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Murray Journal

Art unveiling caps eventful year for Murray Amphitheater

Dec 01, 2017 08:00PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

James Schultz (left) and Evangelos (right) crafted the Murray Park Amphitheater art piece. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

In the capstone event of a busy year for the Murray Arts Advisory Board, a major artwork was presented to Murray City that will welcome future visitors to the Murray Park Amphitheater. The large metal sculpture was unveiled at a formal ceremony on October 21.

This year marks major renovations to the outdoor theater, which hasn’t seen any significant changes since the facility opened in 1985. The facility—the summer home to the Murray Cultural Arts Department, Murray Symphony, and other groups—was upgraded with a new roof over the stage, the most noticeable change made. 

Other improvements include seating and stair repairs along with the creation of a disabled seating section. Permanent lighting and a sound booth were also installed. Restrooms were updated and an enclosed dressing room, ticket booth, and concession stands were built. 

Wendy Richhart, chair of the Murray Arts Advisory Board said, “We felt this new performing arts facility would not be complete without a public art piece. But funding was a concern. Thanks to the generosity of 70 patrons, we were able to raise the full cost without additional need for city funding. This facility has truly been a public–private collaboration. Those who contributed $100 or more toward this art piece are acknowledged on the plaque attached to the sculpture.” 

The original sculpture design was submitted by a team of artists and was selected from several proposals. The artists worked through a number of design tweaks before the final design was approved with input from the Murray Arts Advisory Board. 

The artists, Evangelos and James Schultz, teamed with E3 Fabrication in Murray to produce the sculpture. “We were excited to discover this creative team had several Murray ties,” announced Richhart.

E3, a full service architectural detailing, design, and manufacturing studio, is located in Murray. One of the artists, Evangelos was born in Athens, Greece, but attended Parkside Elementary after moving to Utah. Currently he is an associate with Atlas Architects and a public artist.

James Schultz is a Utah-based painter, sculptor and designer.

According to Evangelos, “There are three main points that we focused on; overall the symbolism overlaps. It’s meant to be a landmark and a beacon to the entry of the amphitheater and a clear indicator of procession, and something very optimistic—something people can look forward to when arriving to the amphitheater.” 

“The second part that this project emphasizes is the natural environment. In the future, there will be trees planted in the center of these two shields. Part of that contrast is symbolized by white, which is a very stark color and stark geometry that isn’t found in nature. So, with that contrast we hope to emphasize the organic nature of trees and vegetation.”

“The final point that this object emphasizes and celebrates is the overlap of the arts and the amazing moments that occur in a place like the amphitheater. Where painters come to create stage sets, and dancers come to perform, and where drama is created as a way of bringing the community together.”

The Arts Advisory Board hosted a ribbon cutting in August at the amphitheater when all facility projects were completed, but the public was not invited to tour the theater due to shows in progress. At the public art unveiling in October, the public was given its first opportunity to tour the renovated venue.  

The sculpture was completely paid for by private donations. The amphitheater renovations were funded by a $75,000 donation from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, $636,927 from Salt Lake County, and $20,000 in interest earnings from Murray’s Capital Projects Fund.