As I’ve argued in the past, the arts help create great cities. They’re enjoyable, create vibrancy, and attract cool young people who also happen to be skilled workers. In other words, the arts generate economic investment.
In that light, there are a few Provo-related arts developments worth noting this week.
First, BYU professor Lance Larsen was named Utah’s poet laureate. Provo is already the center of Utah’s music scene, but Larsen’s appointment shows that the city is an important site for literary culture as well.
And lest literary culture seem frivolous or insignificant, consider: New York’s literary culture is one of that city’s major industries. Literature is also what initially forged the reputation — or mystique — of big places like New York and Paris. Provo is obviously a long way off from those global metropolises, but Larsen’s appointment and things like the Provo Orem Word show that Provo is at least growing it’s cultural offerings and competing with bigger neighbors like Salt Lake City.
In an entirely different branch of the arts, some of the filmmakers behind the popular Angel Murkurker videos recently posted a short film to Youtube. “Gerald” is a sitcom-length romance set in Utah Valley at a time when monsters roam the earth.
One of the things that I like about the film, especially in the context of this blog, is that the setting is clearly Utah but also not a remote backwater. Instead, it’s a city filled with people and events (and monsters), some of whom are cool. In that way, it kind of does for Provo what “Portlandia” tries to do with Portland.