A shout out for the arts
A candidate for Davis County Commission has raised the question on whether public money should be spent for art. Utah has already had that debate, and the answer is a resounding yes.
Utah has a Department of Heritage and Arts which owns an extensive and valuable art collection. There is a Utah Arts Council, and Utah has a Percent-for-Art Act to “foster cultural development in the state and encourage the creativity and talents of its artists and craftspeople.” Utah artists are given first preference in the purchase of art for public buildings.
This week is the 100 year anniversary of the building of our state capitol. At the celebration it was noted that in 1914 Utah’s public officials said, “Let’s build something magnificent.” They did indeed build something magnificent, and we are all richer for it. The architecture is resplendent, and the art inside and out enriches us all.
The public has also supported cultural investment with support of RAP and ZAP taxes, and allocation by cities and other counties for arts programs, museums, and theaters.
Our county commissioners recently built a new county complex in Farmington. They elected to fill it with art, some of it purchased for a permanent collection with preference given to Davis County artists. However, most of the art that has been displayed at art and photography shows is on loan from artists or private collectors. The rotating art shows have been superb.
Within a few steps of the county complex in Farmington is the Bountiful Davis Art Center where even more art is displayed, all without charge to the public. If you haven’t wandered through these buildings to enjoy some of the finest art in Davis County, do so. You will be uplifted.
Both public money and a donation from Chevron have been used for the art that has been purchased by Davis County. This is in accordance with Utah law. The Davis County Commission and the cities that support art shows, the Bountiful Davis Art Center, museums, and theaters should be commended for their foresight, not criticized. They are leaving a lasting heritage for future generations.
William Spry served as Utah Governor when the Capitol was dedicated in 1914. He said, “We are not building for today and what we are. We are building for what we can become tomorrow.” The Davis County art collection and loaned art in the art shows that we can all enjoy reflect this same value.
North Salt Lake