Created by Maine artist Aaron T. Stephan, “Point of View”, often called “You are Here”, is an award winning art installation in Salt Lake City, Utah. Made up of more than 150 signs inspired by normal street signs, but featuring somewhat abstract and ambiguous phrases, Point of View takes advantage of the tens of thousands of visitors that convene in Salt Lake City each year. A large “You are Here” logo familiar to anyone that has visited a mall and looked at a map is visible when viewed from straight on. The red logo is spread across dozens of the signs and points perfectly to the red bench that provides a perfect photo opportunity.
Twenty-six applications were received when a request for proposals was opened, and national as well as local artists were encouraged to enter. The selection committee was made up of representatives from Salt Lake County, the Salt Palace, the Visitor & Convention Bureau, and the community reviewed and scored the applications.
A press release from the Salt Lake County Center for the Arts noted that that the artwork was designed to “become the place to have one’s picture taken in Salt Lake City.” They further explained that, “Like other cities that have iconic artwork or architecture, this new installation beckons people to sit down and be a part of the art.”
Point of View is the perfect example of how public art can change the felling and use of a space. With Salt Lake City deliberately looking for a photo opportunity in the style of cities like Chicago with the Bean, or Amsterdam with their IAMSTERDAM sculpture, there were extraordinary opportunities to skip the art and go with falsified, disingenuous, and commercial fakery instead.
Stephan’s artwork is able to gracefully create the photo opportunity that the city was looking for, while inspiring some introspective thought and simple joy at the same time.
Point of View Facts
- Point of View was funded in part by the Salt Lake County 1% for Public Art Program.
- The art installation at the Salt Palace Convention Center makes viewers part of the art by encouraging them to take a seat on the red bus stop bench and snap a photo.
- The work measures 8x16x75 ft. (2.4×4.9×22.9 m), which includes the red bench.
- Artist Aaron T. Stephan has a Master of Fine Arts from Maine College of Art in Portland Maine, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from Purchase College in New York.
- According to Stephan, the medium for the artwork is custom road signs and a bench.
- To get a perfect photo of someone sitting on the bench below the “You are Here” sign, the photographer must stand in the middle of the street.