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Lori Edmunds takes Murray Cultural Arts helm

Jun 28, 2018 11:47AM ● Published by Shaun Delliskave

Murray Cultural Arts Director Lori Edmunds. (Photo courtesy Murray City)

By Shaun Delliskave | s.delliskave@mycityjournals.com

It is quite a daunting task to oversee Murray City’s vast cultural art’s resources, but even more so to take over from the person who built those resources from the ground up. Lori Edmunds has been named Murray City’s new cultural arts director, taking over from the retired Mary Ann Kirk.

“Mary Ann Kirk did such a great job creating and protecting the arts and history of Murray, Edmunds said. “The challenges I have are keeping things moving forward without losing any of the momentum that Mary Ann created.”

Indeed, Edmunds will have to program shows at the newly renovated Murray Amphitheater, oversee the Murray Museum and its historical resources and help get the planned Murray Theater renovations off the ground.

“Early on in my training as an arts coordinator, a wise man told me to think of the different departments of a city this way: If the city was a person, the public services (police, fire, streets, water, etc.) would be the skin and bones of that person,” Edmunds said. “The arts are the soul. I truly believe that. Murray is fortunate to have a well-tuned arts program within the reach of every person that resides in the city.”

To nurture that soul, Edmunds brings decades worth of experience working with South Jordan City and as a special events planner.

“During that time, I had met Mary Ann through networking experiences, and I was very impressed with her programs and her knowledge,” she said. “I tried to use her expertise in the programming that I was doing with South Jordan City. When the opportunity to work with her became available, I was lucky enough to get the job. I am grateful for the year I spent with her before she retired, as she had so much to teach me about Murray City.”

Edmunds is excited to be involved in the development of the Murray City Center District . The MCCD will have several historic properties that not only include the Murray Theater but also the Murray Mansion and Murray Chapel. Edmunds is applying for county funding to start the renovation of the Murray Theater.

“I grew up just north of Murray, and I spent many Saturday afternoons at that theater, so it holds a special place in my heart,” she said. “It should be an amazing space when it is finished.”

The new cultural arts director sees Murray as being a very unique and diverse population with residents who love and understand the importance of both art and history.

“They also have the support of the mayor and city council. Not all cities have that luxury,” said Edmunds.

Edmunds advises not to expect big changes with her promotion.

“There are several moving parts to my job, and, of course, I see things through a different pair of eyes, and things will be different because of that,” she said. “Things will change with time, as that is normal and natural as the city itself evolves. For the most part, I really want to keep things going status quo because it has been so successful, but I want to enhance what has been done.”

The Murray Museum will need to find a new home, as it currently resides in city hall. With the relocation of city hall, Edmunds sees potential for the museum’s future.

“We want to be able to facilitate programming from the museum,” she said. “We see it as being a destination—somewhere that people want to visit often. Murray City has a treasure trove of history at the fingertips of its residents, including oral histories, thousands of historical pictures and artifacts.”

Still, Edmunds does have some lofty dreams for Murray.

“I would love to see Adele come and perform once again at the remodeled Murray Theater,” she said. “I would also like to see David Archuleta perform at the amphitheater. Honestly, it is not my lineup that is important but the desires of the community. The bottom line is to try and figure out what the residents want.”

 

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