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

UA&M Response to COVID-19

Here’s an overview of the ways in which our agency responded to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Admin and Communications: 

  • Collaborated with cultural partners on regular video calls with Utah cultural community
  • Began weekly e-newsletters to Utah cultural community with COVID-related resources
  • Created new webpage containing COVID-19 resources
  • Held series of video conversations with constituents, organized by area of interest: presenters, facility managers, Change Leaders, Local Arts Agencies, folk and individual artists, grantees
  • Director hosted 5 small 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 Heritage & Arts (DHA) administration and external partners to obtain CARES funding for cultural organizations and artists
  • Coordinated with grants team, DHA 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

Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts: 


  • Created digital loan renewals 

Community Arts:

  • 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 trainings and networking. Have hosted four gatherings, with plans for more

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 call for entry 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
  • Coordinated with Utah Humanities regarding distribution of CARES Act funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • 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 two separate processes for these grants, called Create In Utah, Phases 1 and 2
  • Leadership of the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts 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:


Performing Arts:

  • Facilitating virtual gathering for performing arts facilities, featuring guest speakers discussing pivots and 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 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
  • 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