Black Lives Matter mural in Park City no longer recognizable |

Black Lives Matter mural in Park City no longer recognizable

Weather, traffic and snow removal take toll on social justice works

The lettering of a Black Lives Matter message that was put on Main Street last summer is no longer vibrant, as it was earlier in the year.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

It might be unlikely that someone walking the Main Street sidewalks during the holidays would even notice the seemingly arbitrary spots of color on the road asphalt just steps away.

And it is just about impossible as the new year begins to decipher the messages that were on the street for months.

The social justice murals that artists put on the asphalt last summer, stirring widespread controversy, have effectively disappeared in the months since they were created.

The murals were designed to be temporary, but they were largely intact through the fall and into the early winter. As midwinter arrives, though, time, the weather, traffic and snow removal efforts have taken their toll on the murals.

The colors of a social justice mural on Main Street have faded or disappeared since the summer, when a series of works caused controversy.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

The murals by Wednesday were no longer recognizable as some of the largest crowds since the spring shutdowns forced by the spread of the novel coronavirus arrived on the shopping, dining and entertainment strip.

On lower Main Street, the location of one of the murals, a reddish hue remains, primarily on the edges of the road, with portions of white lettering. Toward the middle section of Main Street, scattered colors could still be seen. On the upper stretch of Main Street, meanwhile, splotches of colors were visible.

The indiscriminate touches of remaining paint belie the controversy the murals caused in the community when they were created last summer. One of the murals, with a giant “Black Lives Matter” message, especially drew the ire of some at a time of racial tension in the nation.

City Hall provided the asphalt and funds for the works, and artists created the murals over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Opinions were immediately split, with some backing the municipal government’s recognition of the movement and others infuriated with the message on Main Street.

The text of a social justice mural on Main Street is no longer legible in the months after it was created last summer.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

The Black Lives Matter mural was vandalized shortly after it was created, leading the artist to return to make repairs. The Black Lives Matter work and the other murals through the late summer, fall and early winter were left to the elements. Even as Park City suffered a relatively dry start to the winter, the snowfall and the plowing acted as an eraser of sorts.

There has been little community discourse regarding the murals since the summer. City Hall at the time the murals were created indicated officials could consider new works on the asphalt once the ones with social justice themes disappeared. The municipal government at that time mentioned sustainability, transportation and housing as possible themes.

It seems that any further discussions about a new set of murals, regardless of theme, would be held in the winter or spring and possibly be tied to any talks about programming for Main Street next summer and fall.

The Main Street pedestrian days in 2020, launched in an effort to boost sales and provide space for social distancing, made the murals more viable than if the street was open to traditional traffic. The pedestrian days proved popular, but it is not clear what sort of programming might be considered in 2021, if any.

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