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Whalecome – SLC’s Newest Public Art Piece

Whalecome - SLC's Newest Public Art Piece

On April 11, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., the public is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Salt Lake City’s newest public art piece, Out of the Blue, created by artist Stephen Kesler and featuring an inaugural mural painted on the surface of the sculpture by artist Mike Murdock.

During the ceremony, remarks will be given by Mayor Erin Mendenhall, District 5 Council member Darin Mano, East Liberty Park Community Organization Chair Jason Stevenson, and Salt Lake City Arts Council Executive Director Felicia Baca. Cookies will be provided by Tulie Bakery and coffee by Caffé Expresso and the first 100 attendees will be gifted a commemorative, limited edition reusable tote bag, designed by artist Mike Murdock.

The life-size sculpture of a breaching humpback whale is in the roundabout intersection of 900 South and 1100 East and is the product of an almost two-year-long public art process. This work, created from recycled foam and molded fiberglass around a steel frame, represents the “unexpected” nature and characteristics of the 9th and 9th area and its diverse residents and visitors.

Kesler, who was introduced to the neighborhood as a teenager and spent nearly two decades in this community working on art, music, and eventually starting a family, describes 9th and 9th as “unexpected and out of the blue. A community where people from all backgrounds, beliefs, and ideas migrate and feel a sense of belonging. A community that bursts through expectations; that commands respect for nature, and varied ideas and identities.”

The mission of the Salt Lake City Arts Council is to promote, present, and support artists and arts organizations in order to facilitate the development of the arts and expand awareness, access, and engagement.

For more information about the Public Art Program, or to learn more about Out of the Blue, please visit