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Salt Lake City asks local artists to create Black Lives Matter mural at city hall

By Lauren Bennett, | Posted - Jul. 8, 2020 at 5:27 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — A new Black Lives Matter mural will soon be on display outside Salt Lake City-County Building and officials are looking for artists to submit entries for what should fill the letters.

“We want to make it clear that Salt Lake City believes Black Lives Matter and is committed to real change in our community,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a news release. “We’re taking this symbolic step as a city to boldly acknowledge this movement and commit to our role in it.”

The submissions window opened Wednesday and ends July 15 at 5 p.m.

Eight artists will fill two letters each and be given a $300 stipend for supplies. Selections will be chosen on July 16 by the city’s mural committee and the painting date hasn’t yet been scheduled.

"Black Lives Matter Utah is very excited about this mural,” said Lex Scott, founder of Black Lives Matter Utah. “This mural is a symbol of how this country is changing, and coming to understand the movement,”

Scott serves on the city’s committee that will choose winning designs alongside Mendenhall, Salt Lake City Councilwoman Ana Valdemoros and Creative Director Chris Owens.

Park City implemented a similar initiative last week — a large mural reading “Black Lives Matter” was painted on Main Street as part of the city hall-endorsed art program. However, the mural was vandalized early this week, The Park Record reported.

“An important part of this for us is creating a space where artists and community members are able to come together to express their feelings on this movement,” Mendenhall said of Salt Lake’s upcoming mural.

The art piece, which will be located off the east steps of the building, is legally considered “government speech,” officials said in Wednesday’s news release, noting the city is not also “creating a public forum for other messages.”

The mural will be preserved digitally as it will be a temporary fixture due to materials, weather and fading.

“We have been in these streets working towards justice and equality for 6 years,” Scott said. “Now we get a visual representation of our work and goals to truly achieve justice in this country."

Lauren Bennett

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