Skip to main content
Text:   Larger - Smaller  | Translate
MENU

Blog

Experimental composer performs border project at UMFA


September 28, 2016

Share on Facebook Tweet This Email This

angel exterminador


[My] music is an imaginary story that each object carries within itself.

—Guillermo Galindo


One of the best parts of my job at UMFA is helping to identify which artists, lecturers, and art world figures we bring to Salt Lake City. Next month, through our new ARTLandish: Land Art, Landscape, and the Environment series, we're hosting two exciting contemporary artists— Guillermo Galindo and Trevor Paglen—whose work embodies the ARTLandish mission to "investigate our complex relationship with the world around us."

I’m especially excited about bringing Galindo, a Mexican-born, Berkeley, California-based experimental composer to our community. Galindo’s Thursday, October 6, presentation at the UMFA, Sonic Border, is based on his collaboration and traveling exhibition with photographer Richard Misrach, Border Cantos, which involves fabricating musical instruments and graphic musical scores from items recovered at the Mexico-U.S. border. Misrach has been photographing the border between the U.S. and Mexico since 2004, capturing the often-invisible landscapes and wall that separates the U.S. from our neighbors to the south. Misrach and Galindo have worked together to create pieces that both document and transform the artifacts of migration: water bottles, clothing, spent shotgun shells, and even sections of the border wall itself, which Galindo then turns into instruments to be performed as unique sound-generating devices. In his Sonic Border presentation, Galindo will perform an original composition on one of the instruments he's created and then discuss his work with the audience.

I experienced Border Cantos earlier this year at the San Jose Museum of Art in California. Walking through the exhibition, I encountered Galindo’s wonderfully imaginative and brilliantly constructed sculptural instruments. One such creation, Zapatello, is based on Martello a Camme, Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanized hammering machine—which utilizes an old boot, glove, and border patrol drag tire, all found near the border wall. Shooting-target-shaped cranks, a donkey jaw, and a ram’s horn are used as stops. A rawhide is strung across the tire. The whole piece is activated to create a drum. 

galindo zapatello

Other works included Galindo’s musical scores printed on flags used by humanitarian groups as beacons for stranded migrants. One of the most moving pieces in the show was Fuente de lagrimas (Fountain of tears), in which Galindo transformed a water barrel once used as a migrant watering station into a “fountain of tears.” This work is based on vandalized stations shot up with bullets—it drips water from small holes onto a metal plate, creating a sound that resembles light rain falling onto a metal roof. 

An impressive multi-channel installation of sounds composed, performed, and recorded by Galindo filled one of the galleries. The installation was set up so that the sound of each instrument emanated from a concealed speaker. As I approached each instrument, the pre-recorded sound from that particular instrument dominated.

galindo efigie

At one point Galindo gave an impromptu performance on Efigie (Effigy),  a plucked string instrument based on mysterious scarecrow-like figures that Misrach discovered near the California-Mexico border.

  

Susan Krane, executive director at San Jose Museum of Art, eloquently points out the timeliness of this project in the Border Cantos exhibition brochure:

“Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo bring a humanitarian perspective to the heated political debates that surround the subject of immigration today. . . . This exhibition underscores the necessity—indeed the human urgency—of civil dialogue about the tough issues that can divide us most drastically as a community and as a nation, particularly this election year.” 

Galindo’s performance will begin at 7 pm in the UMFA's Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium, followed by a presentation and Q&A with the audience. The artist will be available to sign copies of Border Cantos immediately following his presentation—copies of the book will be available for purchase. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear Guillermo Galindo perform and discuss his work!

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.

-Jorge Rojas

Jorge Rojas oversees education, community engagement, and adult programming for the UMFA. Respected as a dynamic and innovative artist and community leader, Rojas joined the UMFA in January 2015. Before that, he was site director for the Venture Humanities Course at Westminster College, where he promoted continuing education among immigrant, refugee, and under-represented populations. Additionally, he taught art history to low-income minority students at East High through the Clemente Humanities Course and was Teaching Artist-in-Residence at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.


The history and heritage of our buildings


September 14, 2016

Share on Facebook Tweet This Email This

When you drive through your city, you will likely see a mix of buildings that are old and buildings that are new. Which buildings stand out to you? Do you have favorites? No matter what buildings you like the most, you’ve probably sensed that there is a formula to mixing old and new architecture that makes our communities attractive and vibrant.

For fifty years, Utah Heritage Foundation has been working closely with municipalities, business owners, developers, and property owners to preserve and reuse historic structures in our communities. Labeling people as “preservationists” is not for people who are only interested in saving old buildings, but refers to the effort of people and organizations like Utah Heritage Foundation that strive to make communities better places through sustainable community initiatives, building local economy, and teaching craftsmanship through preserving their inventory of old buildings.

downtown salt lake city with the historic salt lake tribune building in the foreground

 Downtown Salt Lake City with the historic Salt Lake Tribune Building in the foreground.

The preservation efforts in many of Utah’s commercial business districts suggest that people like old buildings. Whether the feeling is nostalgic or reassuring, older architecture tends to reflect where people want to spend their time. Historic structures are often the centerpieces of our communities and create a lasting cultural value. By preserving them we are not just preserving our community’s culture, but we are also creating sustainability for our local economies.

volunteers help to rehabilitate a home for new residents

Volunteers help to rehabilitate a home for new residents.

Older buildings are visually distinctive which gives them intrinsic value. They often display fine craftsmanship of a bygone era and tend to be built with higher-quality materials. With preservation of historic architecture, we continue to tell the story or our cultures while creating an ever-evolving inventory of architecture.  

Over the past fifty years, Utah Heritage Foundation has had great successes as well as losses in its mission to preserve historic architecture. The wins and losses also help to tell the story of our ever- evolving built landscape and why we all should be involved in the discussion about how our communities change in order to save the places that matter.

historic jc penney store in salt lake city

Historic JC Penney Store in Salt Lake City. Photo courtesy of the Utah Historical Society.

One of the many successful preservation stories is South High School in Salt Lake City. The Art Deco style building opened its doors in 1931.  After having over 30,000 students graduate, the school closed due to dwindling enrollment.  After a renovation and new addition, the school reopened as Salt Lake Community College in 1992. The historic school continues to be a thriving part of Salt Lake County, serving the community as a gathering place and the flagship campus for SLCC. 

south high now salt lake community college

Current and historic photos of South High School, now Salt Lake Community College.

Historic photo courtesy of Utah Historical society.

Another success of preservation is Downtown Murray where several historic buildings create a vibrant presence on State Street.  At its heart is the Desert Star Theatre, which was originally built as the Iris Theater.  The theater, along with its attached apartments and commercial building, is significant for its role in the original development and later revitalization of Murray City. With its combination of entertainment, retail, and residential space, the building represents a multi-use commercial block that was common during the early twentieth-century and is popular again as a key part of urban revitalization.

murray desert star

State Street in Murray.

A community’s Main Street is usually the commercial core, although over time some of the commercial nodes have moved to different parts of the city.  Salt Lake City’s Main Street is still the commercial hub of the city, but in other communities like Magna and Midvale, their historic Main Streets are no longer the commercial core, but are in a state of adaptive use and revitalization. Getting kids of all ages interested in preserving architecture can help teach them about the history of their community and the importance of art and culture.  Utah Heritage Foundation produced an illustrated book titled, “It Happened on Main Street,” that walks school-aged children through the importance of having a thriving commercial and entertainment district in our communities.

main streets

Midvale, Magna, and Salt Lake City Main Streets all feature great historic buildings with new uses.

Some preservation successes are tied to the public’s support, while others are done by individuals fighting for a specific cause. One of Utah Heritage Foundation’s successes where the public was integral in the outcome was for what some people considered the most important building in Salt Lake County, the Salt Lake City and County Building.  The building was originally constructed by free masons between 1891 and 1894 to house offices for the city and county of Salt Lake. It also served as Utah's Capitol from when statehood was granted in 1896 until the present Utah State Capitol was completed in 1916.

city and county building horse auction

Photo of livestock to be sold at auction. Photo courtesy of Utah Historical Society.

In the mid-1980’s there was talk of demolishing the Salt Lake City and County Building to build a new structure.  Utah Heritage Foundation was very involved, along with political leaders and community members, to advocate for rehabilitation of this prominent building.  With the community now invested in preserving this building there have been several preservation projects, including a recent seismic retrofit and stone restoration, which will help preserve this building for future generations.

salt lake city and county building

Salt Lake City and County Building.

Recently, Salt Lake County and Utah Heritage Foundation have supported the nomination of mid-century modern homes to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The NRHP is a list of architecturally significant structures across the United States and provides honorary designation. The homes were all built by renowned architect Cliff May, who was a prominent mid-century designer from Southern California that is credited with the popularity of the Ranch house style. While it may not be commonly considered that Ranch houses are historically significant, they reflect a culturally significant transition in Utah from a more urban culture to a suburban lifestyle. Architecture is after all, a form of visual art, and art is subject to personal taste.

cliff may homes

Three homes designed by Cliff May with a floor plan.

While the successes are to be celebrated, the losses are important as tools for learning toward the next preservation issue. One of the recent unsuccessful efforts occurred when the West Jordan Sugar Factory was demolished in 2010. The West Jordan Sugar Factory Committee met for several years to discuss what reuse options might exist for the complex. The project had the support of the elected leaders of the community and several volunteer organizations. The conclusion of a feasibility study determined that there was a high demand for arts and cultural space in West Jordan and on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley for small organizations, and that the Sugar Factory was a unique location for these uses.  A change in elected leadership at the city changed direction for the project and lead to the buildings being demolished within a year of the transition.

west jordan sugar factory

West Jordan Sugar Factory (demolished).  Historic photo courtesy of Utah Historical Society.

As the Salt Lake Valley continues to grow and become more densely populated, the idea of reusing our existing built landscape will become ever more important in order to conserve ever-scarcer resources and save money. It will also become increasingly important to recognize the differences in styles and what they represented culturally in the development of the county. Creating the new cityscape, blending historic architecture with great new design, is one of the most visible forms of expression of community values, and all over Salt Lake County there are opportunities to preserve those structures that will continue to represent our evolving cultures and those values.

utahheritagefoundation-modern

Utah Heritage Foundation creating awareness for Modern architecture.

-Alison Flanders

Alison Flanders is the Public Outreach Director for Utah Heritage Foundation.  This year, Utah Heritage Foundation celebrates its 50th Anniversary continuing our mission to keep the past alive, not only for preservation, but to inspire and provoke a more creative present and sustainable future.


Ticket Tuesday with Salty Cricket


September 13, 2016

Share on Facebook Tweet This Email This
Salty 2
A winner has been chosen for this week's Ticket Tuesday to IF IT AIN'T BAROQUE presented by Salty Cricket Composers Collective at the Urban Arts Gallery (September 29)!   The event features music written by local composers for Oboe, Horn in F, Cello, and Harpriscord/Piano - just the way Bach would have liked it! Visit them here if you'd like to purchase tickets or check out their other upcoming events.

How quality food raises the quality of life in Salt Lake County


September 08, 2016

Share on Facebook Tweet This Email This

plant at wasatch community gardens

As agricultural lands shrinks and urban density swells, and an increase of health problems results from poor diets, Wasatch Community Gardens (WCG) presses forward with its mission of empowering people of all ages and incomes to grow and eat healthy, organic, local food.

Wasatch Community Gardens has served Salt Lake residents since 1989 with the belief that the quality of a community is directly related to the quality of its food.  WCG offers garden space, educational programs, and community events that empower people to grow, harvest, preserve, and prepare fresh, healthy food through its Community Garden, Youth Garden, School Garden, GREEN TEAM, and Community Education programs.  These five programs reach over 10,000 community members annually, with a little help from 2,300 volunteers donating more than 19,000 hours of their time. 

child holding tomato 

In the Youth Garden and School Garden programs, more than 5,000 children learn how to make healthier food choices and become more physically active through hands-on gardening, nutrition, and food preparation education.  Gardens are a great way for children to explore and experiment with nature, taste healthy foods, and release creative energy.

neighbors gardening

The Community Garden Program connects more than 1,500 individuals to 14 community gardens where they can grow their own fresh produce, and approximately 60% of these individuals qualify as low- or moderate-income households.  Additionally, WCG assists community groups to start and sustain their own community gardens through a seven-week Growing Community Gardens training series offered the beginning of each year. 

community education class in the garden

The Community Education Program offers a wide-range of free and low-cost workshops on basic organic gardening, cooking, and food preservation.   Workshop participants learn tried and true techniques for successful vegetable gardening by getting their hands dirty in demonstration garden beds.   

wasatch community gardens green team working

The GREEN TEAM Farm Project works with a handful of women who are facing homelessness to develop and increase their employability by growing food on a 1-acre farm.  That food is then sold to local Head Start schools.  

In addition to these programs, WCG hosts a number of community events.  These events focus on gardening and living sustainably, while building community and celebrating fresh, local food.  In the spring, WCG sells more than 30,000 heirloom vegetable plants at their Spring Plant Sale. In the summer, residents can join the Urban Garden & Farm Tour, a self-guided tour into some of Salt Lake’s most interesting and inspiring private growing space, community gardens, and small-scale farms with the aim of generating energy, raising awareness, and inspiring ideas.

tomatos at wasatch community gardens 

And of course, this Saturday, September 10 from 11 am – 2 pm at the Grateful Tomato Garden on 800 S 600 E, WCG celebrates the preeminent Tomato Sandwich Party, a free community event where people are invited to eat delicious heirloom tomato sandwiches – WCG’s way of saying thank you to the community that has supported them for 27 years.

Wasatch Community Gardens continues to work hard as they progress towards the ultimate vision of providing access to healthy food for all in the community.  For more information about Wasatch Community Gardens, visit wasatchgardens.org.

logo for wasatch community gardens 

-Felecia Maxfield Barrett

Felecia Maxfield-Barrett is the Volunteer & Outreach Director for Wasatch Community Gardens whose mission is to empower people of all ages and incomes to grow and eat healthy, organic, local food.  


Tier II funding stretches across the county


September 06, 2016

Share on Facebook Tweet This Email This

tier 2 funding infographic

The Salt Lake County Council recently approved the Tier II Advisory Board recommendations for funding. The types of organizations funded include community symphonies, historical museums, dance, visual arts, theatre, art and ethnic festivals, natural history, folk arts, botanical gardens and more.  Their activities reach throughout the county.

This year was a landmark year that included:

  • 160 applications received – the largest number to date
  • Applicants requested $3.25 million in funding
  • 18 of these were new applicants – this is a record for new applications in one year
  • 32 applied for over $15,000 with audited or reviewed financial statements - meaning that more groups are growing in Salt Lake County

Applicants reported an astounding breadth of work including:

  • 9,986 events in Salt Lake County
  • 30,521 volunteers utilized
  • 1,333 full and part-time jobs provided
  • 1.3 million free admissions and
  • $32.5 million in expenses - that's all money pumping back into our local economy!

The Zoo, Arts and Parks program also implemented -- for the first time this year -- an online grantor management system. By using ZoomGrants, the Tier II Advisory Board was able to view videos and photographs submitted by the applicants. The board loved being able to see the work of ZAP applicants. The new system ushered in a smoother and more efficient process, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive from both applicants and board members.

The Tier II Advisory Board spent a minimum of 400 hours reading applications, plus another 30 hours in meetings to discuss, score and determine funding amounts. 

Want to learn more?

  1. View a complete list of funded organizations. 
  2. View an article in The Salt Lake Tribune about ZAP Tier II funding.

The 2016 Tier II application process is now complete. Organizations funded in Tier II can expect to receive funding in two installments in January and May of 2017. 

Applications for 2017 will open in January. 


A Moving Giveaway with Repertory Dance Theatre


September 06, 2016

Share on Facebook Tweet This Email This

ticket tuesday giveaway with repertory dance theatre

A winner has been chosen for this week's #ZAPTicketTuesday giveway to see ÉLAN (September 29 - October 1).

Thanks to everyone that participated!  

If you'd still like to attend this performance, visit Repertory Dance Theatre here to purchase tickets!


Ticket Tuesday with Living Planet Aquarium


August 30, 2016

Share on Facebook Tweet This Email This
Aquarium 75

Two winners have been chosen to receive four general admission tickets to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is funded, in part, through a grant from Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks. 

Continue to check back for more great giveaways. 


Growing a Music Movement Nerdcore in the C9 Neighborhood


August 23, 2016

Share on Facebook Tweet This Email This

Dance Theatre Coalition (DTC) supports niche artists on the fringe. As DTC’s Artistic Director, I target working with dedicated artists who are creating something unique. I want to find artists who are hard to find. Discovering these individuals requires expertise akin to using a divining rod to pinpoint water underground—it is equal parts looking, listening, and intuition. This is how I discovered Nerdcore music in my own backyard.

DTC prides itself on supporting artists above all else. The Artist is the main demographic we serve and everything that ripples out from their creative work into the community -- via public events and education -- we consider gravy. It’s an atypical frame of reference for an arts organization to prioritize artist over audience, but as an artist-run organization, we know first hand that artists get used as commodities far more than they get nurtured in their artistic pursuits or guided along their incredibly challenging career paths. DTC aims to right the balance on this point by being the one organization that asks artists what they all dream of being asked, which is: “What do you want to achieve next creatively and how can we help?” It is my great honor to pose this question to the artists DTC works with. I get to see them surge with ideas on the spot and we start hashing out action plans together immediately.

music feature for dance theatre coalition

In April 2016 I got to pop this coveted question to local musician David Payne to support his Nerdcore Music Concerts at Blue Copper Coffee Room in Salt Lake’s rapidly growing Central Ninth neighborhood (The C9). I came to know Dave through Joe Greathouse of VCR5—a talented music artist that DTC has produced in the past. To his credit, Joe has always kept in touch with DTC over the years and we check in on his work periodically. Joe invited me to see him play at Blue Copper, which just happens to be half a block from my new residence in the C9 neighborhood—a previously blighted area on the rapid rise thanks to support from the RDA and the vision of a wonderfully diverse community. Delighted that I could walk to the gig from my home, I strolled over to see what Joe/VCR5 was up to as part of the evening’s concert line-up for something called “Nerdcore.”

Nerdcore is electronic music performed using a mix of audio samples from vintage video games, movies clips, 80s era technology, modified/invented equipment, laptops, phones, and anything involving old school space ships and the like. Spearheaded by prolific local musician David Payne of the Red Bennies (he performs Nerdcore as Lord British) and his partner in crime rapper Mark Dago, Nerdcore is a niche music movement that has a huge following in Seattle and within the international Comic-Con community. This music is the wave of the future, and it is rooted in a Pac-Man past. 

nerdcore music with dance theatre coalition

Nerdcore isn’t a joke. The music is well designed, layered, and thought out.  It is performed by experienced musicians who take their work seriously. I do experience the pieces as complete compositions that can oscillate from soundscape, to trance, to dance, to avant-garde. As I talk with Dave and Joe more about what Nerdcore means to them, it stretches beyond the music toward a philosophy about nerdy-ness in general. Dave brings up the term “dignity openness” and we all collectively smile at the notion that outsiders (nerds), young and adult, all need a place to get down with their bad selves by expressing and experimenting. The last Saturday night of every month, geeks convene at Blue Copper to channel their interests through music they author using whatever bleeps, blips, and space ships are nearby to inspire them. 

nerdcore poster for final boss level music concert

You’ll notice that Nerdcore devotees have their own aesthetic hence the intentionally homemade clunky graphics on their self-designed poster ads and hilariously gamer-geek language when writing about their free, live coffee-shop concerts. The dedication and enthusiasm these guys have is a thing of beauty, and DTC is happy to get behind them and support this free all-ages concert series.  Nerdcore is building up a nice little following here and enhancing the cultural identity of this developing neighborhood. We hope to see you at Blue Copper Coffee Room this Saturday night August, 27th from 6:00 – 9:00 PM to see Lord British and his cohorts in full form!  

www.dancetheatrecoalition.org

-Amy Caron

AMY CARON is a multidisciplinary artist based in Salt Lake City.  She has served as Dance Theatre Coalition’s (DTC) Artistic Director since 2005.  Under Amy’s guidance, DTC has presented a wide scope of local, national, and international artists including choreographer Dana Michel, instrument innovator Author & Punisher, and the unsettling and gorgeous work of tEEth Performance.  Locally Amy/DTC has helped artists like Joe Greathouse, Justin Chouinard, and Andra Harbold develop and present adventurous new works.  Amy is a master Field Method Facilitator with over ten years experience practicing and training others in this unique artist-to-artist critique form.  DTC is the official host of The Field Method in Salt Lake City and is part of the National Field Network based in New York City.  Field Workshops are one of DTC’s core ongoing programs.  Amy holds her BFA in modern dance from the University of Utah where she later taught as an Associate Instructor and created the course The History and Evolution of Dance on Film. Caron’s work has been commissioned and presented by Performance Space 122 and the Leonardo Museum. She is a National Performance Network Creation Fund Artist and completed a residency at Duke University in 2010. In 2016 she was a guest teacher in the dance department at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.


A Place to Learn Pacific Islander Arts and Crafts


August 19, 2016

Share on Facebook Tweet This Email This

Approximately 1.5 million Pacific Islanders reside in the United States. Outside of Hawaii, Utah has the highest percentage of Pacific Islander with 35,000 Pacific Islander residents, the majority of whom are Tongan or Samoan. Approximately 70% of those Pacific Islanders live in Salt Lake County.  In 2013, acknowledging the growing Pacific Islander population in Utah, Governor Herbert declared August as Pacific Island Heritage Month.  This was an answer to NTAS’s annual Friendly Islands Festival to bring awareness to the growing Pacific Islander population in Utah, promote Pacific Islander arts and crafts as a means to encourage cultural preservation. It also serves as an avenue for first and second generation PIs to identify ways to integrate their PI traditions into their new American lifestyle. The Pacific Islander Heritage Month provided an avenue to proudly share PI arts and crafts, culture and tradition with the mainstream society. 

2015 festival kava ceremony audience

The National Tongan American Society recognizes the cross-cultural environment that many of the first and second generation families are forced to live. Very few opportunities are available for the production or appreciation of PI arts and crafts.  NTAS seeks to promote and provide opportunities to the PI community and others who are interested in learning, teaching, and increasing their skills in PI arts and crafts.

NTAS recognizes that the arts are avenues of cross-generational interaction and learning within the Pacific Island community as well as across main stream and other communities. Arts can allow youth to combine traditional art forms with modern technology and share with the elders of the community arts through film, graphic arts, fashion design, and quilting similar to that of the artisans of old.



kava ceremony group photo

The art of dance, song, traditional craftsmanship of wood carving, weaving, tapa-making and oral histories are ingrained in the Pacific Island culture. Traditionally, daily living required clothing articles made from weavings and tapa cloth.  Today, these items and other crafts are sold for income and are used for traditional weddings, funerals, decoration and gifts. Without the elders teaching the next generation, the art of creating these items will soon disappear.

Music is intertwined into all aspects of PI culture. Events are not events without music, singing, and/or dancing. Telling stories and expressing our connections and feelings through the music and the performing arts are normal traditional practices. The tradition of selfless giving, the importance of having a strong sense of belonging, bonding with family and extended family members, with love and respect are taught through music and dancing.

dancers at kava ceremony

Promoting PI Arts & Crafts

Through many of NTAS's events, we have promoted PI arts and crafts. To promote the first year of the PI Heritage Month, women in the community who were skilled in traditional arts and crafts came together and held a women’s handicraft expo of PI hand made clothing, jewelry, quilts, and basket weaving.

In addition, the Miss Pacific Islander Utah pageant included an Island Creation category to display clothing designed with traditional materials.  All contestants were also to perform a traditional dance from their island of choice.  

The NTAS Annual Pohiva Kilisimasi (Nondenominational Church Choir Christmas Concert) has been ongoing for 15 years, promoting traditional polyphonic singing. Christian missionaries who came to Polynesia in the 1790 brought written hymns. It naturally merged Polynesian polyphonic singing with church singing, which is today, a spectacular, important part of PI religious culture. Music is a characteristic of PI people -- especially at Christmas time. The Pohiva Kilisimasi is held the 2nd Sunday of each December and rotated among the Tongan Church denominations. All Pacific Island community's diverse denomination choirs are invited to perform Christmas and religious songs which promotes unity in the PI community.

The Annual Friendly Islands Festival

As the growth and popularity of PI arts and crafts continue, we find many individuals, organizations and churches interested in increasing the art and crafts programs of the annual Friendly Islands Festival.

  • In the 2014 festival, the Discovery Area was a new event organized by the University of Utah's Pacific Island Student Association. Using storytelling, poetry, and songs from the rich history of the South Pacific, students worked with the traditional craftsmen and women to educate festival attendees about the traditional crafts that were displayed.  Demonstrations illustrated time and history of the arts and crafts pieces. The Discovery Area will be a place to discover the similarities and the differences of the Pacific Island countries. 
  • Another addition to the Friendly Island Festival is the Ukelele, Sing-A-Long Jam Session area. Festival attendees will be encouraged to bring a uke or guitar and participate in a play-and-sing-along; or others can come and sit, relax, and just enjoy the melodies of others.
  • To encourage the participation of children in the arts and crafts, we have a stage that will have non-stop performing arts and craft activities from all communities. Children will also have an area where different art or craft activity every hour through out the 2 days will be offered.  Some of the crafts will be lei-making, tapa stamping, weaving, Tongan language & dance, quilt squares, and sidewalk art.
  • In addition, the Utah Pacific Island Arts Council will host a film festival of Pacific Islander documentaries and/or films during Pacific Island Heritage Month.

We would like to add to Pacific Island Heritage month an event to include the men's kava clubs. All clubs will be given a proverb or a theme and each club composes a song with that specific theme in mind.  They will also choreographic a tau’olunga (traditional Tongan dance) where young ladies will perform the tau’olunga dance to the clubs original music piece.

festival kava ceremony in 2015

The Importance of PI Arts & Crafts

In the United States, some of these art forms are dwindling, often times frowned upon as ‘old’ tradition and not worthy to pass along. Often, as families assimilate to the American culture, traditional PI arts are not being handed down to the next generation. Unfortunately, many PIs have the thought that westernization is modernization.

Through ZAP funding these events, foster acceptance, understanding, and appreciation of cultural differences within and outside of the Pacific Island communities. Through participating and demonstrations of the Pacific Island arts and crafts, we seek for culture sensitivity across all Salt Lake communities and the understanding of PI communities that you don’t have to westernize to modernize.  That understanding and accepting our cultural differences and working productively together, can make Salt Lake City, the state of Utah, and our great country the best place to live, eat, work, play and do business for all -- regardless of race, religion, sexual preference, ability, and culture -- harmoniously!

-Ivoni Nash

Ivoni Nash is the Program Director for the National Tongan American Society whose mission is to "Strengthen the Pacific Islander Family by promoting health, education, cultural preservation and civic engagement."


A Shakespearean Ticket Tuesday Giveaway from Utah Children's Theatre


August 16, 2016

Share on Facebook Tweet This Email This

UCT Giveaway

Winners have been chosen for this week's giveaway to the Utah Children's Theatre Shakespeare Festival (August 20 - October 1).  Stay tuned for future Ticket Tuesday contest opportunities!