Guest editorial: Community must rally around the Park City Institute
Future Park City co-founder
One would be hard pressed to find another town of 8,000 people that counts the quality and quantity of arts and culture programming Park City does. We’ve co-hosted the Olympics and stand to play an integral role in courting a second Games. Sundance Film Festival brings the most talented filmmakers to our doorsteps annually. Supremely accomplished women led highly visible social justice protests down Main Street and in City Park. Last month, our own PCHS students rallied 1000+ marchers and stood arm-in-arm with Parkland shooting survivors to demand action on gun violence. Multiple organizations, events, artists, creative spaces and makers weave the ever-evolving fabric of our community. The arts are so deeply embedded in our local culture that City government is developing a district dedicated to their advancement.
All this does not happen by accident. It requires deliberate and diligent cultural curators committed to education and exploration, willing to take chances and prioritize audience enrichment over ticket sales. And it thrives among audiences that abandon expectation while embracing potentials and possibility.
For 20 years, Park City Institute has invited groundbreaking performers and acclaimed speakers to root global conversations on our local stages. These conversations directly shape the broader Park City experience. They inspire provocative dialogue around our dinner tables and progressive outcomes at City Hall. They promote tolerance and respect. They put our quaint community on a global arts and culture map, in turn attracting world-class events and brilliant minds to make their homes here. They are the very soul of our quirky, creative and increasingly diverse community.
PCI is a uniquely authentic and mission driven organization that supports other beloved, local nonprofits while running very lean in its commitment to investing nearly all of its budget in its programming. It elevates emerging artists across genres from pop to country. It forces exploration of the zeitgeist through conversations with people like Edward Snowden and Monica Lewinsky. It invites the participation of our entire community with affordably priced adult and $5 student tickets. It places its performers and speakers inside Summit County classrooms in order to cultivate more involved, informed and compassionate young citizens of our world.
The Institute doesn’t just book acts; it builds careers and community and invites the kinds of big ideas, influencers and outcomes typically reserved for large, urban locales. It enriches every single human who has the privilege to partake in its offerings. And as its 21st season begins, it needs our help.
Keep Park City “Park City” is our mantra. In the same “it takes a village” spirit Parkites brought to the widely publicized fight for our town name in 2016, we must rally once more and fight to keep PCI. Displaced from its usual summer home after 14 years, PCI remains committed to delivering another season’s worth of illuminating experiences despite the logistical and financial challenges related to installing/uninstalling a venue each week.
Every $49 ticket and/or membership purchased this summer represents invaluable investment in Park City’s future and affirmation of everything our village is. We care not that our neighbor’s house is perfectly tidy. Instead, we are grateful simply to be invited for an evening of bread-breaking and conversation. Let this be the summer we villagers abandon expectation while embracing potentials and possibility. Let us gather together with picnic baskets in tow to partake in PCI’s wonderful entertainment and scintillating conversations while ensuring one of our most important cultural institutions endures this season of change and goes on to find a new, forever summer home. We are Park City, and Park City Institute is all of us.
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