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Draper Journal

New craven sculptures at Price Lone Peak Business Park symbolize good luck and optimism

May 08, 2023 08:44AM ● By Katherine Weinstein

Cravens, crow/raven hybrids, appear to examine a discarded coffee cup in a new bronze sculpture recently unveiled at the Price Lone Peak Business Park on 12300 South. (Photo courtesy of Price Real Estate)

People passing by the Price Lone Peak Business Park and Retail Center on 12300 South might be forgiven if they do a double-take at the new realistic-looking sculptures of cravens on the property. 

Real estate developer Steve Price commissioned the works of public art which were officially unveiled on a chilly day in late March. Draper City Mayor Troy Walker and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson joined Price, his parents and artist J. Michael Wilson for the occasion. 

A craven is part-crow and part-raven. “They are based in Native American mythology,” Wilson explained. “They’re a good luck symbol.” Wilson did not give a detailed explanation of the sculptures’ significance. “I think it’s kind of neat to let them be a little mysterious,” he said. “We wanted to keep it simple, let the birds speak for themselves.”

Each craven is made of bronze and weighs approximately 200 pounds. They were cast by the Lehi-based foundry Adonis Bronze. “Every single bit of this project is local,” Price said. 

The creation of the sculptures began about three years ago. Wilson initially sculpted them out of an oil-based clay. He said that as he worked on the cravens, “they started taking on a personality of their own.” Molds were made of the finished clay figures which were later cast in bronze. 

Three of the large birds sit atop a 22-foot-tall feature spanning the entrance to the business park. Two of them appear to be examining an empty coffee cup while another peers down quizzically at cars entering below. Yet another holds a key in its beak while perched on a 20-foot-tall repurposed gantry beam from the historic Rio Grande/Union Pacific depot in Salt Lake City.

“The key represents a key to the future, new heights,” Price said. 

The cravens join sculptures of polar bears and a rhinoceros in the area which were also commissioned by Price. Those animal sculptures were created by Utah sculptor Dollores Shellady whose works appear at Hogle Zoo and around the world. 

“Local art matters,” Price stated in his remarks to the gathered crowd at the business park. He spoke about the importance of public art. "How do we craft a city that is livable?” he asked rhetorically. “Art has a place. Art gives us soul and inspires us. Art-place makes a community. Art isn’t a decoration, it’s a destination.” He said that he was pleased to see people stopping to look at and photograph the polar bear and rhinoceros sculptures, adding that the rhino’s horn was shiny from folks touching it.

In her comments, Wilson spoke of the benefit of public art to the community. “The world’s hurting and the more we can do something positive like this, the better everybody’s going to be,” she said.

Wilson commended the Price family for helping to enrich the community through their contributions to the arts. “It’s not often that you see a business and a family commissioning art for the public,” she said. 

Walker described public art as an example of the partnership between the public and private sectors. He also observed that the cravens are in the perfect location to draw a lot of people—“between sugar and caffeine.” The sculptures sit between a Swig soda shop and a Starbucks. 

Wilson explained that the placement of the sculptures “where you don’t expect to see them” was intentional. “They can bring a little enjoyment to people’s lives,” he said.

The cravens are located at approximately 200 W. 12300 South in Draper. λ