Pain and Possibility: A Community Art Series
August, 2020

Wrestling with today and reimagining tomorrow

In the summer of 2020 MICA, Sugar Space Foundation, and a collective of community partners launched the Pain and Possibility public art series.

The project was a response to the historic moment in which we are living — a time of pandemic and uprising. It provided a platform for artists to engage with the painful present in all its complexity and contribute to collective healing and action. Through mural painting, sculpture, dance, video and other media, in locations across the city, a diverse group of artists that included BIPOC, LGBTQ and allies helped our community wrestle with today’s reality while reimagining tomorrow.

Watch a short film about the P&P artists by award-winning filmmaker Joshua N. Samson


Andrew Alba’s WORKED was a display of sculptures of modern day workers. Alba commented on the idea of non-essential vs essential workers in the COVID-19 era. “Though many workers like myself are not deemed essential, we are still expected to leave our home everyday and work for the upper class.”

Photos by Peter Hay and Andy Cvar


Dulce Horn, Ashlee Jackson, and Mikel Lawlor came together to perform Uprising. This series of short dance performances explored the emotional and experiential arc of a movement — the paths we take from harm to healing, from the loss of life to collective action for systemic change. Ashlee and Mikel are students at Rowland Hall; Dulce is an alum of Rowland Hall. All are/were part of the Rowland Hall Dance Company.

Photos by Peter Hay

Capoeiristas for Black Lives Matter

Under the supervision of Mestre Jamaika of the Salt Lake school of Capoeira known as Volta Miúda, a group of capoeira students created a concept dance video that shows the parallel of racial oppression in Black and Brown communities and police brutality. The video highlights traditional song, music, and dance, and how the Afro-Brazilian martial art form is used as a tool of resistance to this very day. The concept and vision inspire us to move forward progressively and to create real spaces for change in our communities.

Artists: Renée Michael, Carla Locatelli, Mestre Jamaika, Allyson Jelitto, Alix Walburn, Tatiana Canettieri, Dinitri Jackson, and Eiby Lobos

Photos by Ally Jelitto and Peter Hay

A Shedding

Dominica Greene and Cortney Mazeika presented A Shedding, an outdoor evening of live performances created by and for Black, LGBTQIA+, Artists of Color, and allies in the Salt Lake community. This gathering offered up the space for those involved to mourn, address, discuss, and celebrate our experiences both individually and collectively.

Performers and collaborators included Ursula Perry, Laja Field, Mar Undag, Alexandra Barbier, Harlie Heiserman, Masio Sangster, Tori Duhaime, Dominique Greco, and Jo Blake.

A Shedding took place on the stolen ancestral lands of the Goshute and Eastern Shoshone people according to our research and resources. It does not go unnoticed that colonization may have contributed to the loss of more tribes and communities that inhabited this land than our history is able to recall.

Photos by Tori Duhaime

A World of Hope

Roots Art Kollective (Miguel Galaz, Alan Ochoa, and Luis Novoa) created A World of Hope, a public mural to celebrate humanity in a time where compassion is essential for society to accept a new and equitable world. The artists used intricate cultural patterns, vibrant colors that represent the diversity of humanity, and some words of hope to stand in solidarity with the social justice movements around the world that strive for equality and systematic change. Visit the mural at 123 Jeremy St. SLC, UT 84104

Photos by the artists and Peter Hay

Tomorrow's Monument

Kathy Tran and Alex Moya presented Tomorrow’s Monument, a participatory piece in which people were invited to interact with a temporary monument by crossing through it as a symbolic commitment to anti-racism. Through projections on the monument structure, Kathy and Alex offered an opportunity for reflection on our roles — individual, collective, and systemic — in eliminating racism.

Photos by the artists and Peter Hay

Play Video

Pain & Possibility ACME Session

On September 17, 2020 the UMFA brought together artists and organizers from the public art series Pain & Possibility, to reflect, engage, and further this important conversation around the healing power of public art. Watch a recording of the zoom call here. This virtual gathering was part of the museum's ongoing ACME sessions (Art. Community. Museum. Education.)

Pain and Possibility was made possible with the support of the Salt Lake City Arts Council, Salt Lake County Zoo Arts and Parks, and all our fabulous community partners.