Project ABC’s open houses gathered information for its next step
Project ABC (Arts, Beauty and Culture), a community-driven, multi-planning effort spearheaded by the Park City Summit County Arts Council, hosted its last open house at the Park City Library Thursday night.
The event, which was the third of its kind, served as a free-form conversation for local residents, artists and creatives to share ideas, voice concerns and learn about the role of arts and culture in the county, said Hadley Dynak, executive director of the Park City Summit County Arts Council.
“We wanted to make sure we had taken our near-final results to the community for people to weigh in one more time before we head into the planning phase,” she said.
Project ABC, which officially launched in May 2017, is the brainchild of Egyptian Theatre manager Randy Barton, who formed a steering committee with representatives from the local business, nonprofit, government, creative and philanthropic sectors that would look at ways to cultivate the long-term growth of arts and culture in the county.
Dynak, who became the executive director of the Park City Summit County Arts Council in 2016, has stepped up to further Barton’s vision.
“I attended a few steering committee meetings and said, ‘I think what you’re doing is cultural planning, and it might be helpful to put some structure around it and think about what it is you want to accomplish and how you want to understand and define the future,” she said.
For the past year, the Park City Summit County Arts Council collected data through surveys and interviews about the local residents’ views about arts and culture. The nonprofit received 900 survey responses by Summit County residents and conducted more than 40 interviews with community leaders, Dynak said.
“We wanted to make sure the priorities and the planning recommendations of Project ABC were formed by the community,” she said.
The findings center on seven priority points: spaces, data, places, funding, governance/policy, people/organizations and programming, Dynak said.
“Under each of these priorities are recommendations of how to maintain these findings,” she said. “We have a total of 48 recommendations that include the needs, wants, dreams and challenges of our community.”
The open houses, which were also held in Kamas and Coalville, have been a nice way for the arts council to present those findings publicly.
“The East side events were relatively small, the people who attended were engaged in conversation,” Dynak said. “Key electives also came out to see what we were doing and they wanted to put a line with their interests and priorities.”
The next step, the planning stage, is currently underway. The plans will be made available on Project ABC’s website next month.
The arts council will also create a small version of a fold-out executive summary so the public will be able to see what has come out of the planning process, according to Dynak.
“I feel like this process has given people the opportunity to voice their support of arts and culture,” Dynak said. “We really hope all the different community stakeholders and leaders will use the document to inform their plans, programs and efforts.”
As Project ABC moves into its implementation stage, Dynak is curious to see how the community at large will support and embrace the efforts.
Parkite Jan Jaworski, who is retired, attended the Park City open house because she wanted to make sure the needs of retirees who want to experience art and culture were met.
Her concerns surrounded transportation, parking and accessibility to art experiences for the elderly and retired, as well as looking toward the future.
“I grew up in San Diego when it was a small town, and I grew up knowing the importance of the arts,” she said. “I also know you have to make things accessible. And I also know it’s important to educate the younger generation and make arts and culture sustainable in our community.”
Local musician Bill McGinnis who also attended the Park City open house, said he thinks Project ABC will be a good resource for local artists and musicians.
“I would love to see this become a warehouse of knowledge and dreams that can make things happen,” he said.
Lola Beatlebrox, the former member of the Summit County Public Arts Program and Advisory Board, said nurturing Project ABC should be top priority.
“Arts and culture will be the things that can potentially sustain Summit County if there ever comes a time when the snow will disappear,” she said. “We can attract so many fabulous performers, artists and programs because we have so much to offer,” she said. “Of course, the best thing would be to have arts, culture and snow.”
For information about Project ABC, visit http://www.projectabc.com.
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