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Cottonwood Heights Journal

‘Crossing Paths’ project to adorn city hall in July

Jul 10, 2018 11:43AM ● By Travis Barton

Progress. Three examples of the large-scale portraits Jim McGee is drawing for his “Crossing Paths” exhibit, set to open July 10 at Holladay City Hall. (Photo courtesy Jim McGee)

By Travis Barton | [email protected] 

It’s not just rezones and concerns about the former Cottonwood Mall site that come to Holladay City Hall. 

There’s also art. And that includes an ambitious project from local artist Jim McGee. 

In February, the Holladay Journal reported that McGee, as part of a grant he received from the Holladay Arts Council, was looking for collaborators on his Humans of Holladay idea. He would interview residents and people who work in the area before drawing large-scale portraits of them. 

That project is now ready to be unveiled with an exhibit at City Hall (4580 S. 2300 E.). 

The opening reception will be from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10. There will be refreshments, live music and a meet-and-greet with the artist and subjects. 

“It has been so rewarding to get to hear people’s stories and share mine, to see people for who they are and attempt to capture that truth in pencil,” McGee wrote in an email. “As human beings we all long to be seen and heard. ‘Crossing Paths’ is my attempt to investigate what makes us truly human.” 

The project was originally called “Intersections,” McGee felt it was too vague and decided to change the title to “Crossing Paths” because “it suggests an encounter or interaction between two people — subject and artist.” 

“We ‘cross paths’ with countless folks throughout our day without much notice,” he continued. “The concept of my project is based on thoughtful examination of these daily encounters that often go unnoticed.” 

In a world filled with Snapchat filters and carefully orchestrated social media posts, McGee hopes this project shows a “bit of truth devoid of filters,” reminding people “that stories and people are important and beautiful.” 

A self-described introvert, McGee said the project was a challenging and wonderful experience.

“Getting out into the community to find subjects was way out of my comfort zone,” he said. “People don’t typically like to feel vulnerable and I am asking them to do just that — to look inside and share an honest part of themselves.” 

The visual art exhibition will have four- to five-foot drawings that will include pictures, stories and excerpts of the interviews. 

This was the first grant ever awarded by the arts council, who aims to promote art and arts opportunities in the community. A Holladay resident of 16 years and art teacher, McGee hopes his collaborative exhibit does just that. 

“(The exhibition) is a celebration of my fellow Holladay residents…I hope that perhaps viewers might realize their own unique stories and beauty as well as those they cross paths with every day.”