September 12, 2023
Contact: Dustin Nay

Utah Cultural Alliance Appoints Ernesto Balderas as Interim Executive Director

Balderas brings 10 years of nonprofit and arts & culture expertise to the role

Ernesto Balderas, interim Executive Director for Utah Cultural AllianceSalt Lake City, Utah – Utah Cultural Alliance (UCA) and Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation (UCAF) announce Ernesto Balderas as Interim Executive Director. Balderas was hired as the organization’s Communications Director in 2020 and more recently served in the Deputy Director role. Under his leadership, UCA will continue its work to support and represent the arts and cultural community in Utah and to measurably expand investment in the sector. A skilled dance performer, Ernesto graduated from Southern Utah University (SUU) Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration in 2017. During his undergraduate and graduate work at SUU, Ernesto worked for and with many nonprofit organizations including at Southern Utah University, with TURN Community Services, at Southern Utah Museum of Art, and for the last three years at Utah Cultural Alliance. 

In his new role at the helm of UCA, Ernesto plans to expand the community of artists, performers, museums and cultural institutions that UCA supports and showcase the evidence of the sector’s positive impact on the State’s economics and quality of life. 

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Utah as Interim Director of the Utah Cultural Alliance,” Ernesto said. “UCA is the industry organization for the cultural sector, which significantly contributes to Utah’s employment, tourism spending, and overall GDP. A thriving arts & cultural sector benefits Utahns and visitors alike.”

Specifically, Ernesto will:

  • Launch the Member First initiative, which aims to deepen UCA’s engagement with members including improving member benefits and co-creating cultural advocacy opportunities. 
  • Prioritize inclusive growth, working to amplify voices from BIPOC communities and rural areas in the arts and culture sector. 
  • Broadcast the proven value of arts and culture on our economy and wellbeing with data and storytelling.

"Ernesto’s leadership marks an exciting milestone for Utah's cultural sector,” said  David Wicai, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Utah Division of Cultural and Community Engagement and Board Chair of the Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation. “His vision encompasses the evolving spirit and goals of both UCA and UCAF which goes beyond the industry itself; it’s about enriching the lives of every Utahn through arts and culture.” 


Utah Cultural Alliance and Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation (UCA)

Founded in 1980, UCA serves as an advocate and resource hub for Utah’s arts and cultural community. Representing over 300 organizations and artists statewide, UCA works to increase public investment, improve access, and elevate the broader cultural sector's contribution to Utah's social and economic well-being. UCA champions arts and culture as essential to the quality of life for every Utahn. For more information, visit