Project lays out the ABCs of a city and county arts and culture master plan
Public invited to give input
The greater Park City area has established itself as a go-to place for sports and outdoor recreation over the years.
The city and county it is part of have also turned into an arts and culture destination that not only exhibits works by local and international artists, but also presents live music, dance and theatrical performances, as well as incubates artisan and creative businesses.
While it’s common in both city and county meetings about local development and construction to address where bus stops, parks and trails will be, it isn’t the norm to hear where the public art will be.
Performance spaces, studios and production facilities for local artists and makers also aren’t usually on the docket for discussion.
To address the concern, the Park City Summit County Arts Council is spearheading Project ABC: Arts, Beauty, Culture.
“This is a master planning project that will build a roadmap for the future of arts and culture in Summit County,” Arts Council Executive Director Hadley Dynak told The Park Record. “We’re looking not just at Park City, but at the entire county including the Snyderville Basin and North and South Summit.”
Project ABC takes a comprehensive look at the local arts and culture sector, as well as the wants, needs and opportunities for the future.
“The open space and recreation community has done an amazing job of organizing and demonstrating the value of those assets to the community, and we have incredible open space and recreational activities as a result,” Dynak said. “I think the arts and culture community saw an opportunity to learn from what those groups have done, and look for ways to connect our efforts with the community.
“It’s not looking at arts and culture as being a separate thing, but looking at arts and culture as part of the fabric of our community.”
The project will work to connect arts and culture with trails, open space, affordable housing, sustainability and transportation, among other issues.
“It’s a way for us to think about arts and culture in the context of our community’s priorities,” Dynak said.
Project ABC started nearly three years ago when a group of arts and culture leaders came together to advocate on behalf of the creative community.
It is the brainchild of Egyptian Theatre manger Randy Barton.
“I appeared before the Summit County Council to try to answer in my own head a few questions that swirled around the idea of our town and what we’ve done in the past 25 to 30 years,” Barton said. “I looked at all the wonders we have done with trails, open space and recreation, and we’ve built ice rinks, fieldhouses, recreation centers, swimming pools and trails.”
Barton’s question was: what has the city and county done similarly for arts and culture?
“My answer was that while we have a number of hard-working and passionate organizations that pull things off, I thought we needed to make arts and culture equal to what people think of Park City in terms of trails and open space,” he said. “Because on any given week, there are thousands of people who come to see live music at Deer Valley presented by three different entities. And we have a full theater every week. We have all the free music that Mountain Town Music puts on.
“Many people feel we should be an arts and culture capitol of our area and maybe in the Intermountain West. We have proximity to the airport, beautiful air and water, and recreation. We also have second-homeowners and businesses that are very supportive of arts and culture. And we have arts and culture offerings year round.”
Gathering the troops
Barton organized a steering committee with representatives from the business, nonprofit, government, creative and philanthropic sectors to focus on how to ensure the long-term growth and vitality of arts and culture in Summit County.
Project ABC: Art, Beauty, Culture is the result.
The project gained momentum when Dynak became executive director of the Park City Summit County Arts Council.
“Thanks to Hadley giving strong direction to the council, we have been able to raise $100,000 (including an opportunity grant from the Park City Park City Community Foundation),” Barton said.
The money will fund the planning process, which includes hiring a project manager and freeing up some more of Dynak’s time so she can head the project, he said.
Dynak said the City and County Council appointed liaisons to serve on committees as advisors for Project ABC.
“There are representatives from different sectors from our community: nonprofits, businesses, government entities and the creative sector,” Dynak said. “There are also individuals and philanthropists who are interested in supporting arts and culture development.”
The steering committee helped define the scope of Project ABC’s effort.
“We put a proposal together that laid out a set of activities to collect data, talk to the community and document what the needs are, as well as develop clear action items,” Dynak said. “We’ve created a structure that empowers people to take this to their constituency groups to make sure we have as broad a base of community participation as possible.”
The different sectors will meet at various points during the process to identify problems and solutions relevant to their interests and needs. Dynak said all of the meetings are open to the public.
Alison Kuhlow, vice president of member services of the Park City
Chamber/Convention and Visitors Bureau, is one of member of the steering committee.
“With my work with the chamber, I have interacted and looked to find ways to help promote businesses in the community and strengthen our economy in general,” Kuhlow said. “With that knowledge and connection, Hadley invited me and Rob Slettom of Identity Properties to cochair the business work group.”
Contacting key community members
Kuhlow and Slettom reach out to business owners and talked about how arts and culture affects their businesses.
“Some businesses like restaurants and art galleries have that easy connection,” Kuhlow said. “So we ask those types of businesses if there are any hurdles that prevent them from doing what they want to do.”
Some businesses have expressed desires to host more receptions.
“In order to allow a higher occupancy or obtain a certain liquor permit there is an insurance that is required and that insurance is expensive,” Kuhlow said. “So, we’ll look at ways we can work to reduce that hurdle.”
There are other businesses that may not be easily tied to arts and culture, but still have a connection.
“For example, my son’s dentist office’s walls have photographs from a local photographer,” Kuhlow said. “So, the question is: are we highlighting our local arts and culture in these types of businesses? It broadens our community and is a benefit for everyone.”
Engaging the whole community
To broaden the community’s input, the Park City Summit County Arts Council developed a website, projectabcsc.com.
“The website is the main place or platform to let people know what’s going on, to share their ideas and pledge their support,” Dynak said.
There are three ways for the public to get involved by visiting projectabcsc.com.
Also, Dynak said, project representatives will be out and about in the community at different summer events.
“The next few months will be a big time for us to speak to people and spread the word about the project and have people share their ideas with us,” she said. “We will collect information and, in the fall, take everything we learned this summer and compile it into priorities and action steps.”
After compiling the information and ideas, Park City and Summit County Arts Council will host an arts and culture summit to build an implementation and financing strategy.
“There are some big needs and opportunities in the community,” Dynak said. “Many of our arts nonprofits have capital projects on the horizon. Both the city and county have developments that could include a cultural-planning component.”
While the big ideas are important, Dynak said she is also looking to find small ideas and goals that will push the project forward.
“Small ideas may include partnering up artists with athletes to start creative conversations and share stories,” she said. “It can also involve holding a simple gear swap or setting up a job board.”
Dynak said Project ABC is not just another study or assessment.
“It’s designed to find ways we can solve problems along the way as we identify short- and long-term arts and culture priorities,” she said. “Summit County has some wonderful arts and culture events, and it’s because people who have a passion for them make things happen.”
For information about Project ABC: Art, Beauty, Culture, or to participate in the survey and pledge, visit http://www.projectabcsc.com.
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