Coalville art mural will support mental health
The Summit County Health Department is tackling the mental health crisis with paintbrushes and ribbons.
The Health Department is partnering with Park City Summit County Arts Council and North Summit School District to create a mural and art installation to promote positive mental health. The mural will be painted on a portion of sidewalk outside North Summit Elementary School. County residents are invited to help paint the mural on Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Art students from North Summit High School designed the mural, which will have a theme of positivity and kindness, said Jocelyn Scudder, managing director of the arts council. The students will direct community members who come to the event to help paint.
The mural will include ribbons tied to the fence beside the sidewalk. Attendees will be encouraged to write positive affirmations or hopeful phrases on the ribbons before tying them to the fence.
Scudder said the arts council and Health Department began discussing a community art project focused on mental health last summer. She said the Summit County Council identified mental health as a critical priority, and the arts council was interested in joining the efforts to create awareness and support programs that benefit mental health.
She met with Alyssa Mitchell, health educator for the Health Department, and Heidi Robertson, an art teacher at North Summit Elementary School, and the three of them discussed how to integrate art and mental health together.
“Having a creative outlet can be cathartic and it can create joy and spark conversations that are difficult to have,” Scudder said. “We started talking about using art as a tool to communicate ideas about mental wellness.”
She said she was inspired by the tunnel mural project the arts council supported last year. Park City youths were invited to create graffiti art in the tunnel that connects the Kimball Junction Visitor Information Center and Redstone.
The team members decided to do an art project in Coalville because they want to start a conversation about mental health in the town, Scudder said. They chose a section of sidewalk that is frequently trafficked by students and other pedestrians. The mural will cover about 30 feet of sidewalk, and they hope it will be visible to a large audience.
Robertson said students will view the mural every day on their way to and from school.
“In our community, it will be a great reminder that we can do really fun and positive things,” she said. Hannah Wilde, an art teacher at the high school, helped her students come up with a theme and design for the mural over the last few weeks. They settled on a puzzle design, because puzzles are inherently about making connections. The project will be called “Piece Together – for Kindness, Love and Community.” The students plan to outline the artwork before the event.
Scudder said all Summit County residents are invited to help paint the mural. She said attendees do not need to be skilled artists. Echo State Park provided funding for supplies, such as tarps, paint and brushes, so all people need to bring is clothes that can get dirty.
“Really, if you can hold a paintbrush or paint a wall, you will thrive in this situation. We want this to be a really welcoming, positive and creative day,” Scudder said.
She wants the community to feel ownership and a sense of pride for the artwork. For youth, she said, it can be an empowering opportunity for them to “beautify something” and leave their mark.
Robertson said it is important that youths are involved in the project. It is an opportunity for them to be creative and express themselves.
“Our teens need to have a voice,” she said.
She said the project is a way for Coalville to be proactive about mental health because the project celebrates well-being, kindness and friendship.
The art project will be semi-permanent because it is outdoors and will be exposed to the weather. Scudder said it will likely be intact for a few years, after which the elementary school and arts council can decide if they want to restore it or replace it with other artwork.
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A district spokesperson said six students were removed from an area in the school as police conducted a search.