"We Are Murray"

The Murray City Arts Advisory Board's mission is to promote the development, awPaint Day Invite (3)areness and appreciation of, and participation in, the cultural arts and humanities in the city. To further their mission, the Arts Advisory Board acts as an advocate for the arts to be a significant element of the school curriculum.

Each year, as part of the art education element of their stewardship, the board chooses an art form for students to engage in that will enhance their education. This year, they have the opportunity to team up with Murray School District, the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Utah, and the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTSALP), to produce the "Visual Arts Mural Project" for students within Murray City.

Follow the Project
We will be posting the projects ongoing progress through out the next several months on our Murray City Cultural Arts Facebook Page. Lead Professional Development Partner for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program - University of Utah region, Trish Saccomano, will also be reporting on the "Murray Mural Project" on the BTSALP website: BTSALP Blog

  1. MURAL PHASE 1
  2. Mural Phase 2
  3. Mural phase 3

This school year (2018-2019), Murray School District has chosen the theme "We Are Murray" to help bring sense of belonging and pride to the students of each school. The students at each elementary were asked to draw what they felt being a part of their school represented. After this exercise, University undergraduate art majors, graduate art majors, and Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTSALP) visual art specialists met with students from each elementary to talk about the student drawings and come up with ideas for a mural unique to their elementary school.

After meeting with the elementary schools, the University students and BTSALP visual art specialists, transformed the drawings and ideas from those conversations, into mural drafts themed specifically for each of the nine elementary schools.

Next, the University and BTSALP students will meet with Junior High and High school students for input on color palette and hear suggestions on additions or revisions that might be added to the drafts. Once the outlines are finalized, each design will be printed onto a
4' x 8' piece of canvass and set up at the Murray Amphitheater to be painted. Elementary, junior high, and high school students will be bused to the Murray Mansion to help the University and BTSALP students to paint the murals. One of the paint days will be opened to the public and local artists.

With the completion of all nine murals, each elementary will have their own mural specific to their school identity.

Many MANY years ago, not far from Murray, two teenagers attended the same high school. They did not run in the same crowd but knew of each other and had many similar friends and of course, were both Granite Farmers-proud of their community and their school. But their story did not end in high school.

Meet V. Kim Martinez and Lori Shepherd Edmunds, both lovers of everything artsy. Kim_Highschool

V. Kim Martinez is a professor of painting and drawing in the Department of Art and Art History, College of Fine Arts, University of Utah, since fall 2001. Kim has an active visual artist record, exhibiting locally, notionally, and internationally. In 2003, Kim started a community arts project, Perspective REALIA (Research Engagement for Associative Learning in Arts) a course, which provides students the opportunity to propose, create, and implement public art in the form of mural designs and paintings throughout the Salt Lake City area, in an effort to create social change. Kim has always encouraged the use of art to foster a sense of community and democratic engagement. 

Lori Edmunds shared her love for the arts through volunteering and found herself over the Arts Department in South Jordan City for over a decade. While working for South Jordan, Lori meet another art lover, Mary Ann Kirk, whom she has always admired. 

Mary Ann Kirk started her work with Murray City as a volunteer, creating the Arts Advisory Board in 1986/87. At first, most of the programming was focused on utilizing the amphitheater and working with the 4 main local art organizations - Murray Arts Council (theater), Murray Symphony, Murray Concert Band, and the Ballet Center. Mary Ann was hired in 1992 as the first Cultural Programs Manager for Murray City in a 10 hour paid position. In her new role, she continued to work with the Arts Advisory board in surveying community needs for different art forms, skill levels, and different ages. Slowly they developed year round arts programming. 

One of the age groups they focused on included the youth and the Arts Advisory Board began to map out a plan for the youth to enjoy a wide variety of arts as not only a patron but as a participant as well. They felt they could reach more children by working more closely with the schools for daytime instruction. Throughout the years, residencies focusing on three main art forms was established and became tradition offered to the schools. Dance, Music, and Visual Arts residencies are offered on a three year cycle. 

After 25 years, Mary Ann Kirk decided to retire and Lori Edmunds was hired to take her place as Murray City Cultural Arts Program Manager. Lori reconnected with Kim Martinez at a Change Leader meeting that was sponsored by the Utah Department of Arts and Museum in 2017. So, when it came time to carry on the tradition of every third year offering a visual art experience to the students in Murray City, Lori knew just who to contact. 

Stay tuned as the story, "Connecting Lives on Canvas" continues to unfold. Next episode Monday, November 5th!

Meet Britt Black.

Britt Black, Murray High SchoolBritt loved to doodle and imagine all kinds of creative ideas when she was young but never paid much attention to art. While attending Hillcrest Jr. High, she was required to take an Art class from Mr. Kline. Although reluctant, she eventually decided to give her assignments a real try.

It was not until her older sister, Meghan, encouraged her to take Mr. White's Drawing 1 elective class at Murray High, that she realized art was her niche. As she continued to learn more in Mr. White's class, she would often tell her parents of her desire to be a professional artist. She grasped how to refine portrait drawings and sampled painting with oils for the first time. With Mr. White's encouragement, she participated in an Art show for the first time. Following her passion, she continued taking art classes, including an AP art class from Mr. Moffet, who also offered her much support.RishWhite

As she neared her senior graduation, Mr. White pulled her aside and said, "Brittany, I want you to know that art sometimes doesn't click with everyone, but it does with you, so keep doing it." Those words caused her to believe she was an artist and helped her stay the course at times she doubted herself.

After graduating from Salt Lake Community College, Britt was uncertain of her plans. She acquired a job as a paraeducator for an elementary school. As she assisted kids in reading and writing, teachers often solicited her aid in teaching art classes to their students. With a taste for teaching art, Britt returned to school at the University of Utah, taking education and art courses. However, once she attended the art classes, she terminated the education courses and focused on art full time. After four years she graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree. During her time at the university, she learned from several amazing professors and artists, including John Erickson, Sam Wilson, Alison Denyer, Tom Hoffman, John O'Connell, and Kim Martinez. 

Britt continued learning, participating in many printmaking classes and additional education classes. Eventually, she became acquanted with the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTSALP), where she began working as a paraeducator once again at the same elementary school. Another educator, Linda Williams, explained the Alternative Route to Licensure (ARL), where Brit could obtain a teaching license. That year she taught art five times a week to all the grades in a rotation as a para. As a result of her hard work and talents, Principal Joan Bramble offered her the BTS position. Now she has now been teaching in the BTSALP since 2016 and is close to achieving her teaching license through the ARL program. 

"Art is what got me through it all, art and all the people who helped me along the way. It's also incredibly validating to know that art is, what will get me to my future" - Britt Black

DSC00759Britt Black, Mr. White, and Kim Martinez have been reunited  through the "We Are Murray" mural project. Britt is once again a student of Kim's through the BTSALP and has assisted in designing Viewmont Elementary's mural. As Kim and Lori Edmunds have been working with Murray High School, Mr. White has been organizing his students' attendance on paint days, as well as assisting the University of Utah and BTSALP students. Mr. White was surprised to hear Britt Black's name as one of the teachers helping with the "We Are Murray" mural project. He remembered her presence as his student and reflected upon how she was a very talented, young artist. He knew she had continued art at the University of Utah and had a fantastic show of her work when she graduated, but he had lost touch with her. Now she returns with skills she has learned from Mr.White and Professor Martinez and is imparting them to her own students.

"The "We Are Murray" mural project is not only banding the schools and students of Murray together to create a wonderful work of art, it is also uniting the generations of students and teachers from Murray." - Mr. White

Britt Black in front of mural, 2018


Professor V. Kim Martinez began her tenure at the University of Utah with the Department of Fine Arts as an Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing in 2001 and was promoted to a full Professor in 2015. She is dedicated to art as a Kimvehicle for social change and  knew making art with a cohesive group would create an environment that was enriched and could change the undergraduate experience. Kim developed a large-scale mural painting course, Perspective REALIA (Research Engagement for Associative Learning in Arts) that would allow students to leave the confines of the campus to go into the community and work together to alter both the students and community members experience and impact the appearance of the city. Together with the community, Kim and her students have created 26 large scale murals and will be able to add 9 more to the list as they finish the Murray City Elementary murals.

DSC00609Currently enrolled in her Perspective REALIA course are undergraduate and graduate art major students along with Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program (BTSALP) visual arts specialists. One student, Britt Black, whom we met earlier, is part of the BTSALP.

The Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program provides art-integrated instruction to elementary students, effectively increasing student performance in every subject; from language arts and social studies to math and science. The program is currently in 300 Utah elementary schools and is serving approximately 202,800 students. BTSALP specialists are trained in one of four art disciplines; visual art, dance, music, and theatre. Through the BTS Program, they are placed in elementary schools to work alongside classroom teachers to develop lesson plans for the core curricula that incorporates art. The program is administered statewide through the Utah State Board of Education (USBE), who collaborates with deans and university staff to provide professional development for the arts specialists and classroom theaters. Professor Martinez's Perspective REALIA course provides such education and experience for BTSALP visual arts specialists.

TDSC00671rish Saccomano, is the lead Professional Development Partner for the BTSALP in the University of Utah region. She works with the visual artists and elementary school students and is also on the faculty of the Consumer and Family Studies Department at the University of Utah. She has been attending Professor Martinez's Perspective REALIA course and has partnered with a graduate student in creating the murals for Parkside Elementary School.

Professor V. Kim Martinez and Lori Edmunds both had attended the Change Leader Institute, a professional development program through the Utah Division of Arts and Museum. Participants attend a three-day immersive institute with instruction on assessing environments, communication and facilitation skills necessary to implement change. These Change Leaders form a network of leaders that share a common language, mentor each other, and convene through leadership circles and conferences. Change Leader conferences are typically held twice a year, one of which is held the day before the Mountain West Arts Conference. Though Kim and Lori did not attend the Institute at the same time, they both attended the Change Leader Conference in 2017. It was during that conference they reconnected, having attended the same high school, they had not seen each other since that time. Lori Edmunds had already started working for Murray City and was preparing to replace Mary Ann Kirk as the Cultural Arts Program Manager. She learned how Kim was a Professor at the University of Utah, with a course focused on community mural painting. With that creative seed in place, when it came time for Lori to carry on the tradition of every third year offering a visual art experience to the students in Murray City, she knew who to contact - Professor V. Kim Martinez. 

"We Are Murray" Mural Phases 1 - 3