Project ABC draws a map of arts and culture in Summit County
The future of Summit County’s healthy arts and culture sector looks a little brighter, thanks to a survey conducted by Project ABC (Arts, Beauty and Culture), an initiative that was created to forge a plan for supporting arts and culture in the county.
A year-long planning process — which included county-wide data collection, convening, documentation and public input about how to use the arts to make the county a cultural destination — is finished, and the plan can be downloaded at projectabcsc.com.
“The website has also been revamped to reflect the findings so visitors can get an overview of the process and links to the supporting information that was developed over the past year,” said Hadley Dynak, executive director of the Park City Summit County Arts Council, the nonprofit organization that has guided the project since May 2017.
Dynak, who worked alongside Jake McIntire, project management consultant for Project ABC, was encouraged by the response generated by the public input.
“Nnearly 1,000 people responded to the survey we did last summer,” she said. “We combined those findings with data we had collected during interviews, community meetings and other outreach conversations, and looked at where they intersected with the different stakeholder groups.”
The stakeholders included artists, governments, businesses, nonprofits, art educators, art lovers and visitors, Dynak said.
“We looked at the priorities and recommendations that were culled from across these groups, and showed them what seemed to be important to them in terms of recommendations of relevancy.”
Project ABC also hosted three town hall discussions to give the community another chance to express their thoughts.
“These meetings also gave creatives a chance to talk about their projects, which gave the public a glimpse of the different types of art and culture that the creatives have to offer,” Dynak said. “They were able to inform us about what they were already doing with the larger initiative.”
Once the data collection and public input process was completed, Project ABC steering committee developed new plans and structures around those conversations.
The plan features seven priorities: spaces, data, places, funding, government and policy, faces and programming.
Dynak said it was important to note the connection and difference between spaces and places.
Spaces are the facilities and venues where arts and culture happen, she said.
“They can be an artist studio, gallery or theater or artists’ housing where they live and work in,” Dynak said. “Places is the geography where the activity happens, or where we have a concentration of arts and culture.”
There are a number of existing creative places around Summit County, according to Dynak.
“We want to use the strategies collected in the data to support their growth and also connect them together,” Dynak said.
Park City’s plan to develop Bonanza Park as a cultural district is an example of “places.”
“We want to tell their stories and promote each of the areas,” Dynak said.
The next step for Project ABC is implementation.
Dynak said that because the project is meant to be inclusive, there is no single owner behind the plan.
There are 48 recommendations under those seven priorities that chart Summit County’s arts and culture course for the future, she said.
“It’s designed to drive the decision making to the various stakeholders — the organizations, businesses and artists themselves,” Dynak said. “That’s the strength of the process, but it’s also important that the community at large hold the various stakeholders accountable for implementation and not leaving it on a shelf.”
Still, Dynak said there will be some checks and balances during the implementation process.
“While the nature of planning is organic and meant to be a guide and road map, especially in this case, I don’t think it can go forward without any oversight,” she said. “So the Park City Summit County Arts Council is committed in overseeing and tracking the implementation progress to, see what changes have occurred and connect them with the recommendations and see how they’ve moved forward across the seven priorities.”
Also, Project ABC is not designed to compete with the foundation that Summit County has laid in planning for the outdoor and recreational sectors, Dynak said.
“This plan is not saying we should invest less in those things,” she said. “The plan is saying that arts and culture can be a tool, lever and mechanism to achieve all of our goals and to help build awareness and understanding of community priorities.”
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