2019 Accomplishments

  • Worked with Preservation Utah to successfully save the Amanda Knight building at BYU. Instead of demolition, BYU will sell the building to a preservation-minded developer.
  • Will host a dinner with the entire legislature that is on the official social calendar the day before Arts Day on the Hill!
  • Partnered with Utah Museums Association and Office of Museum Services to organize the lobbying aspects of Museum Day on the Hill
  • Partnered with Utah Division of Arts & Museums, Art Works for Kids, and Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA)
  • Working with partners to develop a diversity and inclusion plan for the arts & cultural sector
  • Worked with partners (UMEA, Art Works, UDEO, UATT, UAEA, POPS, iSEE, and more) to develop an advocacy plan for improved arts & humanities K-12 education. This is the culmination of many years of coalition building.

2018 Accomplishments

  • Saved Middle School Arts education: We fought to reverse the school board's decision to make MS arts ed optional. We won in January 2018!
  • Saved Classical 89
  • Became the new managers of
  • Successfully lobbied for almost $9 million in new investments in Utah's nonprofit and for-profit cultural sector during the 2018 legislation session.
  • Lobbied UT's federal delegation to support funding for NEA, NEH, CPB, and IMLS. (increases for Fiscal Year 19!)
  • Utah is now home to over 40 RAP-type taxes and 8 public art programs.
  • Because we finished our 2015 strategic plan three years early, our staff spend 6 weeks and met with 75 members to gain feedback in our NEW strategic plan! Launched the plan in October. This includes renaming the 501c4 as Utah Cultural Alliance and the 501c3 as Utahns for Culture.
  • Launched our Cultural Asset Map and Events Calendar.
  • Worked with the legislature to add a statue of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon to represent UT in DC's statuary hall.
  • Worked to lesson regulations impacting the cultural sector through bills at the legislature.
  • Added a number of cultural items to the list of state designations including the Spiral Jetty, Native American Rock Art, and the Utahraptor.
  • Hosted professional development trainings around the state.
  • Launched a mentorship program.
  • Impacted elections: Candidate recruitment. graded legislators, and surveyed 300+ municipal and general election candidates between 2017 and 2018 cycles
  • 100% of the state senate and 94% of the state house belong to our Cultural Caucus.
  • Newsletter 10,000; social media followers 6,000; website traffic 10K monthly 

2017 Accomplishments

  1. Our 501c4 surveyed 200+ municipal candidates and endorsed 55. We shared survey results with voters. Nearly all endorsed candidates won their election. Scott Phillips who is present was an endorsed candidate!
  2. Cultural Caucus chairs: Senators Lyle Hillyard & Jim Dabakis in the Senate and Representatives Becky Edwards & Patrice Arent in the House.
  3. Three board members in addition to staff attended National Arts Advocacy Day in DC and one attended National Humanities Advocacy Day in DC. Students from SUU and the U were also in attendance. Our petition to save NEA, NEH, and CPB reached over 3,500 signatures. We kept in direct contact with our federal representatives and worked with them to convince them to support federal funding for culture, as well as working closely with Senator Hatch’s office to mitigate the negative impacts of tax reform to the cultural sector.
  4. Our ED, Crystal Young-Otterstrom became more involved with cultural advocacy on the national level, and was invited to join the advisory council for SAAN (State Arts Action Network) at Americans for the Arts.
  5. Successfully lobbied for passage of HB 211, adding the Spiral Jetty as the State Work of Land Art; SB 171 adding Native America Rock Art as the State Works of Art; HB 188 which improved the onerous regulations placed around historic districts from the session prior; HCR4 recognizing 50 years of public television; HCR2 recognizing Utah’s participation and history in WWI; and HB137 which improves the regulations set around nonprofits several sessions ago
  6. Successfully lobbied for $4,782,000 in NEW money to arts & humanities projects. This $ amount includes $250,000 in ongoing funds for Utah Division of Arts & Museums’s grants budget. We think that’s the first increase to the grants budget in 12 years.
  7. Our 501c4 graded legislators on their voting record for the first time! Over half of the legislature scored an A or better. It is thrilling to see how many of Utah’s elected officials care about arts & humanities.
  8. When BYU Broadcasting announced that they were getting rid of Classical 89, UCA was there to fight back. Over 16,000 people signed our petition! Classical 89 was saved in 2018.
  9. When the State School board voted to cut the Middle School arts education credits, we were there to fight back. Our petition grew to over 5,000 signatures and thousands of our statewide grassroots advocates reached out to their school board representatives. We worked on a compromise with the school board that maintains arts ed as a requirement for all students. The compromise passed in 2018.
  10. Every year since 2009, we co-hosted Arts Day on the Hill with Utah Division of Arts & Museums and Art Works for Kids. The 2017 Arts Day had over 300 attendees and was our best organized advocacy day. We added a two-day training opportunity in 2016 and have continued it. We also hosted legislative forums before and after the session in partnership with our colleagues at the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts
  11. Hosted culture bytes professional development forums in Moab, Cedar City, Logan, Bountiful, SLC, Ogden, and Orem. We are proud to partner with Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks on the professional development forums in Salt Lake City. The Moab forum was the first “Now Serving Utah” panel that we shared with Utah Division of Arts & Museums, Utah Humanities, and
  12. Adopted the Arts Alive Collective Impact Project and conducted a listening tour around the state as part of our adoption of that project.
  13. Launched our Cultural Asset Map (CYO will put up on the screen!)! This is a culmination of years of research and work.
  14. Authored our second State of Utah Culture report that details the economic impact of Utah’s cultural businesses. We are presenting it to BEDL at the start of the 2018 legislative session).
  15. Worked to foster regular meetings of the cultural community in various geographic areas. We attended Cache’s quarterly meetings twice and we now foster Davis County’s regular meetings. Davis County wants their meetings to be more than information sharing. They also want to set joint advocacy and awareness building goals. We think this is a model that we can replicate in more regions next year.

2016 Accomplishments

  1. We are celebrating our 35th anniversary this year. However, we discovered in our history that Crystal compiled from past board members and UCA staff that while we received our nonprofit status in 1981, we were actually incorporated in 1980, making us 36 this year. :S
  2. Yet another year of growing the membership and our revenues!
  3. Sold out luncheon, largest in modern history of UCA. 180 seats!
  4. 2016 Pillars of the Community, held at Zions Bank, was very successful. We honored: Michael Ballam, Founder of Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre // Cynthia Buckingham, Executive Director of Utah Humanities // Christy Williams, Program Director at KZMU in Moab and Founder of Moab ArtTrails
  5. We had another great year fighting for culture at the legislature and have also been working with a number of municipalities on local cultural initiatives such as more RAP-type taxes and 1% for public art programs.
  6. We sent Derek Dyer to National Arts Advocacy Day in D.C.
  7. We are ahead of schedule in implementing our 5 year strategic plan:
    1. We received our 501(c)4 that allows us to do even more with advocacy and policy making! We have also created a separate board to govern the 501(c)4.
    2. We have a funding plan in place for our 501(c)4 that will help grow UCA to a full-time organization (Crystal will talk about it more).
    3. We released a candidate survey that graded over 100 candidates on their friendliness of their campaigns towards culture.
    4. Culture Bytes went on the road to Cache (twice), Cedar City, and Moab. Moab and Cedar City were multi day trips with multiple events.
    5. Great turnout as well at all Salt Lake Culture Bytes, due in large part to our partnership with Salt Lake County’s Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP). We also held three in the new Community Conversations format that were friendly to individual artists as well as those working for organizations.
    6. We released the first of our State of the State reports that assesses the economic contribution of Utah’s cultural businesses. This is a year ahead of schedule! We presented it to the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Sub-committee at the legislature to great acclaim. 
    7. We are beginning the process to better collect statewide economic data from cultural businesses. 

2015 Accomplishments

  1. Yet another year of growing the membership and our revenues!
  2. Sold out luncheon
  3. Culture Bytes in Cache and Moab
  4. Great turnout at all Culture Bytes/Brown Bags, due in large part to our partnership with Salt Lake County’s Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP). 
  5. New Pillars of the Community format (a networking oriented evening event), honored an organization for the first time and turned it into a small fundraiser for our organization.
  6. Increased advocacy successes thanks to our lobbyist Jayceen Walker and advocacy team: Ken Crossley, Brooke Horejsi, and Penelope Caywood. Stay tuned for our 2016 legislative priorities! 
  7. We sent Derek to National Arts Advocacy Day AND Ken to National Humanities Advocacy Day!
  8. We drafted a strategic plan, certainly our first in at least 10+ years and possibly our first in the history of the organization (since 1981!)


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