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Ticket Tuesday with Salty Cricket

September 13, 2016

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

-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

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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

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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!

On what connects us Mexico and Utah

August 10, 2016

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Utah and Mexico have a long connection going back many millennia. And one thing that appears to connect us seems to be our mutual love of chocolate.

Several years ago, U of U researchers discovered cacao in an ancient pot near Blanding, Utah. Cacao does not grow in Utah. This indicates that the peoples of what is now is Utah traded, interacted, maybe enjoyed a cup of Aztec hot chocolate with the peoples of what is now Mexico and perhaps Central America.


Shards of pottery also create a path of migration from ancient sites in our state to Paquime, the "Mesa Verde of Mexico," in what is now the state of Chihuahua, near the Mormon Colonies there. Today local artists in the town of Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, and Moab, Utah, create pottery that reflects the traditions of the Ancient Pueblans of our region and those of Paquime. 

route map

Another tradition reflecting this history has become extremely popular in our state:  Day of the Dead, a celebration of ancestors that grew out of ancient traditions of Mexico then melded with Catholic All Souls' Day, has been embraced throughout our state as a way to celebrate our departed family members. What a better holiday for Utahans who love genealogy!


In 2010, I founded Artes de México en Utah along with local artists who were inspired by an exhibit of Mexican art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. I had assisted in a companion exhibit of the works of Pablo O'Higgins, a Utah artist who became a Mexican muralist. I had seen the delight and pride in the faces of young Latinos who visited the exhibit. I had raised my daughter, whose father is Mexican, to be bilingual and bicultural at a time when there was little available in the community to inspire young Latinos to be proud of their heritage. 


I had no trouble gathering a group of artists and designers who wanted the same, and with the blessing of the UMFA, we poached some of their staff for our advisory board! We connected with the Mexican Consulate, and they welcomed our collaboration. 

We started off with a bang: an exhibit about Frida Kahlo produced in Mexico, which was seen by almost 20,000 people at the Salt Lake City Public Library. 

frida kahlo exhibit at the salt lake city public library

Our next project, also in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate, were photographs of the Mexican Revolution from the legendary Casasola Archive in Hidalgo, Mexico. We spread that exhibit across the valley in seven venues and partnered it with photographs of Mexico today, created by members of the community. 

Busloads of students from throughout the county and beyond visited the exhibits and learned about them from Latino high school students, whom we trained as docents. 

mexico library banners

Photo by Edgar Gomez, courtesy of the Utah Natural History Museum

At each of our exhibits, Latinos shared gratitude that "Utah cares about my history." Many others expressed their appreciation as to how Latino cultures enrich our state. 

We came to see how this deeper history of Utah, its history as part of Mexico, is something our entire state can be proud of. So two years later, Artes de México launched a project called New Chapters | Nuevos Capítulos. 


We spent a year taking the oral histories of local Mexican artists, curators and collectors. It culminated in an exhibit at Mestizo Gallery that showcased the works and lives of artists Veronica Pérez, Ruby Chacón, and Jorge Rojas, dancer/choreographer Jessica Salazar, and Tina Misrachi Martin, whose father was Diego Rivera's art dealer. 

Thanks to ZAP and our other funders, as well as fabulous community partners, we have been able to expand our programming to include ongoing free classes in the community on Mexican art and cultures, the state's only prize for original literature in Spanish (the Sor Juana Prize), a yearly Mexican film tour, and many other activities that spread the beauty of Mexican art and cultures through the community.

people wearing zap stickers

I feel that embracing the deeper history of Utah, including our Native American history and our history as part of New Spain and Mexico, honors the contributions not only of people who originated in Utah, but of all people who have found their way to our state. 

One of the most humbling experiences I have had was when Artes taught a class about Mexican art and history at Horizonte school to more than 70 students, most of whom were refugees or immigrants from outside of Latin America. After eight classes learning about Mexico, the students shared their "take away" message from the class: That here in the U.S. we can overcome the challenges of racism and discrimination and create a just society that respects people's religions, values and cultures. 

mexico then and now

Our class, we realized, was not just about Mexico but about a story that is common to all those who make up our history: those who lived off the land in ancient times before there were borders, those who arrived on foot in 1847, when Utah was Mexico, and those who have come here in recent times, also in search of a better life: It is the story of Perseverance.

ruby chacon perseverance

Ruby Chacon, Perseverance

 -Susan Vogel

Susan Vogel is the co-founder of Artes de México in Utah and a member of its Advisory Board. She is author of Pablo O'Higgins: How an Anglo-American from Utah Became a Mexican Muralist (Pince-Nez Press, 2010).

Ticket Tuesday Giveaway with Tracy Aviary

August 09, 2016

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Tracy Aviary
Thanks to everyone that participated this week!
2 winners have been chosen for the free tickets to Tracy Aviary.
Stay tuned for our next giveaway!