Downtown Provo monthly mural program highlights local artists

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The Downtown Provo monthly mural program is bridging the gap between local art and local businesses and offering a spotlight to talented artists such as upcoming muralist Laura Hendricks.

Quinn Peterson is the executive director of Downtown Provo Inc., a non-profit group with the goal of making downtown an enjoyable and interesting place to visit. According to Peterson, Downtown Provo Inc. is responsible for the Provo Art Stroll, an event that occurs the first Friday of each month, where businesses host artists and artwork for community members to see.

Downtown Provo Inc. is also responsible for the downtown Provo monthly mural program, where each month artists are selected to beautify the walls of local businesses.

“We’ve done 31 (murals) now,” Peterson said. “Our goal is to have the mural of the month finished by the first Friday of each month. We put the mural on the map as one of the (Art Stroll) stops for people to see the mural and meet the artist.”

According to Peterson, there is no shortage of artists interested in painting murals downtown.

“The hardest part is finding the artist and the mockup that resonates with the different property owners,” Peterson said. This is because the property owners are the ones that have to make the decision about what mural is going on their building.

However, it’s not only about art for the sake of art.

Peterson works to reinforce the industry found downtown and said the mural-a-month program is directly related to this objective. Peterson said much of the traditional retail space has been consumed by online shopping over the last 20 or so years, and the answer to this transition from traditional to digital was emphasizing experience design.

“You need to create an experience when you have customers. And part of the experience and environment that we are trying to create is all of the murals,” Peterson said.

Colby Sanford painted downtown Provo’s newest mural as of October. This piece of art is found at the intersection of Freedom Boulevard and University Avenue and was completed in time for the Oct. 1 Art Stroll. (Melissa Collado)

September’s mural, completed in time for the Oct. 1 Art Stroll, can be found at the junction of Freedom Boulevard and Center Street and was executed by artist Colby Sanford. This month’s piece will be by Hendricks, a Las Vegas native and Provo resident.

Hendricks’ work ranges anywhere from landscape photography, to mixed media, to collage. She said this diverse background will help her with this upcoming mural project.

“This is really my fourth mural. Although I did start out as a photographer, it has lent itself to all of these different mediums. I feel like my murals have really similar elements to my other work,” Hendricks said.

Laura Hendricks’ use of illusion and perspective can be seen in the 2020 mural she completed for the Harrington Center for the Arts. Hendricks’ distinct style will be reflected in her upcoming downtown Provo mural. (Art/photo by Laura Hendricks)
Pictured above is Laura Hendricks’ 2021 paint and photography mixed media piece. (Art/photo by Laura Hendricks)

Hendricks’ mural, which will be on north University Avenue as part of The Wick Lab building, is anticipated to be done by Nov. 5. Plans for the mural include visual 3D elements as well as a sky motif, which Hendricks said is a common theme throughout her work, particularly her photography.

“I do a lot of perspective and illusion work. This mural specifically that I’m going to be doing for downtown Provo is going to be very illusion-based and perspective-based,” Hendricks said. “I’m really excited about it. I’m thrilled to do it.”

For Hendricks, participating in the monthly mural program has been a long-time goal.

“I love that program and I love downtown. We are pretty involved in the art scene in downtown Provo specifically — we had our studio there for several years. Pretty much since they started the monthly mural program I’ve been wanting to do it, and I felt like now was the time,”Hendricks said.

To learn more about the Art Stroll, the monthly mural program or any other events happening in downtown Provo, readers can visit the Downtown Provo website or Instagram @downtownprovo.

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