The Ogden City Arts Council is a group of local artists and residents that focuses on all things art happening in the city. The group’s members work as liaisons between artists and Ogden City to ensure art remains a vital part of the city. Teri Zenger is a member of the arts council.
Believing that, "a society that creates art — to express their values, to delight and amuse, to challenge or startle people out of their everyday mindset — is a healthy and vibrant society," Ogden was the first Utah city to enact a Percent for Art program.
This means a 1 percent allocation of funds spent on city capital improvements is set aside for the purchase and installation of public art. Established in 1997, the ordinance insures that the city will never lack for public art and that its citizens can be startled on a daily basis. Just check out our parks, libraries, public buildings and roadways. Heck, you can even get a fabulous dose of art when you go to Ogden Justice Court to pay a speeding ticket. And that's just the beginning.
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A couple of years ago, Ogden City sponsored a Haiku poetry contest. Citizens were asked to submit a Haiku — three lines of poetry consisting of five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables — with the theme of “This is My Ogden.” Hundreds of submissions were read, and 21 winners received cash prizes and had their poems emblazoned on a metal plaque permanently hung on lower 23rd Street. Have you seen them? They're fun. Percent for Art made Ogden poetry a sweet reality. There's more.
If you haven't seen enough snow this week, head over to 19th Street and Grant Avenue for a symbolic dusting of the white stuff, and see what Percent for Art did there. Located on the banks of the Ogden River, "Water Cycle" is an interactive sculpture depicting the progression of water from snowfall to runoff. Look for the metal sculpture showing a flock of birds.
At noon on the winter solstice, their winged flight — symbolic of snow — creates a giant snowflake shadow on a stone slab at the northern edge of the plaza. Through Percent for Art funding, artist Andy Dufford, of Chevo Studios, created one of the best pieces of public art Ogden has to offer — an interactive, year-round gathering place that connects nature and us.
Then, if you need a dose of pigment and light, check out the fantastic overhead sculpture in the FrontRunner station on Wall Avenue. It's a swath of circular color that will visually lift you right up to the ceiling. Thank you, Percent for Art.
Ogden is teeming with art. It's hung on walls, filled with water, at our feet and in the air. Percent for Art has this town covered.
And, it's all free.
To really get into the Ogden art scene, go to ogdencityarts.org. Pull down the “explore” tab, and see what Percent for Art has brought to O-Town.
And while you're there, find out what else is hanging, singing, reading, dancing and playing in our great town. For a full listing of Ogden Public Art, go to publicartarchive.org.