U art professor, students to paint a mural downtown

Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, professor Kim Martinez and some of her students will design and paint a mural in downtown Salt Lake City this summer.

Martinez was awarded a $16,000 grant to paint a mural depicting Mexican cultural myths.

“The purpose of the grant is to benefit the under-served community,” said Margaret Hunt, director of Youth and Family Programs with the Utah Arts Council. “This mural will represent art from the Mexican Muralist Movement of the 1930s and benefit the Hispanic community.”

Martinez, an art history professor, has been painting murals in Salt Lake City for the past five years, and Utah Arts Council contacted her about the grant.

“We’ve worked with Kim Martinez before,” Hunt said. “Her style of painting, which is reminiscent of the Muralist movement, is very unique.”

Martinez initially studied painting under Judy Baca, a student of muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros.

“Siqueiros was a famous muralist during the 1930s and a well-known part of the Mexican muralist movement,” she said.

U students are brainstorming a potential topic for the mural as part of an art class this semester. They are looking up myths of different cultures to come up with ideas for the mural, Martinez said. Another class will help paint the mural in the summer.

“I want the students and youths to research myths within different cultures,” Martinez said. “As we find these myths, I want them to ask what these stories show us.”

It’s about taking Mexican culture and bringing it to Utah, she said.

The mural will be painted on the visible side of a building on 500 West between 200 South and 300 South, near a future TRAX station. The building was once a vegetable processing plant and now houses an art gallery.

Youth City, an organization for youth in Salt Lake City, will provide a stipend for 14- to 17-year-olds who want to help paint the mural.

“U students will work with and mentor youth for the project,” Martinez said.

The grant money comes from NEA’s Challenge America program. The Utah Arts council submits proposals every year to be awarded funds, Hunt said.

Martinez will begin painting the mural in early June after Summer Semester begins.

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Starting early June, professor Kim Martinez and some of her students will be painting a mural in downtown Salt Lake City. The new mural will feature art from the Mexican Muralist Movement of the 1930s.