Introducing the Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation

NowPlayingUtah.com is proud to announce that we have merged with the Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation. In 2018 nowplayingutah.com came under the management of Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation but with the advent of Covid-19 it was…

NowPlayingUtah.com is proud to announce that we have merged with the Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation. In 2018 nowplayingutah.com came under the management of Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation but with the advent of Covid-19 it was in our best interests to fully merge. We are so excited to introduce you to the Utah Cultural Alliance (UCA) and Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation (UCAF). First, let’s start with who we are, what’s important to us, and what we strive toward.


Founded in 1980, the UCA is a statewide voice for culture working to advance arts, museums, film, humanities, and entertainment. As an industry association representing 400+ cultural businesses and thousands of creative professionals, UCA’s arms share a unified vision and mission thereby allowing it to advance culture in both the public and private sectors. It is common for industry associations to have affiliated 501c3, 501c4, and PAC organizations. For example, NowPlayingUtah.com is managed by and is one of the core programs of UCAF (our 501c3).

“Art [and culture] is not a thing, it is a way.” Elbert Hubbard

Vision:  A Utah known nationally for its wide breadth of cultures where public and private investment in and equitable access to arts and cultural opportunities are prioritized and valued.

Mission: Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation, as the cultural industry association, communicates and amplifies the value of culture and supports creative professionals. (Insert quote from Crystal here)

Core belief: Culture defines Utah’s way of life, it’s in our DNA, and enhances the quality of living/visiting/working in Utah.


Equity: We fight to ensure the cultural industry is representative of and available to communities of all socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and cultural backgrounds.

Collaboration: Because we know the cultural industry is stronger when we work together, UCA strives to develop long-lasting partnerships between individuals and organizations that allow us to better advocate for and support creative professionals.

Growth: We seek to constantly improve our understanding of other cultures, viewpoints, and systems that allow us to better serve the Utah cultural community.

“Bringing communities together through the collaborative power of arts and culture is such an ideal way to bring about growth and equality.” – Danielle Bendinelli – Board Chair

Programs of Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation

As you can see, we strive for great things throughout the state of Utah. So, what do we actually do to accomplish everything you just read about? Take a look below from managing NowPlayingUtah.com to producing our very own podcast entitled “Culture Bytes.”


NowPlayingUtah.com offers arts and cultural organizations, venues, and artists a cost-effective way to boost awareness of their work. Over the past decade, the site has become the premiere source for audiences to search for live dance, theater, music, and film listings, as well as community events. NowPlayingUtah.com also promotes exhibits and classes at zoological and botanical gardens, historical sites, and museums. It features postings from 3,074 organizations and 2,098 venues. It also promotes 1,221 Utah artists, providing each a free profile page where they can detail their specialty as well as over 1,700 pieces of public art. The organization, venue, public art, and artist directories feed the Cultural Asset Map, now hosted on nowplayingutah.com.

Organization Directory

Venue Directory

Public Art Directory

Artist Directory

Free Night (Photo Credit Tanner Humanities)

Free Night of Culture (formerly Free Night of Art) is an annual ticket distribution aimed at exposing new audiences and under-represented audiences to the cultural industry in Utah.

We coordinate with cultural groups to distribute free event tickets and admissions to patrons experiencing socio-economic hardship or other barriers to access meaningful cultural engagement during National Art & Humanities Month. In 2019, 849 patrons participated in Free Night of Art which was a significant increase from the 522 participants in 2018. This year, the Utah Arts & Cultural Coalition will again partner with local service organizations to expand the ticket distribution system from a lottery to a process ensuring tickets are received directly by low-income community members, especially children. Partners in Salt Lake County include Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake and YWCA of Utah. We are expanding Free Night of Art once again to become Free Night of Culture, adding museums, humanities, history, and heritage to the offerings. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Free Night is postponed to Spring 2021.


This statewide advertising campaign encourages Utahns to re-engage in the cultural and hospitality sectors by attending a performance or touring a museum followed by a meal at a local restaurant, stay in a hotel, or traveling to a state park to soak in nature’s beauty. In order for the economy to truly reopen, the public needs to be confident it is safe to engage. For some that will be attending in-person events with adaptive safety measures and for others it will mean engaging further with online content.

Utah Cultural Industry Impact Research and Reporting (photo credit Ririe Woodbury Dance Company)

This initiative equips those in the industry with the data and resources to raise awareness of their work, as well as the impacts it has on the community.Finalized data and analyses are published annually via the annual State of UT Culture report. Reports are shared with the press and generate news stories, are co-published with SL Chamber, Utah League of Cities and Towns, Utah Association of Counties, and are shared with decision makers including elected officials, philanthropists, and the for-profit business community. View the 2020 State of Utah Culture Report here: https://www.utahculturalalliance.org/stats

Professional Development Series

This series gives creative professionals the needed tools to expand the capacity of the cultural industry. Topics include streaming cultural events; virtually connecting with your audience; online marketing; public relations; grant writing; fundraising; audience evaluation; advocacy; ethical practices; diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity initiatives; community building; public programming; social media; budgeting; economic impact; and collaborative partnerships. We are strongly committed to being a statewide resource and hold these events around the state as well as including online access whenever feasible.

Register for upcoming events here: https://www.utahculturalalliance.org/events


To continue our mission to amplify the cultural industry, our weekly podcast Culture Bytes is an opportunity to highlight the exciting work of this sector. Now in its second season, Culture Bytes boasts 500 weekly subscribers. Our second season is heavily focused on highlighting the work of artists of color as well as the work that cultural organizations are doing to boost diversity.

Listen Here: https://www.nowplayingutah.com/classified/culture-bytes-episode-1/

IDEA (Photo Credit: Ibram X Kendi and JD Erica George speaking at Tanner Humanities Event)

We believe that Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility should be central to everything we do.

We recognize that systemic racism, sexism, classicism, and other divisions exist within our industry as well as within our own organization. Through this program, we work to improve inclusion, diversity, equity, and access within the cultural industry.

Meet the small but mighty team behind the work

Crystal Young-Otterstrom – Executive Director (2nd from left)

Ernesto Balderas – Communications Director (right)

Kylie Howard – Operations Director (left)

Ruth White – Outreach Director (3rd from left)

Alison Gates – Website Administrator (not pictured)

Miles Olivares – Content Specialist (not pictured)


Meet the Utah Cultural Alliance Foundation Board:

Danielle Bendinelli – Chair

Kristin Beck – Secretary

David Wicai – Vice Chair

Michelle Church

Pam Gee

Jeffrey kemp

Pat Holmes

Betty Sawyer

Cameron Archibald

Eve Patterson

Emily Spencer

Laura Durham

Sarina Ehrgott

Lucas Goodrich

Ginamarie Marsala

Katie Matheson

Molly Canon

Angela Brown

Adam Robertson

Kathy Cieslewicz

Jon Miles

Michael Ori

Mary Ann Urban