A ceremonial signing of House Bill 313 on Wednesday by Gov. Spencer J. Cox gave a strong endorsement for the Department of Cultural & Community Engagement — formerly the Department of Heritage & Arts.
This name change better reflects the department as a whole and brings common goals to the forefront while aligning the seven divisions to an overall purpose.
The Legislature approved the name change during this year’s general session, and it becomes official on May 5. On that day, the department will launch a new website at community.utah.gov and unveil a new department logo.
During the past few years, the department has expanded its roles and constituencies. In 2019, the STEM Action Center joined the department as its seventh division, complementing existing educational programs. In 2020, the Division of Multicultural Affairs was created in state code after existing through varying executive orders for decades. The division promptly became a leading voice for social equity during the COVID pandemic.
Other divisions have expanded their roles to include more public engagement on issues ranging from historical preservation to digital equity, volunteerism to tribal issues. During the pandemic, divisions such as Arts & Museums, UServeUtah, and Multicultural Affairs have provided important grant funding for businesses and communities most impacted by the virus.
All of these roles made the name of Heritage & Arts limiting as a description of all the provided services. Feedback also indicated many employees, as well as the people and organizations served, felt it did not capture the essence of their work.