Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service

Project Prologue

Utah Arts Council General Accomplishments

The Utah Arts Council worked to secure the cooperation of Salt Lake City and H. David Burton of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to renovate the Chase Home in the middle of Liberty Park. Once owned by Brigham Young, it predates the Beehive House and stands on its original location. This is the largest adobe structure in the intermountain west. Although owned by the City, it is secured, rent free, for use by the Folk Arts Program for twenty years (to 2019) to house staff offices and the Utah State Folk Arts Museum.

We found, and, with the Governor’s help, acquired a large building (“Art House”) immediately west of Arts Council offices located in the Rio Grande Depot. We renovated Art House which is now the first safe facility for the Utah government’s 1,500 piece State Art Collection. We patterned our newly created collection area after that of Brigham Young University with storage and staging area walls that are environmentally safe for the collection.

We worked with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Bonnie Stephens was co-chair with Gretta Peterson of the selection committee that hired the wonderful Raymond Grant as head of the Cultural Olympiad office. Ray loved Utah, stayed on, and is now a Utahn. Bonnie was an advisor to the Cultural Olympiad staff for two years. The Arts Council was able to interface with many of their programs, and we loaned our staff to the Olympics committee.

We worked closely with other interested people on the process to get the statute creating and enabling the 1/10th of 1% County Optional Sales Tax initiative passed and then to assist in its passage in Salt Lake County and other counties throughout the state. “ZAP” funding, as it is known in Salt Lake County, has been extremely helpful to the cultural entities (as well as the zoo and parks venues) it funds.

With the Governor’s Office, we started the Utah State Poet Laureate Program with Dave Lee as Utah’s first Poet Laureate. After his five year tenure, Kenneth Brewer served in the position. This program and these wonderful men were enormously popular.

Navajo basket weaver Mary Holiday Black was nominated for a National Heritage Fellowship Award which she received from the White House bringing national attention to Utah’s basketweavers.

The Utah Shakespearean Festival received the National Governor’s Association award in the Arts Category/Artistic Production area after a May 2001 nomination letter the Arts Council put together for the Governor’s signature on the 40th anniversary of this remarkable Festival in Utah’s rural Cedar City.

Over 200 nonprofit organizations received Grants Program awards from the Arts Council annually enabling them to provide a wide variety of quality arts programming and opportunities that served the entire state. Attendance at arts functions was tracked by these grantees who reported a combined total of over 5 million audience members annually. Arts projects were planned, matching funds secured, and programs carried out by the recipient organizations.

While there are many national studies, the Utah Arts Council and its cultural partners commissioned a study in 1999 by the Western States Arts Federation (reviewed by the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research), which showed the very significant contribution of Utah’s cultural entities to Utah’s economy. Not only does a healthy arts climate help attract and retain highly skilled professionals and clean industry to our State, but the study also found that measurable benefits can be expressed in terms of dollar output, earnings, and the total number of jobs the cultural sector supports.

There were several Utah Arts Council Governor’s Awards events that were very graciously hosted by Governor Mike Leavitt during his administration with recipient lists that are longer than you will want in this document. His presence was always a great pleasure for recipients and guests.

Through eight diverse Utah Arts Council Community Outreach Programs (Arts Education, Community/ State Partnership, Folk Arts, Visual Arts, Traveling Exhibits, Literature, Artist Services, and Public Art), programmers designed and responded to specific needs of our communities. All programmers followed the strategic plan (designed in keeping with Governor Leavitt’s directives and philosophy), and were mindful of the 1899 legislation creating the Arts Council. In addition, staff for Public Art responded to specific legislative language in the 1% for Art Act of 1985, and Arts Education staff complied with guidelines from the National Endowment for the Arts. Long-running state programs such as the annual Original Writing Competition continued (in existence for more than 40 years), and the Statewide Annual Visual Arts Exhibition has been held since 1899. Outreach programs served artists, school children, and urban area residents while directing special attention towards ethnic and rural communities, underserved populations, and partnerships with entities such as the State Office of Education, Utah PTA, colleges and universities, local arts councils, art centers and museums.

Teamwork was an important element as we partnered with various community representatives. Community co-sponsors provided matching funds, requested our services, and assisted in carrying out programs. Services were such things as technical assistance in helping a community organize a local arts council; arranging a month-long traveling exhibition in a community setting; arranging an artist residency or reading in a school or community; providing a variety of professional development workshops for artists; handling literary and visual arts competitions and awards; coordinating public art installations; providing performing arts opportunities to rural Utah; providing folk arts apprenticeships; partnering with another entity to produce the Living Traditions and other festivals; providing artists with a quarterly newsletter listing opportunities for competitions and awards; survey and documentation work to maintain the Folk Arts Archives; and arranging conservation on portions of the State Fine Arts Collection.There were 105 works of art created and installed in the public areas within or around new or remodeled state buildings, effectively integrating art and architecture through the Utah Public Art Program. The professionals involved at each site–artists, landscape architects, historians, engineers and architects, worked together in a team approach to enlarge and enhance the public art and design process at each location. There were 105 works of art created and installed in the public areas within or around new or remodeled state buildings, effectively integrating art and architecture through the Utah Public Art Program. The professionals involved at each site–artists, landscape architects, historians, engineers and architects, worked together in a team approach to enlarge and enhance the public art and design process at each location.

Additional Information

The Utah Arts Council History

http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/statehood_and_the_progressive_era/utahartscouncil.html

Utah State Poet Laureate Program

http://www.loc.gov/rr/main/poets/utah.html

National Heritage Fellowship Award List (see 1995)

http://www.arts.gov/honors/heritage/allheritage.html#95

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Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service