Introducing Rising Arts Group

A collective of Utah Millennials have formed a new group called Rising Arts Group (RAG) that is aimed at inspiring the next generation of arts donors to create a culture of philanthropic support of the…

A collective of Utah Millennials have formed a new group called Rising Arts Group (RAG) that is aimed at inspiring the next generation of arts donors to create a culture of philanthropic support of the arts. For more information and membership, visit


Led by Park City native, and Park City Television multimedia arts and culture reporter Chloe Johnson, the group hopes to engage other younger people in the importance of arts patronage – and learn how volunteerism and advocacy can impart vital character and life lessons. The group plans to attend six performances at Ballet West, Utah Symphony and Utah Opera over the 2019-20 season, in addition to a cash donation split equally between those three organizations.


“Utah Symphony | Utah Opera is extremely pleased to support the next generation of arts donors,” said Renee Huang, director of communications and digital media at Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. “It’s so crucial for young people to connect with all forms of art because they uplift, inspire and cultivate awareness and intelligence unlike any other creative expression.”


Ms. Johnson said the inspiration for the Rising Arts Group came from an interview she did with Utah philanthropist and former Utah Symphony | Utah Opera board chair Kem Gardner for Park City Television. “I asked him why he liked to be involved with the arts and he told me that the first bit of extra money they had as a young couple, they donated to the symphony and that he has loved supporting the arts ever since,” said Ms. Johnson. “He said, ‘the best people serve on non-profit boards.’ And unbeknownst to him, Rising Arts Group was born from that conversation.”


RAG will kick off their season officially with a black tie gala at the University of Utah’s Utah Museum of Fine Art (UMFA) on Thurs. October 17, inspired by the museum’s main exhibit devoted to “Power Couples.” The evening includes breakout mini performances by Ballet West, Utah Opera Resident Artists, a Utah Symphony chamber ensemble and other highlights including live sketch artists and a DJ.


For Ms. Johnson, a trained singer who performed onstage at Abravanel Hall with the orchestra as a youngster, activating her peers to support art and culture is a way for them to find life-long passions and pursuits that bring value to one’s life. Founding RAG members agree.


“My grandparents are amazing examples of giving to their communities and participating in the arts,” said RAG member Susan Redd, whose grandparents Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriott have been lifelong supporters of the arts. “I am so grateful for their examples and to be able to contribute to the Salt Lake City art community myself. I am so excited to be part of RAG!”


“Ballet West is committed to the development of young arts enthusiasts and patrons through our award-winning state-wide education and outreach initiatives,” said Sarah West, chief development officer at Ballet West. “Organizations that can supplement these efforts, like RAG are vitally important to sustain and grow the arts in Utah.”


Says Ms. Johnson: “The arts have always been a way to talk about the joys and downfalls of life. It’s so important to have that cathartic experience. RAG celebrates the fact that the themes of love, jealousy, and intrigue that you may find in a 200-year-old opera score, are just as applicable today as they have ever been. The gift of the arts should never stop being celebrated.”



Rising Arts Group is selling $40 tickets for the black tie fundraising gala at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City) on Thurs, Oct. 17 starting at 7 pm.  For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


About the Utah Symphony

Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony performs more than 175 concerts each season and offers all Utahns access to world-class live performances of the world’s greatest music in the state’s top venues. Since being named the orchestra’s seventh Music Director in 2009, Thierry Fischer has attracted leading musicians and top soloists, refreshed programming, drawn increased audiences, and galvanized community support. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including the Mighty 5® Tour of Utah’s national parks and last season’s Great American Road Trip, which also included Utah state parks and national monuments, the Utah Symphony has embarked on seven international tours—from Europe to Central and South America—and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2016 coinciding with the orchestra’s 75thanniversary celebrations.


The Utah Symphony has released more than 100 recordings, and recent releases include the first of a three-volume set of all five Saint-Saens symphonies on Hyperion Records in 2019, and on Reference Recordings, Mahler’s Symphonies No. 1 and 8 (2015 and 2017, respectively) and Dawn to Dust(2016), which features three Utah Symphony-commissioned works by Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas. The orchestra’s discography with former Music Director Maurice Abravanel includes not only the complete Mahler symphonies, but also premiere recordings of works by Honegger, Milhaud, Rorem, Satie, Schuman, and Varèse.


Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the orchestra’s parent organization, reaches 450,000 residents in Utah and the Intermountain region, with educational outreach programs serving more than 155,000 students annually. In addition to performances in its home in Salt Lake City, Abravanel Hall, and concerts throughout the state of Utah, the Utah Symphony participates in Utah Opera’s four annual productions at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and present the six-week Deer Valley® Music Festival each summer in Park City, Utah.


For more information about the orchestra, visit


About Ballet West

Ballet West, one of America’s finest ballet companies, has earned an international reputation for artistic innovation and excellence since its founding in 1963. For more than 50 years, the Salt Lake City-based Company has entertained and excited audiences in Utah and worldwide by presenting great classical ballets, historical masterpieces, and new cutting-edge creations with only the highest artistic and professional standards. The Company continues to build future ballet artists and audiences by providing classical ballet training through the Frederick Q. Lawson Ballet West Academy and its four campuses. Ballet West also operates one of the largest outreach and education programs in the country which reaches hundreds of thousands