Father and daughter art team complete ‘Building a Healthy Community Together’ mural
People’s Health Clinic creed is not just writing on the wall
The father and daughter duo of William J. “Kranny” Kranstover and Malia Denali have completed another local art installation.
The Summit County residents and artists put the finishing touches on “Building a Healthy Community Together,” an 8-foot by 32-foot mural at the People’s Health Clinic.
The art, made with water-based non-toxic, acrylic house paint and a water-based glaze, is a colorful and abstract creation depicting humans, cranes, ballerinas, chickens, mountains and lakes.
“It’s all symbolic,” Kranstover said. “You have the cranes in flight and the balancing act of the ballerinas, along with people. I also wanted to put some chickens down low for the kids. I wanted something fun they could see on their level.”
As for the people in the painting, Kranstover wanted to be inclusive.
“So we went with gender- and ethnicity-neutral figures,” he said. “We wanted ‘Building a Healthy Community Together’ to recognize everybody.”
“We left a lot of room for interpretation, because the clinic lends itself to so many pocket communities,” she said. “And the service is so valuable to them.”
The work’s title comes from the mission of the People’s Health Clinic, which is to provide medical aid to the underinsured in Summit and Wasatch counties. This is something dear to Denali’s heart.
“I spent a lot of time as a kid sick or in and out of operations,” she said.
The idea for a mural came when Dr. Mairi Leining, People’s Health Clinic’s chief executive officer, visited Kranstover’s studio in Peoa.
“The discussions picked up in early May, and then Dad called me in to assist,” Denali said.
The idea for the mural was to convey hope, and the idea to paint the mural’s title in both English and Spanish came towards the end of the project, Denali said.
“How many of us sit in clinic rooms and think of God-knows-what?” she said. “We started with a really basic, almost abstract concept, and it went on as we worked on it.”
Both artists knew they wanted the mural’s motion to flow towards the right, in the direction of the clinic’s check-up rooms.
“We did that purposely because the answers people need are that way,” Denali said.
The artists started putting brush to wall in mid-May and worked on the mural for three weeks.
While the colors and brush strokes honor Kranstover’s style, the images are a throwback to Denali’s childhood.
“I remember looking up at popcorn-like ceilings and finding faces and figures, so I wanted kids to look at the mural and maybe not see a hill, but see a dragon,” she said.
Once the artists started painting, they opened themselves up and let the mural dictate the process.
“It basically told us where it wanted to go,” Denali said. “We had a very cool flow going back and forth.”
Working on the mural during the People’s Health Clinic’s operating hours was also inspirational.
“We saw people coming and going, and we’d get some feedback or someone would share a story with us,” Denali said.
Sometimes it was unnerving to work while the clinic’s staff watched, Kranstover said.
“It’s all very daunting when you start, but then having your clients walk by and see the work in different stages was interesting,” he said with a laugh. “You start jumping to conclusions and think that they are thinking what we’re doing is crap. But day by day they started seeing the progress, and they started to get it.”
Another concern was making sure the two artists’ styles matched, Kranstover said.
“Our concern was that it would look like two different murals,” he said. “But it blended in nicely.”
Interestingly, Denali and Kranstover didn’t talk much while painting the mural.
“We just kept walking back and forth and looking at what we were doing,” Denali said.
Other times the two would just stop working, sit back and contemplate their next moves.
“While working with Dad, the times we spaced out and rolled the marbles in our brains is what I lived for,” Denali said.
Kranstover also enjoyed those quiet but bonding moments.
“Talking abstractly is a great way to communicate, especially with your daughter,” he said. “It’s a different language, which is fun. And it’s communication, which is great.”
The People’s Health Clinic mural is one of many projects Kranstover and Denali have collaborated on over the years.
Other works include the metal Olympic Flame and time capsule sculpture installed on the corner of Bonanza Drive and Kearns Blvd. and a ceiling mural at the Boneyard.
“This one at the People’s Health Clinic felt a little easier to do because we had worked out our methods with the Boneyard mural that was more than 120 feet long,” she said. “And it’s fun to connect with each other on an artistic level.”
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