Recently Utah’s Department of Heritage and Arts held the Mountain West Arts Conference. The conference focused on connecting people through art.
Adrienne Decker, folk art’s specialist for the Arts and Museums division said that the Mountain West Arts conference focused on bringing the art community together. She believes that art has the ability to foster and support diversity.
“That’s kind of at the heart of what folk and traditional arts is," Decker said. "It’s expressive culture. It’s how people communicate their identity through performance, through music, through craft. Utah contrary to perhaps outside perception is actually a very diverse state. And folk and traditional arts are one of the easiest ways to sort of understand the rich tapestry of cultures and communities that we have residing here and thriving here.”
Vicki Bourns, director of the Divisions of Arts and Museums at the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts also recognized that art can create a connection between people who come from different backgrounds.
“I know that whenever I travel, whether it’s throughout the state or anywhere else my husband and I will always stop at a museum,” Bourns said. “It doesn’t matter where we are, how big, how little. We just love museums. There’s so much you learn from them. It’s very enriching and it helps us learn more about that community and that area.”
Decker believes that the division needs to continue to foster conversations about culture through creative pursuits to create a stronger local community.
“Culture is something that we all have to be constantly thinking about and thinking about the ways we interact with others who identify differently from us," she said. "So if art’s can help us do that. If heritage and folk-life work can help us do that. That’s a great boon to us and we should definitely take the opportunity of those interactions.”