Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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Coloring Outside the Lines


The handwritten sign over James Bennion’s office at Harmons Bangerter Crossing reads “La Artista.” As he steps out, he’s immediately greeted by a coworker with a request: Can he make a sign for the cooking school? One with a life-size drawing of Julia Child?

Bennion is one of 10 chalk artists employed by Harmons Grocery, a Utah-based chain with nearly 20 locations. His job is simple, but vital to Harmons’ emphasis on local products: Add unique signs to accompany unique groceries. Each Harmons displays upwards of 800 signs.

Taylor Hellewell is Harmons Grocery Emigration Sign Artist

“We ‘re really able to make products stand out. The creativity is up to us, and the sky’s the limit,” says Bennion of Harmons’ artists. From the store’s second-floor cafe, Bennion points out the seafood section’s five-foot-long chalk image of a polar bear stalking fish. Like many of the hundreds of signs in any given Harmons, the polar bear creates a sense of unique place and demonstrates that signs go beyond  pricing and description.

“Food in itself has a world of depth and variety that a printed vinyl sign has a hard time expressing,” says Bob Harmon, Vice President for the Customer and Harmons co-owner. A sign with a photorealistic image of a product and machine-made lettering sometimes falls short, Harmon says. But a hand-drawn fisherman’s boat or a polar bear on seafood signs or something humorous for no apparent reason—a scene from Star Wars on a Caffe Ibis coffee display, add personality and attract eyes.

James Bennion

Chalk as a medium creates a sense of the temporary, connoting freshness. The signs, made with chalk markers on blackboard, average between two to four hours to complete. (The polar bear took two days.) “When you look at our signs, you can tell someone is delivering art personally, from themselves, to you. It means a lot,” Harmon says. The company’s first chalk artist was hired in 2008, and all artists are salaried employees with full benefits—a rarity in the art world.

“This type of expression feels more tangible and real, and offers more breadth and clarity,” Harmon says. “It also helps us differentiate ourselves from our competitors.”

Last night’s vigil for Breonna Taylor. ...

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
Have a peaceful Tuesday evening ☮️

Everyone could use a breath of fresh air! 🌞⁠

Be sure to follow social distancing rules on the tails. 🌲 Check the link in bio to read our convo with the Executive director of the @mtntrailspc foundation, Charlie Sturgis, about being part of the covid-19 solution. ⁠

Be gentle with one another, Salt Lake ❤️

Our September-October issue is on stands now! ⁠

Salt Lake magazine has traditionally devoted its September-October issue to travel, describing trips to destinations all over the world. This year, confined by COVID, we’re looking closer to home. ❤️⁠

Stay well and be sure to pick up our latest issue or subscribe to our magazine through the link in bio!


Happy Monday 🏞
Who else is dreaming of the weekend? 😴

“The power of the people is always stronger than the people in power." - Angela Johnson⁠

Check the link in bio to read our Q & A with protest organizers. ⁠

Photo credit: Max Smith @phhhhhhhhhhhotos⁠

It's getting HOT in here! 🌞 Check out our list of the best swimming spots in Utah to cool down at! Link in bio. ⁠

Have a safe and responsible weekend, Utah! Oh and P.S. Wear a mask ❤️⁠

📸: Photo courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism⁠

Something fishy is happening on the eastern edge of the Jordanelle Reservoir... ⁠

A municipality is attempting to annex unincorporated land across a county line without that county’s approval. If this sounds like madness, that’s because it is. Read the full story though the link in bio. ⁠

📸 Photo courtesy of: Utah Office of Tourism

Summertime slush! Soft cold slurpy sweet treats- the classic seasonal delight. 🍧⁠

Here’s where to get the best and how to make them yourself, check the link in bio! 🍭

We're a little red rock crazy this weekend if you couldn't tell. (But how could we not be!)⁠

🏜️ Check out 3 pup friendly hikes in our beautiful Moab 🐶 Link in bio! Happy Hiking! ⁠

📸: Utah Office of Tourism