Struggle during the pandemic isn’t unique — every sphere of both public and private life has been impacted by COVID-19. But when it came to choosing a topic for my enterprise story, I knew it was important, now more than ever, to bring attention to local businesses and artists.
With that in mind, it wasn’t hard to find the Utah Arts Alliance.
UAA is a nonprofit arts organization that provides services and programs, enabling the community to experience and access art, and allowing people to pursue their creative goals. From there, I discovered its immersive arts program, Dreamscapes.
Not only is Dreamscapes unique in respect to the way in which the exhibit utilizes a blend of physical and digital art to create a complete immersive experience, it is also Utah’s first permanent environmentally sustainable art exhibition. This is when I knew it was important to highlight this local business, one that relies on volunteers.
I reached out to the Dreamscapes manager, Suzanne Raia, and immediately heard back.
In our interview, I learned that she was connected to Dreamscapes through UAA and had been with the exhibit since its conception. Raia expressed passion for the green initiative and spoke highly of the difference she felt the exhibit makes, not only for the environment, but also for the artists.
Through Raia, I was connected to Ashley Brown and Bo Dean. Brown is the assistant manager at Dreamscapes and a creative lead. She was a great resource because she provided insight into what it is like to work as an artist within the exhibit and to collaborate with volunteers. Brown and I walked through the installation during the end of our interview, and she was able share anecdotes about the process of building the exhibit and point out pieces I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.
Bo Dean is a builder for UAA, so he provided a unique perspective on the types of opportunities community collaboration can result in and how we can affect change. This interview made me realize the importance of connections and having a network within the community. Dean described his work with organizations such as Dreamscapes, Burning Man, Illumination, UAA, and others.
In all my interviews, we talked about the importance of volunteers and sustainability, which is how I found the focus of my story. In the coming days, Dreamscapes will be moving to a larger location to rebuild, and volunteers will be more important than ever — so I structured my story by introducing the sustainability component of the exhibit and ended with a call for volunteers.
During the writing process, I learned a lot about constructing a story based on the information from the interviews and then fact checking. I immediately pulled the quotes I wanted to include in my story. Then I started organizing the useable information into one document in the order in which I would include it.
In this story, I hope the theme of community involvement really comes through and encourages people to support local art.
I am a firm believer in lifelong education and have an associate degree in communication from Northwest College in northern Wyoming. I am currently a full-time student at the University of Utah pursuing a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication.
I am an avid reader of all genres, like to start my morning with a New York Times article, and even have a Book of the Month subscription. I hope to work with a publishing company someday and help authors get their work to the public. Some of my hobbies include walking around Salt Lake City, attempting to cook, exploring different art scenes, and participating on the debate team at the U.