Summit County Public Art

Open A Book

On one wall of the Coalville Library, there's a mattress-sized book lying open on the floor. It's almost as if passersby have been shrunk to a five-inch scale and for a moment are given access to walk through the shelves in miniature and physically walk into the world of the books that reside there. A book, maybe, is like a dream that you can switch on by opening it. The giant book in Nancy Bates' wall-sized mural is projecting a scene from its singular dream on the wall behind it. The scene from the book is inviting and stirs the viewer's desire to enter that world. The path that opens from the pages lead through a grassy landscape to distant apricot and violet-colored mountains which are themselves a whole new story to explore. Beyond that the path leads to a village? An alien civilization? A woolly mammoth? The scene raises more questions than it answers. Surrounding the open book are the spines of more books, more dreams to be opened and entered.

Nancy Bates has lived in Summit County for 40 years. A graduate of Brigham Young University in education with a minor in art, she taught language arts and art at North Summit High School for 20 years. Her evolution into mural-painting began years ago when her school needed a backdrop for an assembly. Not long after, the theater department needed a backdrop for a play, which led to years of creating scenery for theatrical productions. Now retired, Mrs. Bates says that one of the unexpected pleasures of her long teaching career was that she sometimes had the opportunity to teach three generations within the same family, having the children, and later the grandchildren of her original high school students turn up in her classroom.

Open A Book mural is located in the hallway to the left of the reference desk at the Coalville Library.

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