Millennium Trail underpass gets a facelift — of graffiti (w/video) | ParkRecord.com

Millennium Trail underpass gets a facelift — of graffiti (w/video)

Over the weekend, dozens of youths spray painted messages and slogans on the walls of the S.R. 224 pedestrian underpass connecting the Kimball Junction Visitor Information Center and Redstone.

No charges will be filed. The project, sponsored by Basin Recreation, the Summit County Public Art Advisory Board and the Park City Summit County Arts Council, was meant to showcase young Parkites' voice and their interpretation of the phrase, "The Future Is Now," said Teresa Tackman, chair of the Summit County Public Art Advisory Board.

"I want to walk through that tunnel and see what the youth of Park City think about the future. … I know what I think about my future, but that's not their future," Tackman said.

Graffiti is a form of art, with varying degrees of legality attached to it, that has been around since before people settled the Tigris and Euphrates. Tackman's hope is that public street art projects will give youth an unsuppressed creative outlet in a safe environment, and is open to the possibility of more projects like last weekend's.

The kids involved with the project saw it as a way to express their hopes and anxieties about both the future and the present, in a society that generally doesn't place a lot of stock in the opinions of youth.

"There's so much we can do, we're going to be here for a lot longer than most people who are thinking about this, and if we kind of bring that to light to more people it's going to make a difference to the whole community," said Aleah Zdunich, a participant in the project.

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Abby Highfield said she'd be more likely to remember helping create the piece than spending another weekend afternoon scrolling through Instagram.

"Making my mark on this mural, I'm going to go back in, like, 50 years and I'm going to tell my children and my grandchildren I got to make a difference with this, even if it's not super big," Highfield said.

Heidi Onofre, who had been standing on a ladder Saturday to create her piece, simply echoed the message she sprayed on the wall.

"Power to the people," said Onofre.

Well-known street artist and art educator Bisco "Bisc1" Smith worked with the kids from beginning to end, helping them form ideas at a pair of workshop sessions at the Skullcandy headquarters before applying them to the concrete walls of the tunnel, located along the Millennium Trail. Smith said that, in a year where Park City students have organized school walkouts and protests on Main Street, it's increasingly important to give youth a voice.

"The way the world is right now for the youth, they feel they need to be expressive because the older people aren't looking out for them the way they want to be looked out for and the way they need to be looked out for," Smith said. "I think it's an amazing moment in time for young people to be sharing their voices, and you're only going to be seeing more as we continue to empower people."

At the workshops, held on May 10 and 11, around 60 kids brainstormed ideas and drew them on progressively larger mediums, going from postcards stacked into towers to large poster boards, then sharing them with the larger group and receiving input from their peers and Smith. Then, on Saturday and Sunday, participants got a hands-on education in creating street art while leaving their marks on the tunnel, with an original piece from Smith himself and a background painted by volunteers.