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The City Journals

Students to Create Mural to Prevent Graffiti

Apr 07, 2016 03:26PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Ogden - Sunny Hayes, with the Weber-Morgan Health Department, is partnering with Ogden High to create a mural on the Bluff Trail that she hopes will deter graffiti artists from tagging the area. 

Hayes came up with the idea after seeing the signs, rocks and trees that were recently tagged at Ogden Nature Center North, located in the foothills of northern Ogden, at 1176 North Mountain Road. The Weber-Morgan Heath Department recently adopted the Bluff trail from the Ogden Trails Network, and Hayes said they wanted to keep their trial looking nice. The trail consists of a wall that’s 6 feet tall and 85 feet long, made of 2-by-6-foot concrete blocks, and that’s where the mural will be painted. 

“There is research that states that people are less likely to graffiti murals,” Hayes said. “We are hoping that the mural will not only deter future graffiti but will also add an element of beauty that will bring more foot traffic to the trail.”  

There are many people who don’t know the 0.8-mile trail located off of 20th Street between Washington Boulevard and Adam’s Avenue exists, Hayes said. Ed Palmer, art teacher at Ogden High, said he didn’t know about the trail when Hayes contacted him to find out if his students would be interested in painting a mural, pending an arts grant from city officials. But he thought it would be a unique opportunity for his students, so he agreed to help. 

“The grant request was awarded, and now we have the go-ahead to plan the mural,” Palmer said. “I have floated the idea to a few of my top art students, one of whom is a student body officer, and there is enough interest that it will be fun to see who shows up and what we plan for the mural. We have the support and encouragement of our school administration and the enthusiasm of our student government members and student artists.”

Palmer said he’s inviting interested students to come to meetings where they will discuss and draft designs for the mural. The health department has asked the students to incorporate the health department logo, Ogden High logo and Ogden Trails Network logo into the design, as well as promote walking, hiking, biking and other healthy outdoor activities in their design. 

The students will begin painting in the spring when the weather is nicer, and the mural will be completed prior to school release May 26, but exact dates are yet to be determined, according to Hayes. At the completion of the project, the health department and trails network will host a couple events at the Bluff Trail.

“We are still finalizing the details for the trail events but hope to have one of the events on June 4, 2016, which is National Trails Day,” Hayes said.  

Erica Lyon, art teacher at Ben Lomond High who organized a cleanup event at the graffiti-stricken Ogden Nature Center North, said she’s not sure whether the mural will deter future graffiti but that she’s hopeful. 

“You can’t predict what will happen. Will it help some people feel like they are part of something and they created something? Yes, I hope that is accomplished through this project,” Lyon said. “There are countless mural projects in major cities all over the U.S. that have shown murals can bring pride to a city.” 

As a trail user, Lyon believes the outdoors in Ogden are the city’s greatest asset, and it’s nice to see community members and students gather to preserve them. 

“The Bluff Trail project is a chance to connect to the place you live in,” Lyon said. “I believe that being part of a community is important for all its members, and this is an opportunity for our citizens and youth to be stewards in our community.”