Arts and Culture

gallery with artwork
Taylor Halversen / Utah Public Radio

As you open the gate of the small historic house, a colorful teepee to your right as you walk the pathway steps and music wafting as you enter the front door, you realize this is no ordinary home; it has been transformed into a haven of art and community. 

Eight years ago, Dr. Brenda Sun moved to Logan, Utah and decided to open her home as a housewarming party, which turned into something much more. 

Arches National Park arches
Neal Herbert / Nations Park Service

The Utah Symphony, in concert with the Utah Office of Tourism, will be offering a series of special outdoor performances in the state’s major national parks. The performances, some of which will involve the full orchestra, are in commemoration of the Utah Symphony’s 75th anniversary.

Have you ever gone hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park and thought yourself, “This landscape would be perfectly complemented by Johann Strauss’s Voices of Spring Waltz”? Well, you weren’t the only one who thought so.

Poster with an Elk bust and the title "The Merry Wives of Windsor"
Caine College of the Arts

Once described as a "soap opera with excellent music," the opera department at Utah State University will present two performances this weekend of the delightful and hilarious 'The Merry Wives of Windsor" by Otto Niccolai. The new Director of Opera Studies, Dallas Heaton, has injected his own fresh, new perspective into the production. 

A native of Kaysville, Utah, Dallas Heaton assumed the position of Director of Opera Studies at Utah State University this January. He completed a Master’s in Collaborative Piano at Arizona State University, and an artist’s diploma in Opera Coaching at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Since then, Dallas has worked professionally as a collaborative artist for several years. 


Music played a major role in World War I both in uniting soldiers in a rhythm and a march, and also in uniting a nation behind a cause. Graduate music students at Utah State University will be presenting a program this Saturday which will combine both music and research from this era. This event will commemorate the centennial anniversary of the beginning of World War I.

Irving Berlin once declared “the history of America can be traced through its music.” Graduate students from the Music History Seminar course at USU will be tracing the events that occurred in World War I through music and lecture. Their goal is to present how music reflects the complex sentiments that come with fighting a war and, in turn, how music itself influenced individuals during that time.


Pharrell Williams, who frequently goes by just his first name, is the sort of pop star whom many people would like to view as a friend. Emerging from hip-hop, he makes charming recordings that suggest a deep appreciation of pop, soul and R&B music extending at least as far back as the 1960s. To hear Pharrell on his new album G I R L, you'd think his world consisted of grooving on catchy beats and flirting with women. It's a lightweight image that draws gravitas from his prolific work ethic and a shrewd deployment of those influences.

The aerospace museum at Hill Air Force Base announced that it will be reducing its collection of aircraft and other vehicles.

Hill Air Force Base Spokesman George Jozens said the nearly 30-year-old museum will be making the aircraft available to other museums worldwide in an effort to reduce costs.

“The museum needs to reduce its collection by about 18 aircraft, three missiles and a number of different support vehicles,” Jozens said. “The reason for this is it takes money to maintain and keep those aircraft up all of the time.”

A Native American dancer in full regalia competing in a pow wow dance competition.
Native American Student Council

Held in the spring to celebrate the renewal of life, pow-wows have traditionally served as vehicles for sharing and preserving Native American culture.  The Native American Student Council at Utah State University will be hosting their annual pow-wow this weekend. Jason Brough, the president of this council, is Shoshone and part of the north-western band.  

“If you go to the pow-wow, there’s a lot of spirituality that’s out there. It’s very much a religious ceremony, so you can still get those same feelings. You start hearing the drum going and that, I find, inspires people to learn more about the culture,” Brough says.

Pow wows are rife with symbolism, from the traditional regalia or special dress, to the symbolism of the circle which the audience and drum group form. Regardless of your background, there is something there for everyone.  

American Festival Chorus

Saturday evening over 300 singers will take to the stage of the Kent Concert Hall at Utah State University to perform in the American Festival Chorus’ “Night of Gospel Music.” Pastor Chantel Wright of New York City will be featured as a guest conductor.

Literally meaning “the good news,” the word “gospel” describes the very essence of this genre and tradition of choral music. Artistic Director of the American Festival Chorus and Dean of the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University, Dr. Craig Jessop says he has developed a love-affair for this music. Referring to guest conductor Chantel Wright he said:

"We brought her out two years ago in 2012 for an 'Evening of Gospel' because I knew Chantel could give us something Logan, Utah does not have. She came and the walls are still rocking from that concert and we had tremendous requests to ‘do it again, do it again."

pocket watch with heart design
Karol Renau

The Kimball Art Center located in Park City, Utah will present an unprecedented exhibit entitled “The Art of the Timepiece.” The collection owned by part-time Park City resident Karol Renau has never been shown publicly in this way.

Nearly 200 watches, clocks, and timepieces of every kind will be on display, showcasing the intimate and intricate art and science of watchmaking. Native-born Polish photographer and electrical engineer Karol Renau first began collecting, then fixing watches which introduced him to their fine inner workings.

“It is absolutely a hidden art because if you open some of these watches and look inside, it is absolutely stunning. There are such beautiful engravings and there are such artistic pictures inside. It’s absolutely amazing. For me it was almost like a discovery,” Renau said.

April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

Logan’s 27th annual chocolate festival is where amateur and professional chefs put their chocolate skills to the test.

In 1987, the Logan Planned Parenthood Advisory board created the chocolate festival as a way to raise money and interact with the community.

Over the last 26 years, the number of entries has ranged from 30 to 75. But one constant group of professionals emerge- the pastry chefs of Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread. Why? Well, because it's tradition.

"Crumb Brothers has done this since Crumb Brothers has been around. It's a fun tradition. It involves the whole community," said chef Samantha Powell.

Powell is joined by chefs Jen Rudd and Kanako Arnold in this year's competition team. With a history of winning, they say the pressure to do well is on.

"There is some pressure. It's fun and it's exciting. Really, I get so many ideas from the amateur division. They are so creative. But yes, there's a little pressure. You think you have to do something better and something more creative every year," Powell said.

"If it doesn't win, what does that say about it?" Rudd said.

"Did we fail the person before us? Things like that," Powell said.

Jerry Brooks recites poetry during the National Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV.
Jeri L. Dobrowski

Morning on the desert, and the wind is blowin' free, 
And it's ours jest for the breathin', so let's fill up, you an' me.

At the National Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, the arts in all of its forms take center stage. Western rural artists understand how music, poetry and storytelling seem to communicate more intimately than by any other means. Artists such as Utah-born Jerry Brooks use this to their advantage to share both the charms and the challenges of rural living.

No more stuffy cities where you have to pay to breathe— 
Where the helpless, human creatures, strive, move, throng and seethe.

John Allen, a rural sociologist and Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Utah State University, grew up on a cattle ranch in Baker, Oregon. His unique perspective combines academic research with real-life experience to create a different take on what it means today to be a rural American.


This week, hundreds of rural and urban folk alike are coming together at the 30th National Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV. Participants are being entertained with live music and poetry recitings as well as participating in in discussions regarding issues facing those living a rural lifestyle in a modern west.

The energy in the mountain air of the small community of Elko, Nev. is palpable this time of year. Rural westerners and urban-ites are again making the yearly pilgrimage to celebrate western culture. Through art and discussion, many have said that this special event borders on spiritual.

This year’s theme “Expressing the Rural West – Into the Future,” highlights the increased focus on technology in the rural west, and the opportunities and challenges that come with that.

“We want the event to be fun, first of all, and I think people come to the event to have a good time. A lot of the theme is reflected in entertaining things and things that show off the creativity of rural westerners,” said Meg Glaser, artistic director at the Western Folklife Center in Elko.

The week-long event is open to all, even those who don’t have a rural background. 

Logan Restaurant Holds Mural-Painting Contest

Jan 24, 2014
Facebook

As cars pass by Angie’s Restaurant in Logan, passengers may notice the north side of the building facing 700 North is a little blank and dull.

The restaurant’s management is hoping make the building more appealing by painting it, and they’re holding a contest to have local artists paint a mural on the north wall.

The theme for the contest is people, places and times of Cache Valley. The goal is to paint iconic Logan landmarks on the blank wall.

The Utah Symphony and Utah Opera will present their yearly concert for members of the community who are often limited when it comes to enjoying cultural opportunities this week.

It was during a board meeting 14 years ago that the CEO of the Utah Symphony and Orchestra was asked by a father to help find a way to include families and their special needs children so they could have access to music and performances without worrying about being disruptive.

"He had a son with Autism and he said one of the things that our family needs is a cultural event we can attend together," said Paula Fowler, the director of education and community outreach for the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera.

Fowler said the father was concerned the public thought families with special needs children couldn't control their children.

BransonFest Coming To Mesquite In February

Jan 9, 2014
mesquitebransonfest.com

BransonFest Out West is coming to Mesquite, Nev. The  event runs Feb. 3-5 at the Casablanca Resort and Casino.

BransonFest features live music and entertainment from Branson, Mo., Las Vegas and elsewhere, according to the event’s website. This is BransonFest’s fifth year in Mesquite.

Sue Arko, owner of Free Spirit Vacations and Events and the event producer for BransonFest, said she was approached by the city of Mesquite to draw some mid-week business to the town.

Gun show, sandy, Rocky Mountain Gun Show
RYAN CUNNINGHAM / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Every few months, the Rocky Mountain Gun Show comes to Sandy’s South Towne Expo Center. In fact, you may have noticed advertisements for the show this January.  If you’re unfamiliar with what happens at a gun show, it’s mostly self-explanatory: it’s an exhibition of guns, ammunition, and other related paraphernalia.

Gun shows have become an increasingly popular way to buy and sell firearms. But they are also controversial, with gun control proponents arguing that loose regulations on sales can make it too easy for guns to end up in the wrong hands.

But as it turns out, guns shows aren’t just about guns. At the epicenter of such a hotly debated swath of our culture, could there be something for everyone?

music
UINTAH BASIN / UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY

The Uintah Basin Orchestra and Chorus will present a concert Friday, December 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Vernal Middle School Auditorium.  Conducted by Utah State University Music Department Head, Dr. James M. Bankhead, the UBOC was organized in November.

One hundred and sixty residents from Roosevelt and Vernal will perform holiday selections including Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, John Rutter’s Candelight Carol and Shepherd’s Pipe Carol, and arrangements from Mack Wilberg.

Creating an orchestra and chorus was the idea of USU’s Uintah Basin Dean Boyd Edwards and other musicians who wanted to bring music to the basin.  An increasing number of families are moving to Eastern Utah to fill positions that have opened because of the oil and gas industry surge. 

LDS.org

In 1913 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became the first organization in the nation to establish boy scout troops. Tuesday night Utah’s largest religious denomination held a celebration honoring the partnership between the LDS Church and a service program that has touched the lives of millions of boys.

The LDS Church marked the centennial with a stage spectacular where members of the Boys Scouts of America repelled from the rafters of the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Rope courses and fire outlook stations were constructed to accommodate the cast.

Preparations are underway for a traditional festival in Grand County.  Moab’s 8th Annual Pumpkin’ Chuckin’ Festival on Saturday, Oct. 26, will feature the traditional community faire of food, music, and games. Unlike other family friendly events, this one will also include the tossing, smashing, and flinging of a popular seasonal squash - the pumpkin.

“We are going to have a ton of kid’s activities," said Delite Primus, Executive Director of Moab’s Youth Garden Project. "There is so much out here for kids to do."

Kids and Costumes Welcome at Family Pops Concert

Oct 23, 2013
Weston Lee Allen

The American Festival Chorus and Orchestra in Logan will present a first-of-its-kind show this weekend that producers say will entertain patrons young and old. Matt Jensen reports.


Jeff Ham's piece from the quick draw competition at the Kayenta Arts Festival, 2012.
artinkayenta.org, Artist: Jeff Ham

The Kayenta Arts Festival took place this week with diverse artists gathering to present their work. 

UPR reporter Chris Holmes spoke with Gayle Bray, spokesperson for the Kayenta Arts Foundation, as she discussed how the 14 years of the festival have created many opportunities for the independent artists of southern Utah.


Cosplayers at Salt Lake Comic Con 2013.
Salt Lake Comic Con 2013

Salt Lake City’s inaugural comic con outpaced even its creator’s expectations this weekend. The convention, which included panels featuring William Shatner, Stan Lee and Adam West, vendors and lots of costumes, sold 50,000 tickets for the 3 day event.

The huge turnout made the Salt Lake convention the largest inaugural comic con recorded and shows the convention may well be on its way to reaching San Diego status.

Event director Dan Farr said the convention used social media to compound ticket sales.

Shoshone language, shoshone video game
CORA BURCHETTE

Wednesday was National Navajo Code Talker Day. It’s a day commemorating the role of Navajo code talkers who used their native language to transmit secret information during World War II.
Today, many American Indian languages are dying out. To help remedy this problem, some Shoshone students are using a new kind of code—video game programming code—to help save their language and promote their culture.


Desert Wake with first place ribbon.
Cody Chamberlain desertwake.tumblr.com

Though many artists take inspiration from Utah’s unique landscapes; one Utah artist, Cody Chamberlain, hopes that his work will encourage viewers to think more about their role in the environment.

Chamberlain describes the deserts of the west as a harsh, yet gentle land that is the foundation of his work. Last week, he and other artists from around the state showed their work at 39th Annual Statewide art competition at the Eccles Community Art Center in Ogden.


Cache County Fair kicks off Thursday

Aug 8, 2013
CacheCounty.org

It’s time for carnivals, clowns and cotton candy in Logan where the 134th Cache County Fair gets underway Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Organizers say they’re expecting big crowds through the three-day event. Everything from fine art to blue ribbon dairy cows will be on display. Fair manager and spokeswoman Jill Zollinger says there’s something for everyone.

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