December 27, 2016
2 winners have been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday giveaway from The Empress Theatre. Stay tuned for more chances to win free tickets to your favorite zoo, arts, & parks happenings around the county!
December 20, 2016
December 14, 2016
a preview of an UMFA ACME session by loveDANCEmore and conversation with Srilatha Singh
Utah’s schools are rich with dance.
By national comparison, Utah students have more enriching dance experiences than perhaps any other state. Thanks to ZAP-funded organizations, most K-6 students have the opportunity to view concerts and many move weekly to choreograph year-end performances. Secondary students work with seasoned educators and attend high-level workshops. As a result, and as with all subjects, dance has curricular standards to ensure a rigorous experience.
These standards are written in such a way that honors Utah’s concert dance tradition (think: RDT, Ririe Woodbury, Ballet West, and Tanner Dance) but makes lesser mention of cultural forms, suggesting that knowing about a folk dance or two is sufficient.
As part of loveDANCEmore, the community arm of my non-profit “ashley anderson dances,” I have avoided creating educational outreach for risk of diluting the rich offerings by the companies above. But I’ve also considered my own lack of cultural dance knowledge alongside troubling requests from teachers to “make” dances from YouTube footage and secondhand history.
Ashley Anderson performing at Hollins University photographed by Christy Pessagno.
To combat this divide: loveDANCEmore is working with UMFA on a dance-centered ACME workshop at the Marmalade Library on January 11th. ACME workshops are hosted by UMFA during renovations to consider the relationship of art, community, museum and education and the dance mashup pairs concert dance educators with cultural dance practitioners as they create opportunities for a public audience to move ideas from both dance genres.
One participant is Srilatha Singh, founder of Chitrakaavya dance which shares Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian form known for percussive and precise gesture. Singh trained primarily in the Kalakshetra style in Chennai and Delhi, India but over the years has found influence in other styles. For the past seven years, she has performed solo and group works in Salt Lake venues including the Fringe Festival at Westminster College. Prior to that she took a break from her classical training, getting two Master’s Degrees and her PhD in Mathematics from the University of Michigan. Most recently she performed a collaboration with modern dancers at Kingsbury Hall to open the tour of Ragamala.
Srilatha Singh in performance, photograph courtesy of the ChitraKaavya website.
In Utah, the audience from Bharatanatyam concerts is from the Indian diaspora, or aficionados of Indian or ethnic dance. Singh suggests that a general “lack of understanding of the language, dance vocabulary or cultural context” is why the form lacks a broad local audience. Her company has tried to connect in informal ways, demonstrating how Bharatanatyam can be interpreted.
Singh thinks that Bharatanatyam has much in common with current K-12 dance instruction saying that “the technique, and discipline, of the form is similar to what ballet and modern companies bring forth...with an aesthetic experience as deeply satisfying for both performers and audience.” She also knows that it could be co-curricular as the rhythms embedded in the practice teach math concepts like addition, multiplication and least common multiples; science concepts states of matter and even poetry, as Bharatanatyam is often linked to metered, narrative texts.
For the dance mashup, Singh will be paired with Ai Fujii Nelson of Ririe Woodbury Dance Company (RW) looking at how Bharatanatyam can link with RW’s approach of time, space and energy, as the elements of dance. Other pairings include Repertory Dance Theater and Tablado Flamenco, Tanner Dance and Gwynn Smith of the Navajo nation.
Ashley Anderson is a choreographer based in Salt Lake City and recipient of the 2014 Mayor’s Artist Award in the Performing Arts. Her recent choreography has been presented locally by the Rio Gallery, the BYU Museum of Art, the City Library, and the Utah Heritage Foundation as well as national venues: DraftWork at Danspace Project, BodyBlend at Dixon Place, Performance Mix at Joyce SOHO (NY); Crane Arts Gallery, the Arts Bank (PA); and the Taubman Museum of Art (VA), among others. Teaching includes: the American Dance Festival, Hollins University, the University of Utah, Dickinson College Dance Theater Group, University of the Arts Continuing Studies, Westminster College, the Virginia Tanner Dance Program and many high schools and community centers. Ashley currently directs loveDANCEmore community dance events using the resources of ashley anderson dances, a registered 501(c)3. Her projects with loveDANCEmore are also shared in Utah’s visual art magazine, 15 BYTES, where she serves as the dance editor. ashleyandersondances.com
December 13, 2016
In the year 2017, 22 arts and culture organizations will be funded in Tier I —the largest funding category in Salt Lake County’s Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) Program.
ZAP will also fund three organizations in its Zoological category: Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Tracy Aviary and The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.
ZAP is a grant-making program that partially funds over 170 arts and cultural organizations. It also supports over 30 parks and recreation facilities.
These organizations enhance Salt Lake County resident and visitor experiences. Mayor Ben McAdams says,
“County residents and their families value the opportunity to participate in arts and cultural events and how they enrich their lives. With their strong support of our Zoo, Arts and Parks program, we’ll continue to be a place where audiences, performers, artists and volunteers come together with impressive results and memorable experiences.”
In the past year, Tier I and Zoological organizations spent more than $77.3 million in Salt Lake County and offered over 1.2 million free admissions.
Directed by state statute and county policies, ZAP’s Tier I category can fund up to 22 organizations whose qualifying expenditures are over $335,700. The Tier I Advisory Board is committed to a fair process that decides which organizations will receive Tier I funding. Victoria Bourns, ZAP Program Director, stated:
“Our advisory board spends many hours reading applications, conducting site visits and discussing the strengths and challenges that each organization faces. They work diligently to provide recommendations to the Salt Lake County Council. Salt Lake County is dedicated to assisting these organizations, and the ZAP Program believes each organization that applies for Tier I funding is worthy of public support.”
Organizations that don’t receive funding in Tier I are eligible to receive funding in ZAP’s Tier II category.
The grants ZAP distributes come from sales tax. One penny of every 10 dollars spent in Salt Lake County is set aside for this cause. ZAP was renewed by nearly 77% of Salt Lake County voters in 2014.
Funded Tier I Organizations:
- Art Access
- Ballet West
- Discovery Gateway
- Hale Centre Theatre
- Natural History Museum of Utah
- Pioneer Theatre Company
- Red Butte Garden
- Repertory Dance Theatre
- Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company
- Salt Lake Acting Company
- Salt Lake Arts Council
- Salt Lake Film Society
- Spy Hop
- Tanner Dance
- Utah Arts Festival
- Utah Film Center
- Preservation Utah (formerly Utah Heritage Foundation)
- Utah Humanities
- Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
- Utah Museum of Fine Art
- Utah Symphony | Utah Opera
Funded Zoological Organizations:
- Utah’s Hogle Zoo
- Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
- Tracy Aviary
Check out The Salt Lake Tribune's article.
December 13, 2016
Winners have been chosen for this giveaway from Salt Lake Symphony. Stay tuned for future Ticket Tuesdays!
December 07, 2016
Wasatch Theatre Company is approaching its twentieth season, and it gives me pause to reflect on the journey we have been on since our inception in 1997.
Lots has changed since our first production of The Dining Room at the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts Lobby on the Westminster Campus. For one, our expectations have changed drastically. There’s a difference between being a 22-year old just out of college and loving to act and direct and being a 42-year old parent and elementary school principal. I still love to act and direct but my time doesn’t allow for these things as freely as it did twenty years ago.
Most importantly, my outlook has changed. I recently picked up The Dining Room and read it again. We are in the midst of planning for our twentieth season and have considered going back to the original production—A.R. Gurney’s classic that started it all for us.
The script seems so different to me now, and I am left wondering, “Why did we choose this piece in the first place?” It could well have been that it happened to be available. Something we were familiar with. It had a small cast and required little to no set. And we liked it. These were often the only prerequisites.
Now we consider different things when choosing a show. We think about its marketability. We also think about its produce-ability given our limited resources. At the same time, we try to choose scripts that allow us to do something different than we have done previously—pieces that push us to try something artistically and technically fresh, at least for Wasatch. I think we have achieved this with almost every show we’ve produced—we’ve attempted to dabble in new territory. When we first produced The Dining Room, we were just attempting to put something out there and to establish our mark. Now, after 20 years, we have a mark and attempt, with every next show, to push the limits of what we have done and are capable of doing.
This is challenging, I won’t lie. Most of the board of directors, which has grown to five members after being just three for several years, possess full-time jobs outside of theatre. This means that the ways we push ourselves as artists are confined by the most tricky resource of all—time. I still love to act and direct but also love my family and my job. Yet, I think this is probably a testament to our love and dedication—that we have found a way to make this theatre thing happen for twenty years in spite of limited time.
In the last few years, our vision has also grown. We now produce shows that meddle in relationships and the power that these relationships have over our life choices.
This is appropriate for a company that has depended on the relationships forged by “doing” theatre together. Friendships have ignited and developed against the backdrop of Wasatch Theatre Company. Probably any group can say this. However, I think it is the single most influential factor in keeping Wasatch together for so many years. Without the relationships, we would not have had the ability, or the will, to keep things running, year after year, season after season.
And now, we are working hard to find just the right shows for our twentieth season. Do we dip our toes back into past projects? I mentioned earlier that we try to stretch ourselves with every new project. I don’t think repeating productions is in violation of this. Again, when I read The Dining Room as a 42-year old man, now with a family and a whole lot of life experience, I see it very differently than I did two decades ago. The production, if we were to do it again, would be a definite evolution.
But this may not be our next step. We are very much in conversation about how we want to highlight twenty years of Wasatch that is entertaining to patrons and still challenging and satisfying artistically for all of us.
In the meantime, we close out our 19th season with the regional premiere of Moira Buffini’s Dinner. A piece out of England, Dinner is probably the most difficult piece I have ever seen Wasatch do. The story is compelling and is completely about the power, and the loss of power, that sometimes (sadly) defines our relationships. And how individuals react when faced with these power differentials. And it is a thriller! As the projected director of this project, I am in the midst of research, trying to understand for example, why Buffini chose to write her piece in a sort of verse with little end punctuation. I think audiences will love Dinner, and we will be better as artists because of it.
I am thankful for Wasatch Theatre Company. I am thankful for the past 20 years of maturing right along with the company. Like a Scrooge character in The Christmas Carol, it would be interesting to be able to see my life without the presence of Wasatch. I often wonder who I would associate with and what my life would be like if Wasatch never were. I can’t help but believe that it would be much less rich and blessed.Jim Martin is the Executive Producer of Wasatch Theatre Company and co-found it with friends 20 years ago. He is an elementary school principal in the Salt Lake City School District and recently adopted a son named Jayden, who is now 12 years old.
December 06, 2016
A winner has been chosen for this giveaway. Stay tuned for future opportunities!
November 29, 2016
A winner has been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday giveaway to the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum. Stay tuned for our next Ticket Tuesday announcement!
November 28, 2016
For almost 20 years, Salt Lake County’s Zoo Arts and Parks, or “ZAP” Tax has helped fund community arts programs and neighborhood development projects within Salt Lake County, gathering and distributing millions of dollars each year to invest in its future and the futures of its citizens.
Because everyone in the county collectively pays into the tax, it’s important that everyone in the county have equal access to the programs, projects, and other benefits made available through it. To make sure this is happening, Salt Lake County has recruited a team of eight graduate students studying Public Administration at Brigham Young University to perform a comprehensive equity audit of the tax: an evaluation of those who apply for and receive the grants the tax funds, and those in the community who access the benefits that result from those grants.
Working as part of BYU’s Grantwell Program, the team is headed by Peter Gregory and Hilary Munger, two second-year students specifically chosen for this project by the Grantwell Program’s executive team. Peter has previously consulted for the Walmart Foundation and on Provo City’s “RAP” Tax; his current emphasis of study includes Finance and Management Analysis. Hilary, who is also emphasizing in Management Analysis, has previously worked on a number of program evaluation projects, including a new system that will allow nonprofits and development agencies to assess the success of their work based on the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.
The remaining six members of their team are all specializing in either Local Government, Management Analysis, or Nonprofit Administration, and each brings a unique array of skills and experiences to the table, including time on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., program evaluation, research, government contracting, data analysis, and nonprofit management.
Together, this team of eight individuals hopes to combine survey data, census data, primary research, and data unique to each of the programs that receive ZAP funding to compose a substantive report, focusing on which programs and groups of people in Salt Lake County currently benefit most from ZAP Tax funds and whether or not any inequality exists related to the dispersing of funds over various demographics. Should any such inequalities exist, either among tax fund recipients or the general public, the report will also include research-based recommendations to address these problems moving forward.
Equity audits are on track to become a professional standard amongst all public services ranging from school boards, to hospitals, to entire cities. The County of Salt Lake, and more specifically Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks is on the front edge, and one of the first to place a large emphasis on internal evaluation of equity performance. Salt Lake Zoo, Arts, and Parks understands the importance of evaluation to ensure they are meeting their goals to promote diversity and the interest of minority and underrepresented populations. It agrees with Grantmakers in the Arts who stated:
"All people, their culture, and their art contribute to the meaning and understanding of our humanity and should be honored and celebrated…Social inequities continue to be reflected in the funding practices of private philanthropy and governmental funders in the arts. Therefore, in order to more equitably support African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) communities, arts organizations, and artists, funders should take explicit actions to structurally change funding behaviors and norms." (http://www.giarts.org/racial-equity-arts-philanthropy-statement-purpose)
Ultimately, Salt Lake County hopes to apply the substantive findings of this project in a way that assures the fair and equitable accessibility of ZAP Tax funds and ZAP Tax funded events.
Do you have questions about the project? Contact ZAP staff.
November 22, 2016
Winners have been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday giveaway to Hogle Zoo's ZooLights. Stay tuned for our next giveaway!