singer working on a portion of the mural. Photo: John Carlisle
Trolley Square has become one of the finest examples that can be found in Salt Lake City of rebirth, or bringing the new and the old together to create something amazing. Trolley Square once served as housing for the many trolley cars that once carried passengers throughout the city into the early ‘30s, was renovated and opened as a mall in the ‘70s, and was recently renovated again to include more shops and a huge Whole Foods Market. It’s been a proud destination for many over the years, and even when there were few stores open inside, it was still a sweet spot to bum around and kill time. Now, as Trolley Square is at the beginning of another boom, its historical significance is being harnessed and translated into a mural entitled “From Water Tower to Wind Power: Trolley Square Then & Now,” which blends the talent of experienced professional artists with blossoming young artists that will depict the mall’s past, present and future.

The mural, which was commissioned by Whole Foods in March, is being headed up by Bad Dog Arts, a local non-profit organization that provides opportunities for youth to apprentice in mural painting, digital arts, fused glass and plumbing arts with professional artists. Upon receiving a $5,000 grant from Whole Foods to complete the project, Victoria Lyons, Co-Director of Bad Dog Arts, contacted Jimmy Lucero and Antoinette Balakchieva, two local artists, to work with the teens on the murals. Lucero, who teaches art at the U of U and has worked with Bad Dog Arts on other projects such as the mosaic under the I-15 overpass at 300 North, has appreciated how this project has given the teens involved a chance to bring the community together. “We’ve been getting lots of positive feedback from members of the community as well as customers and staff at Whole Foods, lots of people have stopped by to look at what we’re doing,” he says. Corinne Piazza, marketing specialist at Whole Foods, says, “One of our core values [at Whole Foods] is to give back to the community. They are doing projects like this all over the country.”

The project started when five students from various high schools around the valley were selected through an application process to work on the mural. “They’ve been involved from the beginning of the design process in coming up with ideas for the design as well as learning drawing and painting techniques to apply to the mural project,” says Lyons of the teens involved. All of the teens have had past experience working in different artistic mediums, but for most, this is the first project on such a large scale that so many people will be able to see and appreciate. Joaquin Barrios, a 16-year-old AMES High School student, says, “I feel like it’s a good opportunity for us since most of us haven’t had an opportunity to do something this big with a company telling us what to do.”

Working as artists to meet the needs of a business and a community while maintaining artistic integrity could be considered a lesson in itself for these teens. “We’ve changed the design a couple times as well as the format of the class,” Lucero says of the mural development, “teaching that it is a process where things have a tendency to change.” If you want to witness change at Trolley Square, the students are planning on wrapping up the project on Saturdays before the end of October if the weather holds out. If they haven’t quite finished, you’ll see a second phase this spring, so keep your eyes peeled and you could witness the past, present and future unfold before your eyes.
Isaac Mureithi, Victoria Lyons and Daryan Singer working on a portion of the mural. Photo: John Carlisle Tatissa Zunguze and Joaquin Gomez are aspiring artists. Photo: John Carlisle Tatissa Zunguze and Joaquin Gomez, Bad Dog Arts students painting the Whole Foods mural. Photo: John Carlisle Carlos Andrade collaborates with a group of aspiring young artists and professionals to put together this beautiful mural. Photo: John Carlisle Jimmy Lucero from the Utah Arts Council worked with Bad Dog Arts as the lead artist on this project. Photo: John Carlisle Ryan Anderson and Antoaneta Balakchieva painting the mural with the theme "From Water Tower to Wind Power" in mind. Photo: John Carlisle Michael Moonbird  of Bad Dog Arts and Jimmy Lucero from the Utah Arts Council. Photo: John Carlisle