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NEA Chairman Jane Chu Visits Utah

Andrea Smardon
National Endowment for the Arts chairman Jane Chu gives the keynote address for the Mountain West Arts Conference at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.

Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Jane Chu was in Utah Thursday. Chu started the morning with an address at the Mountain West Arts Conference at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.

“This is a great opportunity to see firsthand the great arts that’s going and thriving here, and to be able to be here not only to see firsthand, but to send out the message that together we are shaping the arts in America,” Chu says.

On her itinerary was a visit to three arts organizations in Salt Lake City that have received NEA grant funding. She planned to observe a 4th grade class at Oakridge Elementary School taking part in University of Utah’s Tanner Dance training residency program. She was talking to military veterans participating in an Art Access program, and she was meeting with Utah Arts Festival artists, staff, and community partners.

“The awardees and many other arts providers are finding the ways to make sure that the arts are relevant to individuals and communities whom they know, because that’s when really the arts hit home,” Chu says. “That’s when people start realizing, there are transformational powers in the arts to make us not only feel alive, to give us an opportunity to express ourselves; they help spark economic vitality.”

The National Endowment for the Arts this week made its second major grant announcement for fiscal year 2015. Twelve Utah arts organizations are receiving grants for a total of more than 1 million dollars.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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