The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (RDA) and Salt Lake City Arts Council announced its invitation to media artist Refik Anadol to submit a public art proposal for Regent Street, the newly revitalized north-south mid-block street located between Main and State Street and 100 and 200 South. The commission of a public artwork designed specifically for Regent Street is the final element of the RDA’s $12-million reconstruction of the street.
Funded by the RDA and managed by the City’s Public Art Program, the Regent Street Public Art Project has a budget of up to $2 million, which when completed will be Salt Lake City’s largest public art project ever commissioned.
Anadol was selected from a pool of 136 respondents to the RDA and Arts Council’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ) released on January 10, 2018. The RFQ specifically called for applicants with proven experience in creating large-scale public artworks that respond to the architectural and natural environment and can withstand Utah’s climate.
The nine-member artist selection committee had seven voting members and two non-voting members. Four types of representatives were represented: the project funding entity, project property owners, arts professionals and community stakeholders.
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, and based in Los Angeles, Anadol specializes in the field of embedding media arts into architecture through site-specific public art. He was educated at Istanbul Bilgi University and UCLA, where he also lectures and does research. More information about Anadol and examples of his art can be found at http://refikanadol.com.
As part of the design proposal process, Anadol will spend up to two weeks in Salt Lake City to participate in independent data collection, stakeholder meetings, site visits and archival research. On June 8, Anadol will hold an open house so the public can meet him and participate in interactive data collection activities.
Following the on-site creative analysis of the Regent Street space, exploration of Salt Lake City’s neighborhoods and surrounding landscapes and engagement with community, Anadol will develop a formal concept for Regent Street art. The proposal will be presented in-person to the Salt Lake Art Design Board for consideration, where if approved, will be shown to Salt Lake City Mayor Jacki Biskupski for final approval.
“Great art inspires all of us, and Regent Street’s rich history should kindle a spectacular work of art,” said Mayor Biskupski. “We are fortunate to have someone with Mr. Anadol’s international reputation to help us create an unforgettable piece of art for our residents and downtown visitors.”
Located in Downtown Salt Lake City on Block 70, Regent Street was one of the first streets to be cut through the City’s large 10-acre blocks, and became home to some of Salt Lake Valley’s earliest immigrant groups who arrived to work on the railroad system in the early 1870’s. Regent Street’s rich cultural roots, checkered past as the site of the City’s first brothels and late 20th century use as the service street for Utah’s leading newspaper offices and presses, have been preserved and highlighted within the creative design elements integrated into RDA’s recent $12 million restoration and revitalization of the historic street. Because of its mid-block connectivity, pedestrian amenities, restaurants, public plaza and spaces and proximity to Salt Lake City’s newly constructed Broadway-style Eccles Theater and 111 Main Office Tower, Regent Street is now an active thoroughfare and destination for the Downtown workforce, tourists, theater-goers and urban explorers. To further enhance the vitality of Regent Street and its surroundings on Block 70 as a gathering place and cultural district, the RDA Board of Directors appropriated $2 million for public art.
The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City works with communities to implement Salt Lake City’s master plans to create vital housing opportunities, improve infrastructure and participate in the economic development of the City. For more information on RDA projects and programs, go to www.slcrda.com.
The Salt Lake City Arts Council is a community-established arts organization that provides public programming and support for the arts. The organization produces internal programs and supports other arts activities and groups throughout Salt Lake City. For more information, please visit www.saltlakearts.org.