The Ogden River Parkway guides runners, bikers and walkers along the river and through graffiti filled tunnels. Now, one of those tunnels is a work of art.
Underneath Monroe Boulevard, near the Ogden Botanical Gardens, is a tunnel that has been part of on ongoing mural project created by Weber State University art students in conjunction with Ogden city.
“It’s really cool to walk through the tunnel and see art work instead of graffiti,” said Taja Reeder, who walks the trails often with her daughter. “I love the silver stream that is on the ceiling and looking at all the different design. It’s a great addition to the parkway.”
Cara-Lynne Krebs, an adjunct art professor at WSU, sparked the idea. Krebs wanted her students to experience creating something that they might not do on their own in the art world. Their final project was to do a public art piece in the community, and the tunnel project was the result.
“It’s unique because it’s a different type of mural,” said Jaqualine Crabtree, an art major at WSU. “It has a very childlike yet sophisticated feel.”
The tunnel project was designed to mimic a river and its surroundings. The ceiling is covered in a silver Mylar material that looks like water. The walls are embellished with rocks, foliage, flowers and other designs.
“It’s a really busy tunnel, a lot of people use the running path. The most rewarding part is hearing positive comments. The most common thing they say is ‘thank you’ and that they are glad someone is doing something with the tunnel,” said Krebs.
Diane Stern, Ogden city arts coordinator, said they had seen some success with putting murals onto walls where there was a lot of tagging and graffiti. People didn’t mess it up so much because there was a pride factor.
“Even though it does get tagged it is not at the same level as we were seeing before,” said Stern.
This is a great opportunity for the students to get involved since the city will continue to maintain the tunnel, she said.
“That’s a different side of education that you aren’t going to get in a classroom or even in some student exhibit. This is actually out in the world and there are challenges,” she said.
Students from the WSU both figure drawing and beginning drawing teamed up to complete the project. Crabtree, who was in the figure drawing class, said she like volunteering her art in the community.
“I enjoyed being able to collaborate on a project with other people. I liked drawing the foliage the most and seeing little quirks in other peoples drawing skills throughout the tunnel,” she said
Stern encourages students or professionals or anyone to apply for the city funds to do art projects. It can be performance, visual arts or art installations. The grants for the city arts funding will begin in January. You can visit ogdencityarts.org for more information.