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Taylorsville Journal

Taylorsville Arts Council members love new arts center, still have questions

Jul 27, 2021 11:45AM ● By Carl Fauver

With landscaping around the new arts center nearly completed, Taylorsville Arts Council members are looking forward to performing in the new facility this winter. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

This year’s successful Taylorsville Dayzz has once again boosted the Taylorsville Arts Council’s annual budget by several thousand dollars. But as the council prepares to stage its first events in the dazzling new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, Council Co-chairman Howard Wilson wonders how much of their budget will have to be spent securing space in the new $46 million facility.

“We are going under the assumption we will have to pay for all of our nights,” Wilson said. “The city is in charge of how many free nights we will receive. They haven’t promised us any free nights yet.”

Ah yes, those valuable Willy Wonka Golden Ticket “free nights.”

When Salt Lake County and Taylorsville City hammered out their siting and construction agreement for the MVPAC, it was initially reported the city would receive “10 free nights per year,” for events inside the new facility. It’s not clear whether that number remained 10, in the final agreement. Arts council members assumed “most” of those free nights would be available for their productions.

The city has already used one of its free nights for the swearing in ceremony for members of the new Taylorsville Police Department (June 21). But the arts council has already scheduled 10 performances in the new center, one for its community orchestra, three for a show in December and six more for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in January and February 2022.

Moreover, the arts council also wants to stage its annual art show in the MVPAC lobby, next spring.

That’s a lot of dates—and a lot of lingering questions for the Taylorsville Arts Council:

  • How many free dates will Taylorsville City “give” them in the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center?
  • Will the county require rent for rehearsal nights, and will it be the same rate as performance nights?
  • Will the county require rent for the art show, which will not make use of either performance hall?
  • Can the city provide the arts council with supplemental funding, if needed, to help cover rent costs?

Wilson reports it will cost $2,000 per night—or $12,000 for the six-night run—when the arts council performs “Joseph,” Jan. 31 through Feb. 5, 2022. Ticket sales revenue should recoup much of that total. But if some or all of the nights come from the city’s pool of free nights, obviously, the Taylorsville Arts Council would have that much more money to work with for future productions.

Mayor Kristie Overson believes most of the questions can be cleared up with a few conversations. At this point, she said arts council members need to come to them.

“The arts council can schedule as many nights in the performing arts center (through the county) as they want but will have to ask the city about the free dates,” Overson said. “The arts council needs to meet with me, [City Administrator] John Taylor, maybe the city attorney [Tracy Cowdell]. From there, we will have a meeting of the minds. The Taylorsville Arts Council knows how much we support them.”

Overson said city officials have not identified or scheduled any other activities in the MVPAC that would use up another of their free nights. However, she said a social activity for Taylorsville business leaders is likely this holiday season and would probably use another of those free evenings.

In addition to the free nights question, another issue still concerning Taylorsville Arts Council members is one that has been lingering for years, since long before ground was broken on the MVPAC in December 2018. Depending on who you ask, the arts council was either “promised” it would receive free, exclusive storage space in the new arts center, or “it was hinted they might get some, if space was available.” 

“There were lots of promises, understandings and misunderstandings,” is how Wilson remembers it. “We know the storage space exists [inside the MVPAC]. But we don’t know if it is already full. We are hoping to get enough space to replace two storage units we now rent, for about $300 per month.”

In addition to the storage units, the Taylorsville Arts Council also purchased an 8-foot-by-8-foot-by-30-foot trailer three years ago, for $15,000, to store more of its props and costumes. And, Wilson adds, some council members also store things at their homes.

“There are no discussions going on now between the city, the county and the arts council about storage space inside the arts center,” Overson said. “There again, the arts council will need to come to us to start that conversation. We are trying to help the arts council with storage, but we are not sure where that will be. If it turns out they cannot have space in the arts center, they may need to say ‘city, we need more money to pay for storage.’ We are happy to work with them.” 

In the just-completed city budget, the Taylorsville Arts Council received the same $10,000 budget it had the year before. However, Wilson believes that amount is likely to go up next year.

“The city has told us they are willing to increase our budget,” he said. “I think they would have done it this year, except we already had leftover money from the year before, after COVID killed our 2020 productions. The city has always been good to us. When we have a bill, they pay it.”

The arts council has not yet received its portion of revenues from this year’s Taylorsville Dayzz booth rentals. But they report that amount is normally $6,000 to $7,000. In exchange for that revenue, the arts council coordinates all of the on-stage performances at Taylorsville Dayzz.

“The arts council works very hard to promote local talent [on the Taylorsville Dayzz stages)]” Overson said. “They line up so many acts, and it’s always great. I think we had record crowds for Taylorsville Dayzz this year. Many of them were there to hear the concerts.”

Before “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” early next year, the Taylorsville Arts Council will present the four-woman stage production “Winter Wonderettes” Dec. 2–4 in the MVPAC’s small theater, Studio 5400. Additionally, the council’s community orchestra is now trying to secure Dec. 10 inside the arts center, to perform a free holiday concert.

What’s not yet known is how many of those nights will require rent payments, or whether there will be any dedicated storage space inside the facility for them to use, at no cost. All sides say those decisions are still a few conversations away.

Wilson is cautiously optimistic things will work out well for the Taylorsville Arts Council on both fronts. But he also adds, “It’s not Christmas until it’s Christmas.”

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