Mural to represent Utica’s roots


The northern entrance to Utica’s downtown district will soon be a bit brighter.

A mural is planned to welcome folks to the community, and project organizers say it will highlight the village’s roots and small town values.

The Utica Community Foundation is working with local artist Seth Boggs, an art professor at Concordia University in Seward who has completed other works in the area, including murals on The Alps Bark Park and Jimmy Johns’ drive-thru.

“Many people on the committee were familiar with Seth Boggs’ work in Seward. After speaking with him, we decided he was the best fit for this project,” said Preston Stuhr, president of the Utica Community Foundation.

The Foundation sat with Boggs to discuss what it felt represented Utica and the people within the community.

“A few of the values and representations that we focused on varied from the co-op, agriculture, the Flying V, railroad, the school, Legion and veterans, and a few others,” Stuhr said.

From there, Boggs created mock-ups of three different ideas and worked with the Foundation to refine a final draft.

The mural will surface at the corner of Second and D streets on the side of a building owned by Roy Richters.

It will cost about $20,000 and is expected to be completed in June.

The project will be paid for by Foundation fundraisers, including Seward County Gives and the annual Tie One On event the Foundation holds each July, though donations are accepted year-round.

“With this particular project, we also will be receiving a grant from the Seward County Visitors Bureau and are still in the approval process for a couple others,” Stuhr said.

The Utica Community Foundation looks to promote the growth of Utica to create a stronger, more vibrant community. It began in 2017.

Past Foundation projects include downtown street lighting and landscaping, awnings for businesses and the swimming pool, a donation to Seward County’s Rural Workforce Housing Fund and a new park picnic shelter expected to be complete this summer.

In 2023, the Foundation raised $63,440 for the Utica Volunteer Fire Department to assist in purchasing a new ambulance.

The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with all donations tax-deductible. It is housed under the Seward County Bridges program.

Donors may contact Stuhr, or donations in cash or check may be made in person or via mail to the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership office, 616 Bradford St., Seward, NE 68434. Checks may be made to Seward County Bridges, with “Utica Community Foundation” in the memo line.