An image of a world globe with a blue surgical mask attached as though it is being worn.

UA&M Response to COVID-19

Admin and Communications: 

  • Collaborated with cultural partners on regular cultural sector virtual updates with Utah’s cultural community
  • Began weekly e-newsletters to Utah cultural community with COVID-related resources
  • Created & frequently updated  webpage containing COVID-19 resources
  • Held series of virtual conversations with constituents, organized by area of interest: presenters, facility managers, Change Leaders, Local Arts Agencies, folk and individual artists, grantees
  • Director hosted gatherings with cultural community leadership
  • Director hosted gathering for large cultural organizations
  • Staff helped with the Rapid Response Team, mask mailing, and PPE collections
  • Worked with Department of Cultural and Community Engagement (CCE) administration and external partners to obtain CARES funding for cultural organizations and artists
  • Coordinated with grants team, CCE finance, and boards to approve and process millions of dollars in CARES funding

Arts Education:

  • Oversaw the creation of teaching artist videos for educators, kids, and parents
  • Poetry Out Loud became a video submission-based competition at the regional level and a live virtual competition at the state level
  • Utah State Senate High School Visual Arts Competition became virtual and included a final gathering in April for students using COVID-19 protocols
  • Created a COVID-19 arts education state and national resource section for the website
  • Began bi-monthly Arts Education newsletter focusing on state and national resources, opportunities, and featuring creative work by arts educators and K-12 students
  • Helped plan and financially supported online professional development conferences for K-12 teachers offered by UA&M/AE collaborators (two for K-6 and one for K-16)
  • Disseminated 350 visual arts activity kits with instructions and supplies to low-income students at school lunch sites in a multi-collaborator effort with Clever Octopus and many others
  • Presented virtual grant-writing workshop on Learning Wednesdays for 80 Utah PTA leaders. Presented live visual art and grant-writing workshops at Utah PTA state convention using COVID protocols
  • Advanced Native American Curriculum Initiative virtually, including beta-testing lesson plans
  • Recruited and helped fund 6 Navajo teen teams on the Navajo Reservation to work virtually with Spy Hop (media arts) to create short videos on their community response to COVID. The videos were screened in August at the state Native Summit
  • Virtually presented internationally known Dovie Thomason (Native teaching artist) to Provo School District elementary schools. Dovie also did a virtual professional development workshop for teachers as a component of the Native American Curriculum Initiative
  • POL teachers attended the virtual Utah Poetry Festival hosted by Utah Poet Laureate, who also provided two virtual workshops to high school POL classes

Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts: 


  • Created digital loan renewals 

Community Programs:

  • Moved in-person Mountain West Arts Conference keynote to a virtual presentation with poet Glenis Redmond
  • Took the Breaking Barriers program virtual. Reexamined the entire curriculum to be taught over six virtual gatherings rather than three in-person. Opened the training statewide
  • Continued engaging with Change Leaders through virtual training and networking. Have hosted four gatherings, with plans for more
  • Launched the virtual Professional Gatherings series – a series of free role-based, facilitated discussions that offered opportunities to connect, ask, share, teach, learn, and get advice about topics relevant to constituent roles

Design Arts:

  • All designer applications, juror review, curation, and the exhibition were transformed into a virtual experience

Folk Arts:

  • Moved exhibitions online using the platform
  • In partnership with Visual Arts program, launched The New Beehive to directly support artists 
  • Conducted fieldwork interviews remotely using videoconferencing
  • Collaborated with Salt Lake City Arts Council to pivot partnerships for annual Living Traditions Festival, convening working group of community stakeholders and participating artists to develop alternate programming


  • Developed individual artist emergency grants of up to $1,000
    • Round 1: funded 355 individuals in partnership with Salt Lake City Arts Council
    • Round 2: distributed $432,500 to 484 individuals in partnership with Salt Lake City Arts Council and with funds from Salt Lake County
  • Received $443,100 in National Endowment for the Arts CARES Act funds. Developed new application process and funded 66 organizations an average of $6,700
  • Provided funds to eight museums and cultural organizations that applied through the UServe Emergency application
  • Successfully advocated for CARES Act funds for cultural organizations. The Utah State Legislature allocated more than $19.5 million for cultural organizations. The grants office administered three separate processes for these grants, called Create In Utah, Phases 1, 2, and 3
  • Leadership of CCE and Utah Cultural Alliance raised private donations to support artists and cultural organizations
  • Staff member participated as a grant reviewer in the Western States Arts Federation Regional Arts Resilience Fund 

Literary Arts:


  • In partnership with Utah Museums Association, hosted a weekly gathering for museum professionals (which later became a regular feature of UMA programming, now called Museum Exchange)
  • Moved remaining StEPs-UT programming online 
  • Created online calendar of training offerings through end of year, all virtual 

Performing Arts:

  • Facilitated a number of virtual gatherings for performing arts facilities, featuring guest speakers discussing pivots / reopening and then open discussion time

Public Art: 

  • All Art Selection Committee meetings, artist applications, and selection of interested artists were converted to virtual
  • All artists (national and local) were able to apply for and present final proposals virtually
  • All art installations were completed in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines appropriate to the site and part of the designated essential business of facility construction (i.e., USU campus, Utah DABC, Utah School for Deaf & Blind)

Visual Arts: 

  • Moved competitions and exhibitions online/created a digital exhibit platform
  • Statewide Annual exhibition submissions, juror review, curation, and exhibition occurred digitally
  • Created digital exhibition catalogs (Women to the Front, Statewide Annual)
  • Expanded ArtOps webpage to include COVID-related individual artist emergency grant opportunities (local and national)
  • Offered free artwork documentation photography for artists submitting digitally to the Statewide Annual Exhibition 
  • Partnered with local artist Lis Pardoe to create a video tutorial on photographing your own work, which was made available to all artists
  • All Art Acquisition Committee meetings, artwork review, and selection were transitioned to virtual platforms