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Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks Program to Distribute $2.7 Million

Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks Program to Distribute $2.7 Million

Today, the Salt Lake County Council unanimously approved $2.7 million in Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) funding to be distributed to 187 organizations in 2023. Funding amounts are recommended by the ZAP Tier II Advisory Board.  

Tier II organizations, smaller cultural nonprofits, include community symphonies, historical museums, dance companies, visual arts programs, theatre companies, arts and cultural festivals, local arts agencies, folk arts groups, botanical gardens, and more. Recipient organizations span every district in the County. This year ZAP Tier II welcomed nine new organizations, evidence of the continued growth of arts and cultural offerings in Salt Lake County. 

“It’s exciting to watch our county’s arts and culture organizations continue to grow despite the challenges of the pandemic years.” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “Through the voter approved ZAP program, County residents provide real support for arts and cultural programs that everyone can enjoy. I look forward to seeing these arts organizations continue their great work.” 

ZAP grants are distributed to organizations across the county and these funds help organizations provide events and programs that entertain, educate, and enrich county residents and others. “Last year, ZAP organizations presented 22,436 events and programs and welcomed 1.7 million attendees,” commented Samantha Mary Thermos, ZAP Program Director. “Of those attendees, 1.4 million or 82% attended events at no charge.” 

Thanks in part to the operating support that ZAP provides, the Jordan Valley Conservation Garden Park offers free admission and access to their resources. Since its opening in the early 2000’s, Conservation Garden Park has become one of the most utilized and trusted resources for information about water conservation in Utah. The Park showcases landscapes suited for Utah’s dry climate that are beautiful, easy to maintain, and most importantly, water efficient.  

The ZAP Tier II Advisory Board spent an estimated 520 hours reviewing and scoring applications and recommending funding amounts for each organization. Scores reflect the organization’s artistic contributions and benefits to the public, and sound organizational management. 

“We have a rich, thriving arts and culture community in Salt Lake County,” said Monte Caldwell, ZAP Tier II Advisory Board Chair. “The ZAP grants are critical funds for so many organizations. As a board we are grateful, humbled, and inspired to serve – and we thank the people of Salt Lake County for their trust in us.”  

Although the Cultural Industry had the second largest decline during the Pandemic, just behind Leisure and Hospitality, art organizations supported by ZAP Tier II funds have shown incredible resilience and recovery by presenting 22,436 events across the County in the last year. 

The Cultural Industry remains an economic force in Salt Lake County. According to a report published by the Kem Gardner Policy Institute in early 2022, the county’s cultural industry generated more than $9 billion in sales and supported more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2020 (the most recent year data was available). This represents nearly 10% of the county’s gross domestic product and 6.9% of jobs in Salt Lake County.  

If you would like more information regarding the ZAP funds to be distributed to Tier II awardees in 2023, or apply for future funds, please contact Daniel Stergios, ZAP Grants and Communications Coordinator, at or 385-468-7058.