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Utah Symbols of the Arts

Utah has four official symbols of the arts, and boy are they polar opposites.

Hymn Utah, We Love Thee 2003
Folk Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1994
Work of Land Art Spiral Jetty 2017
Work of Art Native American rock art 2017
Utah Symbols of the ArtsPrehistoric rock art (left) and Spiral Jetty. (Prehistoric art: By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA – GG Holy Ghost PanelUploaded by PDTillman, CC BY 2.0, link.)

The ever popular square dance is so redundant, it’s nauseating. Even worse is the official hymn, “Utah, We Love Thee.” Utah already had a state song, “Utah, This is the Place.” Why did they need to adopt a religious symbol? From there, Utah has nowhere to go but up . . .

Utah’s weathered rocks have also earned a place among its symbols of the arts. Or should we call Utah’s official work of art a historic (or prehistoric) symbol?

The designation showcases prehistoric rock art, which includes countless pictographs and petroglyphs. There are roughly 1,000 sites in Nine Mile Canyon alone.

Utah’s biggest work of art was built of mud, salt crystals, and basalt rocks much more recently. Dubbed Spiral Jetty, it forms a giant coil stretching 1,500 feet into Great Salt Lake. In 2017, it was named the official work of land art. Prehistoric rock art was designated a symbol at the same time.

Spiral Jetty is eerily similar to the coiled tail of an enormous monkey created by an ancient people in a desert in southern Peru (below left). As Great Salt Lake continues to shrink, some enterprising artist could even add a monkey to Spiral Jetty (right).

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