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Bringing Our Creative Community Together

Posted By Salt Lake County ZAP
November 03, 2015

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Salt Lake has a thriving community of creatives who help make this a great place to live. This has been confirmed over and over as I’ve worked with individuals and organizations throughout our county and beyond as part of Utah Opera’s Creative Community program.

Opera is an art form that brings many different modes of creative expression together. On any given day at the Utah Opera Production Studios (downtown on 400 West) you’ll find a team of talented tailors, stitchers, drapers, and designers creating costumes for the opera. If you walk to the back of the studios, you’ll find painters and carpenters creating stunning scenery. The rehearsal hall is filled with singers, dancers, and actors who use their talents to bring stories to life through opera. Finally, when the opera production makes it to Capitol Theatre, the addition of the Utah Symphony orchestra members helps tie it all together.

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The costume racks at Utah Opera's Production Studios store decades worth of work by artists in the costume shop.

At the heart of our Creative Communities initiative is this spirit of unity and of bringing creative people together surrounding a singular common interest: opera. But it has evolved into so much more – it has been a catalyst to connect creative individuals and build new relationships.

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Utah Opera artist, Jessica Jones, performs alongside a fashion presentation prepared by Vanessa di Palma Wright.

For example, on opening night of Puccini’s Tosca, we partnered with Farasha Boutique and Vida Tequila to host a rooftop soiree on the outdoor terrace of Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre. Costumes from Utah Opera’s costume shop were featured next to contemporary fashion as Utah Opera’s Resident Artists performed alongside a beautiful fashion presentation prepared by Vanessa di Palma Wright and Farasha’s designers.

Earlier in November, a lucky group of individuals attended a private dining event that was prepared by Red Kitchen.  The three talented chefs who created this dining experience were inspired by the characters, story, and location of Tosca to create a five-course meal that was as beautiful as it was delicious. 

The chefs at Red Kitchen were not the only culinary artists who were inspired by the opera. Bakers at So Cupcakes and Mini’s Cupcakes made delicious Tosca-inspired cupcakes. Mixologists at Bodega, Current, Finca, Handle, Pallet Bistro, OP Rockwell, Silver Star Café, and Takashi Sushi created Tosca-inspired craft cocktails through the Libretto & Libations promotion. At the Salt Lake Culinary Center, individuals took a class and learned to create a traditional Italian meal.

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Sormani's stunning painted drops in Utah Opera's October 2015 production of Tosca.

And there has been more. During the Salt Lake Design Week , the community was invited to view the stunning artistry of legendary scenic artist Ercole Sormani’s painted Tosca drops up close to learn how perspective and lighting can be used in design. Those who visited Art Access during the October Gallery Stroll were treated to a performance by Utah Opera's Resident Artists. In August, the Nero Head from Utah Opera's costume shop traveled to Utah County and made an impressive appearance at StartFEST where I was able to have fascinating conversations with creative entrepreneurs in our community. 

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Utah Opera's Resident Artists perform at Art Access during Gallery Stroll.

As I’ve been reminded with Creative Communities, innovation can come from unexpected places, and we should be grateful for the high level of creativity and art in our community. The arts are incredibly important for our community because they encourage creativity and innovation. Art motivates us and touches our souls. It evokes emotions to encourage thinking and conversation. It helps us see the world differently. I couldn’t imagine our community without all the art and artists who help bring beauty and inspiration to our lives.

-Jon Miles

Jon Miles has been Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (USUO) since 2011. In this role he oversees marketing, public relations, and sales for the organization. Jon joined USUO in 2007 as the Direct Marketing Manager and in 2009 became Director of Patron Development & Ticketing Services. He has a B.S. in Management with a Marketing Emphasis and is currently enrolled in an Executive MBA program at Brigham Young University.

Visit to see upcoming events associated with Creative Communities. If you have a creative idea and would like to get involved, please reach out to me!

Thank you to the many organizations and individuals who have generously donated their time and resources to support Utah Opera’s Creative Community program. Creative Communities is funded by The Getty Foundation through Opera America’s Building Opera Audiences grant program.