Server of the month: PJHS art teacher initiates Payson mural project to preserve history and beautify town

Payson is a town with a history that dates back to the late 1800s when Utah Pioneers were directed to settle the area. The Pioneers tilled the land to plant food, built schools and businesses, eventually becoming a thriving community rich in culture that residents should be proud of.

In order to preserve that culture for future generations to appreciate and have pride in, members of the community have begun a project that will showcase the town’s history by way of several murals being painted throughout town. The project that has been named, The Payson Mural Project, was the brainchild of a local art teacher, Kyle Vincent. 

Vincent who has spent many years teaching art at Mt. Nebo Jr. High, and will be moving to Payson Jr. next year, wanted to incorporate students in the project. According to Vincent, the goal is not only to give future generations a way to appreciate the town’s history, but they should be included in the process.

“When I first had the idea to create these murals, the goal was to include students,” Vincent said. “As a teacher, I hear students say things like, ‘Payson is a ghetto or a dump.’ I want these kids to play a part in both learning about the community and making it a place to be proud of.”

Vincent recalled working with the Latinos in Action group at his school, where they painted a mural on the side of a Hispanic restaurant. He said that he has seen what murals can do to help people feel pride in the community they live in. Unfortunately, there have been some legal/liability hurdles that have so far prevented Vincent and other members of the mural board from including students in the project. Even so, the project is moving forward with its first mural being painted by Vincent and Timponogos high school art teacher, Jolynn Forman.

The first mural has images of farming, horses, Peteetneet School and Museum, and the Payson “P” on the mountain, depicting the early years of the town. As of June 30, after over 100 combined hours of work, the mural is nearly complete. 

The mural that Vincint hopes will be the first of many, is on a building owned Ty Jones Insurance and located at the north end of the Payson library parking lot across from Nebo Peaks Cycles on Utah Avenue. The first project was funded by PARC, which is funding from the city dedicated to recreation and cultural projects. The grant was $2,000, and it covered supplies for the first mural. To continue the project, Vincent, who is also an accomplished artist in his own right, will be selling some of his personal art pieces during Golden Onion Days.

Serve Daily thanks Vincent for his service to the community. We wish him luck, and look forward to seeing future murals in Payson, that will no doubt bring the community together in a beautiful way.

Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine who writes columns for many local and national publications. She currently resides in Payson, and enjoys looking for good happenings in her area and sharing them for others to read about. For more of her stories, search "A Mother's Write" on Facebook.

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