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Ogden Mural Project Combines Social-Distancing, Community Art

A mural on a lawn
Lawn Mural Project

Twenthy-five murals are sprinkled throughout Ogden for the next two weeks. This weekend was supposed to be the Ogden Arts Festival, a huge fundraiser for an arts education non-profit, Nurture the Creative Mind or NCM. Like many local summer celebrations, the Ogden Art Festival was canceled due to the pandemic. When the event was cancelled, organizers decided to turn a negative into a positive.

“Initially it was just an idea of we’ll put a few murals up,” said the director of the NCM, Amir Jackson. “We talked more about it, and there was a thought process of we should make this an actual exhibit, a tour where people could drive around the city and get out of the home in a safe way and have an experience.”

During its 14 years running, the nonprofit has worked with more than 20,000 Utahn youths.  The murals are huge pieces of graffiti art stationed in various places around the town. There’s a map of the town with the locations of the murals so people can drive or bike around the sprawling art exhibit while social-distancing. 

“Right now a lot of people are looking for ways to be connected and to feel some type of sense of community,” Jackson said. “We wanted to make sure we took our creative minds and find a way to connect the community, but also make sure the community was uplifted through that engagement.” 

It’s a great example of turning lemons into lemonade, but it also puts Nurture the Creative Mind in a tight spot. They accept donations and the murals are for sale, but without the big fundraiser, their future is uncertain. 

“We don’t necessarily know what the future holds for Nurture the Creative Mind,” said Jackson. “It’s very difficult to say what next month looks like. Things are changing so rapidly. Our organization tends to look at obstacles as an opportunity to create, and that’s how we’re looking at this situation. We are using this as an opportunity to evolve our program and, I guess, adapt.”