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With a little help from her friends, Jann Haworth soon will begin creating a public mural in Salt Lake City populated by a gallery of famous faces and inspired by the Beatles' iconic "Sgt. Pepper" album cover.

The project didn't come out of the blue. In 1967, Haworth, then a budding British artist, helped design the original album's artwork.

Haworth's then-husband, Peter Blake, was the lead art designer for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," possibly the most influential record in rock 'n' roll history. Haworth hand-tinted the black-and-white photos for the cover and created the cloth figures along its right border; for their efforts, she and Blake each won Grammys.

Haworth has lived in Utah for seven years. She decided to revisit "Sgt. Pepper" to update and diversify its collage of celebrities. Of the cover's 71 famous heads, only seven are women and all but four are white - numbers that irk the left-leaning artist today.

"It's to my everlasting shame," chuckles Haworth, former visual-arts director at the Sundance Resort in Provo Canyon. "That's partly why we're doing this - to make it right."

The mural, titled "SLC Pepper," will adorn the east wall of a three-story parking garage on 400 West at Pierpont Avenue, across the street from Big City Soup. Gastronomy, Inc., the Utah restaurant company which owns the structure, donated the space.

Haworth has recruited some 30 Utah artists for the project. Beginning on Saturday, they plan to tear the ivy off the cinder blocks and paint a sky-blue backdrop. The first faces, most done by stencil graffiti, could be on by the following weekend. Most of the 28-by-30-foot mural will likely be done by the end of October.

Assisting Haworth on the mural are Global Artways, Salt Lake City's art-education program, and Spy Hop Productions, a nonprofit education center that teaches young Utahns how to make films and other media. Everyone involved is volunteering their time.

Haworth's biggest creative challenge has been coming up with the 90 or so internationally known people - half of them women - who will fill the mural. To get ideas, she surveyed crowds at the Utah Arts Festival in June and encouraged artists to suggest names.

The original album cover included head shots of Karl Marx, Bob Dylan, Oscar Wilde and Mae West, plus a handful of gurus at the request of George Harrison. (John Lennon wanted to include Hitler but was overruled.)

None of them will appear in the Salt Lake City mural. Instead, Haworth's roster will include novelist Toni Morrison, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, singer Bjork, cartoon mom Marge Simpson, rocker Jimi Hendrix and labor leader Cesar Chavez.

Sharp-eyed viewers also will notice humorist Al Franken, activist actress Susan Sarandon and, yes, filmmaker Michael Moore. So does the mural have some sort of liberal agenda? Haworth demurs.

"What we're trying to say is above party politics," she says. "These are passionate people. We don't have to agree with everything they say. But we admire their passion."

The mural will be completed in stages. In the next phase, to be finished next spring, some Utah figures will be added along with life-sized steel cutouts of the four marching-band outfits the Beatles wear on the album cover. The cutouts will be built on a platform several feet in front of the mural, allowing visitors to pose behind them - become the Beatles! - for interactive photos.

Finally, Haworth plans to build a sound system into the wall that will play Beatles songs and other music. And, of course, there's a Web site in the works.

Project organizers hope the mural will become a popular part of the Salt Lake City landscape, and eventually even a tourist attraction.

Global Artways director Dan Gerhart believes Haworth's work on the original "Sgt. Pepper" lends credibility and cachet to the project.

He says, "It'll be a landmark art piece that will be known all over the world."