Shooting for the moon
That phrase carried a lot of weight during fiscal year 2019 for the Department of Heritage & Arts. We challenged assumptions, attacked barriers, and defied the status quo. We thought like beginners, and in the end strengthened our role as experts. In every division, initiatives that seemed impossibly ambitious — like a moonshot — were successfully completed.
The Division of Arts & Museums secured $2 million in funding for grants to arts and museums, more than doubling the current funding. Utah History Day exceeded their already mind-blowing participation rates. Multicultural Affairs, recognizing the importance of students statewide having the opportunity to attend the leadership programs, created travel grants for remote schools. Utah State Library launched a throwback reading initiative featuring local celebrities holding their favorite book.
And, of course, the entire department helped make Spike 150 a capstone event that impacted the entire state. From funding community plays to bringing the Pacific Railway Act and Golden Spike together for the first time since 1869, it seemed there was nothing we couldn't accomplish.
I distinctly remember that throughout the spring, my personal social media feed was filled with stories about our incredible work. I saw pictures from the Transcontinental Railroad grade as groups learned about the lives of workers, especially the Chinese, from Chris Merritt and the antiquities team. I read articles about the “Treasures” exhibition at the Utah State Capitol, expertly planned, curated, and executed by our collections team. Other posts highlighted the books, music, and movies sent to local libraries as Spike 150 kits, the Spike 150-related work by local artists on display at the Rio Gallery, a joint exhibition with USU about building the railroad, community plays, musicals, and even operas written by Utahns that included contributions from people within our department.
It didn't stop with Spike 150, however. During that same time period, I saw highlights from the annually sold-out Mountain West Arts Conference and Bookmobile Conference, images of our artifacts collection, and links to stories from Muse magazine.
All of that, within the span of a few weeks.
Throughout this annual report, you will see highlights of many more accomplishments throughout fiscal year 2019. I hope everyone who reads this report will celebrate their own successes as well as the accomplishments of their peers.
During my time as executive director, I have learned to not be amazed or surprised at what we accomplish as a department or the professionalism of everyone who works here. I simply know that any project we undertake will meet, and exceed, the highest standards. That gives me confidence that we can continue to impact the state, and all of the people we serve, in positive ways.
Jill Remington Love
To preserve, foster, and share Utah’s diverse cultural heritage for present and future generations by encouraging and celebrating intellectual, creative, and civic contributions statewide.
In early May, the country, and indeed the world, had its eyes on Utah as thousands of people celebrated a feat that united America 150 years ago. The daylong ceremony on May 10 at the Golden Spike National Historic Park culminated months of planning and served as the capstone for sesquicentennial events statewide.
For the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, a particular emphasis was placed on recognizing the contributions of the workers who built the railroad. These included Irish, Chinese, Native American, Mormon, Greek, Polish, and other descents who completed the tremendous accomplishment that still resonates.
The Department of Heritage & Arts played a crucial role in organizing Spike 150 and its many related events throughout fiscal year 2019.
The “Treasures” exhibition: Among the most important accomplishments for the department related to Spike 150 was an exhibition at the Utah State Capitol, “Treasures,” which featured the original Golden Spike and the 1862 Pacific Railway Act. Along with securing the loan for the items from the National Archives, Cantor Museum, and others, the department created many interpretive panels that allowed visitors to learn about the building of the railroad and its impacts — positive and negative — on the country. Although the exhibition ended in late June, the department developed a digital version for people to explore. Other exhibitions were also created for Spike 150 by divisions and partners.
Spike 150 grants: Funding from the Utah Legislature was specifically targeted for grants to organizations marking the 150th anniversary in some fashion, managed by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums. The grant recipients included historic railroad depots, community theaters, schools, and cultural organizations.
Library Toolkits: The Utah State Library put together collections for local libraries that included books, movies, and other materials connected to the Transcontinental Railroad. These were given, without cost, to the libraries that applied.
A semi-annual celebration of the people and organizations that anchor the state's culture. The first issue was published in April, and will continue to be published every six months.
A New Museum for Utah
The approval of a new storage facility and exhibition space on Capitol Hill capped a years-long effort to build a permanent home for the state-owned arts and historic artifacts collections.
Based on the Wordpress X theme, the new websites allow individual expression for each division while maintaining department branding standards.
Think Like A BeginnerA department-wide initiative encouraged managers and employees to consider different ways to tackle the challenges they face and provide more impactful service.
Multiple divisions worked together to launch the pilot program of this collaborative initiative in Tooele, where local leaders want to use culture as an economic driver.
The Department of Heritage & Arts tracks two performance measures. These measures encourage collaboration between programs and divisions and evaluate departmental processes, policies, and operations to improve efficiency.
Percentage of division programs that are engaged in at least one collaborative project annually. GOAL: 66%
Measurement to begin in fiscal year 2020.
Performance audits or evaluations of department process or systems completed annually. GOAL: 6
The Department of Heritage & Arts includes six divisions and nearly 200 professionals who strengthen the state through cultural development. Beginning in FY20, the department will expand to seven divisions with the addition of the STEM Action Center. The department budget supports collaborative and multi-division projects as well as the departmental administration. In FY19, the administration streamlined many business processes and centralized functions such as finance, IT, and communications and marketing. In all cases, the emphasis was on removing barriers and supporting the professional work of all divisions.