The words “Black Lives Matter” — along with messages of solidarity, unity and justice — now run the length of Park City’s historic Main Street.
Four murals were painted on the pavement of Park City’s popular commercial district over the Fourth of July weekend, a collaborative project spearheaded by the city government and the Park City/Summit County Arts Council.
“They wanted to show their support for the issues going around in the country,” said Bill Louis, a Pacific Islander artist who painted the “Solidarity” mural by Main Street’s 400 block.
“I’ve seen these types of issues happen my whole life,” said Louis, whose mother is Tongan and whose father is of Samoan and Fijian heritage. “I’ve been targeted myself” for discrimination, he added, because of the color of his skin.
Louis’ colorful mural, facing the O.C. Tanner plaza, has the word “Solidarity” in large block letters, flanked by silhouettes of a Black man and a Black woman.
“I felt like solidarity is something we all needed,” Louis said.
Louis said the arts council contacted him and other artists about two weeks ago, so creating the murals was a quick turnaround.
Samoan-born artist Aljay Fuimaono painted the “Black Lives Matter” mural at the top of Main Street, stretched between the Treasure Mountain Inn and the Egyptian Theatre.
Down the hill, around the 600 block, the Roots Art Kollective from Salt Lake City’s west side painted a mural with the word “Unity” at the center, and the words “peace” and “love” on either side, all framed in colorful geometric patterns.
Toward the bottom of the hill, along the 700 and 800 block, the words “Justicia Para Todos” — Spanish for “justice for all” — are on the pavement. The words are flanked by images of a hand holding a flame, and roses appear between the words.
The “Justicia” mural was created by Mariella Mendoza and Jorge Arellano, aka Stenciljam, members of Nopalera Artists Collective, a group of Latinx and indigenous artists and activists.
The word “todos” is dotted with portraits of people killed by police in Utah — including Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, who was fatally shot by Salt Lake City police on May 23. The portraits are similar to ones painted by anonymous artists in Salt Lake City’s Granary district, on the building that houses city police and fire vehicles. The mural also has splotches of red paint, similar to that left on the street in front of the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office in downtown Salt Lake City.
The red paint sends the message that “there is blood on law enforcement hands,” Arellano said on a Facebook video posted by the group Just Media Utah.
Louis said he encountered a few people opposed to the mural placement during the two-day painting process, but that “the majority of the reactions were positive,” he said. “A lot of people were grateful for them.”
Police in Park City were supportive, Louis said, helping keep the artists fed and hydrated — and shooing away the occasional heckler.
Park City is no stranger to street art. In 2010, the famous — some say infamous — and anonymous British artist Banksy, in town to premiere a documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, tagged a barn on State Road 224. The artist also left three stenciled works along Old Main, making Park City one of the smallest towns in the world with three Banksy works.
The barn was repainted, but the Banksy works on Main were preserved. The best known of them — of a cameraman plucking a flower by its roots — is along the wall of the Java Cow, near one end of Louis’ “Solidarity” mural.
Louis’s reaction when he learned where he would be painting: “Cool, I’m by Banksy,” he said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained a misspelling of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal.