RAP Tax Committee aims for more collaboration between organizations
The Park City Summit County Arts Council works behind the scenes. As an umbrella organization, the nonprofit rarely hosts events or organizes projects. Instead, its job is to facilitate meetings and help artists and organizations.
The organization’s mission statement recognizes that: "The Park City Summit County Arts Council promotes the importance of the arts; encourages financial and community support for cultural organizations and facilities; and develops programs that maximize public awareness of art, artists and culture."
Park City Summit County Arts Council executive director Kathy Hunter also echoed that statement, describing the organization as a Chamber/Bureau for the cultural community.
"It gets everyone strengthened by getting everyone together at the same table, sharing resources," she said.
On Wednesday, Dec. 10, the Summit County Commission accepted a list of recommendations from the Cultural RAP Tax Committee that are meant to help the Arts Council do its job. The list of recommendations formalizes the organization’s relationship with the Summit County Cultural RAP Tax Committee.
The recommendations list the Arts Council as the organization responsible for screening new nonprofit groups those without 501(c)(3) status when they apply that wish to receive Cultural RAP Tax funds. The recommendations also outline how the Arts Council and the RAP Tax Committee should deal with those groups, and how the Arts Council should coordinate all of the groups receiving RAP Tax funds.
According to RAP Tax Committee chairman Tom Fey, the committee has made these requests in the past.
"We recommended it to the commission last year, but somehow it didn’t happen with the Arts Council," he said.
While last year the RAP Tax Committee requested that the Arts Council facilitate meetings with those organizations receiving RAP Tax funds, this year, those organizations will be required to attend regularly scheduled meetings facilitated by the Arts Council.
Fey said the new set of recommendations is designed to reinforce the committee’s desires. Hunter, who has only been with Arts Council a few months, said the recommendations are, "formalizing reaffirming and moving forward with the things we’ve been talking about."
"It’s a very positive thing," she said, "and it’s something we’ve been talking about with the committee members for quite some time."
While some of the Cultural RAP Tax groups already work together on some programs and fundraisers, such collaborations are fairly rare and are generally short-lived. The recommendations to the commission are meant to change that situation.
"It’s always been the aim of the Summit County Arts Council to facilitate collaboration," said Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliot. "It just takes constant reminding."
"We think there can be more collaboration," said Fey, "and at the very least, more communication."
"It’s intended to create more cohesiveness in the arts community," said Hunter. "I think the monthly meets are a way to get the groups together to promote common goals."
If the various arts and cultural groups can work together, they can more effectively promote their organizations and interests, both within the community and outside the Summit County.
But at the same time, Hunter said she had no intentions of subjugating each group’s unique purpose and identity.
"The key is to respect what each of these artists or organizations are trying to do individually," she said, "but what this can do is to identify common interests."
That will allow groups to pool resources where they can while encouraging groups to work together, effectively strengthening the arts community in Summit County.
Similarly, the committee hopes that by asking the Arts Council to act as a sponsor and screener for new nonprofit groups, the organization can help increase the strength of the applicants.
According to Fey, the RAP Tax Committee began asking the Arts Council to work with the new groups last year.
"We did it last year specifically so everyone would understand how to go about that process," he said.
According to Hunter, the Arts Council’s role would be as a helper for new organizations, rather than as a gate-keeper.
"I think of it more as guiding," she said, "and it’s a perfect fit for what the council’s mission is."
She said the Arts Council would help shepherd the new organizations through the RAP Tax Application process, making sure organizations take care of details and know what kind of support they can receive.
That vision of the Arts Council’s role dovetails with that of the Cultural RAP Tax Committee. Ultimately, Fey said the committee’s aim is relatively simple.
"We’re just trying to strengthen the Summit County Arts Council and give them the ability to promote that collaboration between the arts groups," he said.
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