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Utah ranked first in the nation for volunteering for ninth year running

UServeUtah_VCLA2014ThumbFor Immediate Release

Utah ranked first in the nation for volunteering for ninth year running  

SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 17, 2014) – For the ninth consecutive year, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has ranked Utah first in the U.S. for voluntarism because of Utahns’ generosity and commitment to improve their communities.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gary R. Herbert and the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism announced the 2014 Volunteering and Civic Life in America (VCLA) report ranked Utah as the No. 1 volunteering state in the nation for the ninth year running. The announcement was held in conjunction with release of the CNCS report.

“The VCLA report reaffirms that we have wonderful people who call Utah home and that care about their neighbors,” said Gov. Herbert. “Utahns proactively looking for opportunities to serve their community and help others save cost to government and to taxpayers. Their volunteer efforts pay significant dividends on many levels.”

Research from the VCLA 2014 report ranks Utah as the No. 1 volunteering state in the nation with 45.3 percent of adults volunteering. The report is part of the most comprehensive study of volunteering and civic engagement across the country. The data is gathered annually through the Current Population Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data was collect on the volunteering and civic activities of Americans age 16 and older.   

“Utah citizens are extremely generous and consistently demonstrate their commitment to impacting the lives of individuals in their communities,” said LaDawn Stoddard, executive director for the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism.

The total economic value of volunteer service in Utah was $3.5 billion based on the independent sector annual estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour, which was $22.65 in 2013. More than 900,000 volunteers served approximately 154.9 million total hours.

The spirit of Utah’s volunteerism is exemplified in individual cities. The report also ranks the nation’s largest cities and metropolitan areas for their volunteering and civic engagement rates. Salt Lake City increased its ranking, moving from number five to second in the metropolitan cities category nationally. For mid-sized cities Provo ranked No. 1 again at 53.2 percent with Ogden coming in a close second at 52.2 percent of adults volunteering.  The complete report can be accessed at  

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Exhibition at the Utah State Capitol Highlights the Work of Utah Women

For immediate release               

December 17, 2014


Exhibition at the Utah State Capitol Highlights the Work of Utah Women

“Women Artists of Utah” celebrates a selection of remarkable works by Utah women. Women have always been active and essential participants in our cultural heritage. This exhibit includes a variety of works, from early Utah masters to present-day emerging and established artists who have contributed to Utah’s rich artistic history. The breadth of work on view showcases a spectrum of artistic styles, from the collection’s inception in 1899 to work being produced by Utah’s contemporary women artists. “Women have always played an important role in the arts; especially in Utah as Alice Merrill Horne, who once elected to the legislature in 1899, established what is now the Utah Division of Arts & Museums” says Utah Arts & Museums director Lynnette Hiskey. “We are proud to own so many important works of art by Utah’s talented women.” The exhibition will be on display in the Utah State Capitol Building Dec. 23 – Mar. 13, 2015 on the fourth floor gallery.

One of those talented women is Susan Makov. “I have had great teaching colleagues and wonderful artist friends. There has never been a question of their talent or passion for their work. But of course passion alone does not make a career; there must be opportunity as well,” says Makov. “In large cities like New York, one may find opportunities to show work at influential and eminent institutions like the Museum of Modern Art. I chose to teach as my main career, and Utah and the American West offered me great prospects on that path. I know that being a professional artist means perseverance and dedication to the calling over decades and making a living doing it, like any other professional.”

Keisha Goeckeritz, whose piece Scribbles No. 10 was just purchased in 2013 when she was a student, will also be featured in this exhibit.  “I’ve always thought of myself as any other person that’s an artist, but there’s this worry that women artists tend to forfeit their abilities to obscurity.” Goeckeritz continues, “To me, being an artist isn’t a career, it’s what I am.”

If you have questions about this exhibit or the State of Utah Fine Art Collection, please contact Jim Glenn at or 801.245.7271 or Emily 801.363.0298

Utah Arts & Museums Seeking Artists to Create Artwork for the University of Utah’s Oral Health Science Building


December 9, 2014

Utah Arts & Museums Seeking Artists to Create Artwork for the  University of Utah’s Oral Health Science Building 


The Division of Arts & Museums’ Public Art Program, in association with The University of Utah School of Dentistry is currently seeking artists or artist teams to create public art for the new Ray and Tye Noorda Oral Health Sciences Building on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Art Selection Committee for this project believes site specific public art for the facility can be an important part of the inspiration and stimulus for clinical excellence, educational pursuit, research and discovery for staff, students and visitors. “Utah Arts & Museums is honored to be working in partnership with the community at the University of Utah in helping coordinate site specific art work for this important new dental health facility,” says Arts & Museums Director Lynnette Hiskey. “Involving artists in the creation of public space not only enhances the facility but deepens the experience of the place for staff, visitors and students.”

The full description and how to apply is at Interested artists must apply by 5 p.m. MST, Jan. 16, 2015. Artists may submit qualifications online

The Public Art Program was created by the Utah State Legislature in 1985 with the passage of the Percent-for-Art-Act. This statute allows for 1 % of construction costs for new or remodeled State facilities to be added to the project for the commissioning or acquisition of art that is site specific to the facility and community. To date, over 230 works have been placed in State facilities statewide. For more information visit or contact Jim Glenn or 801.245.7271 or Felicia Baca at or801.245.7272.

Utah State History Receives Grant to Increase Awareness of Asian and Pacific Islanders’ Impact

5 December 2014

Geoff Fattah, 801-245-7205, Public Information Office, Dept. of Heritage and Arts

Dr. Christopher Merritt, 801-245-7263 or, Archaeologist, Utah Division of State History

Utah State History Receives Grant to Increase Awareness of Asian and Pacific Islanders’ Impact

Salt Lake City – The Utah Division of State History received $42,050 from the National Park Service to increase the awareness of Asian and Pacific Islander communities’ contributions to Utah’s history and to increase the number of listings in the National Register of Historic Places associated with these underrepresented communities.

The project will engage with prominent facets of Utah history – the role of Chinese laborers on the railroads and the Pacific Islander settlement of Iosepa – that intersect these communities.

First, on May 10, 1869 the United States’ first transcontinental railroad was completed at Promontory Point, Utah, using over 10,000 Chinese laborers in its construction.  In 2019, the nation will celebrate the 150th anniversary of this significant event, even though no Chinese sites associated with the railroad construction have been nominated to, or listed on, the National Register of Historic Places. Chinese laborers also helped in the construction of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad from 1880-1883, just before passage of a restrictive immigration act.

A second area of focus is on the founding of Iosepa in 1889 by a community of Pacific Islanders recently converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Over the next 28 years the population of Iosepa grew to over 200, with construction of frame houses, sawmills, canals, in-ground water systems, and many other modern conveniences before abandonment in 1917. Since 1980, the descendant community has held Memorial Day celebrations at the Iosepa Cemetery, while the remains of the town are located on private lands.

“The goals of this project are to identify the existing body of knowledge on these communities, raise awareness of the historic contributions of these communities to Utah and national history, and formally recognize those contributions through National Register of Historic Places listing,” said Dr. Christopher Merritt, an archaeologist with the Utah Division of State History and the project’s manager. “These efforts will engage a diverse cadre of stakeholders, descendant community groups, and the general public.”

“Our American heritage is a tapestry made up of threads from many nations and communities, and we are working with public and private partners to help ensure that our National Register of Historic Places reflects this remarkable diversity,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell .

“We often tell stories through places,” said Brad Westwood, Director of State History, “and we are committed to telling a more complete history of Utah’s peoples over the past 13,000 years with our September 2015 annual conference exploring Utah’s multicultural past.”

Since 1897, the Utah Division of State History has helped to keep Utah engaged in its past and prosperous by preserving and recording significant history.


NEW VIDEO – Hello Utah, This Was Your 2014 Summer!

We asked you to show us how awesome a Utah summer can be and boy, did you ever!

Thanks to everyone who shared their summer moments at historic places, cultural events, arts events, volunteer projects and libraries using the #myutahsummer hashtag.

Now that the temperatures have dropped, and the winter holidays are coming up, why not cozy up and take a moment to enjoy Utah’s summer moments.


Public Invited to Natural History Museum to Celebrate Utah’s Indigenous People

Geoffrey Fattah, 801.245.7205

Communications Director, Utah Dept. of Heritage and Arts


For Technical Information: James Toledo, 801.715.6702


For immediate release                      

31 Oct. 2014

Public Invited to Natural History Museum to Celebrate Utah’s Indigenous People

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Indian Affairs and the Natural History Museum of Utah will be hosting a free evening of music, dance and poetry in celebration of Utah Indigenous People’s Day.

The public is invited to attend Nov. 6, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Natural History Museum of Utah, 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City.

Native dances will be performed by the Little Feathers dance group from the Granite School District, the Wasatch Eagle Dancers from the Nebo School District, and student dancers from the Ute Tribe. Dances will include the Hoop Dance, Fancy Dance, and Grass Dance, to name just a few.

The newly-released song, “Zion – You’ll Remember Me” will be performed by Melissa Hinton, Gary Tim and the Legacy Ensemble.

“Make and take Native art” will be available for kids, including clay art, petroglyph tile painting, and hand print art using spray paints.

The museum will also be open for attendees, including access to NHMU’s headline exhibit, The Horse. Awards will also be given out to students who participated in “The Legend of the Horse” poetry contest.

The Utah Education Network (UEN) will also be screening previews of Native documentaries to be broadcast during the 4th Annual Utah American Indian Film Festival, which will screen the documentaries at six university locations across the state in November.

Governor Gary R. Herbert’s proclamation in honor of Indigenous People’s Day will be read. State Senator Kevin Van Tassell, a member of the Utah Legislature’s Native American Legislative Liaison Committee, will be a featured speaker, along with guest speaker, Gari Pikyavit Lafferty, chairwoman of the Paiute Tribe of Utah. Darren Parry, vice chairman of the Northwest Band of Shoshone Nation will be the master of ceremonies.

For more information, and for free registration, visit:

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Governor Herbert to Address over 1,500 Utah Multicultural Youth About their Future

Geoffrey Fattah, 801.245.7205Communications Director, Utah Dept. of Heritage and Arts   Technical Information: Stanford Kekauoha, 801.245.7210

For immediate release 23 Oct. 2014 Governor Herbert to Address over 1,500 Utah Multicultural Youth About their Future SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary R. Herbert will join over 1,500 multicultural youth, and hundreds of educators and parents, at the Salt Palace Convention Center on Oct. 29 for the 2014 Multicultural Youth Leadership Summit.

“Statistics show that many of our state’s multicultural youth have below-average high school graduation rates, and even less success in going on to college. I want to encourage these students to reach higher, because they are a big part of our future,” Herbert said. Students and educators from 50 schools, representing six counties, will be attending.

On average, Utah’s ethnic population is growing three times faster than its Caucasian counterpart. By 2050, it is expected that minorities will be a majority part of Utah’s population. “Multicultural youth could very well be our future community leaders. We need to take steps to work together to engage, support and invest in them now,” said Utah Office of Multicultural Affairs Director Claudia Nakano.

The Governor will also be honoring Utah Teacher of The Year Mohsen Ghaffari. Nationally-recognized youth engagement speakers CoolSpeak will address overcoming challenges in education. Nicholas Carlisle with No Bully will talk about how educators and students can overcome harassment and bullying in schools. There will also be performances by the Mana Academy choir, the North Davis Junior High School Multicultural Choir, and Urban Dance Organization.

Events get started at 8 a.m. in the main ballroom.

This Summit would not be possible without the generous support of: Chevron, Zions Bank, CoolSpeak, No Bully, Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake, Horizonte Center, and Mount Jordan Middle School.

The Multicultural Youth Leadership Summit was created to support Governor Herbert’s “66 by 2020” education initiative, a goal in which 66 percent of Utahns hold a post-secondary degree or certificate by the year 2020.

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Original Writing Competition Winners Announced

For immediate release                      

16 October 2014

Original Writing Competition Winners Announced

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Arts & Museums announces the winners of the 56th annual Utah Original Writing Competition. Selected from more than 250 entries received this year, 19 writers in seven categories will be receiving awards. They are:


  • First place: ECKSDOT by J Washburn (Provo)
  • Second place: Fragments of an Inner Architecture by Gene Washington (Logan)
  • Honorable Mention: RedRedRedRed by Eric Howerton (Ogden)

Creative Nonfiction

  • First place: An American (Homeless) in Paris by Christian Ames (Salt Lake)
  • Second place: Befriending Laura Mae by Leisa Mukai (Salt Lake)
  • Honorable Mention: Dancing Bird’s Apprentice by Patty Willis (Salt Lake)

Book of Poems

  • First place: Eve’s Child by Markay Brown (St. George)
  • Second place: Cold Blessings by Maximillian Werner (Salt Lake)

Juvenile Book

  • First place: Keeping it Down by Lisa Roylance (Cedar Hills)
  • Second place: Sula Eats the Sea by James Ure (Salt Lake)
  • Honorable Mention: The Sun is on Fire! by Shane Williams (Washington)


  • First place: “Inside Wolf, Grandmother Becomes a Dancer” by Shanan Ballam (Logan)
  • Second place: “Bottle Cherries” by Candy Fowler (St. George)
  • Honorable Mention: “Pretending to be interviewed, the monster gets choked up, tells the cameraman to shut the damn thing off.” by Natalie Young (Cedar City)

Short Story

  • First place: “Adsila, Wyoming” by Iris Moulton (Salt Lake)
  • Second place: “Two Shoes” by John Pace (Salt Lake)
  • Honorable Mention: “For My Father II” by Jordan Floyd (West Jordan)

Narrative Nonfiction/Personal Essay

  • First place: “Hourglass Man” by Aaron Allen (Orem)
  • Second place: “Living the Dream” by Joshua Harms (Centerville)

“We sincerely congratulate these winners,” said Lynnette Hiskey, Director of Utah Arts & Museums. “We look forward to great accomplishments from such talented writers. Past winners have gone on to receive the Flannery O’Connor Award and the International Reading Association Award. These past awardees include Orson Scott Card, Ron Carlson, and all four Utah Poets Laureate: David Lee, Ken Brewer, Katharine Coles and Lance Larsen.”

Manuscripts were reviewed in a blind process by judges who reside outside of Utah. First- and second-prize winners are awarded prize money ranging from $150 to $1,000.

A day celebrating Utah writers and the Original Writing Competition will take place on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center,1355 West 3100 South, West Valley City. There will be an awards ceremony, readings by 2013 competition winners, and a poetry-writing workshop with Utah Poet Laureate Lance Larsen.

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Rio Gallery Seeks Artists Working in Painting & Sculpture for Competition

For immediate release
8 October 2014                     

Rio Gallery Seeks Artists Working in Painting & Sculpture for Competition


SALT LAKE CITY— Visual arts competitions have been a project of Utah Arts & Museums since 1899, providing juried exhibitions open to artists across the state of Utah. Registration is currently open for “Utah ’14: Painting & Sculpture”. All artists age 18 and older are welcome to submit one or two pieces that fit within the categories of painting and sculpture. Beginning this year, the sculpture category includes installation art. Applicants must register online by Oct. 21. Artwork should be dropped off at the Rio Gallery in Salt Lake City from 8 AM – 5 PMon Oct. 22 & 23. Those juried into the exhibition will have their work displayed at the Rio Gallery Nov. 21, 2014 – Jan. 9, 2015 with a public reception on Friday, Nov. 21 from 6-9 PM during the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll. “This competition and exhibition is an excellent representation of the exciting work Utah artists continue to produce,” says Arts & Museums Director Lynnette Hiskey, “It is highly anticipated each year and we look forward to discovering the diverse themes and concepts that Utah artists choose to explore.”

This year’s jurors are Maria Porges of Oakland, Calif. and Carla Bengtson of Eugene, Ore. Porges is an artist and writer whose work has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions since the late 1980’s. She received a SECA award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and has twice been in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. For more than two decades, her critical writing has appeared in many publications, including Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture, American Ceramics, Glass, The New York Times Book Review, and a host of other now-defunct art magazines.

Carla Bengtson is an associate professor in the department of art as well as an associate member of the environmental studies program at the University of Oregon. Previous to coming to the U of O in 1995, she taught at Yale University, Connecticut College, Wesleyan University, and was head curator of the John Slade Ely Center for Contemporary Art in New Haven, Conn. She holds a BFA from Tyler School of Art and an MFA from Yale School of Art, and was a two-time participant in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program.

Cash awards will be given to artists exhibiting exceptional work. New this year, a $1,000 “Best in Show” will be given, as well as increases to the six Juror’s Awards, now $600 each. Guidelines and registration can be found at statewideannual.orgor by calling 801.245.7272

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