Local Arts Councils work to foster and support the arts in their communities. (Local Arts Councils are also known as Local Arts Agencies.) 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.
Local Arts Council Definition for the Utah Division of Arts & Museums
A Local Arts Council is the primary organization in a defined geographical area that supports and advances the arts in service to the community by engaging residents, identifying and addressing community needs, reflecting community demographics, contributing to the quality of life, building community identity, supporting artists and arts organizations, and speaking as a unified voice for arts and culture. A Local Arts Council is differentiated from other community arts organizations by its responsibility for fostering the arts throughout the community and by offering various types of arts services and/or activities that are often multidisciplinary in nature.
A Local Arts Council can be an agency of local government, a nonprofit organization, or a hybrid of the two.
Local Arts Council’s must be recognized by their municipality through a Local Arts Agency Designation Agreement that must be signed by both a Local Arts Council representative and a municipality representative (mayor, council person, city/county administrator) to qualify for Utah Arts & Museums Local Arts Agency grants. The designation is valid for two years, and the Local Arts Council must regularly perform three out of the ten activities outlined on the Designation Agreement.
Typical activities of Local Arts Council include:
- Promoting/providing access to diverse art forms
- Addressing cultural diversity and traditional arts
- Regional fundraising for the arts/grant-making
- 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
Network & Services
Some of the networking opportunities and services we provide for Local Arts Councils:
- Roster of Local Arts Councils in Utah
- Bi-monthly Local Arts Council newsletter (Sign up here!)
- Meetings with Local Arts Council staff, volunteers, and board members in their communities
- Local Arts Council Summit: a session at the Mountain West Arts Conference that targets common issues and topics relevant to Local Arts Councils
Local Arts Meetings:
Local Arts Meetings are public meetings that allow us to connect with Local Arts Councils, as well as the artists, arts administrators, arts educators, and museums in the area. This is a chance for you to tell us how we can better serve you, your organization, and community.
In 2016 we offered “Training in Ten,” a ten-minute workshop at the Local Arts Meetings. The training covered program evaluation and effective ways to use evaluation measures in grant applications. For more information on Training in Ten contact Racquel Cornali, email@example.com.
Resources from Training in Ten:
- Getting Started with Program Evaluation” A Guide for Arts Organizations
- An Evaluation Resource Guide for Arts Programming
- Writing Effective Survey Questions
Resources from the Local Arts Agency Census:
- 25 Highlights from the 2015 LAA Census
- Local Arts Agencies in America
- Advocacy & Strategic Messaging
- Diversity & Equity
- Partnerships & Collaborations
Upcoming Meetings TBA
Leadership & Professional Development
Professional Development Funding Opportunity
Conference and Training Support – Local Arts Council Staff, Board, and Volunteers
The Community Arts Program provides funding support for Local Arts Council staff, board members, or volunteers to attend relevant conferences or training. These conferences provide opportunities for those associated with Local Arts Councils in Utah to expand their skill sets and network with other arts and non-arts organizations.
Opportunities at the Utah Division of Arts & Museums
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, including the Local Arts Agency Summit. 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.
Local Arts Councils 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 Council Grant Guidelines
- Americans for the Arts Resources for Local Arts Agencies
- Utah League of Cities and Towns
- Additional Online Toolkits
Connect with us on social media:
Questions? Contact Tracy Hansford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801.236.7554.
Download an information sheet on the Community Arts program.