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Utah Wildlife Federation's Vision to Use Art for Celebrating Wildlife Across Utah

Utah Wildlife Federation plans to use art to celebrate Utah's diverse wildlife heritage through their Utah Wildlife Walls project. This statewide initiative involves creating monumental wildlife murals in each of the state's 29 counties, promoting community engagement and appreciation for local wildlife. Alongside this project is the "Celebrate Utah Wildlife Contest," a free multi-media contest inviting Utahns of all ages to submit Utah wildlife-inspired content for a chance at 63 cash prizes across three age categories. The best submissions will be curated into a traveling exhibit available in 2023, touring the state for celebration events and interested venues.

As a champion for Utah's wildlife, the Utah Wildlife Federation is proud to be a part of the Utah Wildlife Walls project, which aims to use art to connect communities to the state's diverse wildlife species. One of the most exciting aspects of this project is the Bonnie Wall Project, a 120-foot Bonneville cutthroat trout mural created by Utah muralist Chris Peterson, which served as an excellent backdrop for wildlife education and community building.

For Peterson, the opportunity to combine his passion for art and wildlife in a community setting was both personally and professionally rewarding. The Bonnie Wall Project allowed him to showcase his artistry while celebrating a beloved local species. Peterson spent a week creating the 120-foot mural, and it provided an ideal backdrop for the Bonnie Ball, a street festival held in October 2022 that highlighted the completed mural and installation of a baby trout fish tank inside.

The success of the Bonnie Wall Project and the Bonnie Ball Street Festival inspired the Utah Wildlife Federation and Peterson to expand the project statewide through the Celebrate Utah Wildlife Contest. This multimedia contest invites Utahns of all ages to submit wildlife-inspired creative and documentary works for a chance to win cash prizes. The contest is divided into three age categories, and the goal is to crowdsource a collection of diverse wildlife content from across the state.

The Celebrate Utah Wildlife Contest aims to use art to tell the stories of Utah's diverse wildlife species and install 29+ monumental wildlife murals across Utah, one in each county. In conjunction with each mural installation, the Utah Wildlife Federation seeks to collaborate with local partners to host family-friendly community events celebrating Utah's wildlife heritage. These events will include a storytelling event featuring wildlife experts, a traveling exhibit, and accompanying educational and experiential programming provided through key agency and nonprofit partners.

The best submissions to the statewide crowdsourced wildlife contest in Spring 2023 will be curated into a traveling exhibit available later in 2023. This exhibit will be available for touring the state in the coming years for celebration events and other interested venues. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Utah Wildlife Federation hopes to facilitate community conversations around the role of wildlife in our lives and the stories of local species.

As the Utah Wildlife Federation, we are thrilled to be a part of this exciting project that celebrates Utah's diverse wildlife and provides opportunities for Utahns to learn and engage with the natural world. Go to the Celebrate Utah Wildlife Contest page to learn more about participating, and help us showcase the beauty and importance of our state's wildlife.

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