Director Named for Utah Division of Arts & Museums


SALT LAKE CITY — Victoria Panella Bourns has been named the director of the The Utah Division of Arts & Museums.

Panella Bourns has directed the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) program for the past 12 years. The program distributes approximately $14 million annually to more than 170 arts and cultural organizations. Prior to joining ZAP, she assisted cultural organizations and other nonprofits with strategic planning, board development, and executive searches through Panella Consulting.

“Victoria has been a leader in the arts community for decades,” said Jill Remington Love, executive director of the Department of Heritage & Arts. The Division of Arts & Museums is one of six divisions within the department. “She’s familiar with the division’s role and will have an immediate, positive influence on its many programs.”

Throughout her career, Panella Bourns has worked for some of Utah’s premier organizations, including Repertory Dance Theater, KUER, and Salt Lake Acting Company. She served as treasurer for the Performing Arts Coalition during the planning and implementation of the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

As an active supporter of the arts, she helped transform the Utah Citizens for the Arts into the Utah Cultural Alliance. She also served as treasurer for the State Arts Advocacy League of America and played an important role in its transition into the Americans for the Arts State Arts Advocacy Network.

“It is an honor and privilege to be selected for this position and to work with such a great team,” Panella Bourns said. “We are so fortunate to live in a state that has valued arts and museums since it’s inception.”

An appreciation for the arts began for Panella Bourns during her childhood, when her aunt would take her and her siblings for performances at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In high school, she continued exploring music theory, art history, dance, and applied visual arts. Her passion for the arts led her to earn a Bachelor’s degree in dance and a Master’s degree in arts administration, both from the University of Utah.

In 2015, Panella Bourns received Utah Cultural Alliance’s Pillar of the Community Award. She was listed in Catalyst Magazine’s “Agents of Change: Catalysts in our Community” and received the 2000 Utah Arts Festival Mayor’s Award for Service to the Arts. She is a board member of the Western States Arts Federation.

Panella Bourns lives in Salt Lake City with her husband, Robert, and two cats. She will join UDAM as the director in April, after transitioning out of her position with Salt Lake County. She replaces Gay Cookson, who has been named the Director of Fundraising and Partnerships for the Department of Heritage & Arts