Experience the masterful and artistic urban murals in Salt Lake City–some cleverly placed in the middle of busy intersections–others secretly tucked away in unassuming alleyways. These massive pieces of art, painted on iconic and not so iconic walls wait ever so patiently for someone to come and admire them, to photograph them, to feel something from them. The problem is, you don’t actually know where to find these murals. You want to see them in person, taking your very own urban art tour, but where in the world is the rendition of the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Beatles album cover, the wall of literary genius, and the Jazz basketball legends? Keep sipping on that cocktail, relax, and worry no more. We’ve compiled the must-see murals in Salt Lake City, and bonus, we included locations along with some extra information so you can sound like a street art aficionado when you take your friends along for the tour.
Squatter's Nod to Beer
With a tantalizing choice of three murals side by side, this is the place to go on your last stop before heading to the airport. Not only does the cheerfully painted beer wall give us locals ridiculous bragging rights, but it provides clear photo evidence of the quirky beer culture a “brewing” in a state once known for anti-drinking laws and membership requirements. So you choose: hipster man holding an art-deco inspired beer stein, the breakdown of the beer process, or tipsy pink and purple creatures swimming in a fountain of beer. Which one speaks to you?
The Book Wall
222 South Main Street
Featuring books such as ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ this meaningful mural is a book lover’s dream. Make sure to pay close attention to the bindings because they’re replicas of rare and unique editions, not just typical covers. You wouldn’t know it but the art piece was actually intended for two rows of books, with A-F on the top and F-Z on the bottom. Tony Weller of Weller Book Works, aka Sam Weller’s Books wasn’t able to finish the piece due to expenses–to this day there isn’t an artist’s signature anywhere on the painting. Note; make sure to visit this one soon since this mural’s future is unknown–the attached bookstore was moved.
Jazz Anniversary Mural
250 S 400 W
Jann Haworth, one of the original artists of the Beatles album cover ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ wasn’t content with the lack of women and influential people on the British rock star’s album cover, so she decided to create SLC Pepper–an updated rendition in mural form. From each intricate face to partially sketched additions, SLC Pepper reads as a continual and collaborative masterpiece. But with all the changes, one thing did remain the same according to Jann, ‘The Old Lady’.
Ave MariaEl Mac & Retna
156 E 200 S
Perhaps as idyllic as urban art can get, The Virgin Mary’s clever backdrop consists of Salt Lake City skyscrapers and meeting places. Named ‘Ave Maria’ or unofficially ‘The Madonna Mural’ she gracefully faces the majestic mountains, coincidentally looking over a historic church building. You’ll notice the intricate roses and Catholic charm of this mural gives way to the religious and non-religious passerby while welcoming you to street art row by the warmth of her open heart.
Magic School Bus
Utah! MuralEvan Jed
741 Kilby Court
Situated just outside Kilby Court (the garage-band style concert venue), this thoughtful piece of urban art provides several hints of our beehive themed roots in Utah, with honeycomb patterns, woven hives, and honey-colored paint dripping from top to bottom. You should arrive a smidge early to your next Kilby Court concert, grab a refreshing beverage from Fisher or TF, and soak in this Utah treasure that showcases where we started and where we’re going.