To paraphrase Mark Twain, people in Salt Lake City talk about "bridging the divide" but nobody seems to do anything about it. Well, almost nobody. Zions Bank, artist Ruby Chacon and Catholic Community Services have joined together to find middle ground among the local cultures.
In a nifty triple-play, Zions Bank sponsored the painting of a mural on the face of the CCS building at 745 E. 300 South. And Chacon's mural is a stunner. In the tradtiion of the great Mexican muralists Orozco, Siqueiros and Rivera, Chacon's mural is completely visceral "Straight from the gut," she says. She has included members of her own family (two who succumbed to substance addiction), crying children, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Aztec trumpeters blowing on conch shells and the Great Mother of the world giving birth to a child of light while tattooing an image of the Virgin on the back of a young man struggling to embrace his faith.
The painting moved many of 150 in attendance to tears a crowd that included students, ethnic movers and shakers, social services professionals and volunteers, religious leaders and Zions Bank officials in three-piece suits. The moment filled with applause and "abrazos" wasn't the lead news story for the day. In some outlets, it didn't even make the news.
But for those interested in finding common ground among the diverse groups that inhabit Salt Lake City, it was a vibrant reminder that unity is an option.
The first thing Chacon did was thank Zions Bank for its commitment and caring.
The first thing Zions Bank President and CEO A. Scott Anderson did was thank Chacon for producing a work that showcased "hope, optimism, determination and new beginnings."
As with other murals by Chacon, this one has an iconic quality. It speaks of healing, hope and remembrance of things past. The mural is now a fresh, new landmark in a city filled with landmarks.
No, it was not an event that demanded helicopter coverage and the interruption of regularly scheduled programming, but given its import as a moment when good people got together to champion what is good, perhaps the unveiling merited such coverage.