Keven Myhre Moves Into New Role, Willy Palomo Hired as Community Engagement Manager

Keven Myhre Moves Into New Role, Willy Palomo Hired as Community Engagement Manager

After leading UtahPresents and Kingsbury Hall through the COVID shutdown and the monumental task of reopening and presenting live shows again, Keven Myhre, our longtime Operations Director, is stepping into a new role as Finance Manager, overseeing budgeting for the organization. We are thrilled to continue working with Keven at UtahPresents and are excited to support him in his new role.

Keven has been the Operations Director at UtahPresents since 2015. He began his career as a set designer, and has worked as a designer, director, and production manager. During his career he has worked for many, if not all, of the local theatre companies, including Salt Lake Acting Company, The Grand Theatre, Sundance Theatre, Plan-B Theatre, Pioneer Memorial Theatre, Utah Musical Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, and the Babcock Theatre.

In 2016, he received the Thomas DeGaetani Award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, which honors an outstanding lifetime contribution to the performing arts by an individual or organization. He received the Mayor’s Artists Award in the Performing Arts in 2009. In 2008 he was awarded the City Weekly Award for directing The Clean House and Moonlight and Magnolias at SLAC. He earned his BFA from the University of Utah and his MFA in theatre from the University of Michigan.

We are also pleased to announce that Willy Palomo has joined our staff as Community Engagement Manager. Willy comes to UtahPresents from Utah Humanities Council, where he oversaw the Book Festival and Center for the Book since 2019.

Willy is also a writer, poet, and performer. He has performed his poetry (inter)nationally at the National Poetry Slam, CUPSI, and Festival Internacional de Poesía Amada Libertad in El Salvador. His writing has been featured in Best New Poets 2018, Latino Rebels, The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States, and more. In 2017, he received the City of Bloomington Latino Leadership Award and the MLK Building Bridges Graduate Student Award for his work serving undocumented communities in Indiana. He has taught literature, creative writing, and the Poetics of Rap in universities, juvenile detention centers, community centers, and high schools. Willy earned an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and an MFA in Poetry from Indiana University.

Kalani Pe’a Brings Joyous Music to Salt Lake City

Kalani Pe’a Brings Joyous Music to Salt Lake City

Music rang out in the cavernous room, filling the space with joyous sound. The students at Mana Academy in West Valley City were singing to welcome Hawaiian singer/songwriter Kalani Pe’a to their school. The power of their song, and the beauty of the harmonies, set the tone for what would be a meaningful time of discussion and music.

Kalani performed for the group of 7th – 12th grade students, and also spoke about his journey to becoming a multiple Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and performer, emphasizing the importance of the Hawaiian language on his music. He taught the students several traditional Hawaiian songs, and encouraged them to follow their dreams and work hard to achieve them.

Kalani’s visit to Mana Academy was part of UtahPresents’ REACHUP program, that creates opportunities for engagement and deeper interaction between artists and members of our community. While he was in Salt Lake for his February 3 live concert, Kalani visited Mana Academy, lectured in a Pacific Islands Studies class on the U campus, and participated in a dialogue with the Pacific Islander Student Association.

Throughout the day, Kalani shared the inspiration he takes from the beauty of the natural world, and specifically the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. Building on traditional Hawaiian song structures, Kalani writes songs in both Hawaiian and English languages. He also incorporates traditional movement into his performances, dancing himself and also inviting local hula groups to join his live performances. For his concert at UtahPresents, dancers from local studios Kēhaulani Hula Studio and Hālau Kūpono hula, performed during several of Kalani’s songs.

At Mana Academy, several native Hawaiian students presented Kalani with a gift as the event drew to a close. The students expressed gratitude that Kalani spent time with them and visited their school. Providing opportunities for students to interact with and learn from artists, especially artists who come from similar backgrounds and experiences, is a driving force behind UtahPresents’ mission. Many students and teachers who interacted with Kalani at the three REACHUP events attended the live public performance, finishing the week with joyous music and dance.

Curating Creativity: UtahPresents and U. of Utah College of Fine Arts Welcome Chloe Jones as New Executive Director/Assistant Dean

Curating Creativity: UtahPresents and U. of Utah College of Fine Arts Welcome Chloe Jones as New Executive Director/Assistant Dean

The University of Utah College of Fine Arts is pleased to announce Chloe Jones will be joining the team as the next Executive Director of UtahPresents and Assistant Dean for Art & Creative Engagement. Jones comes to the U from The Yard, a creation and performance platform in Martha’s Vineyard that supports diverse, contemporary dance-makers and related artists in their creative processes. She will join the University on October 31, 2022, with the goal of furthering UtahPresents’ mission as a multi-disciplinary presenter at the University of Utah that brings diverse artistic and cultural experiences to campus and the region, to explore and enrich the human experience through the lens of creativity and the arts.

“The momentum generated in the last couple of years by UtahPresents is going to be well fueled by the talents and experience Chloe will bring to this role,” said John Scheib, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Associate Vice President for the Arts at the U. “We’re thrilled to have her at the helm.”

She feels similarly.

“Leading UtahPresents into its next chapter will be an honor,” Jones said. “I am inspired by the legacy of the organization and energized by what we can do next. We have a strong foundation to build on and exciting opportunities ahead. Applying rigor to curiosity is the work of both artists and scholars, and it will be my guiding principle as Executive Director.

“On a personal note, joining the team is the homecoming of my dreams,” continued Jones. “I grew up in Salt Lake City and have maintained a close connection to Utah since moving away. SLC’s landscape and creative community offer one of the most compelling combinations anywhere, and I look forward to both drawing from and contributing to that wellspring of inspiration.”

Starting with her first class at Tanner Dance at age 2, Jones developed a lifelong love of the arts. After studying dance in high school at Rowland Hall and at the Ballet West Academy, she attended Wesleyan University where she majored in dance and Hispanic literatures & cultures.

She began her career in arts administration at the Wesleyan Center for the Arts, and prior to her role as Executive Director, she was The Yard’s Director of Development, where she increased the overall contributed revenue of the organization by more than 40%. Jones took the helm at The Yard just as COVID-19 closures were beginning, and despite the impact of the pandemic, Jones was able to reset the organization’s finances and create an operating surplus and cash reserve.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chloe to UtahPresents,” said David Kirby, Chair of UtahPresents’ Advisory Board and Senior Vice President at Zions Bank. “Her dedication and love for the arts is evident, and the passion and vision she presented will move the organization forward. The board members are excited to support her as we work together to grow and expand the mission and impact of UtahPresents.”

Versa-Style with Miss Funk and Breeze Lee

Versa-Style with Miss Funk and Breeze Lee

Watch an interview with Jackie “Miss Funk” Lopez and Leigh “Breeze Lee” Foaad, where you’ll hear about the mission of the company, some of the creation process, and what you can expect from their show on September 16 at Kingsbury Hall (buy your tickets HERE if you haven’t already!)

COVID-19 Precautions

For the safety of our audiences, artists, and staff, UtahPresents and Kingsbury Hall remain mask-friendly environments and we encourage all who wish to wear masks to continue to do so at our events.

We ask that patrons please not attend any show if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or are feeling unwell. We will refund ticket costs and applicable fees for any patrons who have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing flu-like symptoms, if the patron notifies the ticket office prior to showtime.

The University of Utah is monitoring the current public health situation and may adapt these policies at any time.

Marking a Path: Sustainability and the Arts

Marking a Path: Sustainability and the Arts

Posted in @theU, March 25, 2021

GIZHIBAA GIIZHIG | Revolving Sky at the 2020 Under the Radar Incoming! Created by All My Relations Collective core collaborators Ty Defoe, Lux Haac, Marika Kent, and Katherine Freer with Guest Collaborator Daniel Banks. Photograph by Skye Morse-Hodgson.

Finding long-term solutions to complex problems is not just about the destination. It’s about marking the path for others to follow so they can discover the next solution. Named after the human-made piles of stones found at trail markers around the world, “Cairns” is a new art residency at the University of Utah will mark the progress made as we strive for sustainability.

UtahPresents, the campus inter-disciplinary performing arts presenter, is partnering with the Sustainability Office and the Global Change & Sustainability Center on the project. The staff in each department have brought their collective resources and expertise together to make Cairns a success. Together they will convene artists, scientists, students and community organizers to explore complex sustainability questions from the ground up.

“What makes Cairns so unique is the idea that multiple projects will occur over time, or even in conjunction with one another that lead to the next step, then to the next answer and eventually to the solutions to the environmental problems we see today,” said Brooke Horejsi, executive director, UtahPresents. “Our collaborative partner offices have all embodied the OneU approach to come together to find new and innovative ways to explore and solve sustainability related issues.”

Where we have been

The Cairns artist residency is unlike many others and builds on the foundation of the frequently used model. A typical artist residency creates a dedicated space for the artist to escape to and create. Of those residencies, a narrow subset includes artist and scientist collaboration. These residencies are often for a short period of time or have artists exclusively focused on science-driven storytelling.

Read more >>>

Together, Despite It All

Watch an update from executive director Brooke Horejsi, or scroll down to read the message.

Remember what experiencing live performance, in the moment, gathered with others, felt like?  I do and I miss it.  I miss the anticipation, I miss the moments of shared laughter, awe, tears, discomfort, stunned inspiration.  I miss losing myself in the show, while knowing that you are all there, with me.  The unique together-alone of live performance.

We haven’t been together-alone for months now.  Longer than I think any of us originally anticipated.  Certainly, longer than any of us would like.  Yet, we have been together, despite the first COVID disruption back in March.  We came together to postpone and reschedule.   Then the creative community came together, despite the limitations of quarantine, to share their talents, culture, and ideas with audiences on line.  Then, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the many before them, demanded we come together, despite the pandemic.  To speak and to act against racism.  To stand in solidarity with communities of color, to shout BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Last week, we came together for our first virtual fundraiser, despite the continued uncertainty. We gathered virtually to look to the future, to evolve how we serve our community and support artists and to declare that free does not feed.  Art, artists, and art organizations have worth.

As the launch of our 20/21 season is just around the corner, we’ll come together, despite the challenges.  We may not be able to gather, shoulder to shoulder, like we did before, but UtahPresents is still here, and we are still passionate about the role that creativity plays in making our lives vibrant and valuable, especially during a pandemic.  We are still here, figuring out how to create these connections, how to bring all of us together, despite our darkened theaters.

I’m excited to share with you the plans for how we’ll be together – particularly because for some, the virtual space will open up possibility for participation and engagement, in a way that physical gathering sometimes can’t.

Now, no matter where you are, or whether or not you’ve showered that day, you can join us to meet the Russian activist, member of feminist punk rock band Pussy Riot, author, and protest artist Nadya Tolokonnikova!  You can see her up close, from the best seat in your house.

The conversation between Nadya and KRCL’s Lara Jones, host of RadioActive, is now happening on October 15th at 7pm.  All you have to do is register for a free ticket to get the details.  If you want an even more unique experience, and to support UtahPresents’ work to connect the changemakers of the future, our students, with artists like Nadya, donate to gain access to our first ever Virtual Book Club.  Then, grab your copy of Read and Riot and join us on October 8th for a more intimate chat with Nadya and others about the book.

Or, maybe in years past you haven’t acted quickly enough to nab a ticket to the sell out TEDxSaltLakeCity?  Now, because we’ll be together virtually, we’ll have enough spots for everyone!  Join us on September 19th from the back porch, or the kitchen island, or your favorite chair to hear “ideas worth spreading” about (Un)conventional Wisdom from local speakers and performers.

Maybe you were going to be out of town in November when UtahPresents is welcoming Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations to our community?  No matter now – you can join us for their cutting edge performance piece Between Underground and Skyworld from anywhere. Created by the next generation of indigenous superheroes, BTW US Cyberspace creates an exciting new vision for what online performance can be. Now reimagined as an interactive mini-series of dynamic episodes, the story will culminate in a live, virtual performance followed by an interactive Reflection Pool with the dancers on November 20.

If you are wondering about other shows, particularly the ones that despite best efforts, just really need that in person togetherness, check your email in box, or our website, or social media posts for updates.  We’ll be working on everything and keep you in the know as we figure it out.

We are all anxious to be together-alone in the theater with one another again, and we know that artists will keep exploring complex issues, imagining different perspectives, and inspiring awe. And UtahPresents will continue to be at the leading edge of curating and connecting you with that work.

We’ll be together, despite it all.

COVID update

Dear Patrons

As we move into welcoming patrons back into Kingsbury Hall, we want you to know that our main goal is the health and safety for patrons, artists, and staff and we are in the process of developing policies and procedures.  We anticipate more specific guidelines and information from the government and University of Utah will be available in July and will do another website update by August 1.  We are not scheduled to have patrons in Kingsbury Hall until September 2020. If you have any questions at this time, please contact for more information.

Message from Executive Director Brooke Horejsi

A message from Executive Director Brooke Horejsi:

In response to domestic coronavirus developments, the University of Utah is cancelling large-scale university gatherings of 100 people or more, effective now through the end of the spring term in April. As a result, UtahPresents must cancel all performances in that date range.

Currently, this includes:
Air Play on March 14 – rescheduled for Sept 11
Phantom Limb on March 20 – rescheduled for Jan 15
Meklit on March 27
The Origin of Love: The Songs and Stories of Hedwig John Cameron Mitchell on April 3 – rescheduled for Oct 30
Across the Prairie by University of Utah Youth Theater on April 10-11
Rigoletto on April 17-18

We appreciate your patience as we work through this significantly difficult situation. We are urgently working with the artists to reschedule performances for future dates and will share that new date and exchange information as soon as it is available. As cancellations of performances and gatherings become more widespread in the wake of COVID-19, the financial impact on artists and presenters around the world is becoming a harsh reality.

We know that this news may be a great disappointment to many, as it is for us. You can also stay connected to us by visiting our website at or following us on Facebook, Instagram (@utahpresents) or Twitter (@utahpresents).

Please note that our physical box office at Kingsbury Hall is closed for in-person service until further notice. Phones and email will be answered from 10AM – 5PM Monday through Friday, and we will be working diligently to address patron questions and concerns. Please click on individual events for specific information on rescheduled dates, cancellations, etc. We appreciate your patience as we navigate this evolving situation.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding, please stay healthy and safe during this challenging time.

Brooke Horejsi
Executive Director, UtahPresents