OGDEN — Downtown Ogden’s butterfly mural now has some company.
Three new murals have gone up on along The Monarch building’s east-facing parking lot wall in recent weeks, painted by local artists whose designs were selected during O1ARTS’s recent ARTicipate mural contest.
In January, artists were invited to submit original mural designs for three, 32 feet-long sections of the wall at 455 25th St. Nine designs from eight artists met criteria and the designs were posted at PLATFORMS across the street at 25th Street and Adams Avenue for the public to vote on throughout the spring. More than 550 votes were cast between paper and online ballots, said Scott Patria, executive director of O1ARTS.
“If you’re doing something that impacts a certain group of people, they should have a voice in what you’re doing, so we thought this was a way to do that,” Patria said of the open voting process.
The selected murals were designed by three women — Lindsay Huss, Jessica Ritter and Emily Munk. O1ARTS is also crowdfunding for a fourth mural designed by Jaxsen Layton, that was just shy of placing third place by two votes.
“All three ladies have really cool statements and reasonings behind their designs,” Patria said. “I think that adds to it too.”
Huss painted the “Electric West” mural, which features brightly colored Utah wildlife and landscape scenes. Huss, a native of North Ogden and now an Ogden resident, said she was honored to be selected as a mural artist.
“I care about this community a lot, and so being able to do something to help beautify it, it’s really amazing,” she said.
Huss, who works as an art teacher at North Ridge High School in Layton, said she originally created the piece for a mural contest in Salt Lake City. “Electric West” wasn’t selected for that contest, but she kept the design around because “it’s one of those pieces I really enjoyed making. Everything I wanted it to be, it became.”
“Electric West” celebrates Huss’s passion for the outdoors, showing animals like mountain lions, eagles, and antelope against the background of the mountains.
“Utah is a really interesting place with so much diversity, especially in nature,” she said. “I really wanted to capture the diversity in wildlife and landscape.”
Ritter’s mural also celebrates nature with several bees painted on a black and white honeycomb background. Because “Bees” was Ritter’s first attempt at mural and the largest piece she’s created, she wanted to keep the design simple. She created the bees with stencils at home. The hardest part was making the hexagons of the honeycomb, she said, which took her “six hours of tape for 20 minutes of painting.”
“I’ve been out of the art scene for a year and half, so this is a big comeback for me,” Ritter said. “I’ve really been making an effort to get my art out there.”
Seeing her art on such a large public platform is a bit “surreal,” she said, adding that Ogden has been doing a great job adding more public art around the city.
“It’s really given artists a place to showcase and people to see art during more hours instead of gallery hours,” Ritter said.
Aside from driving tourism, part of the goal of the O1ARTS mural program is to grow the “creative economy” and give artists more opportunities in Ogden, Patria said.
Ogden’s art scene has picked up in recent years, Huss said, and the murals have helped drive people to the Nine Rails Creative District.
“I think when there’s artwork around people tend to care more about the area. So I think it’s definitely headed in the right direction,” Huss said. “I’m excited to see where else it goes.”