SALT LAKE CITY — This or that. A to Z. Chicken or egg. A lot a little. Rise and fall.
These are a few of many contradicting phrases used in a new public art piece in Salt Lake City titled "Point of View."
From one angle, the art piece looks like a jumble of more than 150 odd phrases on white, standard road signs.
But from a specific angle, the signs align to form a large, red logo that points to a nearby red bench and reads, "You Are Here."
"We wanted something that would be social media friendly," said Valerie Price, Public Art Program manager for the Salt Lake County Center for the Arts. "We wanted something with a very urban feel."
"Point of View" was installed this week at the main entrance of the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple, just before the start of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market convention.
"We would like it to become a photographic backdrop as famous as other well-known art installations in metropolitan areas, such as the Bean in Chicago, Love in New York City, the Blue Bear in Denver or the Musical Swings in Montreal,” said Dan Hayes, Salt Palace general manager.
Price said the piece is permanent and was intentionally installed before the retailer show so visitors would have the chance to interact with the artwork.
"The Salt Palace is an important crossroad for people from around the world who are here for conventions, conferences, trade shows and other events," Hayes said. “Now this constant influx of people can interact with public art that represents Salt Lake City in a whimsical, yet thought-provoking way.”
The public art piece was designed and created by Maine artist Aaron T. Stephan.
"You can kind of identify yourself with different parts of the piece and delve into it. Hopefully, you get sucked in by this very large image, but then you have room to maneuver within the piece and discover different things within it," Stephen said.
The artist said he researched the history of Utah and Salt Lake City and incorporated cultural references into phrases on the signs, including hints to poems or songs.
"In a very busy downtown place like that, you want something that acts as a visual anchor to the entire area," Stephan said. "At a convention center, you're doing things at a site where a bunch of people with very similar interests come together and create this community out of nothing and then leave a week later. I was really interested in that idea."
Stephan was selected out of 26 local and national artists who sent applications to a committee of representatives from Salt Lake County, the Salt Palace, Visit Salt Lake and the community.
"I like to work in materials that would already be at a site, like using road signs in a place where there would be road signs," Stephan said.
The work was funded in part by the Salt Lake County 1% for Public Art program, which allots 1 percent of construction budgets in the county toward public art funding.
"Thousands of visitors come to the Salt Palace annually to take advantage of the great hospitality, cultural and convention amenities here in Salt Lake County," said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. "Their future photos in front of 'You Are Here' will be a fun reminder of the great times they enjoyed during their stay."
Email: [email protected]