Famed muralist and art professor Kim Martinez united public school and university students for a major collaboration. On Monday, Jan. 21 during Murray High School’s Martin Luther King Jr. Concert, University of Utah art students unveiled and dedicated nine murals they made in a massive collaboration between the U, Murray City School District and Murray City Cultural Arts Department.
The Mural Class, led by art and art history professor V. Kim Martinez, was made up of undergraduate and graduate art majors along with Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTSALP) visual art specialists. Through the help of the partnership with Murray City Schools, the class worked with more than 2,800 Murray elementary and secondary students to shape their visions of the district’s 2018-19 theme: We Are Murray.
“Together, we enlisted the energies and aspirations of thousands of people from both of the university and Murray communities to realize these culturally significant artworks,” Martinez said.
Bringing art to the people is perhaps a thematic undertone of Martinez’s work. She once said that “Art is a right—not a luxury.”
Perhaps that’s partly why the process was as inclusive as it was intricate.
“After meeting with the elementary students, the U students and BTSALP visual art specialists transformed the drawings and ideas from those conversations into murals themed specifically for each of the nine elementary schools,” Katie Lindquist from Murray City Cultural Arts described. “They then met with junior high and high school students for input on their mural drafts. Final drafts were presented to the Murray City Arts Advisory Board and printed onto 4-by-8-foot pieces of canvas to be painted at the Murray Mansion. High school and junior high students were bussed to the mansion to assist the university and BTSALP students with painting the murals. We invited community members to the mansion to help paint as well.”
Despite the project’s complexities, the process was smooth and the work reflects the collaborative, reflective nature of the endeavor.
“Collaborating with so many different entities seemed like it was going to be a monumental task, but it was a joy to work with so many different artists, and I am delighted with the finished product,” said Murray City Cultural Arts Manager Lori Edmunds.