It’s ironic that Kristian Anderson, the Salt Lake City mayor’s senior adviser for arts and culture, of all people, is going after The Leonardo on issues of financial solvency.
In response to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art’s own solvency issues, and his questionable actions to address them when he was UMOCA executive director, Anderson was quoted in this newspaper as saying, “If you only fund the arts institutions that aren’t struggling, that’s going to be a pretty narrow band of things.”
Unlike Anderson, who bailed on UMOCA after just a few years, the executive director of The Leonardo, Alexandra Hesse, has been a stabilizing force at its helm with her long-term commitment and dedication to the vision and mission of the museum.
Thanks to Hesse’s able leadership, Anderson’s quote doesn’t even apply. That’s because The Leonardo has been operating in the black for some time now. Furthermore, it serves 220,000 people annually through youth camps and exhibits that appeal to people of all ages such as “Flight,” “Pompeii” and “Mines to Vines.” They even hosted Jackie Chan as part of Chan’s global “Green Hero” touring exhibit.
The Leonardo celebrates its namesake’s legendary creativity and innovation 358 days of the year. I can only imagine what The Leonardo could be for our community if Salt Lake City would step up and invest in The Leonardo the way you would any valuable asset.
Erica Marken, Salt Lake City