Art piece depicting alien as Mormon missionary draws complaint in SLC

Posted at 9:43 PM, Dec 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-10 23:43:37-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- It's a high flying piece of art in Downtown Salt Lake City, and it's getting some attention--not all of it positive.

The art piece has been in place for several months, and the piece titled "Zion / Rocky Mountain Alliance" is getting some mixed reviews.

The white dress shirt, tie, and customary name tag are the giveaways that the main characters in this "Flying Objects" themed art piece are Mormon missionaries. The twist is that one of them looks like a blue alien, and both missionaries are inside a UFO. That has Nathan Zaugg offended.

"I kinda feel like it's derogatory towards both the LDS religion and more specifically Mormon missionaries," Zaugg said.

Zaugg explained that the art was funded by taxpayer dollars and sits on public property. He believes the art targets a protected class of people, and questions the message it sends to the tourists who may see it.

"We have enough problems with maybe strange liquor laws and other reputations that the state has. To add this kind of thing is just not appropriate," Zaugg said.

But, not everyone agrees with Zaugg. Joy Dantine is a Salt Lake City resident who told FOX 13 News she likes the piece.

"I had to smile the first time I saw it," she said.

Dantine says the piece does send a message, but not an offensive one.

"We have more things to worry about than that. I am LDS and I am not offended by it," Dantine said.

The art piece is part of a dozen other sculptures picked as part of this year's "Flying Objects" series. Karen Krieger, Executive Director of the Salt Lake City Arts Council, said she's happy that public art in the city is creating a conversation.

"It's colorful, it provides interest to the street, and it gets people talking, and, yeah, that's a lot of the great stuff that art does," Krieger told FOX 13 News.

All of the sculptures were picked and approved by a citizen review board, along with members from Visit Salt Lake, the Redevelopment Agency, Salt Lake City Corporation and others.

Zaugg told FOX 13 News he is working with an attorney to file an injunction to have the art piece taken down.