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Salt Lake City Wins $1 million Dollar Grant for Public Art Addressing the Great Salt Lake’s Environmental Crisis

Salt Lake City Arts Council

Salt Lake City has been selected as one of eight winning cities across the country to receive $1 million as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. This unique grant program supports temporary public art projects that address important local civic issues in U.S. cities. 

The Salt Lake City Arts Council’s proposed project, “Wake: the Great Salt Lake” aims to address the shrinking of the Great Salt Lake caused by humans and climate change by curating and installing several temporary public artworks by diverse local, regional, and internationally recognized artists that speak to this environmental crisis. 

“Public art holds a unique power of activating change and optimism in our communities,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said. “I am excited about Salt Lake City’s Bloomberg Public Art Challenge Grant and the action it will inspire. The opportunity for local artists and creators to harness their talents to encourage stewardship of the Great Salt Lake—the city’s namesake and one of the most vital ecosystems in our region—is absolutely phenomenal. I look forward to seeing the creative vision of this work come to life.” 

The goal of the project is to bring nationally recognized artists to Salt Lake City in an effort to educate and inspire both residents and visitors to identify possible solutions and take action on a local and national level. 
“This is the single largest grant ever awarded to our Salt Lake City Arts Council,” said Felicia Baca, Executive Director. “Our project, entitled ‘Wake: the Great Salt Lake,’ embraces many definitions of the word ‘wake.’ A wake is a time for reflecting on loss; to wake means regaining consciousness after a period of rest; and a wake is the turbulence created when one moves through water. This project will employ the diverse languages of artistic expression to create ripples of consciousness through our community.” 

The Arts Council team has established initial partnerships throughout internal City departments, local nonprofits, and artists, and is actively working to create partnerships with local tribal communities, scientists, and diverse community members. In the next two years, both public and private partners will come together to accomplish this monumental and historically significant investment in public art dedicated to the Great Salt Lake. 

Visit to learn more about the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge and stay tuned for updates on Salt Lake City’s proposed project. 

The mission of the Arts Council is to promote, present, and support artists, arts organizations, and arts activities in order to further the development of the arts community and to benefit the public by expanding awareness, access, and participation.