Arts leader honored as a ‘treasure’ |

Arts leader honored as a ‘treasure’

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Teri Orr arrived in Park City in 1979, 29 years old and a single mother.

A ski-shop job awaited her that year, when Park City was a burgeoning ski resort, but the boom era was still a few years from starting.

In her 28 years in the city, Orr has been pivotal, with jobs as the editor of The Park Record and as the leader of the Park City Performing Arts Foundation, the organization that helps run the Eccles Center.

"It’s more like being Forrest Gump. I landed at the right place at the right time," Orr says as she talks about her career in Park City.

The Park City Chamber/Bureau on Wednesday, in a well-attended banquet at The Canyons, honored Orr with the Myles Rademan Spirit of Hospitality Award, named for the longtime City Hall Public Affairs director.

Speakers told stories of Orr’s accomplishments and the crowd gave her a standing ovation. Orr recounted her time in the city, speaking about being a single parent moving to a new place. She called Park City welcoming and said her term editing the newspaper taught her about Park City and the importance of public trust.

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She talked with delight about the Eccles Center, where her organization schedules a diverse calendar of arts and cultural events. Orr said 100,000 students have sat in the Eccles Center for special performances.

Orr honored others involved with the Eccles Center, including staffers and members of the board of directors. Most of the people in the audience stood when she wondered whether they are involved with the Eccles Center or had attended events at the center, which is at Park City High School and owned by the Park City School District.

"I hope what we did is increase things to do when you visit," Orr says in an interview, adding the approximately 1,300-seat Eccles Center "upped the ante" for performing arts in Park City.

She speaks about dance troupes, and singers like Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt.

Meanwhile, her organization runs a Deer Valley concert series, known as Big Stars, Bright Nights, put on performances on Main Street during the 2002 Winter Olympics and hosted part of the Cultural Olympiad during the Games.

She is proud of the Eccles Center staffers and says turnover is low. She is pleased the Performing Arts Foundation gives employees and their families full health-insurance coverage.

"It’s critical to have a staff, when you’re abusing them, in terms of nobody has a 40-hour week here," Orr says.

Speakers on Wednesday gave Orr numerous accolades. Ann MacQuoid remembered the formative days of the Performing Arts Foundation, noting Orr went to the Eccles Foundation in an effort to secure money in exchange for the naming rights to the building.

"We celebrate a treasure today," MacQuoid said.

Previous winners of the award are Rademan, Stein Eriksen, Nick Badami and Brad Olch. The award honors people who have been instrumental in Park City’s important tourism industry.

"Teri’s kind of like the perfect PR person for this whole community," Olch, who spent 12 years as the mayor of Park City, says in an interview, calling her honor overdue.

Olch says Park City was missing a place for the performing arts before the Eccles Center opened in 1998.

"It was a huge gap in what we needed to provide people here," he says.

Bill Malone, who leads the Park City Chamber/Bureau, agrees.

"Teri’s really added the arts-and-culture side to our community," Malone says, adding, "It elevated the level of our arts-and-culture product of our community."