Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
Hale Centre Theatre Weekend Winner Giveaway
Two #ZAPWeekendWinners have been chosen to receive four tickets to Hale Centre Theatre's Pirate Queen on March 15. Tickets to this performance are sold out but you can still purchase tickets for late March.
From Hale Centre Theatre: This is a regional premiere of Pirate Queen. Boublil and Schönberg - composers of the blockbuster Les Misérables - crafted this extraordinarily beautiful, new musical! A true story...in 1558, England and Ireland are locked in a battle for Ireland's independence. Grace O'Malley - a strong Irish lass - fearlessly battles Queen Elizabeth's mammoth navy. Add splendid Celtic dancing, ships, swashbuckling swordplay, betrayal and glorious romance! HCT was hand-picked to mount this first, regional, post-Broadway production.
Hale Centre Theatre is funded in part through a grant from the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) Program.
Stay tuned for more stories and giveaways from ZAP!
Murray City Cultural Arts and Repertory Dance Theatre ZAP Ticket Tuesday Giveaway
Two winners were chosen to receive 5 tickets each to Murray City Cultural Arts Presents CELEBRATE! RDT IN CONCERT on March 11 at 7:30 PM. If you didn't win this time, we hope you can still make it to the performance. And keep entering our #ZAPTicketTuesday giveaways!
Murray City Cultural Arts and Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) are both funded in part by a grant from Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks.
ZAP Ticket Tuesday Giveaway for Discovery Gateway
Winner has been announced for a free family pass to the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum!
Discovery Gateway is funded in part through a grant from Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP).
Film Brings the Beehive State Together
As I reflect on the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, I am still
struck by a statement Robert Redford made during the opening day press conference
on Thursday, January 21. The idea he
shared is that no matter how our society evolves and no matter how much
technology alters our daily lives, there will always be a need to gather
together to experience the communal experience of watching a film. There is no substitute for going to the
theatre. That notion stuck with me
through the whole 10 days as I witnessed that idea in action.
Over the course of the Festival, I attended 15 screenings
organized exclusively for students that reached more than 6,000 students and
teachers. I handed out more than 600 free tickets for community groups to
connect with the program. I curated
screenings that reached more than 2,300 local residents. And in addition, I program year round
screenings for Utah residents. I get a
front seat to witness the incredible power film has to spark dialogue and
It goes without saying that I have a unique position with
Sundance Institute and in my opinion, the best job there is.
I manage our free, Utah-based community and student outreach programs. From
programming the outdoor Summer Film Series to organizing screenings just for
students, I get to bring free programming to Utah residents. Let me give you a
glimpse of why I love my job and how I get to connect the local community to
For many January 31 marks the official end of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
But this year, more than 5,000 local residents were treated to an extra day of
fun with Festival award-winners screened just for locals at nine Best of Fest screenings in Salt Lake,
Park City, Ogden, and Sundance Resort. A
few of the Best of Fest screenings this year were Birth of a Nation, Sonita, Morris From America and Life, Animated.
JUST FOR STUDENTS:
The best part of my job is overseeing the Sundance Institute · George S. and
Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation Student Screening Program during the Festival.
For the past 16 years, this program presents Sundance Film Festival films
curated by Sundance Institute staff to introduce young audiences to independent
film and engage them in stories from around the globe. Following each screening, the filmmaker
conducts a live discussion with the students and teachers surrounding the
themes in the film. In 2000, ZAP funding provided the “seed money” to make this
program a reality by offering 4 free film screenings to almost 700 students in
Salt Lake. Sixteen years later the program has expanded to 15 screenings in Salt
Lake, Park City and Ogden to an audience of over 6,000 students and teachers.
Thank you ZAP for helping to start something great for Utah students by giving
them the opportunity to engage with the Festival!
The 2016 program saw record breaking attendance as well as
some truly special moments. Utah students were treated to free screenings of
Sundance Kids selections: The Little
Gangster and The Eagle Huntress;
documentaries: Sonita, How to Let Go of
the World, Life, Animated, Maya Angelou and Still I Rise, Michael Jackson’s
Journey From Motown to Off the Wall, Richard Linklater - Dream Is Destiny;
and experimental narratives from the NEXT and New Frontier categories: The Fits and Notes on Blindness. The program offered students a wide range of
genres and subjects to introduce them to the art of independent film and
While each screening is special and students ask questions
that prove they are wise beyond their years, two screenings from the 2016
program stand-out: Sonita and Life, Animated. On Monday, January 26, students were among
the first audiences to watch the Grand Jury and Audience Award: World Cinema
documentary – Sonita. The film tells
the story of a young girl, Sonita, who is an undocumented refugee living in
Iran. She has dreams of becoming a rapper but her family wants to sell her into
marriage. Sonita herself and the film’s director were onsite for the film and
Q&A. Students gave them film a standing ovation and were treated to a rap
performance by Sonita. During the post-film discussion, students learned more
about Sonita’s life and her work to end child marriage. At the student
screening of Life, Animated, students
learned about Owen Suskind, an autistic boy who learned to communicate through
Disney animated movies. The entire Suskind family and the director – Academy
Award winner Roger Ross Williams - attended the screening and participated in
the Q&A. The young audience gave the film a rousing standing ovation which
was followed by a moving discussion about the film and about autism. Many of
the students have siblings or friends who are on the autism spectrum. The
Suskind family was moved by how respectful and engaged the student audience was
during the film and Q&A. It was a beautiful moment for Utah students.
We continually look for ways to draw groups closer to the program and one of my
favorite parts of the job is programming films that explore an issue or topic
that will resonate locally. And this
year I am pleased to say over 1200 Salt Lake residents turned out for free
community screenings during the 2016 Film Festival! Local college students
watched the documentary Author: The JT
Leroy Story and the LGBT community enjoyed the narrative Viva. In addition to watching a Festival
film for free, both groups were also able to engage in a dialogue with the
directors of each film. The community outreach screenings continued through the
week with another local college screening at the Tower Theatre where student
watched one of the most buzzed films of the Festival – Swiss Army Man. Locals were treated to three additional screenings
during the closing weekend: Under the Gun,
a documentary that explores gun violence in America; How to Let Go of the World (And Love All the Things Climate Can’t
Change), a documentary about climate change; and Hunt For the Wilderpeople a narrative from indigenous filmmaker
One memory that will stay with me is when almost 250 members
of local environmental organizations danced with director Josh Fox during the
credits of his film How to Let Go of the World (And Love all the Things Climate Can’t
Change) before they started the Q&A.
TICKETS: In addition to offering free screenings during the Festival,
Sundance Institute’s Utah Community Programs also includes the Community Ticket
Program. We set aside complimentary tickets for nonprofit organizations and
special interest groups whose mission aligns with a theme or subject presented
in a film. For the 2016 Festival, 484 tickets and ticket vouchers were given to
46 organizations in Salt Lake County. One of the most touching donations was to
the Big Brothers Big Sisters group that planned to use the tickets for “bigs”
to take the “littles” to the Sundance Kids screening of Snowtime! It means a lot to
provide an opportunity for adults and kids to experience the world-class Film
Festival that takes place in their backyard, while assisting another
organization to provide a special experience for a kid in need. The program also has reach beyond Utah
borders. The Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy works with the US State
Department to host visitors from around the world and showcase both Utah and
democracy. The UCCD hosted a group of Indonesian visitors during the Festival
and I had the pleasure of giving the group tickets to a screening of the
documentary Gleason at the Grand
Theatre. I hope the group enjoyed the film and the Sundance experience!
GOING ONCE, GOING
TWICE, SOLD: Sundance Institute also gives local nonprofits ticket packages
and passes to bolster their fundraising efforts by auctioning the packages at
events and galas during the spring, summer, and fall months. 38 packages and
passes were donated to Salt Lake organizations. The program is a special way to
not only help fellow nonprofit organizations raise much needed funds but also
for Sundance to reach a new audience. In addition, we were able to donate two
tickets for a screening of Michael
Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off the Wall for ZAP’s #TicketTuesday!
I would be remiss for not thanking the community supporters
who make Sundance Institute's Community Programs a reality: George S. and
Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation; Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development;
Salt Lake County Economic Development Department; Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts
& Parks (ZAP) Program; Utah Division of Arts & Museums and the National
Endowment for the Arts; and Zions Bank. A big round of applause for their
support in helping over 16,000 residents experience the Festival...for FREE!!
The 2016 Festival was a wild ride for
local independent film fans. I am proud of the free programming the Institute
presented to its home state as well as the incredible audiences we are able to
work with. Programming community and student outreach for Utah is a labor of
love. I hope that Utah had as much fun as I did. See you this summer for a
screening under the stars!
- Kara Cody
Kara Cody is Sundance Institute's
Senior Manager for Utah Community Programs. She hails from Yankton, SD and
studied political theory and philosophy at the Catholic University of America
in Washington DC. For the past four years, Kara has worked
for Sundance Institute managing community and student outreach programs. She
lives in Park City, UT with her husband, son, and Bernese Mountain Dog. When
not watching films, Kara enjoys the outdoors, cooking, and live music.
Inspiring Ideas into Action with Utah Humanities
Where would we be without art, music, philosophy, &
history? All of these disciplines and
more encompass the humanities, a great range of ideas that help us better
understand different perspectives on what it means to be human.
“Through technology we are now connected to the far reaches of the planet,
but without the study of history, religion, languages, philosophy, and culture
we will never understand those we reach.” - Utah Humanities
Helping us to better understand each other, inspiring
ideas and discussion that can be put into action, this is what Utah Humanities is all about. Offering several
programs from supporting community heritage to education access, they are also the
state affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the
Library of Congress.
The Center for the Book program promotes public interest in books,
reading, authorship and libraries throughout the state of Utah.
Author Terry Tempest Williams engages audiences at the Orem Reads portion of the Utah Humanities 18th Annual Book Festival.
“The power of language and stories come to
life in meaningful ways when members of our Utah community meet and talk with
authors. These interactions and ideas can inspire people to explore new facets
of their life and take action.”
This was just the case when a young teenager attended a recent celebration of children’s and young literature and was able to meet the authors.
is very poor and he took two buses and more than an hour to get to the event
because he really wanted to meet the authors. After the panel, he told the
authors how badly he wished to become a writer. They were so struck by his
story that they bought him several of their books and then paid for him to
attend the Teen Authors’ Boot Camp coming up in a few months. Elated, he left
the event in tears.”
Recently the Utah Humanities staff reflected on their own reading from the past year. Check out their book picks to see what ideas most inspired them!
Humanities Staff Book Picks:
Important Books We Read in 2015
(...and how they influenced us)
"Employ your time in improving yourself by other
men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard
Cynthia Buckingham, Executive Director: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided
by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt helped me get past
the impasse in my own mind about talking politics with people whose political
philosophies are very different from my own. Starting with the values we hold
in common makes me a better listener and, I hope, more likely to engage in
conversation rather than argument.
Jean Cheney, Associate Director: Between the World and Me by
Ta-Nehisi Coates is written as a long letter to his teenaged son to prepare him
for the racist society we live in. Coates' book was hard to read and
impossible to forget. It is full of fear, truth, and, ultimately,
Jodi Graham, Grants and Outreach Program Officer: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by
Muriel Barbery. Do I see people for who they truly are, or do I see only my
assumptions? Am I the same on the outside as I am on the inside? The author
describes it in this way, "on the outside, she's covered in quills...on
the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively
indolent little creature, fiercely solitary--and terribly elegant."
Jamie Gregersen, Finance and Office Manager: Breaking Night by Liz Murray. This
heartbreaking story serves as a reminder to exercise compassion, and leaves me
in awe of the resiliency some people have through what seem like insurmountable
circumstances. It's an inspiring illustration of amazing tenacity.
Fuzzy Utah Humanities staff "selfie" shows the lighter side of humanities work
Justin Howland, Administrative Assistant: Dream Work by Mary Oliver. With her
committed attentiveness to moments of isolation--turning the act of observation
into the quiet observance of the connective tissue holding together the larger
organism of our lives--Mary Oliver invites us to cultivate a compassionate
engagement with the world around us.
Michael McLane, Literature Program Officer: Voices of Chernobyl by
Svetlana Alexievich is not for the faint-hearted. It is a brutal tour of both
gross negligence on a governmental level and of human adaptability in
impossible situations. I chose it not only because of her recent, and
much-deserved, Nobel Prize, but also because here she inverts what won her the
award in the first place--this is a book of listening, a place where her voice
is supplanted by a chorus of Ukranian and Belarusian voices.
Deena Pyle, Communications Director: Childhood's End by Arthur C.
Clarke, originally published in 1953, is both a sci-fi masterpiece and a
timeless fable. This classic novel speculates about the ultimate destiny of
mankind and quickly became my most important book of the year for begging some
very deep existential questions--all within a sobering, poignant, sometimes
shocking, and ultimately bittersweet narrative.
Megan van Frank, History and Museums Program Officer: The Hare With Amber Eyes, a memoir
by Edmund de Waal, delves into the secret lives of 264 Japanese netsuke as they
are passed hand-to-hand through generations of the author's family--through war
and upheaval--to show how objects can carry stories, evoke place, and embody
Cristi Wetterberg, Development Specialist: You Learn by Living by Eleanor
Roosevelt whose straightforward and timeless book offers readers what
she learned through living. This book strengthened some of my own beliefs,
educated me on others I hadn't thought about or practiced before, and gave me
the encouragement to continue to learn new things, meet and understand new
people, and to seek out new ideas.
Visit Utah Humanities.org to learn more about their programs and latest news. And feel free to share the most important book you read recently (and its influence on YOU) with us in the comments!
Compiled by Michelle Ludema, book and humanities lover, as well as Communications Intern at Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks, in collaboration with Deena Pyle, Communications Director at Utah Humanities.