The piece, created by Maine artist Aaron T Stephan, is designed to become the place to have one’s picture taken in Salt Lake City. Like other cities that have iconic artwork or architecture, this new installation beckons people to sit down and be part of the art.
“Thousands of visitors come to the Salt Palace annually to take advantage of the great hospitality, cultural and convention amenities here in Salt Lake County. Their future photos in front of ‘You Are Here’ will be a fun reminder of the great times they enjoyed during their stay,” said Mayor Ben McAdams.
“Point of View” features more than 150 standard road signs placed in front of the main entrance of the Salt Palace Convention Center (West Temple at 100 South). Portions of some of the signs serve to create a large, red logo that says “You Are Here.” The logo points to a red bench on the sidewalk.
Diametrical words, such as “catch/throw,” “truth/dare,” “desert/ocean” and “sublime/ridiculous” are placed on signs of varying dimensions. The “You Are Here” logo is well-defined, looking at it straight on. But move to either side, and the phrase is no longer visible, leaving one to engage in reading the hundreds of contrasting words.
Salt Palace General Manager Dan Hayes says, “The contrasting phrases and interesting word selection align with the Salt Palace’s sense of place. It’s a facility in which there is discourse, questioning and learning. ‘Point of View’ illustrates those disciplines very well.”
Mr. Hayes says he is very excited to have this installation be a part of the Salt Lake County-owned facility. “The Salt Palace is an important crossroad for people from around the world who are here for conventions, conferences, trade shows and other events. Plus, the Salt Lake Visitors Center is part of our facility and is adjacent to the new installation. Now, this constant influx of people can interact with public art that represents Salt Lake City in a whimsical, yet thought provoking way. We would like it to become a photographic backdrop as famous as other well-known art installations in metropolitan areas, such as The Bean in Chicago, Love in New York City, the Blue Bear in Denver or the Musical Swings in Montreal,” commented Mr. Hayes.
The Request for Proposals process was open to local and national artists. Twenty-six applications were received. An Art Selection Committee made up of representatives from Salt Lake County, the Salt Palace, the Visitor & Convention Bureau (Visit Salt Lake) and the community reviewed and scored the applications based on the artisans’ experiences with past public art commissions.
Scott Beck, President and CEO of Visit Salt Lake, was part of the selection committee. “We had some very specific criteria. We wanted the piece to have an urban feel and serve as a gathering place for people. Perhaps more importantly, it needed to lend itself to creating a stronger connection for locals and visitors to the Salt Palace Convention Center. We invite everyone to come down, and experience and interact with our new neighbor," Mr. Beck said.
Artist Aaron T Stephan works in many mediums, from sculpture to audio pieces, printmaking to performance art. He has received various grants and academic fellowships. Mr. Stephan has a Master of Fine Arts from Maine College of Art in Portland ME; a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from Purchase College, Purchase NY; and, he has studied internationally.
The work is funded, in part, by the Salt Lake County 1% for Public Art program.