creative district

Scott Quinney paints sandstone stalagmites on a community mural in the middle of 25th Street in June, part of the city's Nine Rails Creative District.

OGDEN — Ogden City recently finalized a plan that establishes a downtown creative district — now they’re looking for local artists to help mold it.

The Ogden City Council approved the Nine Rails Creative District on Aug. 14. The council’s approval formally designated a large section of the city as a centralized hub for arts and other creative activities.

The heart of the district is bounded by Washington Boulevard to the west and Jefferson Avenue to the east, between 24th and 26th streets. But the district also extends west to Historic 25th Street, north to The Junction, and east into the east-central neighborhood.

The sector will include dedicated connections between each of those locations, supported by arts-based infrastructure. The first phase of the plan includes a gateway art installation, a food truck hub, a new plaza on Ogden Avenue, an art/play installation at Lester Park, new signage and lighting, green infrastructure and traffic calming measures.

Two additional phases include projects like a plaza at Kiesel Avenue, a redesign of Lester Park and if it gets federal funding, the $79 million Ogden Bus Rapid Transit project.

The city hopes the initiative will encourage artists and other creatives to work and live downtown, thereby creating opportunities for the public to engage with the arts. Creating unique connections between the Central Business District and the east-central part of town — and spurring new development and foot traffic in both areas — is also part of the city’s aim.

Lorie Buckley, Ogden’s arts coordinator, said the city is now seeking submissions from local artists and other creatives to help fill the newly designated space and help move the initial implementation of the plan. The city hopes to fund five small public art projects in the district between October 2018 and June 2019.

“The goal of the project is to increase street-level activity and vibrancy,” Buckley said in an email. “And to continue establishing the identity of the creative district.”

Buckley said the city is looking for a broad range of art, which could include fixed pieces displayed on a long-term basis, or temporary performance art.

A $1,000 artist stipend ($500 up front and another $500 after the project is completed) will be given to each of the five selected artists.

Submissions will evaluated by city staff, the Ogden City Arts Advisory Committee and the Ogden Downtown Alliance. Projects will be graded based on quality, feasibility and time constraints. The city will also scrutinize projects to ensure they comply with local ordinances.

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