So Long, But Not Farewell: Celebrating Jill Love’s ‘Transformative’ Leadership

To say farewell to Jill Remington Love, we’ve compiled a timeline of her most significant accomplishments in managing the Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement. “Transformative” is a word longtime staffers use to describe her leadership.

Beyond her service as a member of Gov. Spencer Cox’s cabinet, Jill has built department morale with her ambitious retreat planning, regular staff email updates including inspirational art shares, and her consistent acknowledgements of extraordinary staff work. 

Perhaps one enduring image that marks Jill’s commitment to CCE was her joy in delivering appreciation gifts to employees working remotely during the pandemic.

December 2016 > Jill Remington Love was appointed head of the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts by then-Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. 

Jill began her tenure by listening to staff in individual meetings with more than 140 employees. 

She launched good change as she began building support to protect the Alice Merrill Horne art and Utah Historical Society’s collections. At her direction, collections staff began offering tours of basement storage rooms in the Rio Grande depot, with influential tour goers including Legislators and their wives.

2017 > With Kerry Nakamura, deputy director, Jill launched Think Like a Beginner initiatives, along with Heritage Huddles, regular staff trainings, and created Grande Performer awards to inspire creativity. She began hiring initiatives that eventually led to every division strategically reimagining their work and reconnecting to the Utahns they serve.

Along with other programs, in her tenure Jill sought Legislative support for: a women’s public history initiative; increased funding for State Library grants; ongoing funds to manage and insure the state’s art and history collections; merging historic preservation with tax incentive programs; and the State Historic Preservation Office’s Cultural Site Stewardship volunteer program.

2018 > The department sponsored New Nations and EduHam contests inspired by “Hamilton,” the touring Broadway musical. The collaboration between Arts & Museums and History helped youth throughout the state be inspired by America’s founding story. 

2019 > Under Jill’s leadership, the department joined with the Spike 150 Foundation to celebrate the anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Statewide celebrations included a Utah Capitol exhibition reuniting the original three spikes, performing arts and literary events, and a recreation of the driving of the last spike on May 10 attended by visitors from around the world. In 2024, the celebration will continue with the installation of the last of three prominent public artworks.

Under her tenure, Gov. Gary Herbert received national recognition for his leadership supporting the arts.

2020 > After a March earthquake closed the Rio Grande Depot, Jill worked with state officials to find temporary homes for staff offices and state collections. She also secured the department’s permanent home back in the Rio Grande Depot after renovation, and helped launch a re-envisioning of the building’s connection to the public and the neighborhood.

During Covid-19 shutdowns, Jill managed partnerships that led to the investment of more than $40 million in pandemic funding to support artists and art groups and underserved communities. She supported the work of the Covid-19 Multicultural Advisory Committee in addressing statewide gaps in communications and health services, and launching significant conversations after national unrest and protests due to George Floyd’s death.

During the pandemic, Jill helped divisions find their role in serving the public, such as supporting the staff who kept the Library for the Blind warehouse open, proving books and braille materials to most of the western United States. After hiring Kat Potter as deputy director, the pair launched an initiative to rename and rebrand the Department of Cultural & Community Engagement.

2021 > Jill oversaw the year-long celebration of Thrive125, an anniversary commemoration of historic and contemporary Utah, launched with firework displays in every Utah county and an Emmy-winning performing arts broadcast. 

The department celebrated the return of the touring musical “Hamilton” with the One Utah: A ‘Revolutionary’ essay-writing contest for high school students. 

Jill oversaw the integration of the STEM Action Center and the Main Street program into the department, as she would later integrate the Pete Suazo Athletic Commission.

2022 > In 2022, Jill led hiring for the Museum of Utah’s first employees and oversaw exhibit planning and preparations for the museum’s 2026 opening. She personally placed phone calls seeking artifacts and contributions to fill in gaps in the state’s collection. And she helped the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs mark its 10th anniversary by honoring community leaders.

In addition, she oversaw the unprecented year-long public engagement initiative that led to legislative adoption of a new state flag, which Gov. Spencer Cox adopted with an executive order on March 21, 2023.

2023 > “I hired good people, got out of their way, and had a blast,” is how Jill summarized her time at CCE.

Over seven years, Jill’s empathetic leadership has merged separate programs into a department of collaborative divisions that together serve as the heart and soul of the state. We are grateful for the career’s worth of experience she invested as she re-envisioned and transformed our department and our programs, which serve Utahns throughout the state.

We dub her the Grandest Performer of all.