Facebook Twitter

Entertainment Web site all-encompassing

SHARE Entertainment Web site all-encompassing
NowPlayingUtah.com is a gateway to entertainment across Utah.

NowPlayingUtah.com is a gateway to entertainment across Utah.


How many times have you had a some free time on the weekend and wanted to get the kids out but finding something to do seemed overwhelming?

Perhaps you're involved with an arts organization and a limited budget means no marketing.

Maybe you're looking for a musician to play at a party or your wedding.

Now, rather than clicking on numerous different Web sites, trying to jot down times, places and prices, you can go to one: www.NowPlayingUtah.com

Thanks to the combined efforts of The Utah Arts Council, Zoo, Arts and Parks, and the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, Utah now has a comprehensive location to find information on all things entertainment related.

With the click of your mouse, you can access theater, dance, music and art events across the state. Interested in poetry? There is a Poetry & Literature category as well as History & Heritage.

Getting your family out will be easy and affordable with the Kids & Families category and the Free Events.

It also covers Festivals & Special Events as well as Sports & Outdoors.

And if you're an artist looking to get your name and your work in the public eye, the Web site also has a place for Artist Profiles. "This is for all types of artists: visual, theater, music. Utah has so many artists," said Victoria Bourns, ZAP program manager.

Those artists can go to NowPlayingUtah.com and post a profile for free, which will eventually be an in-depth resource for anyone looking to hire a musician, for example.

In addition to providing the largest database of cultural events, which include Web links, venue information and ticket-buying options, the Web site will also have lists of classes, workshops, jobs and auditions.

And there are additional benefits of such a Web site, which Scott Beck, president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, describes as "comprehensive, content-relevant, indexable, and searchable, with the newest and latest technology."

Utah's numerous arts and entertainment organizations, from community to professional, many struggling with budget constraints, now have another means of marketing themselves, by posting events on NowPlayingUtah.com for free.

"When I started two years ago, it became quickly evident that there's just a really enormous amount of all of the arts and cultural events around the Wasatch Front, more than I thought," Beck said.

"As I went out to find ways to communicate that to our visitors, it was evident that there was 100 points of light. There was no comprehensive way to get information. You had to go to all these separate Web sites."

Charged with the task of growing Utah as a travel destination, Beck explained, "one of the things we experience with our visitors is, they have perceptions about Utah and what we are and what we

do. But when you can see a Ririe-Woodbury production and different things, that breaks down a lot of barriers about us."

And Beck enthusiastically adds, "We're 100 percent convinced that this is going to help grow our city as a destination."

The three organizations had long felt the need for a such a Web site, but lacked the funding or manpower to make it happen.

"A number of us in the the arts and culture community wanted it, and we were just overwhelmed thinking, 'How will we do this?"' said Bourns who, over a year ago, saw a demonstration of Artsopolis, the software brainchild of the San Jose arts community in need of the same service.

Beck and Margaret Hunt, executive director with the Utah Arts Council, had seen the same demonstration at difference conferences.

"UAC, ZAP and CVB got together, and we decided it was best to create a separate nonprofit entity to manage the calendar," Bourns said about creating the Utah Arts and Cultural Coalition. "By coming together, we were each able to put in some funding. I think it will become the premiere place with what's going on in Utah."

The cooperation of three different organizations with three different missions may be unusual, but those involved say it's been a pleasure to work together. "Sometimes it's difficult to bring people together," Beck said, "but the commitment from Victoria and Margaret was amazing. They took a chance on a private company and that's been one of the most amazing things I've ever seen."

And Bourns agrees. "It's been so gratifying. So many groups have said, 'We really feel this is going to make a big difference, thank you.' I don't want to sound mushy, but it really is heartwarming and I just feel so proud at having been a part of this."

NowPlayingUtah.com is up and running.

E-mail: ehansen@desnews.com