ST. GEORGE — Residents of Santa Clara and travelers driving along Santa Clara Drive may have noticed a new mural painted on a large cement retaining wall. The mural, made of multiple colorful circles, artistically interprets religious and cultural stories of the Paiute Native Americans.
Filled with stories of mother and father earth, the moon, good angels, medicine wheels and the seasons, the paintings were created by artist Daniel Growler.
There are five bands of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah – Cedar, Indian Peaks, Kanosh, Koosharem and Shivwits – and ten total bands of the Southern Paiute, with communities in Las Vegas, Pahrump and Moapa in Nevada and Willow Springs and the Kaibab Plateau area of Arizona.
Growler, a member of the Cedar Band of Paiutes in Cedar City, is a graphic artist who shares his representation of the Paiute culture through that medium.
The artwork was commissioned by Santa Clara resident Jonathan Kolon, a dentist and owner of Dharma Wheels Cyclery. Though it was built by the city of Santa Clara, the retaining wall is on Kolon’s property.
Kolon has also lived in Park City and said he missed the murals that used to color the town and wanted to bring that art form to his beautiful home in Santa Clara.
As a dentist, Kolon said he had a contract for a couple years with the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, and that is how he met Growler.
Kolon said he wanted to share Growler’s work and provide something artistic to the community.
The mural was approved by the city of Santa Clara’s Heritage Council and City Council as well as by the Shivwits Band of Paiutes Tribal Council.
Santa Clara City Manager Brock Jacobsen said that their primary concern in approving the mural was to make sure there wasn’t anything in it that would be culturally insensitive.
Shivwits Band of Paiutes Tribal Council Member Glenn Rogers said they approved Growler’s design, including his use of colors and imagery, adding that the mural is not a direct translation of Paiute origin stories but rather Growler’s modern artistic interpretation.
Rogers said that some of the mural even incorporates imagery and ideas from the Navajo Nation.
Still, Rogers, who has known Growler for a long time, said he believes the mural is a good thing because, one, it is not graffiti; and, two, it will get people to think.
“He’s a good friend of mine,” Rogers said of Growler.
He added that he believes that the creator may have put Growler on the earth to create his art.
Kolon said that the artwork, which Growler painted by hand with a single brush, has so much depth of information.
“Every image that he does is representative of a spiritual concept,” Kolon said, adding that what people will glean from it depends on how deep they want to go and how many stories they want to hear.
Providing thought-provoking art is Kolon’s hope as well.
“It’s a reminder of our history, of the people who were here, who are here, and a reminder to be culturally aware and not forget about these people,” Kolon said.
For Kolon, the mural will be something that is unique to Santa Clara that will bring everybody together. Something, he said, that is akin to the tree-lined Santa Clara Drive or the glockenspiel clock atop the Santa Clara City Hall.
“When I think of home, I think of those beautiful things,” Kolon said.
The mural can be viewed on the north side of Santa Clara Drive just west of Dharma Wheels Cyclery.
When the artwork is completed and sealed, there will likely be a small dedication ceremony, and, Jacobsen said, the city may allocate a portion of its RAP Tax funds to have an interpretive plaque placed near the mural.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.