Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
What is creativity?
This video was made after working for a few hours with 6th graders in a school that for many, due to academic and behavioral challenges, was “a last chance” to stay in the system. Obviously these are very bright people whom the current school system is failing. At the root of the eloquence they exhibit in the
video is a simple Children’s Media Workshop (CMW) secret weapon - turning the learning over to them. They own and are responsible for their own performance. This is a complete flip of what school unfortunately and probably mostly unconsciously promotes.
And what about art education?
With our art as education program, the standardized Sage test proficiency in Math for this class went from 13% to 67%. the principal credited this transformation entirely to our program using art experience to change learning patterns, with critical ZAP
Results like these demand action and the CMW team is working on a plan to make this transformation possible for classrooms across the country, stay tuned.
John Schaefer is the Director for the Children's Media Workshop, a ZAP Tier II organization.
The Inspiration and Origins of Creating an Arts Nonprofit
isn’t every day that you get the chance to turn the tables and interview your
own boss. At Mundi Project, my time goes
toward planning events, fulfilling Piano Bank applications, and coordinating
Ambassadors, musicians, and Mundi Live events.
So with the opportunity to delve into our origin story, and a much
needed coffee break, I snuck in an interview with Mundi’s Executive Director,
Hana Janatova and discussed a bit of the how and why Mundi was founded and what
she has learned looking back on the first 10 years.
MICHELLE: So Mundi Project, you guys are the “piano
people” right? I hear that all the time
when I tell people I work for MP. What
do you usually say to that question?
HANA: Well, piano is the core and heart of our
organization. As a pianist and teacher, the
idea to create an organization that would create access to pianos and music
opportunities for youth and communities seemed a natural fit.
MICHELLE: So what was your inspiration to focus on
piano or was it music in general? And
further, to create an organization?
HANA: As a first generation immigrant,
our family came to this country with PhD’s and only $50 to their name, but they
never made my brother and I feel like we did without. Music, art, and nature
were all important aspects in our upbringing – it was important to know how to
play an instrument, to attend live performances in all disciplines, to absorb
One of the possessions that we moved to this country
was the family piano. Right before I
founded the Mundi Project with 2 fellow adult students and a couple of friends,
my mother asked me if I knew of somebody in need of a piano. My neighbor’s daughter expressed the desire to
learn, and so my mom gave her the piano and I taught her lessons until they
Starting Mundi Project stemmed from that idea, that there
are individuals who do not have the financial means to own a piano or have
access to art. Plenty of pianos sit as a piece of furniture-holding family
pictures and the typical houseplant. As technological marvels, pianos should be
used for the betterment of communities and the next generation.
MICHELLE: What about the inspiration behind Mundi’s
multi-disciplinary youth performances?
HANA: Some of my fondest memories growing up were
participating in Children’s Dance Theatre’s multidisciplinary summer camps and
annual concerts. You would not only
dance, but create art projects and work with music. I liked that integrated
We incorporated that approach at Mundi Project
when we produced our first multi-disciplinary concert in 2007, “Harmonices
Mundi”. The theme explored Keppler’s
solids, scales, and Ptolomey’s philosophy, and the inaugural concert included
piano performance, original poetry, modern dance, and visual art created by
Mundi has continued to create multidisciplinary projects
that support arts-integration ever since. One of my favorites, AIR (2012), explored air pollution, sustainable energy, soundwaves,
and light refraction with partners Breathe Utah, Repertory Dance Theatre, and
the U of U Arts Bridge and Physics Department. Youth created pinwheels and
giant air-socks out of recycled materials, while learning about 2.5pm
particles, soundwaves, and light refraction.
It was the first project where we utilized PNOScan, fiber optic
technology that triggered multimedia events during performances held at Utah
Cultural Celebration Center, Backman Elementary, and Glendale Middle School.
MICHELLE: So a
lot of these projects are done with other organizations, how did you form these
relationships and go about creating these projects?
HANA: Being a member of the arts community and
having awareness of creative work being produced. Basically, Mundi develops
thematic projects and explores collaborations that will bring greater arts
access with limited resources. This
season we are working a lot with the Visual Art Institute on our new IMPULSE
series, which began while brainstorming together on how to combine music and
visual arts experiences.
MICHELLE: So it’s the 10-year anniversary for Mundi. Over the past 10 years what have been some of
your favorite moments?
- Piano Bank’s first piano placement and seeing
the picture of recipient standing in front of her new piano.
- Our first “Imagine a Piano…” Monster Concert,
which involved every single piano program in Salt Lake. 10 Steinway and Fazioli pianos set the stage
for a one-hour performance involving 80 young pianists, including special guest
artist Jon Schmidt.
- First public piano placement in 2009, a Baby
Grand for the Sorenson Unity Center. Developing a partnership with a city
facility was really important, as it allows our programming to be free to the
participant. This supports our vision of creating open access, and partnerships
with Sorenson Unity, Utah Cultural Celebration Center, and the Salt Lake City
Public Library have been an extremely key component.
- Witnessing the first group of Riley Elementary
students walking to a Harmony Hub piano class located at the Sorenson Unity
MICHELLE: Last but not least, what is the biggest thing
you have learned, as well as the biggest thing you think people are surprised
to learn from Mundi?
HANA: The amount of pianos we have placed is often
surprising to people (we have now placed over 150 throughout Utah), also that
even though piano is our core we embrace a variety of musical genres in our
mission to support arts access. As for
learning experience, my biggest takeaway has been that it really takes a whole community
to support children and to support the arts.
Michelle Ludema is the
Program Coordinator for Mundi Project and oversees their Mundi Live, Piano Bank,
Harmony Hub, and Ambassador programs.
Originally from Layton (pronounced Lay’un) Utah, Michelle holds a
Bachelor’s degree in Humanities and Community Arts from the University of
Oregon. She believes in connecting
communities through the arts, and plays a mean early-intermediate rendition of
To learn more about
Mundi’s programs and upcoming events, visit www.mundiproject.org.
Ticket Tuesday Goes to the Movies
A winner has been chosen for this week's #ZAPTicketTuesday- 2 tickets and a large popcorn for any regular
Salt Lake Film Society screening at the Broadway Centre Cinemas
or the Tower Theatre.
Stay tuned for more giveaways from your favorite places around SLCO!
Fun for all seasons at the Foothill Cultural District
The change of seasons is a
wonder, and nowhere is it celebrated more than in the Foothill Cultural
District. Look to the east of the Salt
Lake Valley – the leaves are turning red and gold, harvest-time pumpkins and
late-blooming fall flowers dot the landscape. It’s a great time to bring the family and make
a day of it at the Foothill Cultural District’s nine attractions, all within 2.5 square miles.
Here's where you can play
Famous throughout the Intermountain West, Utah’s Hogle Zoo is located at the eastern edge of the Foothill Cultural District. Prepare for a zoo ablaze with the colors of the season. Boo at the Zoo gives kids of any age a real treat, while BooLights, the newest of the zoo’s dazzling presentations, opens just in time for Halloween – and following on the heels of BooLights is – what else? – ZooLights, a holiday extravaganza of decorations sure to “DeLight” kids and adults alike.
Tracy Aviary lies just to the west of the foothills and houses some of nature’s most exotic birds, many of which are now extinct in the wild. Andy, the Andean Condor, often seen roaming the walks of the Aviary, is now 50 years old, but doesn’t look a day over 40.
Foothill Cultural District is home to three museums, the Natural History Museum of Utah, which is renowned for its dinosaur collection -- much of which was discovered here in Utah.
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts features European works from the 14th to the 19th Century to today’s renowned contemporary artists. Fort Douglas Military Museum, soon to open its new exhibit space, protects and preserves Utah’s military history.
As Utah State’s official arboretum, Red Butte Garden cultivates and displays the plants indigenous to this area as well as a range of exotic, peculiar specimens including a garden full of medicinal plants. Don’t forget to stop at Red Butte Garden’s gift shop where you’ll find a stunning array of gardening books; super educational toys for the young scientist on your list and spectacular jewelry, china and art.
Travel back in time at This Is The Place Heritage Park and explore authentic Utah pioneer cabin. Dressed in western garb, volunteer re-enactors give visitors a look at the daily tasks of Utah’s pioneer settlers. A Native American village features performances and on-site craft demonstrations.
The Foothill Cultural District is event Central, no matter the occasion. Each attraction has its own unique meeting and wedding facilities. One such outstanding venue is the University of Utah’s Tower at Rice-Eccles Stadium, a site that rises to lofty heights, offering a panoramic view of the entire Salt Lake Valley, the Oquirrh Mountains and the Great Salt Lake.
There’s no place like home,” some say. Hold on a minute! Not if you and your family are looking to eke out just one more fun-filled day at the Foothill Cultural District. The University Guest House Hotel puts out the welcome mat every day of the year – and offers a special FCD room rate to boot. The pillows are soft, the Wi-Fi and breakfast are free, and that’s hard to beat!
As the Holiday Season gets closer, remember Foothill Cultural District attractions
have their own Gift Shops. Whether it’s a gift of art, nature, toys,
sterling silver jewelry, ceramic pottery or gardening books, you’ll find
cherished gifts at the District’s
attractions. Parking is free and each
venue is open weekends
and at least one evening a week.
-Compiled by Linda Hunt, Foothill Cultural District
Trevor Paglen: Making the Invisible Visible
Thursday, October 27 | 7 pm | FREE
Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium, Utah Museum of Fine Arts
So much of what we know about the world, we learn through images: documentary photographs, maps, selfies, diagrams, satellite images, and so on. We are inundated with images that structure our world, drive our interests, and shape our thoughts. But, in actuality, so much exists outside the frame of the common image. Enter Trevor Paglen, the artist, cinematographer, geographer, researcher, and writer who makes the invisible visible.
Paglen’s presentation at the UMFA on Thursday, October 27, will open your eyes. Since Paglen last visited Salt Lake City in 2009, he has contributed research and cinematography to Citizenfour, the Academy Award–winning film about Edward Snowden; made deep dives to locate the Internet under our oceans; and launched into Earth’s orbit a visual artifact containing 100 micro-etched contemporary images.
Using the newest technologies, Paglen’s photographs, videos, sculptures, books, and interdisciplinary projects uncover some of the top-secret infrastructures that define our present: drone surveillance, information super-highways, satellite communications, and remote government operations for weapons testing, torture camps, and data storage. His urgent work, often described as experimental geography, underscores the power of the image in democracy, bringing classified programs and secret initiatives to the public’s attention. Among his chief concerns are learning how to see the historical moment we live in and developing the means to imagine alternative futures.
Here in Utah, our remote lands hold many secrets. We have enough “empty” space to do private things like test and store chemical weapons, train drone-pilots, build and test rocket boosters, and simulate lunar and Martian landscapes for scientists and moviemakers. In our backyard, the Department of Defense operates the Hill Air Force Base, the Utah Test and Training Range, the Dugway Proving Ground, the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, and most recently the NSA Utah Data Center, where all domestic surveillance data from “all available sources all the time, every time, always” is collected, processed, and stored.
With the goal of examining our present time and making similar sites and their covert operations more visible to the public, the UMFA acquired four photographs by artist Trevor Paglen in 2008, which are featured below. Part of his Limit Telephotography series, each photograph reveals classified military industrial complex sites in the deserts of the western United States that are regularly hidden from civilian eyes. Because vast expanses of restricted land border the sites, the artist had to use a high-powered astrophotography telescope from miles away to capture their images, which are often blurry as a result of distance, dust, and heat waves.
The heavily guarded Gold Coast Terminal operates a Department of Defense airline out of the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. The airline ferries hundreds of DoD workers daily to and from restricted sites in the Nevada Ranges. Morning Commute (Gold Coast Terminal) Las Vegas, NV/Distance - 1 mile 6:26 a.m., 2006, C-print, 30 x 36 inches, purchased with funds from the Paul L. and Phyllis C. Wattis Endowment for Works on paper, UMFA2008.34.1.
Cactus Flat, Nevada, is the home of the Nellis Air Force Range and the Tonopah Test Range, a restricted military installation currently used for nuclear weapons stockpile reliability testing, research and development of fusing and firing systems, and testing nuclear weapon delivery systems. Control Tower/Cactus Flat, NV/11:15 a.m./Distance - 20 miles, 2006, C-print, 31 x 36 inches, purchased with funds from the Paul L. and Phyllis C. Wattis Endowment for Works on paper, UMFA2008.34.2.
Illuminated Hangars, Tonopah Test Range, NV/Distance - 18 miles/9:08 p.m., 2006, C-print, 30 x 36 inches, purchased with funds from the Paul L. and Phyllis C. Wattis Endowment for Works on paper
Dugway Proving Ground, located about 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, is a U.S. Army facility that tests biological and chemical weapon defense systems and trains the U.S. Army Reserve, National Guard, and Air Force. Chemical and Biological Weapons Proving Ground/Dugway, UT/Distance - 22 miles/11:17 am, 2005, C-print, h: 40 in x w: 40 1/16 inches, purchased with funds from the Paul L. and Phyllis C. Wattis Endowment for Works on paper, UMFA2008.34.4.
Paglen is the author of five books and numerous articles on subjects including experimental geography, state secrecy, military symbology, photography, and visuality. He lives and works in New York and Berlin and holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a PhD in geography from U.C. Berkeley. In addition to the UMFA, his work is in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, among others.
The presentation will begin at 7 pm in the UMFA's Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium and will be followed by Q&A with the audience. UMFA galleries remain closed for remodeling until August 2017.
Paglen’s lecture is part of the UMFA’s ARTLandish: Land Art, Landscape, and the Environment series and the Utah Humanities Book Festival. This event is supported by XMission, Utah Humanities, and the University of Utah's Tanner Humanities Center, Communications Institute, Department of Communications, Department of English, and Department of Art and Art History. Special thanks to event partner Matt Potolsky, University of Utah professor of English.
The ARTLandish series is sponsored by the S. J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation. Community partners are the University of Utah J. Willard Marriot Library, the College of Fine Arts, and the Salt Lake City Public Library.
Whitney Tassie, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, oversees the Museum’s collection of twentieth and twenty-first century art, organizes the salt series of projects highlighting emerging international artists, and curates larger temporary exhibitions. She has brought work by Sol LeWitt, Nancy Holt, Paul McCarthy, Tacita Dean, Tony Feher, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Kate Gilmore, and William Lamson into the collection and has organized exhibitions with artists including Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Shigeyuki Kihara, Jillian Mayer, Conrad Bakker, Duane Linklater, Tacita Dean, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, and Tony Feher, among others. Recently, Tassie co-curated Brian Bress: Make Your Own Friends, a ten-year survey of Bress’s work, with MCA Denver curator Nora Abrams. Tassie holds a master's degree in modern art history, theory, and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor's degree in art history and archaeology from Cornell University.