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Kitchen Science Experiments with Discovery Gateway

November 09, 2016

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It’s not every day you get to star in your own play, build a castle, invent a machine, repair a car, ride in a real helicopter, shoot a cannon indoors, or do science experiments in the kitchen. Guests and members of Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum get to do all that, and more! With 60,000 square feet of interactive, hands-on fun, children get the opportunity to imagine what they can become and learn through play. Discovery Gateway has been at the Gateway mall downtown location for 10 years and has brought the love of learning to nearly 3 million patrons since opening.

sid the kid opening

Our newest and most exciting exhibit brings an award-winning television show to life! Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit! opened at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum on September 24, 2016. For the first time ever, kids are able to step into Sid’s world and become “science kids” themselves! Through fun, hands-on activities, kids can use scientific tools and thinking to learn about simple machines, the laws of motion, magnetism, air power, and the five senses. It’s a super-duper-ooper-schmooper good time!

sid the kid exhibit

The day before the Sid exhibit opened to the public, members of Discovery Gateway got an exclusive all-day preview. Children were thrilled to meet Sid and enter his world of learning to think, talk and work the way scientists do by building on their natural curiosity about the world. Kristin Jahne, membership sales coordinator, shares her favorite memory of the opening: “It was the first time the character [Sid] came out to meet the children. Most were very excited and jumping around to meet him. However, one little boy was extra excited to meet Sid and parading around to show him every part of the exhibit, from the treehouse to the car to the playground. His enthusiasm was completely adorable!”

sid the kid workshop about breakfast

Discovery Gateway has partnered with ZAP to giveaway a Family Day Pass. Check this blog on November 29 to enter to win. And bring your family in to enjoy Sid the Science Kid, open until January 16. Come explore our engaging workshops, programs, and exhibits that invite the whole family to create, learn, and play together! 

-Kristin Jahne

Kristin Jahne is the Membership Sales Coordinator at Discovery Gateway. When she’s not assisting with member issues or analyzing data, you can find her interacting with members in the Sid exhibit or helping plan new events for DG members. She’s been a part of the DG family for a few months and is excited to help bring the love of learning through play to children of Salt Lake and beyond!

Ticket Tuesday with Empress Theatre

November 08, 2016

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Empress Theatre Peter Pan

Two winners have been chosen for this week's #ZAPTicketTuesday - Two free tickets to The Empress Theatre's production of PETER PAN. If you didn't win this time, you can check out PETER PAN from November 25 to December 17 at The Empress Theatre

Stay tuned for more giveaways from your favorite places around Salt Lake County.

One Big Union: an actor's take

November 02, 2016

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Plan-B Theatre Company’s world premiere of ONE BIG UNION, about folk hero and labor activist Joe Hill, opens November 10. The full run is already sold out so performances have been added on Sundays November 13 and 20 at 5:30pm. Tickets and details at

ONE BIG UNION is the fourth play by Utah playwright Debora Threedy to premiere at Plan-B, following THE END OF THE HORIZON, WALLACE and THE THIRD CROSSING.

Actor Roger Dunbar shares his thoughts about his year-long journey preparing to play Joe Hill.

one big union poster

It was over a year ago when Jerry Rapier approached me about playing Joe Hill in Debora Threedy’s new play ONE BIG UNION. My response was “Who is Joe Hill?” followed by “Wait, November 2016?!” The date seemed so far away at the time, and if you had asked me then to describe the process in a single word, it would have been “Long.”

Since my initial introduction to ONE BIG UNION I have been involved with the original workshop with Plan-B, followed by a reading of the play this summer at the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s New American Playwrights Project, and finally the full performance which will open this month at Plan-B Theatre Company. As time has marched on, I feel that my single-word description of the process has evolved from “Long” to “Growth.” I now realize that time has been an essential ingredient in absorbing such a rich historical figure as Joe Hill. I am now very grateful for the extensive process so that all of the stories, the letters, the books and articles on Joe’s history, character, trial, and execution have had a chance to seep into my consciousness and craft. I will of course never meet Joe Hill, but it feels as if he has grown from a mere legend to a close friend.

roger dunbar with guitar

One particular area of personal growth over the last year has been as a musician. Joe Hill played several instruments, including the piano, violin, and guitar. Thank heavens that the only requirement for this staged version of Joe is a basic knowledge of the guitar! But even that basic level of proficiency has made me very grateful for an entire year of practice. I started out at the initial workshop barely able to finger pluck the basic chords patterns. David Evanoff, our talented musical director, encouraged me to grow by using a pick (which I had never done before), and to fill the entire theater with bold sound and confidence. Thank goodness I’ve had a year of preparation.

Another area of growth has been in my connections with other artists. I had never worked with Plan-B before the first workshop, and I had previously only worked with one of the other actors in the cast. I am now pleased to count many more people as friends and fellow artists: stage managers, designers, producers, and actors. And not only at Plan-B, but also an entirely separate cast and crew at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. I can’t think of another theatrical endeavor that has introduced me to so many talented new friends and acquaintances. It was fascinating to go from the Plan-B cast to the USF cast and back again, and see all of the characters portrayed so differently. The variety that the different casts brought to the table has given depth and perspective to my relationship with Joe. 

joe hill historical look

Lastly, it has been very interesting watching the growth of the script itself. I’ve been blessed to get to know Debora Threedy during this adventure, and it’s been a pleasure to witness the evolution of the play. I have watched the painstaking revision process as rough corners are hewn off, and conversely at times when rough textures are reintroduced to surfaces that have grown too smooth. I am grateful for the past year, watching this little tree of a story mature and evolve, and I am excited to share its fruits with the community.

-Roger Dunbar

Roger Dunbar will be playing Joe Hill in ONE BIG UNION at Plan-B Theatre Company. 

Ticket Tuesday Giveaway with RDT

November 01, 2016

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  Ticket Tuesday- RDT Brio 2
A winner has been chosen for this week's giveaway to see BRIO at Repertory Dance Theatre.
Stay tuned for our next Ticket Tuesday giveaway!

What is creativity?

October 31, 2016

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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 support.

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

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

October 26, 2016

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mundi project concert

It 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 visual art.  

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 moved. 

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. 

mundi project piano placements

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 approach.

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 local students.

mundi project air concert

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.

mundi project top moments

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 Center.

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 “Fur Elise”.

To learn more about Mundi’s programs and upcoming events, visit  


Ticket Tuesday Giveaway with SLFS

October 26, 2016

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Ticket Tuesday- SLFS

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

October 21, 2016

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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



hogle zoo


tracy aviary bird


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.



umfa fort douglas military museum

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.


hogle zoo 

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. 




this is the place heritage park 

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. 


u of u

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 Stadiuma site that rises to lofty heights, offering a panoramic view of the entire Salt Lake Valley, the Oquirrh Mountains  and the Great Salt Lake. 


u of u hospitality 

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

October 20, 2016

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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.  

detail 1

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. 

detail 2

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

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

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

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. 

Ticket Tuesday Giveaway from Hale Centre Theatre

October 18, 2016

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Ticket Tuesday- Hale Centre Theatre

2 winners have been chosen to see the theatrical production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Hale Centre Theatre (December 9-24). Stay tuned for future giveaways!