Guest editorial | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial

The Kimball Art Center is ready to be a part of something bigger

Maggie Abuhaidar, Chair
Kimball Art Center Board of Directors

On behalf of the Kimball Art Center, I want to express our strong support for and excitement about the creation of Park City's first-ever Arts and Culture District in Bonanza Park, as well as a sincere thanks to Park City Municipal and the Sundance Institute, with whom we have entered into a partnership to envision, plan and, hopefully, develop the District.

Ever since we sold our building on Main Street, we have been operating in a temporary space on Kearns Blvd., within the boundaries of the planned District. We have also been trying to figure out where to build our new, permanent home, one where we can stay true to our mission to inspire and connect through art, and also stay true to Bill Kimball's vision to provide a gathering place for the Park City community to experience the transformative power of the arts.

This new District gives us the opportunity to do both and to build our new home less than one mile from our old home, the once dilapidated garage that Mr. Kimball turned into a beloved community art center. Also, it is only steps from our temporary home at one of the City's most prominent entryways, at the heart of the bus and trail system, with parking, and a stone's throw from three Park City schools, including the high school. This will also give the Kimball Art Center an opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves, part of a district that will celebrate and breed creative thought and enterprise.

There are many emotional reasons to support the creation of an Arts and Culture District, but, there are many rational reasons as well. Having arts and culture districts has been shown to benefit residents, and attract new ones. According to the American Planning Association, such districts also "increase attention and foot traffic to an area, including attracting visitors and increasing the length of time and money they spend, thereby contributing to continued development."

Creating an Arts and Culture District does not deny the existence of the already rich abundance of arts and culture offerings in Park City. It does the very opposite. It names and centralizes creative and cultural assets by locating and drawing attention to them and, as Americans for the Arts explains, it can serve as "a focal point to brand a city's unique cultural identity." This allows communities to, among other things, make those assets more recognizable and accessible and to capitalize on them economically.

We at the Kimball Art Center are very excited to begin this journey with the City and with Sundance Institute, and look forward to envisioning and building the next gathering place for the Park City community to experience the transformative power of the arts.