Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
Funding Support for your Creative Placemaking Project
Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks is teaming up with Utah Division of Arts & Museums to welcome ArtPlace America to Utah!
ArtPlace America is a 10-year collaboration among 15 foundations, eight federal agencies, and six financial institutions who are
dedicated to positioning art and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric or communities.
program offers $50,000 to $500,000 to support place-based planning and
development projects strengthening
communities through arts and culture.
Since 2011, ArtPlace has invested $66.875 million, to 227 projects across 152 communities of all sizes within 43 states and the District of Columbia.
ArtPlace is specifically looking for successful Utah applications.
We urge you to attend on of two informational sessions on their National Creative Placemaking Fund:
- January 19 | 10 AM to 12 PM | Summit County Library, Richins Building, Room 133 (Lower Level) | 1885 W. Ute Blvd., Park City, UT 84098
- January 20 | 12 PM to 2 PM | Viridian Event Center, 8030 S. 1825 W., West Jordan, UT 84088 (A light lunch will be served)
- What is creative placemaking?
- What makes a competitive application?
- What does the application process entail?
- A discussion on how the arts have been used to "move the needle" to address relevant and challenging community issues.
Who should attend?
The event is free and open to the public! Anyone and everyone interested in learning about how you can be supported to creatively make change in your community! Artists, arts organizations,
designers, community developers, planners, city and town administrators,
community residents, business owners, faith and religious groups,
philanthropists, and more are invited to learn more about arts-based strategies to community development. The National Creative Placemaking Fund will fund anyone regardless of tax-exempt status.
Consider these questions:
- Where will you work to address this community-based challenge or opportunity?
- Has the community identified a planning and development challenge or opportunity it wants to address?
- What role can arts and culture play in strengthening communities?
- Who sits at "the table" when planning and development decisions are being made?
These and other questions will be addressed at the workshop. We hope you'll join us.
Please RSVP by filling out this form by January 15.
This Holiday Season Gift the Arts
It’s that time of year again! The lights are up, the snow is falling (well, some days), and we’re busy seeking out fun ways to enjoy the holiday season as well as searching for perfect gifts for family and friends.
As you go about your holiday shopping this year, consider gifting the arts! Tickets to a concert or performance by a favorite theater company can provide a lifelong experience to remember, and handmade arts and crafts bring daily inspiration. Not to mention it’s always fun to meet the
artists that created them! You can do just that at one of the many holiday markets being hosted this December that showcase unique gifts made by local artists and crafters.
To help you plan your market-hopping experience and support our creative community this holiday season, we’ve compiled a quick list of some of the many arts & craft markets taking place around the valley. If we missed a favorite of yours, please feel
welcome to share it in the comments.
December 5-6 & 12-13
Dec 5 & 12 10am-6pm
Dec 5 & 19 10am-2pm
Summer Night Lights: Cities Collaborate to Reduce Violence
Business robberies down 50%
Residential burglary down 48%
Simple assaults down 100%
Grand theft down 51%
How would you like to report those statistics in your
That is exactly what the Midvale Arts Council is working for. We are partnering with Unified Police Department, Canyons School District, Midvale City, Copperview Recreation Center, and the Midvale Boys and Girls Club to create something based on a successful program carried out in Sacramento,
California and other cities throughout the nation. Sacramento Summer Night Lights is a violence reduction program disguised as fun and is a product of multi-sector collaboration amongst various stakeholders in one of the city’s highest crime locations. By creating a safe environment, the program fostered community
growth and trust which resulted in a drastic reduction in violence.
Midvale City is working with Moises Prospero, the founder and lead researcher of the Institute for Innovative Justice. Moises coordinates with police departments, school districts, social service departments and other groups to form multi-agency collaborations to implement specific, high-quality
strategies to reduce gang violence and to implement proven practices for the prevention and early intervention of juvenile delinquency. The Midvale Arts Council (MAC) was brought to the table to work with these groups in enhancing the free summer concert series that is already in place. With the collaboration
of these groups, MAC is looking to produce our greatest summer concert series
to date. On Friday nights during the summer, community members throughout the valley can gather in a safe place to celebrate community, enjoy diverse styles of music and other various activities such as visual arts, dance, sports, storytelling and book give a ways. Plus, children will receive free meals.
We are looking for help.
Other communities in the valley would like to create similar programs. Magna, West Valley, and Salt Lake City are all exploring their options and would like help carrying out this massive undertaking. If you are interested in helping, please email Moises Prospero at
You can help Midvale City receive funding to enhance our summer concert series through a national grant sponsored by Levitt Pavilions by voting for their proposal at
www.levittamp.org. Midvale City is the only organization in Utah that is in the running for this grant. For more information visit
www.midvalearts.com.Together we can make a difference!
Suzanne Walker was recently hired as the Executive Director of the Midvale Arts Council where she has been a volunteer for nearly 20 years. She has produced over 40 theatrical productions for the council and has also been privileged to be on stage and behind the scenes directing, choreographing, or costuming many of those productions. She enjoys watching her children play basketball, soccer and football. She also enjoys singing, playing the piano, sewing and cooking.
The Importance of Community Education
These days my desk sits in the
Utah Film Center offices on Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City where I spend my time designing workshops to train public school teachers how to use film-making as a meaningful, in-classroom student engagement strategy.
An Educator’s Story
I came to Utah Film Center as part of the SHIFT team. SHIFT was an independent organization until this June, when it merged with Utah Film Center and became a program of their expanding Education Department. I worked for SHIFT for about three years before the merger. Now, as part of Utah Film Center
I’m excited to continue both my personal and the organizational mission to empower teachers by putting digital media arts tools into their able (though sometimes trembling) hands. This is coupled with the philosophy that if we can inspire teachers and increase the use of creative technology integration,
students—who are fluent in the language of the digital age—will respond and flourish.
My heart is in this. What I mean is that my heart is into using everything I have to help lift our education system out of its current siege. I won’t throw a lot of bleak statistics at you, but I will say that Utah is ranked about 36th across the nation in academic performance, a nation that
is barely making the top twenty in the purview of global educational success. THAT, my friends, is a report card that would concern any parent. Despite this, I would like to add that I don’t pay too much heed to this ranking, though I do believe it is important to pay attention to pieces of what the leading nations
(Finland, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan) are successfully doing; there are certainly some educational nuggets we can glean from them. But is it productive to make, for example, the Finnish education system the pie in the sky—and then hold our teachers and administrators accountable for not attaining the paragon?
Are we comparing apples to apples when we compare and then censure those in the trenches trying to bake the same cake but with completely different ingredients? Just as a diagnosis doesn’t describe a child, nor does a statistic explain the creativity, hard work and, dare I say, genius happening everyday in our
schools. To me, the solution is so clear. We need to support our teachers no matter what.
Moving, Doing, Learning
Parlez-vous français? I get asked that often when I tell people that I am from Canada. I arrived from Edmonton, Alberta, to Salt Lake in 1993 as a typical immigrant, to try my hand on the powdery slopes. It didn’t take me long though to gravitate to the core of the city where I began working
with two nine-year-old girls, navigating the classroom with them a few afternoons a week. I saw those girls through junior high and it was during those years that I vicariously experienced what a day in the life of a teacher is like. And, I distinctly remember wondering if I should be painting a broader
swathe and helping these teachers negotiate the 33 or so students, some of whom barely spoke English, others who were obviously just checking out, and more still who were acting out and creating a huge bullying problem in which I would intervene weekly. The disruptions to a conducive learning environment felt
endless. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to help the teachers, so I stuck mainly to helping my two girls. They went on to high school and I pursued other ventures…all kinds of things from writing for a local newspaper, to archaeology digs; I moved on to pursue higher education, did documentary work
in Southern Utah, and became senior producer of a science radio show. Inevitably, though, I came full circle back to where it all began.
Twenty-some years have passed since I was sitting in the classroom with those nine-year-old girls, and though classrooms still have walls, they are far less opaque. Gone are the yellow-lined notepads and shiny, red apples that once sat proudly on a teacher’s desk, replaced by the even
shinier Apple Macintosh (undeniably comparing apples to apples!). But one thing hasn’t changed: despite the shiny, new tools, teachers still need our support as much as ever, and that is what we have organized to do. This past June, SHIFT merged with Utah Film Center to create a robust Education Department headed by
Rick Wray, whose vision and leadership has inspired me now for over a decade. The group of dedicated staffers that comprise the Education Department enthusiastically support teachers and their students in classrooms, using film and filmmaking as our method and engagement tool. I
full-heartedly believe that it takes a community to educate one child, and I wholeheartedly agree with what ZAP Grant and Communications Program Coordinator Megan Attermann noted in a
previous blog after she attended a conference in Chicago: community engagement cannot be done at a desk, but rather, it must be done face-to-face, through active listening and relationship building.
And so it is, I am back in the saddle, working for SHIFT, now a program of Utah Film Center, training teachers of all subjects in the art of filmmaking in order to inspire them and give them another skillset to engage their students. Meanwhile my education team colleagues are out in the classrooms
inspiring students through presentations, introducing them to industry experts, and showing them the power of expression through film.
It Takes a Village
According to TED Founder Richard Saul Wurman, “Learning is remembering what you are interested in.” Well, I have been reminded and it feels equally fortuitous as it does inevitable that my job is helping teachers. For me, there is no question that at the heart of a good education is a good teacher, and I want to take part in
a cultural *shift* where we ALL understand our responsibility and take not only a role in supporting teachers, but accept an onus to finding solutions to our educational woes. My position will be to continue to rally for and behind our teachers. Please join me.
Suzi spends her days as the Utah Film Center SHIFT Program Director, writing and producing digital stories, and enjoying life both in Salt Lake and Chicago.
P.S. And yes, I do speak French, thanks to the Canadian education system going for broke with bilingual education programs!
Bringing Our Creative Community Together
Salt Lake has a thriving community of creatives who help make this a great place to live. This has been confirmed over and over as I’ve worked with individuals and organizations throughout our county and beyond as part of Utah Opera’s
Creative Community program.
Opera is an art form that brings many different modes of creative expression together. On any given day at the Utah Opera Production Studios (downtown on 400 West) you’ll find a team of talented tailors, stitchers, drapers, and designers creating costumes for the opera. If you walk to the back of the
studios, you’ll find painters and carpenters creating stunning scenery. The rehearsal hall is filled with singers, dancers, and actors who use their talents to bring stories to life through opera. Finally, when the opera production makes it to Capitol Theatre, the addition of the
Utah Symphony orchestra members helps tie it all together.
The costume racks at Utah Opera's Production Studios store decades worth of work by artists in the costume shop.
At the heart of our Creative
Communities initiative is this spirit of unity and of bringing creative people together surrounding a singular common interest: opera. But it has evolved into so much more – it has been a catalyst to connect creative individuals and build new relationships.
Utah Opera artist, Jessica Jones, performs alongside a fashion presentation prepared by Vanessa di Palma Wright.
For example, on opening night of Puccini’s Tosca, we partnered with
Farasha Boutique and
Vida Tequila to host a rooftop soiree on the outdoor terrace of Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre. Costumes from Utah Opera’s costume shop were featured next to contemporary fashion as Utah Opera’s Resident Artists performed alongside a beautiful fashion presentation prepared by Vanessa di Palma Wright and Farasha’s
Earlier in November, a lucky group of individuals attended a private dining event that was prepared by
Red Kitchen. The three talented chefs who created this dining experience were inspired by the characters, story, and location of Tosca to create a five-course meal that was as beautiful as it was delicious.
The chefs at Red Kitchen were not the only culinary artists who were inspired by the opera. Bakers at So Cupcakes and Mini’s Cupcakes made delicious Tosca-inspired cupcakes. Mixologists at Bodega, Current, Finca, Handle, Pallet Bistro, OP Rockwell, Silver Star Café,
and Takashi Sushi created Tosca-inspired craft cocktails through the
Libretto & Libations promotion. At the Salt Lake Culinary Center, individuals took a class and learned to create a traditional Italian meal.
Sormani's stunning painted drops in Utah Opera's October 2015 production of Tosca.
And there has been more. During the Salt Lake
Design Week , the community was invited to view the stunning artistry of legendary scenic artist Ercole Sormani’s painted Tosca drops up close to learn how perspective and lighting can be used in design. Those who visited
Art Access during the
October Gallery Stroll were treated to a performance by Utah Opera's Resident Artists. In August, the Nero Head from Utah Opera's costume shop traveled to Utah County and made an impressive appearance at
StartFEST where I was able to have fascinating conversations with creative entrepreneurs in our community.
Utah Opera's Resident Artists perform at Art Access during Gallery Stroll.
As I’ve been reminded with Creative Communities, innovation can come from unexpected places, and we should be grateful for the high level of creativity and art in our community. The arts are incredibly important for our community because they encourage creativity
and innovation. Art motivates us and touches our souls. It evokes emotions to encourage thinking and conversation. It helps us see the world differently. I couldn’t imagine our community without all the art and artists who help bring beauty and inspiration to our lives.
Jon Miles has been Vice
President of Marketing and Public Relations for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera
(USUO) since 2011. In this role he oversees marketing, public relations, and
sales for the organization. Jon joined USUO in 2007 as the Direct Marketing Manager
and in 2009 became Director of Patron Development & Ticketing Services. He
has a B.S. in Management with a Marketing Emphasis and is currently enrolled in
an Executive MBA program at Brigham Young University.
Visit utahopera.org to
see upcoming events associated with Creative Communities. If you have a creative
idea and would like to get involved, please reach out to me!
you to the many organizations and individuals who have generously donated their
time and resources to support Utah Opera’s Creative Community program. Creative Communities is funded by
The Getty Foundation through Opera America’s Building Opera Audiences grant