Bad Dog Arts, Hartland Partnership Center create community mural in Salt Lake City’s west side

Story and slideshow by BROOKE MANGUM

See the murals for yourself

In the fall and winter of 2011 and the spring of 2012, the west-side nonprofit Bad Dog Arts and the Hartland Partnership Center will lead the community of Hartland in the creation of a mural. Once it is completed it will be displayed at the Hartland Partnership Center, located at 1060 S. 900 West, for all to see.

“This project will be a collaborative effort of all the residents and staff of Hartland, involving children, teens and adults,” said Victoria Lyons, co founder of Bad Dog Arts in an email interview. “The theme of the project is ‘Community.’ Art brings people together and on this scale can function as a tool for building the community.”

Bad Dog Arts, located at 824 S. 400 West, and Hartland Partnership Center have been working together for three years. Bad Dog Arts hosts weekly art classes for all ages at the community center. By doing so the staffs of Bad Dog Arts and the Hartland Partnership Center hope to provide an outlet for creative expression to those who typically may not have the opportunity.

The Hartland Partnership is not your run-of-the-mill community center. Along with being a building for community members to congregate, the Hartland Partnership Center, in conjunction with a neighboring apartment complex, serve as a home for more than 800 residents. Of these residents, 75 percent are refugees, or English-as-a-second language immigrants.

April Daugherty, Bad Dog Arts programs coordinator and art teacher, said in a phone interview that she believes its presence at Harland contributes to its unique community in multiple ways. “For one, we are there every week at the same time, offering a certain amount of structure to the community along with providing a positive creative outlet and a healthy form of self-expression,” she said.

Work on the mural at the Hartland Partnership began in mid-summer 2011 and will be 7 feet by 8 1/2 feet when it is completed. Due to the size of the community at Hartland those working on the mural have been divided into groups, each representing a different facet of the community.

“This is a different type of process than we typical use,” Daugherty said. “Since the Hartland community is so large, we wanted to find a way to collaborate so that everyone in the community has a voice.”

Each assembly will be responsible for creating one tile that will be apart of the mural. These groups have chosen mini themes of what they believe community is, that will be represented on their tile. Together the tiles will create one unified piece of art that the entire community can take pride in.

“We feel that this project is very important,” said Ahmed Ali, Hartland Partnership Center programs coordinator. “This is a great opportunity for the community to come together for learning, teaching, and also a way of helping and supporting fellow community members.”

Bad Dog Arts has headed and completed a number of mural and urban art projects throughout the city. It recently completed a mural project at Whole Foods Market in Trolley Square titled, “From Water Tower to Wind Power: Trolley Square Then & Now.” The mural embodies Trolley Square’s historical significance and how the location has changed throughout time.

Shortly before Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002, Bad Dog Arts completed an urban art project in conjunction with Utah Transit Authority (UTA). The Trolley Square TRAX stop, located at 625 E. 400 South, demonstrates how youth can be involved in urban architecture. The youth involved in the project created multiple murals inspired by stained glass that are featured under every canopy at the TRAX stop. The youth also created brightly colored mosaic tiles that cover the benches as well as other mosaic tiles that can be found all throughout the area.

If all goes according to plan the mural at the Hartland Partnership Center will be completed in spring 2012. The mural will stand as a testament of the community’s ability to work together and the coming together of people from very different backgrounds.

“Art is a form of expression that has no boundaries, surpassing language barriers and the notions of right or wrong,” Daugherty said.