A mesh-looking statue of a face.

Two Public Art Projects in Utah Get National Recognition

Public art projects at the Utah Department of Health and the University of Utah, as well as the Utah Public Art Program, have been recognized among the best projects nationally in 2017.

Americans for the Arts chose 49 projects nationally for the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by public art experts, the roster of selected projects for 2017 were unveiled Friday, June 15, during the Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention.

More than 230 works have been placed in Utah state facilities. The Utah Public Art Program is managed by Jim Glenn and the Division of Arts & Museums.

“The public art program demonstrates Utah’s recognition of the importance of artistic, site-specific works,” said Victoria Panella Bourns, director of Utah Arts & Museums. “The process builds community pride and creates a sense of place for all visitors.”

The recognized works include:

  • Douwe Blumberg’s 20-foot-tall work of cast aluminum, Convergence (pictured in header), was installed in October of 2017 at the State of Utah Unified State Lab in Taylorsville. Blumberg created it to give visual form to the work of various teams and labs in the building who aim to arrive at the truth in the many mysteries and challenges they work with every day.
  • Hypersonic & Plebian Design’s Life of Tree at the University of Utah’s Crocker Science Center is a kinetic sculpture simulating a tree’s reflection in water — a metaphor for how all scientific theories are only a reflection of the underlying reality. The kinetic sculpture’s movement embodies the universal scientific principles of resonance and frequency response. The movements were inspired by wind flow patterns, water surface movement, seismic activity, and solar cycles.

“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate, and illuminate. Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns, and communities we inhabit and visit,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “As these Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can.”

The projects selected for Year in Review can be viewed on this page and are on display throughout the Annual Convention. Three independent public art experts—Bryan Lee, Jr., director of design at Colloqate Design in New Orleans; Karen Mack, executive director of LA Commons in Los Angeles; and Denver artist Patrick Marold—discussed the trends they uncovered while examining hundreds of submissions in selecting this year’s choices for the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2017.

The Public Art Program was created by the Utah State Legislature in 1985 with the passage of the Percent-for-Art-Act. This statute allows for 1 percent of construction costs for new or remodeled State facilities to be added to the project for the commissioning or acquisition of art that is site specific to the facility and community. For more information visit publicart.utah.gov.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 55 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at AmericansForTheArts.org.