Mural Fest draws international attention to new art in South Salt Lake

May 1, 2024, 10:49 PM | Updated: 11:47 pm

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Public art is popping up around South Salt Lake ahead of a festival this weekend that is drawing attention from artists all over the world. What they’re creating, the city says, is blowing people away.

Artists are turning buildings like South Salt Lake City Hall into vibrant statement pieces, spending the week creating colorful murals.

Some areas, like the corner of State Street and the Interstate 215 or Interstate 80 East onramp, see thousands of drivers per day, most probably passing by without a thought.

Now, they have a reason to slow down or maybe even stop to take in the new mural that blossomed on the side of what used to be a drive-through fast food restaurant.

Artist Egypt Hagan spent five days bringing her vision to life.

“We’ve already had some positive feedback with people honking their horns and waving, and everyone’s really excited about this,” Hagan said. “I think it’s a very good location.”

Her mural, “Little Boy Blew,” depicts a young boy playing music and having fun. She used her bright, signature colors and texture to add a playful element, and metallic, gold paint that Hagan said is meant to symbolize royalty.

“This piece is basically a significance of keeping in tune with our inner child, nurturing that,” she said. “Oftentimes when we get become older as adults, we forget just to kind of let loose and have fun and not take things so serious.”

Egypt Hagan’s mural, “Little Boy Blew.” (KSL TV)

Hagan was one of 14 artists selected out of nearly 900 who applied for this year’s Mural Fest. At an artist panel discussion Wednesday evening, four of the festival’s artists, including Hagan, talked about their own processes in bringing art and meaning to public spaces around the world.

Lesly Allen, Executive Director of the South Salt Lake Arts Council, said people are blown away by the city’s murals, which now total 66 with this year’s additions.

“How it’s revitalizing in our downtown is pretty remarkable. It’s bringing people into the neighborhood,” she said.

She said their goal is to support artists and provide opportunities for them.

Allen also said they want to make public art accessible to everyone, whether it’s someone who drives by every day on their way to work, or a child who is inspired to become an artist.

“They just become part of the fabric of a community,” she said, of the murals.

Egypt’s piece is already having an impact.

Wednesday evening, two women drove by and stopped, taking pictures and talking to Egypt about her creation.

The artist expressed the hope to give people passing by a moment of joy when they see “Little Boy Blew.”

“Maybe someone had a long day from work, or going to work. You know, they’re stressed about something,” Hagan said. “I just hope they see this, and it just brings them life and just something vibrant inside.”

The seventh annual Mural Fest takes place on Saturday, May 4 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Click here for full details and maps of the self-guided tour.

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Mural Fest draws international attention to new art in South Salt Lake