PCSC Arts Council to Host Project ABC Community Convening on Rural Arts Development and Arts Resources

The Park City Summit County Arts Council will hold its second Project ABC Community Convening on Friday, February 22 from 9am - noon at the Kamas Library. The first was held in November and focused on Spaces and Funding. The idea of ‘Community Conveings’ emerged from the cultural planning process as a Strategic Recommendation. Each of our Community Convenings focus on specific Collective Priorities that were identified in the Cultural Plan, and are opportunities to learn from others and to discuss the role of arts and culture in Summit County as well as network with the arts and culture community. The Arts Council sees gathering and connecting the community as critical part of what we do as an organization, and we’re excited for this next opportunity to meet with local arts and culture advocates, lovers, and leaders.

For those of you who need a refresher -- Project ABC: art, beauty, culture is a community wide cultural planning initiative that grew out of a desire to more effectively connect the arts and culture community and plan for the future. The Project ABC cultural plan lays out a roadmap for the future of Arts and Culture countywide. The Cultural Plan, which is available at projectabcsc.com, was completed in the spring of 2018 and is currently in the Implementation Oversight phase. This Community Convening coming up is one of the many ways the Arts Council is working to implement the plan.

The upcoming Community Convening will focus on Rural Arts Development and Arts Resources. Three guest presenters from outside of our community will speak about the great work they are doing to elevate arts and culture and support communities around the state. After the presentations, participants will have the opportunity to ask a lot of questions and we will spend time talking about how the ideas relate to Summit County.

The first speaker on our agenda is Maria Sykes, Executive Director of Epicenter in Green River, UT. Maria leads with a contagious passion for rural places. After graduating from Auburn University’s School of Architecture, Sykes moved to Green River to co-found Epicenter. Epicenter stewards creative initiatives that honor the past, strengthen the present, and build the future that they envision with their community. Epicenter is a vibrant hub for rural development and cultural exploration of the high desert of southeastern Utah. Beyond their region, Epicenter advocates for rural communities and contributes to the dialogue on contemporary place-based work in the United States. Sykes has been working in rural community development around the globe for just a decade, but the work has been honored many times, including by Utah Governor Gary Herbert.

Epicenter uses arts and culture as a tool to fuel community priorities such as housing, economic development, education and community building all aimed to increase town vibrancy. Their model is not necessarily about adding new but about building upon the existing assets and identity that make their town great. We’re thrilled to have Maria speak and think that many of her initiatives and ideas will connect our local creative community.

We will also have representatives from the state joining us to present on how Utah Division of Arts & Museums and their parent organization the Department of Heritage & Arts can support individuals and organizations in their efforts to bring great things to their communities through providing education, tools, and funding.

Jason Bowcutt currently serves as the Community and Performing Arts Manager for the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. In this role he has overseen the state’s Performing Arts program, launched and produced the annual statewide arts conference (The Mountain West Arts Conference), and has facilitated and managed the Change Leader Program which received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in May 2018. Jason is a graduate of the University of Utah’s Theatre Program and spent many years working as a professional actor and director in New York and at theatres across the country. After doing this for many years he moved his attention to producing and became one of the Co-Founding Directors of the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation, also known as the It Awards. Launched in 2004, the It Awards is a community building organization for New York’s indie theatre community.

Jennifer Ortiz is the Museum Services Manager for the Utah Division of Arts and Museums (UDAM) where she oversees the state Museum Services Program that serves Utah's 250-plus museums through workshops, museum technical assistance, site visits, and grant funding. In addition to her statewide work, she serves at a national level as the Secretary for the Field Services Alliance in partnership with the American Association for State & Local History and as a MAP mentor for the American Alliance of Museums. Prior to working with UDAM, Jennifer served as the Collections Manager for the Utah Museum of Fine Arts managing an encyclopedic art collection of over 20,000 objects, in addition to roles at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Boston Museum of Science, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Jennifer holds an MA in History and Museum Studies from Tufts University and recently completed the Getty Leadership Next-Gen Program through Claremont Graduate University focusing on museum leadership.

We are excited to have these arts and culture leaders from around the state join us for our next Community Convening! All of our Community Convenings are free and open to the public. Anyone who shares an interest for arts and culture in Summit County are welcome to join us. Light breakfast will be served. If you’re interested, check out our Facebook Event for updates, and RSVP here.