Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
It Changed Everything: A ZAP Success Story
My name is
Pilar Davis. I work in the Performing Arts and I wouldn’t be here without ZAP.
I grew up
in Ogden. In the bad years. We were poor, hitting the stereotypical markers
you’ve heard: public assistance, food assistance, single-parent household,
brown, subsidized housing, sketchy neighborhood—you get the idea. My childhood
was difficult; living in poverty is hard and full of sorrow, crushed dreams,
and disappointments. When I was in the 2nd grade, my school offered the reward
of a trip to Salt Lake (in the middle of the day!) to the Capitol Theatre to
see a matinee performance by Repertory Dance Theatre. I was a good student and
got to attend.
Beaux Arts Ball, 2014
– It was the first show I’d ever attended. It changed everything. I was hooked.
I remember the show was about science and germs—taught and conveyed through dance.
I had never seen ANYTHING like it, felt anything like being in the theater in
the dark with 1500 other kids, and I wanted MORE.
As I got
older, I was so fortunate to have several more opportunities to attend final
dress rehearsals or daytime school matinees from a wide variety of Salt Lake arts companies: Ririe-Woodbury, Utah Opera, Odyssey Dance, Ballet West, Pioneer
Theatre, Utah Symphony. I saw the despair and sacrifice of Madama Butterfly’s
final moments. I watched the devotion and heartbreak of Quasimodo’s love for
Esmeralda. I learned about space and freedom through the movement of Doug Varone
and Bill T. Jones. I learned about ancient rituals, stories and civilizations
that we as the human race have been sharing with each other for millennia. I
became a more well-rounded citizen, and I became a storyteller, too.
You’re a Good Man
Charlie Brown, Weber State University, 1999
school, I threw myself into theater and dreamed of gracing stages all across the
world as a performer, personality and storyteller. Upon graduation, I was
awarded a scholarship to Weber State University and became one of the only
people in my family to go to college. My first semester, I enrolled in a required
basic stagecraft class and on the first day of class I found my place in the
world. My professor handed out gel sample books and fireworks exploded in my
head. I had never seen so many colors in one place all neat, and beautiful and
full of possibilities. It a was a simultaneously quiet and provocative moment
that happened in an instant—I would be a lighting designer.
tour at Mount Rushmore, 2016
immediately changed majors. I transferred to the University of Utah and moved
to Salt Lake City to be closer to the downtown arts scene and the greater
opportunities therein. I worked a lot, and I worked hard. I met and worked with
some amazing artists, professionals, and organizations. I graduated. I got
married. In 2016, in a lovely poetic and full-circle turn of events, I got hired
as the Production Stage Manager and Lighting Director for Repertory Dance
Theatre, a position I continue to hold. I succeeded.
Director of Ailey II in his awesome hoodie, 2017
past 15 years, I’ve had the truly spectacular opportunities to work with
national and global performance groups; I’ve created new work, new art, told
new stories. I’ve laughed, cried, loved, lost—all inside the walls of the
theater. I’ve lit plays, dramas, comedies, dance, musicals and opera. I’ve seen
and been a part of things that are more beautiful, moving, and connecting than
I could’ve imagined.
Silent Sky, Pygmalion
performances I saw and the backstage tours I was occasionally treated to would
never have come to me without ZAP; what it provides to students across the
state is invaluable. I meet students everyday who look like me. They come from where
I came from and worse. They deserve a chance to see and learn and be moved by
the amazing work being done by arts groups all across Utah. We owe it to them
and to ourselves to keep doing the right thing: teaching each other and telling
our stories to each other. It makes us all better and gives so many people the
greatest gift of all: hope and the space to dream.
Currently the Production
Stage Manager and Lighting Director for Repertory Dance Theatre, Pilar
graduated from the University of Utah in 2003 and has worked the last 20 years
across the Wasatch Front in virtually every venue and arts organization.
Journeyman Member IATSE-Local 99
Destinations to Explore: June 6-11
Ready to get started on the
ZAP Kids Summer Passport? There is a lot of great stuff happening this week (June 6 through June 11). Visit any of these destinations to earn stamps in your passport.
Make your own masterpiece
Tuesday, June 6 | 4:30 PM
Bad Dog Arts at
Thursday, June 8 | 3 PM
Bad Dog Arts at
Bad Dog Arts for art activities inspired by beloved children's books. FREE
Thursday, June 8 | 3 PM
Visual Art Institute at
Learn to create funny monsters in the Line Monster Game with
Visual Art Institute ! Using only pencils and sharpies, kids will create their own unique and colorful monsters all while playing an immersive game. FREE
Take in a show
June 8,9 or 12 | 5 PM
A Midsummer Night's Dream at Hale Center Theatre
Hale Centre Theatre is offering the first 250 passport holders to call a buy one, get one free admission to one of their three Teen Production performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream on June 8, 9 or 12 at 5 PM. Participants can call HCT at
801-948-9000 to make a reservation. Then, you can show your passport at will call to receive a Hale Centre Theatre sticker in your passport.
June 9-10 | 7:30 PM
Pirates of the Carabeener at Off Broadway Theatre
The Off Broadway Theatre offers original family-friendly comedies and musical parodies for parents and kids alike. Catch the "Pirates of the Carabeener" this weekend before it closes! Present the ZAP Kids Summer Passport, and each member of the family will receive a $2 discount off the regular (Adult, Student/Senior, or Child) price.
Celebrate the Year of the Rooster
Saturday, June 10 | 10 AM - 7 PM
Utah Asian Festival
Visit the 40th annual
Utah Asian Festival , where you can discover 15 Asian countries. We're celebrating Year of the Rooster with make-and-take crafts, games performances and more.
South Towne Expo Center, 9575 State Street. FREE
Destinations you can visit all summer long
Earn stamps at any of these locations throughout the summer.
Conservation Garden Park is open to the public free of charge. Come walk through a water pipe, learn to make compost or identify plants. Explore the Garden any day of the summer and get a stamp in your passport! Garden hours are from 8 AM to 8 PM, Monday through Saturday.
Discovery Gateway Children's Museum and explore educational workshops, programs and exhibits that inspire the whole family to discover the power of play together. Present your passport for $2 off the price of admission.
The Empress Theatre supports local talent to provide family-oriented fun for Magna and its surrounding areas. This summer's shows are Peter and the Starcatcher and Honk Junior. If you present the ZAP Kids Summer Passport to the box office, you will
get in free with the purchase of an adult ticket ($12).
The Leonardo is a museum of creativity! Inside, you can discover the wonder of FLIGHT in their newest exhibit, delve into the mind-bending wonder of our exhibit on PERCEPTION, unleash your inner artist, scientist or engineer in one of our three hands-on
laboratories, and even be moved by the exhibits in our Human Rights Gallery. Whatever you're interested in, The Leonardo will spark creativity and help you discover a whole new way to see the world. Present your passport for $2 off the price of admission.
Midvale Arts Council is presenting free summer concerts on Friday evenings with activities provided by the Boys & Girls Club, Copperview Community Center and the local library. June 9, 16, 23, 30; July 7, 14, 21, 28 and Aug. 4. Each concert starts at 6:30 p.m. at
Midvale City Park.
Mundi Project offers free weekly group piano lessons for beginners of all ages. Drop in for hands-on music instruction at
Salt Lake Public Library-Glendale, every Saturday beginning June 10 from 11 AM to 12 PM.
The Off Broadway Theatre offers original family-friendly comedies and musical parodies for parents and kids alike. This summer's shows are Pirates of the Carabeener, The Marx Brothers in A Night at the Imperial, and Utahoma! Present the ZAP Kids Summer Passport, and each member of the family will receive a $2 discount off the regular (Adult, Student/Senior, or Child) price.
Preservation Utah will provide children with a scavenger hunt of the art and architecture of Memory Grove Park. Passport stamp and scavenger hunt can be picked up at the Memorial House (375 North Canyon Road, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM).
Salty Cricket Composers Collective offers El Sistema Summer Camps that empower young people to become effective citizens. Mention your passport when you call or email to reserve your spot at the camp to get 15% off one week's tuition. Bring
your passport on the first day of camp for a stamp.
Tracy Aviary has more than 135 species and 400 individual birds on display. Guests are encouraged to wander its 8 acres and appreciate the different colors, sizes and sounds of our feathered friends. Present your passport at the gate for a $2 discount on the
price of admission.
Share your passport adventures using #exploreZAP for a chance to have your photo shared on
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We Are UMOCA
For the last 86 years, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
has been showcasing complex and highly impactful contemporary art in Utah. But
UMOCA is so much more than the contemporary artwork displayed within our walls.
We are educators, artists, and innovators.
Our goal is to inspire artistic experimentation, community
enrichment and a connection to the world through engaging experiences. Our team
is comprised of dedicated, passionate—and, albeit, entertaining—individuals who
are mighty in our small number. Together, we help create the magic of the Museum,
including designing and providing our free community art education programs
that are necessary for the growth and longevity of Utah’s beautifully diverse
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company performs in UMOCA's Main Gallery (2015).
Why Contemporary Art?
Contemporary art is a mirror of right now: our ever-changing
ideas, cultures, and societies. It allows viewers to connect with others
through art by providing a platform to share their stories. We can learn from
one another through the narratives and ideas presented in contemporary art. And
as people, places, and technology evolve, so too will contemporary art be
redefined in the future. Put simply: contemporary art is each of us—our languages, our relationships, our politics, our
The opening reception of Idealogue (2016).
UMOCA aims to provide galleries and programs that create
open and inclusive dialogues that help people learn how to share their ideas
and express their opinions in constructive, challenging, and creative ways. The
beauty of contemporary art is that it allows us to examine and relate to
aspect’s of today’s world that are greater than and outside of ourselves. And
UMOCA believes this is necessary for creating global citizens who are engaged
in worldwide issues. It is this belief, and our passion for contemporary art,
that have guided us in creating award-winning educational programs that offer
opportunities for community members to explore the role of art in their lives
and the life of their community.
A Passion for
There is no “right” age at which you should begin or
complete your art education. UMOCA’s educational programs range from family
art-making projects to LGBTQ+ youth workshops to Art Fitness training for
adults. Art education exists in many different forms, but the benefits of all
of our community art programs are similar: they inspire the imagination, stimulate
thought and transform society.
Museum-goers at UMOCA.
In particular, one of UMOCA’s outreach programs is the Art
Truck. The Art Truck carries contemporary art from leading local and national
artists all across the state, visiting individuals at schools and public venues
who would otherwise have missed the opportunity to access UMOCA’s exhibitions
or art education programs.
UMOCA’s Education Facilitator Madeline Savarese
leads the Art Truck discussion and workshop.
The students we visit are bright and eager to explore art.
The current Art Truck exhibition is whereABOUTS
by Jaime Salvador Castillo and Michael Anthony García. whereABOUTS is an immersive and interactive installation that
investigates location, identity, and community. Students received a guided tour
of the Art Truck with a discussion led by a trained art educator, before diving
into their own art creations. Connecting students from different communities,
this exhibit allows them to learn about experiences that are different from
their own, while also encouraging them to think critically about their identity
and place in the world. Students explore their own communities through creative
map-making of their neighborhoods and share them with the rest of the class. On
August 12, a second, cumulative whereABOUTS
exhibition will open at the Museum, featuring an installation of collected
student artwork assembled by the acclaimed artists.
A student drawing during an Art Truck visit.
UMOCA’s programs create connections: connections to art, to
other people, to other places. They also build connections through to new
concepts and ideas. We hope that through our community programs, we create
spaces that allow individuals to build positive social connections and share
their experiences with others.
Our gallery spaces have held artworks by hundreds of
acclaimed national and international artists, but what UMOCA focuses on is strengthening
and supporting local artists. We offer residencies, exhibition opportunities,
and workshops to meet the needs of artists living and working in Utah.
A photo from Family Art Saturday: Glorious Goo
Utah has a rich contemporary arts culture, with new and
experimental artists emerging from nearby and local art programs, as well as
established artists who have been working in Utah for many years. Creative
Utahns distribute zines, post images of their work to social media, and run
brick-and-mortar artist studios, organize creative activist interventions, and
more. These artists create important dialogues across the state by sharing
their visions through contemporary media. UMOCA offers opportunities for local
artists to not only display their work in our gallery spaces but also build
their local and national network of art lovers and art professionals by hosting
panel discussions, receptions, and workshops.
UMOCA supports artists whose roots are grounded in Utah, so
that we can continue to build the creative vibrancy of our state.
UMOCA is proud to support local artists and communities, but
we couldn’t do it without the support of our sponsors and donors, especially
Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks. Strengthening the arts in our society
is key to supporting the healthy growth of our communities.
Group photo from UMOCA’s 2017 Out Loud Opening
Reception of Identities, Symbolism, and
Contemporary art will always exist, and will continue to
flourish and grow with time. New artists will write and rewrite its definition
endlessly, passing their notes, thoughts and mediums onto generations to come.
Nothing could be more exciting to UMOCA than the opportunity to be a part of creative
community building through contemporary art-making long into the future. UMOCA
represents the spirit of innovation, experimentation, and dialogue surrounding
the issues of our time.
Alex Vermillion is the
Communications Coordinator at UMOCA, soon to attend the Yale School of Drama in
the fall. In zir free time, Alex writes theatre reviews and interviews awesome
locals for SLUG Magazine. On weekends, you can catch Alex performing
with zir group of queer artists, or hiking around Utah’s beautiful
About the Kids Summer Passport
What is the ZAP Kids Summer Passport?
The passport will challenge you to visit new places. We know you like to explore. And we know exploring the world around you can help you build a better world. That's why we hope you'll join our journey to explore some of the best places in our own backyards. So, grab a passport -- and a friend -- and discover the superb destinations around you.
How does it work?
- Pick up a passport at your local Salt Lake County Library (while supplies last).*
- Visit the destinations listed in the passport between June 2 and August 20. Ask the destination to "stamp" your passport.
- Get "stamps" from five different destinations.
- Bring your passport back to the library to reserve your spot at the Final Destination Celebration at Clark Planetarium. It will be out of this world.
*While you're at the Library, take the Summer Reading Challenge for even more chances to win!
Do I need a passport for each child?
No. One passport works for the entire family. However, if each child wants their own passport, they are welcome to have their own. Just tell your librarian that you want one passport per child.
Who can participate?
The ZAP Kids Summer Passport is open to youth ages 17 and under.
How do I document my journey?
While you're getting "stamps" in your passport, you can document your journey online. Take pictures of your trip, so you can remember the new places you visited. If you post your picture online, use #exploreZAP for a chance to have your journey highlighted on ZAP's Instagram.
Can I keep my passport?
Yes. When you take your passport to the library, the librarians will check that you have five stamps and will give you the instructions for how to RSVP to the Final Destination Celebration. You can keep your passport as a souvenir.
What is the Final Destination Celebration?
If you visit five different destinations, take your passport back to your County library. You'll get instructions on how to reserve your spot for the Final Destination Celebration at Clark Planetarium on August 30 from 3 PM to 7 PM. If you attend the celebration, you'll be entered to win amazing journeys to even more cool places:
Winners will be chosen at random and must attend the Final Destination Celebration in order to win.
Do I need to pay to get in to the Final Destination Celebration?
No. Children and parents are invited to attend for free. In fact, Clark Planetarium is free to attend at any time. Movies and light shows are usually an extra cost that will be free for our final destination celebration.
What if I visited a Destination this summer before I had a passport?
Feel free to have your parent sign that you attended. We run on the honor system, and we're glad you visited a Destination!
Learn more about the Kids Summer Passport.
Passport Cover Design Contest
We asked you what zoo, arts and parks mean to you. Children from across the county submitted designs through their local library. We got a lot of great designs, and the competition to choose the winning design was so close. Each of the designs was so good.
We are happy to announce that Adventure is right outside your front door, by Sophia, got the most votes. This design will be printed on the front of our Kids Summer Passport this year! Congratulations, Sophia!
#1. Elephant by Hailey, Age 6, Taylorsville
#2. Adventure is right outside your front door by Sophia, Age 14, Draper
Medium: Pen & Colored Pencil
#3. The Wolf of the Moon by Ella, Age 11, West Valley City
Medium: Pen, Colored Pencil & Marker
Learn more about the Kids Summer Passport.