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By Brice Wallace

Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County are taking the next steps in an effort to market downtown Salt Lake City as a “Cultural Core.”

Work on the joint project for enhancing and promoting arts, culture and entertainment in the area started in December 2010, and last week city and county leaders announced that Downtown SLC Presents will lead the activities.

Downtown SLC Presents, part of Downtown Alliance, works to promote cultural and artistic experiences in downtown Salt Lake City through a variety of activities and programs, with projects that include the EVE WinterFest, Downtown Art & Craft Market, Jingle Bus, holiday lighting, Downtown Garden Stroll and a banner program.

In 2010, the city and county entered into an agreement setting up a sales tax-based funding mechanism to pump $10 million over 20 years into the development, marketing, branding and improving of arts and cultural activities in Salt Lake City. Last winter, the city and county councils voted unanimously to adopt the Cultural Core Action Plan for providing a strategy for capitalizing on the funds.

The Cultural Core is 600 West to 400 East, and North Temple to 400 South. The program will focus on enhancing established arts and cultural programs and venues as well as newer and eclectic art and the creatives.

Cultural Core goals include:

• Celebrating and promoting Salt Lake’s array of arts and cultural activities and experiences.

• Expanding and diversifying audiences for Salt Lake’s arts and culture.

• Enhancing Salt Lake’s brand and supporting increased visitation from the region and Intermountain West.

• Enriching the urban experience and sense of place.

• Fostering downtown as an inclusive, diverse and welcoming place.

• Supporting increased collaboration and creative development among Salt Lake’s creative community.

• Supporting downtown residential development and enhancing the downtown business environment.

Additional details about the Cultural Core are at

During a recent “State of Downtown” media gathering, Jason Mathis, executive director of the alliance, said the organization will emphasize in its marketing the many unique arts and entertainment options available downtown. The announcement was augmented by a statewide survey about perceptions and attitudes commissioned by the alliance that indicates that arts and entertainment — dining, events, festivals, theater and nightlife — are the main draw for people coming downtown.

In July, Americans for the Arts released the results of a study indicating that arts and culture have a $306.6 million annual impact in Salt Lake City. The study indicated that the industry in Salt Lake City supports 10,479 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $27.9 million in local and state government revenues, with figures based on the 2015 fiscal year.