Mural, Mural on the wall

Traveling duo creates life-size postcard on Bowen Motel

The Starks family, from Layton, Utah, gathers July 24 for a group picture in front of the new mural on 200 North Street. The art is part of a push by the city to add interest to downtown Moab, and other projects are slated this fall. This painting is on the north side of the Bowen Motel building. Photo by Sena Hauer

In the spring of 2015, two artists from New York set out on a journey around the country, painting murals mimicking greetings postcards in cities along their way, with the eventual goal of visiting each of the 50 states.

A year after hitting the road, the pair, called the Greetings Tour, quickly ran through each of the lower 48 states and expanded their project to include the goal of painting in each of the states.

Four years later, Lisa Beggs and Victor Ving have completed their 41st mural in their 20th state. The host to the new art: The Bowen Motel. Putting a mural in Moab had been on the couple’s to-do list, but a paid job in Salt Lake City had taken precedence until recently.

Victor Ving and Lisa Beggs pose for a photo in Glacier National Park. The pair travels the country, painting “interactive postcards” on mural spaces in landmark cities. The two completed their 41st mural in Moab last week. Photo courtesy of Greetings Tour

“When plans for our Salt Lake City mural got pushed back we went back to our original idea of painting in Moab since we had all the paint ready to go,” Beggs and Ving said in a recent blog post.

Tyson Lesmeister, the second-generation owner of the Bowen Motel, gave the couple the go-ahead to use the east-facing external wall of the motel for the mural, a prominent location for visitors entering town from the north on Highway 191.

The couple landed on the Bowen Motel as the prospective location after meeting Kenny Gorham from Moab Cyclery. The three all happened to be in New Orleans at the same time, and after striking up a conversation, Gorham got the two in contact with the Moab Arts and Recreation Center.

Fast-forward a few months, and the couple was sitting in 103-degree heat, painting the tan wall sandstone red.

Victor Ving does early work on the “Greetings from Moab” mural on the Bowen Motel. Ving and Lisa Beggs, the photographer for this photo, travel the U.S. painting similar postcard-like murals in destination cities. Photo courtesy of Greetings Tour

Moab now joins the likes of Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Orlando and other cities across the U.S. as featuring a Greetings Tour mural.

“Our Greetings from Moab mural was inspired by the colors of the sandstone, natural elements from the parks and the outdoor recreation that people travel from all over the world for,” the couple said in the blog post.

The MARC’s Arts and Special Events Manager Liz Holland said the mural is part of a larger campaign by the center to put up more murals around town. She said that two were planned for October and three were already underway at Rotary Park, alongside projects elsewhere within the city.

The greeting card at the Bowen Motel features Delicate Arch, Hell’s Revenge, Dead Horse Point and Wall Street in each of the letters of “MOAB,” respectively. To learn more about the Greetings Tour and to browse artwork from Beggs and Ving, visit greetingstour.com. Local building owners can contact the MARC at 435-259-6722 for more information about the citywide mural project.

Anthony Garito of Pine and Palm Journal records Victor Ving as he removes the paint cloth from below Ving’s recently completed “Greetings from Moab” mural. Photo courtesy of Greetings Tour

Note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Lisa Beggs’ last name. It is Beggs, not Biggs.