On the day of the project, over 100 volunteers signed up. They finished the mural in three hours.
BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY
Have you seen the mural painted on the Monroe tunnel? This is the story behind that mural, and of the hundred hands that made it happen. First, it was an idea in the mind of Visit Ogden CEO, Sara Toliver.
It was up to Sara and her organization to host the Utah Tourism Conference in August. As hosts, they got to choose a “give back” as part of Utah’s Forever Mighty Project. Sara saw that there was a lot of potential for clean-up service projects around the community but wanted to also create a more unique opportunity for the volunteers to engage in our community. Notably, she thought of the tunnel along the Ogden River Parkway. Long-time residents may remember that previous artists had painted it. Those early efforts were painted over. So, Sara decided the giveback would be a mural in the same spot.
Next, Sara’s team came up with a design. Everyone wanted to reflect Ogden’s “mountain to metro” destination theme. The Ogden City Arts, Culture, and Events division manager, Christy McBride, plotted out the mural on the tunnel walls. Then, the Visit Ogden and Ogden City’s Arts teams got to work taping it off into a grid, so that many volunteers could paint at once.
On the day of the project, over 100 volunteers showed up. As a result, Visit Ogden was able to assign many volunteers to clean-up efforts along the parkway while others painted. They finished the mural in three hours.
Following the volunteer work, local artist, Richard Ramos, came to help paint the more intricate part of the artwork. He incorporated Shalae Larsen’s historic 25th street-scape into the design. You might know 25th Street as Two-Bit Street, Two-Five Drive, or H-Two-Five.
The Transcontinental Railroad transformed this street into a tourist attraction. Not only did people from all over the world visit while riding the train, but locals would come to just see the train, even if they couldn’t afford to ride it. Hotels, bars, shops, casinos, and even brothels popped up along the street to capture the fascination of travelers.
Then, interstate freeways and commercial airplanes wiped out the train industry. 25th Street missed its thousands of visitors a day. However, even developers stayed away from the historic street. So, even now, it remains in its glory. Bars maintain the street’s history of bootleggers. Local shopkeepers sell their products in the same windows as in the past. Theaters and art galleries also dot the street. Therefore, the street has a lot of historic and present value. When you visit, keep an eye out for their historic plaques that tell you about what the street used to look like.
Today, you can see 25th Street with the backdrop of the mountains painted by a hundred hands. They’ve all left the mark on the mural. You can visit Monroe Tunnel by parking at the Ogden MTC Botanical Gardens and walking West on the Ogden River Parkway towards Lorin Farr Park.
Visit Ogden’s CEO Sara Toliver wanted to reflect the “mountain to metro” destination theme.