Local arts agencies work to foster and support the arts in their communities. Whether they take the form of councils, boards, committees, government entities or nonprofit organizations, they are at the heart of community arts participation and play an important role in advocating, encouraging and developing arts and cultural awareness. They frequently interface with local government, acting as a critical resource for community-building and raising the quality of life. For a list of local arts agencies in Utah, click HERE.
Local Arts Agency Definition for the Utah Division of Arts & Museums
(adapted from the NEA’s definition)
A Local Arts Agency (LAA) is a nonprofit organization or a local government agency that presents programming to the public, provides services to artists and arts organizations, manages cultural facilities, awards grants, and/or participates in community cultural planning. A Local Arts Agency is differentiated from other community arts organizations by its responsibility for supporting, fostering, and cultivating the arts within and throughout their community.
In Utah, LAAs serve a single designated local municipality (either a city/town or county) and require a Local Arts Agency Designation Agreement to be eligible for the Local Arts Agency grant. The Designation Agreement must be signed by both a Local Arts Agency representative and a municipality representative (mayor, council person, city/county administrator). The LAA must also perform three out of the ten activities outlined on the Designation Agreement.
Designated Local Arts Agency
Typical activities of local arts agencies include:
- Promoting/providing access to diverse art forms
- Addressing cultural diversity and traditional arts
- Regional fundraising for the arts/grantmaking
- Cultural assessment and planning
- Caring for a community’s art collections
- Producing/presenting programs not otherwise available
- Supporting the creative economy/economic development
- Managing art facilities or venues
- Advocating for the arts
- Providing services to artists and arts organizations
Entities that engage in at least three of the above activities and that are recognized by their municipalities as the official local arts agency for the defined community they serve through a Local Arts Agency Designation Agreement are eligible to apply for Utah Arts & Museums Local Arts Agency Grants.
Leadership & Professional Development
The Change Leader Program is a professional development course and an active network of course graduates committed to bringing about positive change in communities through arts and culture. It is particularly valuable training for Local Arts Agencies because of its strong emphasis on community building. Ideally at least one representative of each local arts agency will participate in the Change Leader Program. Following the three-day intensive Institute, participants complete a certification project. These certified Change Leaders then mentor each other and continue to meet through ongoing conferences and networking events
The Mountain West Arts Conference is a region-wide gathering that provides opportunities for innovation, networking and professional development. Several sessions each year are programmed to meet the needs of local arts agencies. The conference is designed to help individuals and organizations in the arts access essential resources and create lasting connections throughout Utah and the Mountain West. The conference is also part of a long-term effort to sustain the creative industry by providing opportunities, education, tools, information and resources that serve all contributors to the arts.
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Local arts agencies are often the main catalyst for sharing information with the elected officials who make decisions affecting arts and culture and should participate in public policy discussions that affect their communities. Effective advocacy hinges on continuous education and communication between supporters (advocates), their decision-makers (local politicians, state and federal legislators) and the public. For more information on advocacy events, click on a link below:
The Creative Vitality Index is an annual measure of the economic health of the arts-related creative economy in Utah. This relative score includes for-profit and nonprofit arts-related creative enterprises and the key support and service activities that sustain them.
- Utah Arts & Museums Local Arts Agency Grant Guidelines
- UA&M Grants System Tutorial
- Americans for the Arts Resources for Local Arts Agencies
- Utah League of Cities and Towns
- Additional Online Toolkits
Download an information sheet on the Community Arts program.