The RDA of Salt Lake City and the city’s Arts Council announced its invitation to media artist Refik Anadol, 33, to submit a public art proposal for Regent Street, the newly revitalized north-south mid-block street located between Main and State Streets, and 100 and 200 South. The commission of a public artwork explicitly designed for Regent Street is the final element of the RDA’s $12 million reconstruction of the street.
Funded by the RDA and managed by the City’s Public Art Program, the Regent Street Public Art Project has a budget of up to $2 million, which when completed will be Salt Lake’s most massive public art project ever commissioned.
Out of a pool of 136 respondents, the RDA and Arts Council’s Request for Qualifications chose Anadol. The RFQ specifically called for applicants with proven experience in creating large-scale public artworks that respond to the architectural and natural environment and can withstand Utah’s climate.
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, and Los Angeles-based, Anadol specializes in embedding media arts into architecture through site-specific public art. He attended school at Istanbul Bilgi University and UCLA, where he also lectures and does research.
As part of the proposal process, Anadol will spend several days in Salt Lake participating in independent data collection, stakeholder meetings, site visits and archival research. Occurring June 8 is a public open house to meet Anadol and participate in interactive data-collection activities.
Following the on-site creative analysis of the Regent Street space, exploration of the capital’s neighborhoods and surrounding landscapes and engagement with the community, Anadol will develop a formal concept for Regent Street art. Then Anadol will present his proposal to the Salt Lake Art Design Board for consideration. If approved, it then goes to Mayor Jacki Biskupski for final approval.
“Great art inspires all of us, and Regent Street’s rich history should kindle a spectacular work of art,” said Mayor Biskupski. “We are fortunate to have someone with Mr. Anadol’s international reputation to help us create an unforgettable piece of art for our residents and downtown visitors.”
Located downtown on Block 70, Regent Street was a first to cut through the city’s large 10-acre blocks and became home to some of Salt Lake Valley’s earliest immigrant groups who arrived to work on the railroad system in the early 1870s.
Regent Street’s rich cultural roots, checkered past as the site of the city’s first brothels, and late 20th-century use as the service street for Utah’s leading newspaper offices and presses are preserved and highlighted within the creative design elements integrated into RDA’s recent restoration and revitalization of the historic street.
Because of its mid-block connectivity, pedestrian amenities, restaurants, public plaza and spaces and proximity to Salt Lake City’s newly constructed Broadway-style Eccles Theater and 111 Main Office Tower, Regent Street acts as an active thoroughfare and destination for the downtown workforce, tourists, theatergoers and urban explorers. The Public Art Project is to further enhance the vitality of Regent Street and its surroundings as a gathering place and cultural district.