A Glimpse at Main Street’s Al Fresco Gallery Stroll By Melissa Fields

Warm weather is finally upon us and I can’t remember a summer I’ve looked forward to more. While many of my most beloved summer events—i.e. concerts and festivals—have been cancelled due to COVID-19 (sigh), thankfully, art continues to thrive in downtown Salt Lake City. Case in point: the Main Street Kiosk Project.

In late April, the latest round of local artists’ work was installed on four kiosks located on downtown Salt Lake City’s Main Street. Two of the kiosks are located at about 240 S. Main—one is at the entrance to the Gallivan Center and the other is across the street, just north of Keys on Main. The other two kiosks are at about 340 S. Main—one on the east side of the street in front of Maxwell’s and the other on the west side of the street nearby the Melting Pot. The work of eight Utah-based artists was chosen to adorn the lower panels of these kiosks for the next three to six months, including the following three:

Eadweard Muybridge Inspired Bison by Elisabeth Bunker, 240 S. Main St

Painter Elisabeth Bunker was exposed to the photography of Eadweard Muyrbridge—a 19th century photography known for his study of movement—as a young painting student while pursuing her BFA from Metropolitan State University in Denver. She moved to Salt Lake City shortly after earning her degree, where she’s continued to delve into Muybridge’s work for inspiration. “Like all interesting artists and humans, he mixed his passions—in his case, science and art,” Bunker explained. “He was fascinated by the motions of people and animals and wanted to capture and analyze something that hadn’t been seen before in his time—the progressions of the simple acts of walking, running and other daily actions.” Bunker has painted a few series based on other examples of Muybridge’s work previously, but the low-res but still texturized and high contrast image of his bison—as she depicts in Eadweard Muybridge Inspired Bisonholds a special place in her heart. “It connects to one of my other favorite things to make art of,” she says, “the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island. The bison we enjoy here in Utah are so iconic to those who connect to the lake and to the greater history of the West.”

Naauao o’ Wahine (Wisdom of Woman) by Bill Louis, 345 S. Main St 

Bill Louis is a Polynesian (Tongan/Fijian) urban abstract artist who specializes in murals, graffiti, portraits, landscapes and much more. Since relocating to Utah from his native Reno, Nevada, Louis has steadily become a tour de force within Salt Lake City’s thriving public art scene. Along with Naauoo o’ Wahine, a few of Louis’s more notable murals include a vibrant installation within downtown’s Eccles Theater, covering the lobby and stairwell of the Regent Street Black Box; an exterior wall of The Shops at South Town in Sandy; and an enormous mural covering the inside of the State Road 224 pedestrian tunnel near the historic McPolin Barn in Park City. “With the kiosks installation, I wanted to show the beauty and wisdom of the important women in my life, and also to celebrate all women,” Louis says. “Naauoo o’ Wahine is intended to remind them of their strength and value represented through the colors.”

Legacy by Missy Ames, 329 S. Main St

Although Utah native Missy Ames’s day job is as a graphic designer, she considers herself primarily an artist, and spends much of her free time painting and creating digital artwork. “I love looking up work from different eras and trying to reproduce the styles and figuring out how they were created,” she says. Legacy, her contribution to THE BLOCKS’ Main Street Kiosk Project, was inspired by the cyclical nature of history; the idea that we are currently creating history that someday someone will read and wonder about—a notion that’s particularly relevant as we all muddle our way through the COVID era. “When I lived in Europe, the past was ever present,” says Ames, who lived abroad for a decade before returning to Utah two years ago. “The house I lived in there was over 250 years old and the village was well over 1,000. Everywhere you looked, there was evidence of the past: abandoned castles and old farmhouses and traditional holidays and clothing and ceremonies. It always made me think about what the world will look like 1,000 years from now. What kinds of things will we leave behind from our day? What will those things say about us? I love trying to imagine the relics that our descendants will be left with. Will it be art? Architecture? Will humans perfect a sustainable world and keep progressing? Or will we leave piles of plastic and ecological ruin? Probably a bit of both, but hopefully more positive than negative.”

While you’re downtown checking out the Main Street Kiosks, why not make an afternoon or evening of it with a bite to eat, coffee or cocktail? A few of the restaurants and bars that are now open for dine-in along Main, each adhering to CDC COVID-19 guidelines, include: White Horse Spirits & Kitchen, the bars Cheers to You and Keys on Main, Market Street Grill, Pleiku, Eva’s Bakery and Three Pines Coffee. Several more are open for take-out, including Maxwell’s, Takashi and Bolt Cutter—serving up tasty fare ideal for taking over to the Gallivan Center for a post-art stroll picnic.  


Written by Melissa Fields