Daily Bytes

Legislative Wrap-up 2016

It was a good year for the arts at the Utah Legislature, according to Julie Fisher, director of the Department of Heritage and Arts. Of course, those who didn’t get funded didn’t feel the love quite so much.

“There really is no fairness in this,” Fisher reminded attendees at the Utah Cultural Alliance legislative wrap-up meeting Monday at the Rio Grande Depot.

Representative Becky Edwards’ bill to name Spiral Jetty the State Work of Art passed the House, but did not receive a vote in Senate, so did not pass. Jim Dabakis’ Arts and Cultural Education Spending bill, which would have required a school district, charter school, and institution of higher education to
spend a certain amount of state funds on arts and cultural education, also failed in the Senate.

Other arts-related bills were more successful. Bills that passed and are now on the governor’s desk awaiting a signature are: Brian Shiozawa’s SB0137, which allows counties to impose a sales and use tax to fund publicly owned recreational, zoological, botanical and cultural institutions (similar to Salt Lake County’s ZAP tax); Brian Wilson’s House Bill, which makes it more difficult to create historic districts; and two amendment bills that will be of more interest to staff at arts organizations than the general public— one that amends the requirements for obtaining a charitable solicitation license, and another that affects incentives for state-approved production by a motion picture company.

Happy organizations for Fiscal Year 2017 include:

Alive! Exhibit at the Leonardo: $200,000 total from 2 bills 1x

Amazing Earthfest: $10,000 1x

American Festival Chorus: $50,000 1x

BTSALP (Beverly T. Sorenson Arts Learning Program): 5 million ongoing + 750,000 1x: Every elementary school in the state gets once-weekly instruction from a professional in art, music, dance or drama.

Harvey Harris Cluff House: $30,000 1x

Competitive Grant Program for Cultural Activities $100,000 ongoing + $350,000 1x (This money goes to Arts and Museums. Fisher says $450,000 will be put into a competitive process, the details haven’t been worked out, but it won’t all go to one organization.)

Desert Star Theater: $100,000 1x

GIGI’s Playhouse: $15,000 1x ( Down Syndrome Achievement Center)

Hale Theatre: $100,000 1x

Hill Aerospace Museum: $150,000 1x

Historic Festivals: $25,000 1x

Innovation International Choreographic Festival: $100,000 (Ballet West) 1x

Reuben Clark Historic Farm: $35,000 1x

Living Planet Aquarium: $200,000 1x

Moab Music Festival: $25,000

Natural History Museum: $200,000 1x

Odyssey Dance Theater: $100,000 1x

POPS (Professional Outreach Programs to Schools – connects professional arts organizations’ education programs with schools across the state (typically Utah Symphony and Utah Opera.) $500,000 ongoing + $125,000 1x for Resident Artist Programs.

Salt Lake County Children’s Theatre: $15,000 1x

Sports Hall of Fame $58,000: 1x

Sundance: $500,000 1x

Thanksgiving Point Biosphere: $750,000 1x

Topaz Museum: $50,000 1x

Tuacahn: $100,000 total from 2 bills 1x

Utah Arts Festival: $150,000 1x

Utah Humanities: $35,000 ongoing + $50,000 1x

Utah Shakespearean Festival: $25,000 1x

UVU Performing Arts Building: 32 million over 3 years

Utah Symphony Tour ($300,000) was funded for 2016 “because they need their money right away.”

Wendover Museum: $400,000 1x

, a graduate of the University of Utah, is a freelance writer and editor who spent most of her career at The Salt Lake Tribune. She also worked for Salt Lake City Weekly and has written for such publications as Utah Business Magazine and Salt Lake Magazine.

Categories: Daily Bytes

4 replies »

  1. I don’t see a good year here. I see vacuous entertainment (aka ‘Spectacle’) getting tax dollars while art of substance gets brushed off. Why this should surprise anyone in a state that spends less on education than ISIS is a valid question, I suppose. Meanwhile, no mention of the coup that demolished the last vestige of Utah’s proud tradition of generous support for an independent curatorial agency.
    Business as usual.

    • Oh, Geoff, so glad you’re back to keep us on our toes! It was an hour meeting, moved very quickly, and if the curatorial agency came up I missed it. Just reporting on what I heard to the best of my ability. I personally thought it wonderful that the Sports Hall of Fame got $58,000. I DID mention that.

  2. Oh, Ann! If anything in the US doesn’t need public support it’s sports. Billions of dollars are wasted on the biggest, emptiest spectacle of them all. And where do the arts fit in this? As the stepchild of entertainment?

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