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Change Leader Certification – 20 Nov 2014

Utah Arts & Museums recognizes twelve certifying graduates of the Change Leader Institute, an innovative leadership development program for people interested in advancing their communities through culture and the arts. The certifying Change Leaders are:

Laurel Cannon Alder, Utah Arts & Museums, Salt Lake City
Hilary Amnah, Utah Arts & Museums, Salt Lake City
Cheryl Brown, Kanab Arts Council, Kanab
Debbie Drake, Cedar City Arts Council, Cedar City
Dennise Gackstetter, Utah State University, Logan
Jean Tokuda Irwin, Utah Arts & Museums, Salt Lake City
Lynna Kendall, Uintah School District, Vernal
Jennifer Ortiz, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City
Heather Smith, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Stephen Wagner, Southern Utah University, Cedar City
Rob Wilson, Utah Mural Arts Foundation, St. George

“The Change Leader network is enhancing Utah’s communities and beyond with exciting arts and cultural projects,” said Lynette Hiskey, Director of Utah Arts & Museums. “We are delighted to welcome these newly certified graduates to the growing network, and look forward to following their progress as they engage with fellow Change Leaders and with their communities.”

Change Leaders acquire communication and community-building skills in a three-day intensive training course and then design and complete a certification project using the skills they have learned. Once certified, participants join a network of more than 200 Change Leaders across Utah, Colorado and Idaho who regularly convene, partner on projects, mentor each other and generate positive change. Among the ranks of Change Leaders are artists, museum professionals, mayors, executive directors, volunteers, professors, government employees, entrepreneurs and many others. What they have in common is a connection to arts and culture and a level of engagement in their communities.

Certification projects allow Change Leaders to utilize their training in a practical, individually meaningful way. Projects for this class of Change Leaders included:

  • Ensuring that public art is a part of the planning for a new applied technology college building.
  • Cultivating a community of family-friendly organizations that focus on history, physical activity, nature and the arts.
  • Working with community members and teens to build a teen center and skate park.
  • Partnering with key providers to gain a clear understanding of the current status of arts education in Utah and begin to measure collective impact.
  • Giving statewide presentations on cultural competency.
  • Building a five-year plan and unified long-term goals for an organization.
  • Spearheading a textile re-housing project involving significant intra-organization collaboration.
  • Reinventing grant timelines to better meet grantee needs while navigating the impact on support staff.
  • Providing direct hands on art making experience, visual journals, to underrepresented refugee and immigrant youth.
  • Collaborating with student artists and the Chamber of Commerce to display works of art in local business.
  • Developing a community space for recitals and chamber concerts.

For more information about the Change Leader Program or a list of certified Change Leaders, visit or contact Wendi Hassan, Community Outreach,, 801.860.6396.