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Whale sculpture to grace 9th and 9th neighborhood in Salt Lake City

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Posted at 12:28 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 14:28:38-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City's 9th and 9th neighborhood is known for its diversity and sense of community, and now a new piece of public art will celebrate those qualities.

Soon, the roundabout at 900 South and 1100 East will feature "Out of the Blue," a full-size sculpture of a humpback whale by noted artist Stephen Kesler, which he describes as “a forty foot wide whale hug.” The sculpture will also feature murals created by different artists on a rotating basis.

Out of the Blue was recommended by Salt Lake City’s Art Design Board for commission, and approved by Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

Kesler believes the whale, which is "out of the blue" in the neighborhood, reflects it sense of community, resilience, and harmony.

The Public Art Program collaborated with the East Liberty Park Community Organization to solicit community input on the art piece, with 100 responses to survey questions asking what public art means to them, among other questions.

Kesler is known for his work at the Hogle Zoo and Living Planet Aquarium. Out of the Blue will be hand sculpted from recyclable foam, and then made from fiberglass around a steel frame.

The Art Design Board selected the roundabout for public art funding in 2019; the whale will be fabricated during the summer of 2021 and installed in the fall.