Arts and Culture

Jonathan Diaz

Tom Williams spoke with Braelyn, a brave little girl battling leukemia, who is featured in a book of photography and stories called “True Heroes.” We also speak with Braelyn’s mother Kristen about becoming a “cancer mom.”

A museum in Northern Utah is hosting a symposium for its current exhibition on ‘kitsch’, which is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “pretentious bad taste, especially in the arts”.  

54 Strong: Women, Music and Civil Rights

Mar 29, 2016

On the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, our group of 54 Strong followed a light all the way to Marion, Alabama to learn more about the roles and power of women in the music of the Civil Rights Movement. In that small southern town, we had the privilege of meeting up with Billie Jean Young -- famed actor, writer and McCarther Fellow who enlightened our group on why music was so central to the success of the Civil Rights Movement.

  On UPR's Folks Over, we've got live guests Reckless Uprising Unplugged, plus music from Panthermilk, Robert Linton, 3 Hat Trio, Red Rock Rondo, Hoodoo and Todd Wilkinson.

Photo: Mikey Kettinger

It’s becoming common for universities around the United States to invest in architectural aesthetics as a recruitment tool for attracting students. The latest example in Utah involves an addition to the skyline of USU.

Photo: Mikey Kettinger

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City is embracing Americans' election-year-intensified interest in socio-political issues with several new visual art exhibitions dealing with ideology, immigration and sexuality.  

photo: Jess Ulloa

Walden, A Game is a new experimental video game based on the book by American philosopher Henry David Thoreau. It made its Utah introduction at this year’s New Frontier in conjunction with the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, which features virtual reality, video art installations, and immersive video and film creations. Tracy Fullerton, the game’s designer, says it serves as a vehicle for education and entertainment, and aims to appeal to gamers of all ages.

Cellist Stefan Koch discovered the mostly overlooked music of Austrian composer Richard Stöhr nearly 100 years after it was composed.  Mr. Koch believes the music is largely unknown due to Stöhr’s Jewish background, and his history of being forced out of Nazi-controlled Austria in the late 1930s.

Move Over Superman - Cupid Is Saving Hearts In Logan

Feb 12, 2016

Move over Clark Kent, Cody Apedaile has his own alter ego and he’s currently saving hearts in Logan.

Madame Tussauds

Donny and Marie Osmond put a twist on their trademark jingle as their wax figures for Madam Tussaud’s studio were revealed Tuesday for the first time at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

Artist Sculpts Figures Relatable To Many

Feb 4, 2016
Photo: Mikey Kettinger

Jonathan Christensen is a sculptor based in Logan, Utah.  His recent exhibition at Utah State University’s Projects Gallery included portraits made of clay and found objects. The artworks illustrate Jonathan’s personal growth as a born-and-raised Utahn who has experienced a range of life-changing events. One being his parents’ toxic marriage, another being his decision to disconnect from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as an adolescent boy, in favor of immersing himself in the counter-culture of punk rock.


Utah Museum Explores Art, Kitsch and Culture

Jan 29, 2016
Photo: Mikey Kettinger

The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word ‘kitsch’ as “Pretentious bad taste, especially in the arts.” Logan’s Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art has devoted a new exhibition to Kitsch and the evolution of its perception in the context of contemporary art.

Utah Museum Highlights Modern Uses of Ancient Mummies

Jan 17, 2016

Mummies of the World is on view at The Leonardo museum in Salt Lake City, with recently discovered mummies from Hungary, as well as mummies from Ancient Egypt and South America. 

"Fursonas" documentary

“Fursonas” is a documentary premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City on Jan. 22. It’s a first time effort for director Dominic Rodriguez that focuses on the world of furries, people who like to dress up like animals.

Photo: Mikey Kettinger

Every four years, in conjunction with the presidential election, Americans become slightly more interested in politics. Polls, candidates, issues and parties become subjects of countless jokes and a lot of attention, and for some Salt Lake City museums, politics will be central themes for exhibitions.

Civil Rights Era Highlighted at BYU Museum Of Art

Dec 22, 2015

Two exhibitions at the BYU Museum of Art show perspectives on a critical component of American history:  racial integration. One of the exhibitions is by widely beloved illustrative painter Norman Rockwell, and the other is by photographer Herman Leonard.

Utah Musicians Raise Money With Crowdfunding

Dec 14, 2015
Photo: Mikey Kettinger

Internet crowd-funding has become a very common means of fundraising for emerging artists in Utah.  Websites like and allow anyone to create a website for any project, where they can embed a video about their ideas, and why they deserve your money.

Each project must set a fundraising goal with a deadline.  Typically, creators will provide incentives for donations, with more enticing gifts being attached to higher donations.  Some artists offer outlandish rewards for generous donors, like special performances or signed records.

Photo: Mikey Kettinger

The Republic of Zaqistan celebrated its tenth year of independence this November with a bar party at Twilite Lounge in Salt Lake City.  Festivities included $1 “Champagne of Beers”, and pop-up immigration and passport booths, where all in attendance were welcomed to apply for Zaqistani citizenship.

Zaqistani citizen Rick Aaron attended the event for work, where he reported live on television.

Acclaimed Harpsichordist Finds Inspiration In Hip Hop

Dec 8, 2015

Mahan Esfahani is a decorated, classically trained musician, but he prides himself on having an interest in performing classical music in a contemporary way.

“Music lives when we relate it to our own lives and we relate it to events around us, as Bach and Handel and others did,” Mahani said.

In addition to his traditional influences, he also cites modern artists as sources for inspiration, some of whom are widely considered to be opposites of classical music.

Documentary About Artist With Autism Screens In Logan

Nov 20, 2015

Their friendship formed through a mutual passion for visual art over a decade ago, but Ben Stamper and Justin Canha inadvertently became collaborators on a film about Justin’s dream to live on his own, and the process of overcoming obstacles associated with Autism.

“I know how to do laundry.  I did a great job cleaning up.  And I know how to get rid of garbage and recycling,” Canha said.

Justin is a talented artist and art educator, with a particular interest in drawing postage stamp sized portraits of cartoon characters and animals.

A play entitled "Good Kids" made its Utah premier at the University of Utah’s Studio 115 last week.  The production was inspired by the nationally controversial sexual assault of a teenage girl by varsity football players in Steubenville, Ohio.

The play was written by Naomi Lizuka, and is directed by Julie Rada.

“1 in 5 women on college campuses is sexually assaulted or raped so that is certainly very relevant and topical.” Rada said.

Logan River To Have Art Installation

Oct 28, 2015
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Mark Lee Koven, artist and professor at Utah State is currently working on an interactive art installation in the Logan river, focusing on the caddisfly; an insect whose presence is deeply connected to a river’s health. The project is set to open in late Spring of 2016.


In the lapping swirls of the Logan river, an art installation is set to finish next spring.


Eastern Utah Photographer Finds Beauty Among the Fossils

Oct 26, 2015
Randy Fullbright

Randy Fullbright has lived all around the world, but moved to Vernal, Utah in 1998 to open Fullbright Studios. The current site of Fullbright Studios is an old gas station that was converted into an art gallery, specializing in works inspired by the breathtaking natural beauty of the western landscape. Mr. Fullbright has made a name for himself as a landscape photographer, specifically a photographer of the vistas that surround Dinosaur National Monument.

USU Caine School of the Arts


Organized in 2010 under the direction of Utah State University Caine School of the Arts Dean, Craig Jessop, the Scotsman Pipe and Drum Corps rehearses in a parking lot.

That parking lot happens to be shared by the Utah Public Radio staff.  Each Wednesday at 6 p.m. we have access to a parking lot concert that is second to none.  The twills from the tasseled bags filled with air are a perfect complement to the cloud covered “highlands” of Cache Valley.

Utah Museum Exhibits Art Of Award-Winning Painter

Oct 13, 2015

Every two years, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) awards an artist with the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting.  The prize includes $15,000  and an exhibition at UMOCA.