Local artist Morgan McCue chosen for Historic Preservation Award

PARK CITY, Utah. – Local artist Morgan McCue answered the city’s call for artists and earned the 2022 Historic Preservation Awards grant to paint this year’s historic site, 1141 Park Avenue, a former miner’s home. The unveiling ceremony will be held on June 9 at City Hall.

Since 2011, the Park City Historic Preservation Board (HPB) has presented this award to a historic site to honor its history and legacy in Park City history.

“The purpose of the Historic Preservation Awards is to recognize projects that have been completed on historical sites or structures that were successful projects displaying the design guidelines that the city has set in historic districts,” said Park City Municipal Planner Aiden Lillie. “The Historic Preservation Board will nominate several projects each year and then vote on one winner.”

McCue volunteered time for Kimball Arts Center’s inaugural Art Soiree.

Each commissioned art piece for the Preservation Awards is displayed on the second floor of City Hall. Due to the pandemic, awards were halted until earlier this year. The HPB called for artists to apply, and McCue, whose specialty is watercolor portraits and stills, won the grant.

“As far as my style, I would say it’s realistic and a little bit impressionistic. I work from photographs for my commissioned pieces,” said McCue. “I try to create a very authentic, real-looking portrait. I like to honor the medium of watercolor at the same time, which is really fluid and unpredictable. And that’s what makes it so beautiful. That’s where painting structures, in particular, becomes a bit of a challenge, but a fun challenge, because the structure has to be very exact. Then, I add the fluidity of the watercolor with the sky or the reflection and the windows of the trees. I have the juxtaposition being the very illustrative type, detail work, and then the fluidity of the watercolor at the same time.”

McCue asks clients for several photos of portrait subjects to get to know the details and nuance of the person.

The miner’s house at 1141 Park Ave. is a bit nondescript from the front but stretches far back. McCue explained that this house is a uniquely challenging subject because of the unassuming front display.

“There is an incredible structural addition that expands the home horizontally and vertically,” she said. “I would like the portrait to honor both the original historic structure and the restoration and preservation for which it received the award.  I took some pictures yesterday, and there’s an angle where the black, vertical expansion can be seen behind the white, original house. So that’s what I’m going to paint.”

In the summertime, McCue opens her home, or backyard, to youngsters interested in art. Her art camps are for kids four and up with no experience requirements. Last summer she ran three camps with four kids at a time for a more personal attentive experience. Parents can inquire or sign up via her website.

The Preservation Awards’ unveiling is aimed for the end of May. Below is a list of past Preservation Awards artists and locations, and can be viewed at City Hall.

  • 2011: High West Distillery, oil painting by Sid Ostergaard
  • 2012: Washington School House Hotel, oil painting by Jan Perkins
  • 2013: 515 Main Street, painting by Bill Kranstover, and 929 Park Avenue, painting by Dori Pratt
  • 2014: Garage at 101 Prospect, painting by Bill Kranstover
  • 2015: 562 Main Street, painting by Cara Jean Means
  • 2016: California Comstock, painting by Hilary Honadel
  • 2017: Egyptian Theatre, mixed media painting by Marianne Cone
  • 2018: Glenwood Cemetery oil painting by Anna Leigh Moore

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