Initiative conceived from questions
Project ABC (Arts, Beauty and Culture) is the brainchild of Egyptian Theatre Manager Randy Barton, who appeared before the Summit County Council in 2015 to ask a few questions that had been swirling around in his head regarding the future of arts and culture in the county.
He looked at what had been done in the past 25 to 30 years for trails, open space and outdoor recreation.
“We’ve built ice rinks, fieldhouses, recreation centers, swimming pools and trails, and myquestion was: ‘What has the city and county done similarly for arts and culture?’” He said.
Barton said on any given week, people can enjoy live music at Deer Valley, the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts or the Egyptian Theatre. People can also visit one of the many art galleries on and off Main Street or enjoy the culinary arts with the many critically acclaimed restaurants located around town.
His concern was there was no cultural planning to nurish these offerings for the future.
“We have arts and culture offerings year round, and I believe that we can be the arts and culture capital of the Mountain West,” he said.
To say Barton is happy about how Project ABC has moved forward, from collecting data, to implementation through the stewardship of Park City Summit County Arts Council Executive Director Hadley Dynak and Project ABC’s management consultant Jake McIntire, is an understatement.
“It’s been fabulous,” Barton said. “Hadley and Jake have put a lot of time and energy into this as I and many others have. There has been a lot of gatherings, surveys and participation.”
Barton is especially excited by the pledges of support and donations the project has received from the general public and organizations.
“It’s not just a group of arts organizations getting together for the hopes of more funding,” he said. “This is a whole world of living in Summit County, based on the concept of looking at what we’ve done over the past 25 years for recreation, trails and open space. And now, it’s time to do the same for arts and culture — to come together and identify and build these creative spaces that will change the dynamic of Summit County and be with us for generations.”
Barton would like to see three things emerge from Project ABC in the future.
“I would like to see a reinvented and well-funded arts council that can execute many of the recommendations that are in the master plan,” he said. “I would also like to see a grand collaboration between individuals, businesses, foundations and government entities. And I would like to see the building of true community centers.”
These spaces, Barton said, would consist of new theaters, amphitheaters and other venues.
“I would like to see these built so that people can show a film or host a poetry slam with support from groups that will encourage those things to flourish,” he said. “I hope these places are developed to where if people want to put on a show or concert and don’t have to worry about lights, sound, permits and things like that. Everybody wants a place to create, other than their own basements.”
Barton also feels the Park City Summit County Arts Council needs to integrated into both Park City and Summit County governments.
“Arts Council members need to attend staff meetings and have full access to city and county managers as well as city and county attorneys, just like recreation organizations do,” Barton said. “That way when a new area is being developed and planned, we can ask, ‘Where will the bus stop, trails and arts and culture community center be located?’ Arts and culture needs to become a critical priority.”
Barton said Maurice Abravanel, the late founder of the Utah Symphony, inspired him to approach the Summit County Council..
“I remember the day when he stood up and told Salt Lake City that the symphony needed home and that it should not be playing in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah,” Barton said. “That started the building of Abravanel Hall and the Salt Lake Arts Center. That led to them utilizing and taking on the Capitol Theatre. Now they have the Eccles Theatre. Those places were built by this collaboration that was started 40 years ago, and I believe the same thing can happen here.”
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