Brooke Horejsi: Moving Beyond a Historic Stage

By Brooke Horejsi
Assistant Dean for Art & Creative Engagement and Executive Director
UtahPresents

A new vision for the future leads to the expansion of the U of U’s campus-based series, out of the confines of a specific venue and into a new brand that creates connections with the larger campus and community.

Last June I left the land of 10,000 lakes – and friends, family, & a job with amazing co-workers – to return to the breathtaking mountains of the west.  What lured me, besides the temperate climate, the amazing proximity of the peaks of the Wasatch Front, and the vibrant city thriving in the valley below?  A new opportunity to weave creativity and the arts into a campus and a community in inspiring, impactful, and interesting ways. 

My new role as the Assistant Dean for Art & Creative Engagement and Executive Director of a campus based arts presenter proved to be thrilling and challenging from day one.  As I settled in, I quickly realized that although the name of the program, Kingsbury Hall Presents, was logical, it didn’t feel quite right for the future vision.  Kingsbury Hall, a historic building with around 2000 seats and an ideal stage for large scale productions, had all sorts of local recognition, which was good.  It also meant all sorts of things to people, from the place where they saw their first rock concert, to the home of the theater department in the early years, to the dance recital venue for thousands of little girls, which was not as good for our brand as a Presenter.  As I thought about the programmatic variety that would be crucial to a season of successful performances and community engagement work across campus and the region, I knew that it was time to move beyond the Kingsbury stage. 

An exciting path forward, to be sure, but also a logistical nightmare when our name is a geographic pointer to a very specific place. Imagine; Kingsbury Hall Presents Northwest Dance Project at the Marriot Center for Dance.  Now, imagine confused patrons showing up at the wrong venue! So, what to do other than conduct an extensive evaluation of peer programs and organizations to help us craft a new name, a new message, a new brand, for our expanded mission?  The new collateral is almost done, the next season will be launched with the new name, and the future is bright for…

UtahPresents; for the curious who want to experience artistic creativity pushed beyond the stage.  Igniting dialogue, exploring issues and ideas, catalyzing innovation. Creativity connected. 

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