We all make claims every day.
We claim our allegiances- to communities, cultures, clubs and sports teams.
We claim space with signs, fences, parking spots and walls.
We claim to know things and not know things.
We claim that this is mine or that is yours.
We notice when claims are made about us that feel good and when false claims are made about our persons, families or communities.
What does it mean to claim these spaces and places? And how does it feel? If we don’t claim when we have the opportunity, can something get claimed “away” from us?
Contribute your claims and your thoughts by clicking Get Involved and then “Make a Claim”.
Welcome to OurSLC Blog!
OurSLC is a multi-year civic arts project hosted by the Sorenson Unity Center in collaboration with the West Salt Lake communities of Glendale and Poplar Grove and in partnership with the Salt Lake City Arts Council and the Salt Lake City Division of Parks and Public Lands.
See the work being done as part of the OurSLC: Claim it! with Youth City, City Lab and Latinos in Action at Glendale Middle School and The Westside Storytelling Project by clicking on the tabs on the right under post categories. You can find community member’s participation under the Claim it! photography project link. You can even make your own claim about what is important to you or how you think space should be claimed in your neighborhood by clicking on Get Involved. Lastly, you can find information on upcoming exhibits and related public programs under the Exhibits tab.
Thank you for helping us build this exciting community project.
Latinos in Action students Help Envision Future Public Art at the 9-Line Pump Track
Students from the Latinos in Action program at Glendale Middle School bicycled to the 9-Line Pump Track (900 South and 700 West) to offer their ideas for a future public art installation at the site on Thursday, April 7. The art installation consisted of painting murals and bicycle frames. Students also had the chance to ride the pump track and enjoy Belgian waffles from Waffle Love food truck. They also had the opportunity for Salt Lake Tribune to capture their involvement.
The event is a part of “OurSLC: Claim it!”, a city-managed, community-driven art project funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The project will result in public art installations in three locations on Salt Lake City’s west side: 9-Line Pump Track, Fred and Ila Rose Fife Wetland Preserve, and Sorenson Unity Center. The installations are expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Would you be able to make a statement about yourself within a 2X3 inch box?
That would be pretty tough, right?
The ambitious students from Glendale Middle School’s Latinos in Action class accepted this challenge to claim something important about themselves within an Altoid box. Using 3D visual elements and their awesome artistic minds, they have transformed these tiny spaces. This year the class has been exploring the concept of Claim It! as part of a National Endowment for the Arts funded program with Salt Lake City and the Unity Center. These young people hope to give a voice to their community, their families, friends and to themselves.
The classroom was a buzz of energy as they discussed what they were thinking about, and rummaged through boxes of fabric, old toys, and paper. After diving in with their hands and intuition, they stepped back to examine what they had made. As part of their piece, each artist has written a statement describing the artwork in their own words. Some of the questions they answered are:
What is your box trying to say?
Why did you choose the colors/materials that you did?
Did you learn something about yourself while making this box?
How does your art piece show what is important to you?
Is there a story to go with your box?
Does it inspire a poem?
Look for more artwork from these dynamic artists at the Sorenson Center this May!
CityLab teens got the chance to get out and about with Lewis Kogan and Nancy Monteith from Salt Lake City’s Parks and Public Lands Division as they toured the Oxbow Site. If you haven’t been there, this is the area just west of where 900 South meets the Jordan River, and where the river makes a gigantic bend (called an oxbow). The whole area has recently been transformed into a wetlands wildlife viewing area, and will soon have a community artwork designed by CityLab.
Lewis helped the Claim it! students learn something about the history of the space, from it being a train line, to a dump, to now a beautiful natural place. We also learned about how the water can soak through the ground and make the pond area go up and down. This means that our design will have to be firmly planted, or flexible enough to survive the floods. Thanks to Lewis and Nancy for guiding us on what can and can’t be included in our installation. Sorry Gabby, we still can’t put a snack shack on one of the little islands, but we can make a chill spot for community gathering.
Along the Jordan River at the Oxbow Nature Park Site
4.5-acre “Oxbow” micro-wetlands restoration area prior to site work, 2012
Sorenson Unity Center is a special place to the students, staff and families here, and it is an important part of the community in Glendale. Many of the students’ claims in our classes refer back to Sorenson and the feeling of ownership they have of this space.
There are many spaces to create art at Sorenson, and all have the potential to reflect the love, community devotion, playfulness and hope for the future that YouthCity students express when developing different ‘claims’. My hope is to fill as many spaces as possible with art!
It is a precious gift and huge responsibility to work with youth, to try and create art that truly reflects the community in a real and honest way. My biggest community art inspiration is artist, educator and community activist Judith Baca. About community art, she says, “I want to produce artwork that has meaning beyond simple decorative values. I hope to use public space to create public voice, and consciousness about the presence of people who are often the majority of the population but who may not be represented in any visual way. By telling their stories, we are giving voice to the voiceless and visualizing the whole of the American story while creating sites of public memory.”
This idea of creating sites of “public memory” is supported by our ‘Claimit!’ framework, and it has been an exciting challenge to not only talk to students about public art, but to also work to empower them to began to think about themselves as public artists and spokespersons for their community. They ARE Glendale, and it is a beautiful place.
Months ago a friend gifted me with 30 tiny tin Altoid boxes. They have sat dutifully in my art closet awaiting their purpose.
When I brought them into class, the students were instantly excited and spared neither time nor imagination creating a box for their claims.
Using multi-media objects, spray paint, wire cutters, glue guns and miniature figurines each student made their own box. We talked about how artists can work in two ways. One is with a very specific plan which they execute from beginning to end according to that plan. The artist starts out with an intended message and knows precisely how they want to say it. Another way is to jump in and intuitively create an art piece without knowing which direction it will go. Then the artist steps back and asks, “What is this? What does it mean?”
Both are valuable ways of working. The students appreciated permission to work both ways. We discussed how an artist will work in whichever way offers them the most creativity and fluency of expression. No particular way is better than the other.
Students were then asked to articulate in writing, what their art piece signified. Some questions we answered were:
If your box could tell a story, what would it say?
How do the materials, colors, textures or objects express your message?
What did you learn about yourself making your piece?
Why is this piece important to you?
Many people remember attending movies at the Arcade.
The building permit for the theater was dated 10, Mar 1926. The original owner and builder was S. E Mulcock and was estimated at a cost of $13,000.
From 1927 to 1930 it was called the Ess Pee Theatre (SP).
The name changed to The Arcade in 1932.
It was located at 420 South 9th West. [Historic 8th West]
[Photo courtesy of the USHS]
The Arcade Theatre in 1947.
In double feature was playing–“The Gentleman Misbehaves” and Evelyn Keyes in “Renegades.”
[Photo courtesy of the USHS]
Movies continued showing into the 1990s. But as large movie chains took over, business declined and in April of 2000 the building was torn down.
[Photo courtesy of Georgia Weber]
What was your favorite movie or memory at the Arcade Theatre?
This week in CityLab, we’ve been working on lego models of what the teens have coined, “The Chill Space”. They propose it be installed at the Jordan River Oxbow. Currently, the space is underutilized by residents and could use a personal/community touch. Here’s where we come in! The CityLab teens hope to have a fully functioning fire pit with surround seating, a pavilion of sorts, and decorative/eco-friendly water and light features. They expect the space to be frequented by local community members especially during the spring and summer months. Stay reading as we develop our ideas in the coming weeks!
In his book, The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook: How to Transform Communities Using Local Assets, Arts and Culture, Tom Borrup identifies 5 ways that arts projects can improve communities. OurSLC Claim it! utilizes a project design that hopes to validate each of these :
- PROMOTE INTERACTION IN PUBLIC SPACE
Through community- based art making with youth groups and community members we are providing opportunities for increased interactions and invitations for shared conversation.
- INCREASE CIVIC PARTICIPATION THROUGH CELEBRATIONS
We have been honored to be a part of many already existing celebrations and will offer some of our own opportunities through our exhibits and documentation at the Unity Center and then again when the three public artworks are installed.
- ENGAGE YOUTH IN THE COMMUNITY
Our work was shaped from the start by a desire to work with youth from multiple age groups and settings and allow them to claim spaces and places from their own perspectives.
- PROMOTE THE POWER AND PRESERVATION OF PLACE
These artworks, and all of the work leading up to them call attention to the cultural richness of the Glendale and Poplar Grove neighborhoods.
- BROADEN PARTICIPATION IN THE CIVIC AGENDA
As community-based arts practitioners we hope to bring people together in conversation and cultural engagement with the West Salt Lake Master Plan and fulfill the specific goals expressed by the community.
The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook can be ordered from the publisher, Fieldstone Alliance. For more information seewww.communityandculture.com or www.livable.com.