Utahns attend arts events more than any other state in the nation, leading the pack with 84.5 percent of people going to events. Colorado and Montana follow close behind with 80.7 percent and 80.6 percent of people attending arts events, respectively.

These events include "attending a live music, theater or dance performance; attending a live book reading, poetry or storytelling event; going to see an art exhibit; going to a movie" and taking local tours, according to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Although the study indicates that comparisons between the states may be inaccurate, Utahns, and those in other Western states, do tend to take part in artistic activities above the national average.

"The results indicate that Western states such as Colorado, Utah and Washington, along with certain Eastern states, including Maryland and Vermont, tend to participate in the arts at above-average rates," the NEA reported. "A number of Southern states — Florida, West Virginia and Mississippi, for example — generally report below-average arts participation."

Arts education has been proven to help kids succeed in the classroom and beyond.

According to a 2012 study from the National Endowment for the Arts, kids from low-income families have better career and educational outcomes the more they are exposed to the arts, including music, dance, plays or artwork.

The study found that kids who had more experience with artistic endeavors were also more likely to get better grades in school, go to college, major in a topic that aligned with their professional interests, volunteer in their communities and vote.

"Arts education doesn't take place in isolation," Rocco Landesman, the chairman of the NEA, said in a press release. "It has to take place as part of an overall school and education reform strategy. This report shows that arts education has strong links with other positive educational outcomes."

The Tumbleweeds Film Festival, an independent film festival in Utah this weekend featuring kid-friendly documentaries, plans to do just that. It exposes kids to new ideas and forms of expression that some believe can expand their world view and make them more empathetic.

“For me, personally, it’s so important that my kids watch these kinds of movies because it shows them that there’s this big world out there. It gives them a lot of exposure to different languages, different traditions and things like that,” parent Celine Downen told the Deseret News.

Festival founder Patrick Hubley agrees that indie films have the potential to incite creativity in kids and inspire them to think critically about the media.

“The visual image, the moving image, is so pervasive in our culture that I think it’s essential for kids to have some understanding on not only how to watch and think about what they’re seeing but also what goes into making things,” Hubley told the Deseret News.

Tumbleweeds holds workshops to help kids made sense of the entertainment they encounter on a daily basis and improve their quality of life.

Here are six films that will be premiering this weekend at the Tumbleweeds Film Festival in Salt Lake City that you can watch with the whole family.

The Tumbleweeds Film Festival will be held at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center from Sept. 23-25.

Brothers of the Wind

This touching story follows a 12-year-old boy who nurses a young eaglet rejected by his parents back to health. During his journey helping the young bird, the boy begins to repair the broken relationship he has with his father ever since his mother passed away years earlier.

Help, I Shrunk My Teacher

This German film tells the story of a boy who accidentally shrinks his teacher on his first day at a new school. Throughout the movie, the boy struggles to bring his teacher, who has thwarted some of his dreams of becoming a pilot, back to full size.

Blinky Bill

Blinky Bill, a young koala from Australia, struggles to find his father who has left home on an adventure without him and hasn't returned in over a year. The young koala embarks on a journey to find his long-lost father using clues his dad placed on the journey before he left home.

The Secret Society of Souptown

This Estonian film tells the story of four best friends who go on an adventure to solve a mystery that has drastically changed the behavior of the town's adults. The four kids find a clue book that guides them on this scavenger hunt to restore the town back to order.

The Little Prince

In this animated film, a young girl meets her eccentric neighbor who has traveled the world and met with the Little Prince. The two become quick friends, saving the young girl from a life of monotony and order imposed upon her by her mother to gain admission into a prestigious school.


This film presented in Hebrew tells the story of a 10-year-old boy and his best friend, a furry monster named Abulele. Abulele was sent to the boy to help him cope with the death of his older brother which left the family in distress. But — soon after the two meet — the young boy realizes there's a team out to capture his new friend and take him away from the people he loves most.

Brittany Binowski is a senior web producer for Deseret National. You may contact her at bbinowski@deseretdigital.com or tweet her online @binowski.