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The City Journals

Arts Council seeks to beautify along Jordan River Trail

Jul 12, 2021 02:59PM ● By Rachel Aubrey

Amateur artists painted murals long the Jordan River Trail underneath the 106th South bridge. (Photo courtesy of Janell Payne)

By Rachel Aubrey | [email protected]

The gray slabs beneath the 106th South bridge near Mulligan’s didn’t have a lot of visual appeal. 

As of June 9, that was no longer the case, as local artists were given an opportunity to transform the visually unappealing slabs into works of art. The project was sponsored by South Jordan Art’s Council, a committee of residents appointed by South Jordan City Council. This council provides support and assistance in the implementation of Arts programs and events to create a lifelong appreciation for the arts for South Jordan residents.

Amateur artists were encouraged to participate and were asked to submit past original artwork and design ideas. The artists and artwork were approved at the discretion of the South Jordan Art’s Council, and all those selected were Salt Lake County residents.

“We have had some good momentum with different art related activities,” Associate Director of Recreation Janell Payne said. “We want to give everyone a chance for exposure.”

South Jordan resident Durga Ekambaram was among one of the artists selected to paint a mural along the trail. Ekambaram brought her vision as well as her culture into her mural. Originally from India, Ekambaram has called South Jordan home for more than three years and has spent a great deal of that time involved with art.

“I love the process,” Ekambaram said. “I like to express my ethnicity or my diversity through my art.”

Former South Jordan resident Hollie Anderson also painted a mural along the trail. Anderson considers herself a chalk artist and street painter and has participated in various festivals around the state. The mural trail project was yet another way to create public art. Her entry is called the “groovy fox” and combines her personal style while paying tribute to the nearby wildlife.

“My family spotted a fox at an art festival I participated in last year along the trail, and I knew he had to be the subject for this piece,” Anderson said.

Artists were assigned one, two or three panels along the trail depending on the size of their submission. Both Anderson and Ekambaram were given two panels each in which to bring their visions to life. Both used acrylic paint and their panels are side by side along the trail.

“I’m not a mural artist per se,” Ekambaram said. “The largest mural I’ve done is 4 feet on a wooden plank.”

According to Payne, the panels will rotate, or get switched out in the event that a panel doesn’t age well over time, or gets marked up by graffiti. Artists were given until June 20 to complete their panels, all of which have been a welcome sight to runners, walkers and bikers along the trail who stop to admire the work.

“We have a lot of people saying thank you for making the trail more attractive,” Payne said.

In a public space that had previously fallen victim to graffiti, the bridge underneath 106th South now offers something beautiful.

For more information about how to become involved in the arts for the city of South Jordan, residents may visit https://www.sjc.utah.gov/south-jordan-city-arts/.