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AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN


February 13, 2019

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Two Awful Men Logo Plan B

by Elaine Jarvik

“How would you like to write a play about our first gay president?” Plan-B Theatre’s Jerry Rapier asked me in the summer of 2016.

And so I began researching the life of a man I knew little about, one of those presidents who fall somewhere in the vague middle, one of those indistinguishable men with a high collar and a grim mouth. And what I discovered, of course, is that there is always more to the story.

James Buchanan was the only president to live out his White House tenure as a bachelor. So there were rumors then and there are assumptions today. But the facts are slim: his best friend was Sen. William King of Alabama, who was also a bachelor, and they lived in the same rooming house in Washington; some said then that King was Buchanan’s “better half;” they were referred to as “Miss Nancy” and “Miss Fancy.”

And, finally, Buchanan once wrote a letter to a friend in which he bemoaned the fact that Sen. King had been appointed minister to France: “I am now ‘solitary and alone,’ having no companion in the house with me,” he wrote. “I have gone a-wooing to several gentlemen but have not succeeded with any one of them.” And that’s pretty much it: some innuendos and a few letters, which we filter through our 21st century understanding of the way men act and speak.

As I read more about Buchanan, I began to wonder what he would make of other assessments of his life and his administration. Some historians argue his actions and his inaction led America into the Civil War, and his name tops the lists of “worst presidents.” One of his biographies is titled: “Worst. President. Ever.” (Note to the outraged: these lists were made prior to January 2017.)

"What would it feel like to be called '"the worst" a century and a half after your death?"

Elaine Jarvik, playwright of AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN
Elaine Jarvik, playwright of AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN

This is what fascinated me: what might a man wish he could say to historians and the rest of us if he had a chance to explain himself? What would it feel like to be called “the worst” a century and a half after your death? What would it feel like, as a 19th century man, to be called “gay”? What would it feel like to be publicly, relentlessly called out on the eternal archive of the Internet? 

And so I’ve written AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN, an alternative reality in which James Buchanan (Jason Bowcutt), John Wilkes Booth (Aaron Adams) and Harriet Tubman (Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin) appear on “Dead People Live”, a darkly comic reality-show-of-sorts where the long-dead share with the not-yet-dead what it’s like when your name lives on forever, and your legacy might not be what you want it to be.

Playwright Elaine Jarvik has previously premiered MARRY CHRISTMAS (which celebrated the one-year anniversary of marriage equality in Utah), BASED ON A TRUE STORY and RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN. at Plan-B Theatre. Her latest, AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN, also features Emilie Starr in the cast and premieres at Plan-B February 21-March 3. Details and tickets at planbtheatre.org


2019 ZAP Tier II Application Now Open


January 15, 2019

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2019 Application Open Workshops

 

We are very pleased to announce that the application for the 2019 ZAP Tier II cycle is now open!

The application closes March 29, 2019 at 3pm. Information on eligibility, upcoming application workshops, and the application itself can be found on our Tier II Page:

 

ZAP Tier II Funding Information

 

WHAT IS ZAP TIER II FUNDING?

ZAP's Tier II category funded over 183 arts and cultural organizations this past year, splitting $2.2M to help them serve our diverse Salt Lake County community. All organizations are nonprofits who provide arts or cultural opportunities to the public within Salt Lake County.

These are organizations that YOU as taxpayers support to bring experiences to your families and communities, through 1¢ of every $10 of sales tax in the County.

If you know an arts or cultural nonprofit serving Salt Lake County who you don't think is receiving ZAP funding, share this blog post with them, or have thememail ZAP staff. We would love to speak with them and see if they may be eligible for funding.

FOR APPLICANTS

Before you submit your application, we strongly encourage you to attend a ZAP Tier II Application workshop, during which ZAP staff will review this year's application and any new or updated questions, and answer any questions you may have.

Successful applicants often involve their grant writer, the individual who will be reporting on their finances, and a member of their leadership in the workshops.

ZAP Tier II Application workshops will be held:

  • Thurs, February 7- 10-12pm
  • Fri, February 22- 1-3pm
  • Wed, February 27- 10-12pm

The RSVP for the Tier II Application workshops can be found under the "Apply" tab of the ZAP Tier II Funding Information page.

 


Ingredients for a Thanksgiving Dinner


November 21, 2018

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Serves 400-500
 Central City Thanksgiving - Pie
A whole lot of turkey
33 pints cranberry sauce
134 quarts mashed potatoes
60 quarts homestyle gravy
At least three different kinds of pie
4 rows of tables and handmade decorations
1 basketball court

More than your average recreation center, Central City has been serving up resources, fitness opportunities, youth programs, and community connection since it opened 50 years ago on the corner of 600 South and 300 East in downtown Salt Lake.  For nearly half of that time, those servings have included a free turkey dinner on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. 

The neighborhood tradition has seen a lot of changes over the years, initially starting as part of an open rec program, where youth would put on the dinner for their families.  “We no longer have the open rec program, but it’s cool to see the event continue with Utah Valley University.  It means a lot to the families that come back every year,” said Darian Abegglen, Associate Director of Recreation. 

 

Central City Thanksgiving - Serving table

Central City has since developed a partnership with UVU Culinary Art Institute, and the dinner has since become a holiday treat for the neighborhood.  The culinary students both prepare and serve the meal, getting a chance to share their new skills with the community and witness the resulting smiles from their pumpkin pie, turkey, and all the fixings.   

Central City Thanksgiving - Small Collage

It’s an evolution on a spirit of service that allows for more connection and full stomachs during the holidays, and who couldn’t use a little more of that these days?    

Central City Recreation Center is supported in part by Salt Lake County residents like you through Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks.  For more information on recreation centers and community events with Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation, visit recreation.slco.org.


Plan-B Theatre brings solo play Good Standing to life, a love letter to uncertainty and complicated faith


October 22, 2018

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UPDATE: Plan-B has announced there are only 90 tickets remaining in Good Standing's run. Tickets can be purchased through planbtheatre.org.

Good Standing Graphic

By Matthew Greene

It’s possible that if I hadn’t spent so many years in the proverbial closet I never would’ve become a writer. It’s the oldest story in the book, isn’t it? Creativity born out of private pain. I spent my days playing the perfect Mormon, slipping that ill-fitting costume on over the self I’d learned to loathe and trying my best to walk a path that was, frankly, killing me. My solace in those dark days was the pen and the page. In the fictional worlds I crafted, nothing could stop me from exploring the tantalizing gray areas and questioning tenets of belief that were supposed to be taken as gospel.

The heady, emotional conflict taking place between these two characters onstage was just a reflection of the debate running constantly through my own confused, closeted head day and night.

I was an undergrad at Brigham Young University (that’s right, Mormon Mecca) when Proposition 8 rocked California and, in turn, the world. Desperate to make sense of the divisive and disturbing rhetoric I heard every day, I wrote a play called ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA, exploring what the gay marriage debate did to two friends, one openly gay and the other openly Mormon. After nearly getting me kicked out of school, the play received its world premiere at Plan-B Theatre in 2013. People were quick to identify Adam, the devout church member, as my onstage stand-in, but who, they all seemed to ask me, was the inspiration for Steve, his gay best friend who wanted simply the freedom to love? I capitulated and talked around the question, not wanting to reveal the truth: the heady, emotional conflict taking place between these two characters onstage was just a reflection of the debate running constantly through my own confused, closeted head day and night.

Matthew Greene, Playwright of Good Standing
Matthew Greene, playwright of Good Standing


Years have passed since then, and I’ve changed the narrative quite a bit. I’m now an out-and-proud gay man who made the choice, in a moment of crisis, to love himself no matter what. I worried, though, as I crawled out from under the weight of religious expectation, if I’d lose the drive to write now that I felt so liberated, so unburdened.  It turns out, once again, that I was naive. Taking a step (or two or three) toward authenticity didn’t make the world any less complicated. Allowing myself to truly fall in love (surprise surprise) led to more emotional tumult than I’d ever imagined. And stating emphatically all the things I didn’t believe in could only go so far in helping to make sense of this murky mess of a world.

There's no way to untangle the threads of identity that have made me who I am...

The truth is, life is tricky even after you’ve gone through a “personal renaissance” and my new play GOOD STANDING is proof of that. But unlike ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA, I’ll own up to the true inspiration behind the script’s central figure: it’s me. The man onstage torn between love and belief was born out of the internal debates I’m still having. There’s no way to untangle the threads of identity that have made me who I am and I’ve got Mormonism practically woven into my DNA. I treasure the new life I’ve crafted for myself, but I mourn the loss of innocence I knew within comfy church walls and regret the pain I’ve caused to those who love me.

Life didn’t magically become easier when I finally admitted that I, like Curtis in this play, dreamed of finding a husband, not a wife. What’s different, I guess, is an enhanced ability to feel joy and to claim it as my own.  But the search continues: the search for meaning and for purpose and for the light I know is out there. GOOD STANDING is another step in that ongoing journey, a love letter to uncertainty and to complicated, problematic faith.

Playwright Matthew Greene premiered his play ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA at Plan-B Theatre Company in 2013; it then played the New York International Fringe Festival. His latest, GOOD STANDING, opens Plan-B’s 2018/19 season October 18-28 and will also play the United Solo theatre festival in New York. Tickets and details at planbtheatre.org


Plan-B World Premieres ZOMBIE THOUGHTS, a Create-Your-Own-Adventure-play


October 19, 2018

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Zombie Thoughts Header

ZOMBIE THOUGHTS

by 11-year-old Oliver Kokai-Means

IS THIS THE SAME ONE?!

My name is Oliver. I am a kid who likes soccer, who likes sports, and who likes and is really good at reading, and video games, and is not what some people would say normal is. Because I have anxiety.

My anxiety has caused problems for me because I don’t like being with people I don’t know, so first days are extra hard for me. It has also caused me problems with teachers who don’t understand, and with making friends.

Alicia Washington as Pig, Katie Jones Nall as Sam
Alicia Washington as Pig, Katie Jones Nall as Sam

Our play ZOMBIE THOUGHTS is about a pig named Pig and a nine-year-old kid named Sam who has anxiety [I was nine when we started writing the play]. They are in a video game and they go on an adventure with different levels and try to beat them, but they have a hard time and they fail most of the time. They try and work on it and then they finally beat a level and then they have to fight The Machine. They technically beat The Machine but it doesn’t go away because you can’t beat anxiety. The audience gets to make a lot of choices in the play, like they’re the ones playing the video game. I identify with Sam.


One of the things that happens in anxiety is you get scared of all this stuff, and some of the stuff that you’re scared of doesn’t even exist. Zombie Thoughts are where you do something but you don’t think about it first. You just do it. Like, one of the things about anxiety is you don’t stop and think about what you’re scared of. You don’t stop and say, wait, zombies aren’t real.


I learned about Zombie Thoughts from my old therapist, Gennie. Every week I would see her and talk about stuff involving this topic and, based on what she knows, she would give me some ideas and I would try them and if they worked I would tell her and continue them and if they didn’t, I would tell her and we wouldn’t use them. In the play, Pig teaches Sam some of the things I’ve learned. You shouldn’t get mad at people. If someone suggests something that scares you, you shouldn’t get mad at them, you should say, “I don’t think that’s a very good idea.” 


I refused to go on Space Mountain and threw a fit. But when I actually thought about it and went on it, I loved it and now it’s one of my favorite rides. 

Jennifer A. Kokai and her 11-year-old son Oliver Kokai-Means
Jennifer A. Kokai and her 11-year-old son Oliver Kokai-Means

To write the play my Mom and I had a lot of conversations about what could go in it. Then we decided to make it like a video game. There aren’t that many choose-your-own adventure plays, so I like that, and I really like video games. I gave my Mom the ideas and the characters and she wrote the words. 

I like how the play goes right to the topic and doesn’t kind of talk around it. It doesn’t have an end really. That’s what some people wanted, but it doesn’t really make sense because of what the play is trying to convey. It has kind of a happy ending, but it doesn’t use sweet words and avoid the topic it’s trying to talk about. Adults will talk about anxiety and things like that, but they’ll kind of talk around what it is and they’ll use words that make it sound like this cute little thing and not a big issue that you should worry about. 

I hope that kids who see the play understand that those people with anxiety aren’t just scared, they’re scared in a way they can’t help, and you shouldn’t make fun of these people for being scared because they can’t help it. I also hope that if they have things they’re scared about, the ideas in the play help them learn how to feel better.

Jennifer A. Kokai and Oliver Kokai-Means at Arts Express
Jennifer A. Kokai and Oliver Kokai-Means at Arts Express


ZOMBIE THOUGHTS, co-written by Jennifer A. Kokai and her son Oliver Kokai-Means, receives its world premiere as Plan-B’s sixth annual Free Elementary School Tour, serving 8,000 elementary students, grades K-6, at 46 schools in 12 counties beginning October 1. Public performances October 8 (Weber State University, $5) and October 13 & 25 (Salt Lake City Public Library branches, free). Details at planbtheatre.org.


Congratulations to the 2018 ZAP Tier II Grant Recipients!


August 28, 2018

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On August 28, 2018, Salt Lake County Council unanimously approved $2.2 million of funding recommended by Salt Lake County’s ZAP Tier II Advisory Board for local arts and cultural nonprofits. The nonprofit grant recipients represent a wide range of disciplines, including community symphonies, historical museums, dance companies, visual arts programs, theatre companies, art and ethnic festivals, natural history organizations, folk arts groups, botanical gardens, and more. Recipient organizations span every district in the County.

Tier II Funding At A Glance

The $2.2 million in approved grant funding for the 2018 funding cycle is split between 183 organizations. 20 of these organizations are brand new to ZAP this year. This 7% increase in applicants beats out 2017 as the highest number to date, meaning the ZAP program is providing more support to growing arts and cultural organizations each year thanks to tax payer support.

 

This year’s applications from ZAP grantees show these dollars being put to incredible use. “With ZAP funding we serve people who primarily are not served by other performing arts projects. Heart & Soul brings over 900 live concerts each year to Salt Lake County residents.” said Janna Lauer of Heart & Soul, a Salt Lake County nonprofit that brings live local music and performances to disadvantaged, marginalized, and isolated individuals. These performances represent a small (but vital) fraction of county residents reached through ZAP funding.

Highlights from the remarkable range of work include:

 

  • 18,433 events provided (a 34% increase from last year)
  • 2.9 million attendees/participants
  • 1.7 million free admissions to events and programs
  • 35% increase in full and part-time jobs provided (1479 to 2009 positions)
  • 46,683 contracted positions, from artists to photographers to scientists and more
  • 30,426 volunteers

For many arts and cultural organizations, ZAP funding represents integral community support for their organizations. “ZAP provides critical funding to…encourage residents to engage with their neighbors through art events.” shared Sheryl Gillian, executive director of the Holladay Arts Council. Their Recent Crossing Paths project by local artist Jim McGee pulled residents from all over Holladay to their City Hall during its month-long showcase. 

Over 400 hours were spent by the ZAP Tier II Advisory Board in carefully reviewing applications, plus another 30 hours discussing, scoring, and determining funding amounts. $3.4 million was requested by 187 total applicants, and through this diligent review process the Advisory Board determined the $2.2 million in funding approved by County Council on Tuesday.

With funding recommendations now approved, the 2018 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 2019. 

Applications for 2019 will open in January.

Want to learn more?

1. View a complete list of funded organizations.

2. Learn more about how to apply for ZAP funds.

 

 


BREAKING NEWS: the theme for the 7th Annual ROSE EXPOSED is … wait for it … BREAKING NEWS!


August 16, 2018

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Rose Exposed Logo

By Joanne Roland and Kary Billings from Gina Bachauer

During the hour-long program on Saturday evening, August 25th, at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, newly-created short works illuminating the nature of Breaking News in our present-day world will be performed by resident companies Plan-B Theatre, PYGmalion Theatre Company, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, and SB Dance. Repertory Dance Theatre will weave the pieces together with dance interludes, all accompanied by live performances of pianist Josh Wright, representing Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation.

ROSE EXPOSED was launched initially to spotlight the art performed at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (also known as “The Rose”) and also to raise the profile of this under-appreciated venue to something beyond “the building across the street from Squatters.” We six resident companies happily co-resided within the facility for years. Creating this now-annual event together has taken us from neighbors to collaborators, and is a welcome opportunity to share and explore each other’s distinctive artistic personalities.

It is a joyous thing to collaborate on a “one night only” performance, bringing to light what Stephen Brown of SB dance calls “the richest part of the local cultural ecosystem.” The synergy of making cooperative performance art has proved energizing to the performers and creators and has delighted audience members for the past six years on the last Saturday in August.

Cast of Rose Exposed

Initially, the event was a day-long festival culminating in a variety show featuring each company in a ten-minute performance created that day. An early afternoon child-friendly program was also a feature the first two years. For example, a collaboration between Plan-B and The Bachauer, brought forth an interactive theater piece telling the story of “Peter and the Wolf,” which was subsequently performed in more than 25 elementary schools.

From 2014-2016, we made a more direct impact by donating the evening’s proceeds to a community-based organization from whose work we could draw inspiration. The Road Home was the recipient of the 2014 gift, and the partnership influenced the art with each company creating a piece based on the theme of “Home.”

In 2015 Art Access shaped the “Dreamers” theme, and in 2016 a partnership with the Tracy Aviary inspired works that took “Flight.”

In 2017, we introduced a connective through-line, with Chicken Little and Turkey Lurkey moving from piece to piece frantically and repeatedly telling each other and everyone else that “The Sky is Falling!”

In 2018, ROSE EXPOSED will again employ a through-line, with dance, theatre, and live piano music working together to bring you BREAKING NEWS, highlighting the immediacy and urgency that the world around us seems to demand.

Don’t miss opening night on August 25. In our high-paced world, opening night and closing night are one and the same!

Tickets are $15 at RoseExposed.org or  801-355-ARTS


Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company: Almost at the Finish Line as the End of Season 54th Approaches


July 02, 2018

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Elements Elementos Family Series
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Elements-Elementos Family Series

By Juan Carlos Claudio/Outreach Director and Ai Fujii Nelson/Education Director 

The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company would like to thank the Salt Lake County residents, patrons, and ZAP voters once again. It is because of your support that the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company is almost to the finish line as we approach the end of our 54th Season. As one of the pioneering forces in the arts in the State of Utah, we take pride in the work we do and the opportunities we offer to the beautiful tapestry of our diverse residents of Salt Lake City. As part of your tax support, we were able to provide free dance performances for children, seniors, and families who can not otherwise afford it. We could also bring dance education in the Salt Lake schools (7 of them were Title-1 schools) and serve over 3,700 students and 200 teachers. Your support also helped us provide public school teacher training and professional development opportunities, assisting the educators to improve the quality of their teaching and integrate arts effectively into their curriculum. 

North Star Elementary Kids in Motion Residency Program
North Star Elementary "Kids in Motion" Residency Programs

“Previously, Dylan went to kindergarten through third grade at the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind. Dylan has been in a mainstream classroom in a public school for just over one year.  During this dance experience, Dylan was able to work and communicate with a partner, a team, and the entire class through movement… I think his ability to be physically lifted up by his peers was a great symbol…even for his classmates to remember that one way we support Dylan like we did in the dance, is to make sure we show him we care about his ideas”

Ashlee Ekins, M.Ed., 4th Grade Educator, North Star Elementary (Title-1) 

"Your assembly is the best we’ve ever had. Often assemblies do not include performers who are representative of our student body, and they are difficult for our students to comprehend (meaning the performance do not scaffold enough). We loved your assembly. It is the perfect length, highly engaging, it involves students emotionally and physically and it is bilingual. It is the first bilingual assembly we have ever had. And the performers are diverse and   representative.”;

Nicole O’Brien, Principal, Rose Park Elementary and Community School (Title-1)

North Star Elementary Kids in Motion Residency Program
4th Graders at North Star Elementary in "Kids in Motion " Residency Program

We are still moving strongly towards the finish line, as dancers Yebel Gallegos, Mary Lyn Graves, Megan McCarthy, Dan Mont-Eton, Bashaun Williams and Melissa Younker dance for all they’re worth. We wrap up our 54th Season with a cultural diplomacy tour to Mongolia and South Korea as part of DanceMotion USA℠ program, accompanied by Executive Director/Tour Manager/Jena C. Woodbury, Artistic Director/Daniel Charon, and Technical Director/William Peterson. DanceMotion USA℠ is a people-to-people international exchange initiative of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). 

As the proud representative of the State Department, State of Utah, and Salt Lake City, the Company is spreading its knowledge, passion, and love for dance and education. During this month-long tour, the dancers have been able to teach children, young and older adults, and persons with alternate abilities about the values of dance as well as presenting lectures/roundtable discussions and formal performances. Our message is that dance is a universal language; “Dance is for Everybody”. We believe that they will return with the richness of their cultural experience and their hearts full of wonderful memories, and they will be ready to share their renewed energy and passion for the art of dance with the students and the audience of Salt Lake City in the upcoming season. Here’s to a great finish line and much more to come in the new 55th Season. 
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in South Korea
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in South Korea

Thank you for your support! 


Discovery Gateway hosts World Connections Children's Festival on June 30


June 27, 2018

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DGCM Childrens Fest Logo 2018

On Saturday, June 30th, Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum will be hosting the World Connections Children’s Festival, a FREE community event, from 10 am - 7 pm. From Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, to Europe and across the ocean to Mexico, all the way back to Utah, Discovery Gateway invites guests to join them for a full day of welcoming summer and celebrating the diverse cultures that make up the state of Utah. The day will be packed full of live musical performances, traditional dances, hands-on activities, and unique experiences from many cultures around the globe. 

Nino Reyes Native American Dance"World Connections Children's Festival represents the core of Discovery Gateway's mission by helping children of all ages and abilities to connect to not only their own culture but the many other cultures in their world," said Tammy Spicer, Discovery Gateway's Director of Museum Education and Operations. "These connections lead to understanding and acceptance, and it is our hope that through these connections, we can make a difference in the world today."

Performances will be held throughout the day and include Ballet Folklorico Boliviano, Kenshin Taiko Drummers, Katherine St. John Central Asian & Middle Eastern dance, Casa Quetzalcoatl dance & music, An Dragan Ceilteach Irish Dances, the Juan Diego CHS Steel Band, Si Lum Gung Fu Club Lion Dance, and Nino Reyos a Native American Storyteller and Dancer. Children will have the opportunity to meet and visit with Miss Africa Utah 2018, Christelle Bahati. In addition, The Utah Chinese Association will provide hands-on activities. Families can cool down from the summer heat by purchasing shaved ice from the Kona Ice mini truck on Discovery Gateway's outdoor patio.

Casa Quetzalcoatl dance
Casa Quetzalcoatl Dance

Spicer commented, "Many of the performers are children, and children really are living traditions. Discovery Gateway strives to highlight that all traditions and cultures are important and have a place in the world. Every performance is wonderful, unique, and represents the diversity in our community. What a better place to celebrate cultures through dance, music, activities, and play than at Discovery Gateway Children's Museum in downtown Salt Lake City!"

DG Hangzhou

Don’t miss out on this free, fun, and educational event for the whole family on Saturday, June 30th! Free admission to the World Connections Children's Festival is generously sponsored by Harmons Neighborhood Grocer, Ernst & Young, and Dominion Energy with additional support by Board Chair Tina Bagley, VLCM, Salt Lake City, First Digital, L3 Technologies, Zions Bank, Top Golf, Springfree Trampoline, My529, and Kona Ice. 

-Anna Branson 

Anna Branson is the Marketing Assistant at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum. She is a recent graduate from the University of Utah in Communications and interned at Discovery Gateway in the Spring. When she’s not practicing her marketing skills, Anna loves to travel, camp, or simply relax at home. 


Discovery Gateway Gears Up for New Exhibits Reveal


June 12, 2018

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New Exhibits Sign

After years of long meetings, sleepless nights, and lots of hard work, Discovery Gateway is gearing up to reveal two brand new world-class exhibits! On June 23rd, experience racing rivers, water vortexes, and tipping buckets in a brand new re-vamped Water Play exhibit and, by the end of this summer, Discovery Gateway visitors will be able to climb, hop, slide, and buzz around in the Honey Climber exhibit. In 2015, Discovery Gateway's executive director, Laurie Hopkins, announced to the team big plans for the next three years. And just like that, the Discovery Gateway staff were off to work in their busy beehive.

“Three years ago, the staff and board agreed to revitalize the museum by adding new exhibits, weekly programming, and updating existing exhibits. At Discovery Gateway, we were determined to be a part of the solution in improving the West side of the city by working together with our talented staff and the county, city, and state governments,” Hopkins commented.
 

Discovery Gateway has certainly had a lively three years. Since 2015, the children’s museum has invested $1.5 million in exhibit upgrades, and has opened seven new permanent exhibits, including Block Party, DG Derby: Powered by Gravity, SkyCycle, Live Hive, and the Intermountain Rescue Hangar A Little Girl Playing at Museumin Saving Lives. The Discovery Gateway team wanted to end their three-year plan with a bang. "Discovery Gateway has made huge strides over the past three years, and I couldn't be more proud or excited about all the progress we've made in such a short period of time. The Honey Climber and Water Play exhibits are the height of our three-year strategic plan for museum revitalization, and they bring us one step closer to being a world-class children's museum," said Hopkins. 

Celebrate the opening of Water Play on Saturday, June 23. The event will kick off at 9 am for a VIP and Members-Only preview of the new exhibits and at 10 am the public is welcome to join the party! There will be prizes, giveaways, and educational activities to celebrate this highly anticipated event. Honey Climber will open later this summer.

Water Play

Over at Water Play, children are encouraged to imagine, discover, and connect by working together as engineers and builders by designing a waterway or dam. "Water Play has been a beloved centerpiece in Kids Eye View since the opening of The Gateway location. The exhibit was simply too loved, and was time to replace it,” Hopkins said about Water Play. With the use of water wheels and vortexes, buckets, scoops, and running water children will develop essential science skills like observing, comparing, and predicting. By working together to solve problems, children will boost their communication skills as they play cooperatively, negotiate space, and share Water Play equipment.

Honey Climber Exhibit












Honey Climber will keep the whole family engaged and active as kids climb through a maze of honeycombs, walk across rope bridges, and slide down to explore The Garden. Children are invited to use their imaginations and discover new paths as they transform into a busy bee. "Having a new climber is important to us, not only because children love to climb and get above it all, but also because a climber is a gold-standard exhibit for children’s museums. The addition of the Honey Climber gives children opportunities to explore and gain confidence while developing decision-making and gross motor skills," expressed Hopkins. The Honey Climber is the finishing touch in the museums existing exhibit, The Garden, which demonstrates the importance of bees and their connection to Utah.

When asked about plans for Discovery Gateways future, Hopkins commented, "Water Play and Honey BalloonsClimber are the culmination of our revitalization project. Our goal over the next year is to focus on maintaining and updating existing exhibits to keep the museum fresh and exciting so that every time a family visits they will receive the best experience possible. In addition, Discovery Gateway will continue to improve upon and add to on-site programs that amplify the learning that’s going on in the exhibits for families that want a deeper level of experience."
 

Be sure to mark your calendars for June 23rd and join Discovery Gateway for a day of celebration, play, prizes, curiosity, and discovery at the Water Play exhibit grand opening! Follow Discovery Gateway on their social media channels to keep up with the buzz about the launch of Honey Climber.

 

-Anna Branson

 

Anna Branson is the Marketing Assistant at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum. She is a recent graduate from the University of Utah in Communications and interned at Discovery Gateway in the Spring. When she’s not practicing her marketing skills, Anna loves to travel, camp, or simply relax at home.