I’m glad to see someone else is observing this. You’re absolutely correct in noting our community’s apparent disinterest in the arts and the cultural forces at play (not only Mormonism!) that keep us in that rut.
I feel the biggest issue we’ve struggled with in the Utah Games Guild is just a general sense of apathy. It’s *really hard* to motivate people to reach beyond just the occasional spare-time hobby-level engagement only when it’s convenient or otherwise fits in with the rest of their lives (which is rarely). And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with people prioritizing their non-games day jobs and/or their families over game dev per se, but it’s hard to sustain (much less grow) a community where almost nobody takes it as seriously as the indies in, say, San Francisco, or Seattle, or Austin, or NYC, or Toronto, or Montreal.
I can’t ignore my own complicity, though: after the commercial failure of my indie game I pretty much gave up and went back to a day job. And that indie game wasn’t exactly reaching far beyond retro nostalgia and commercialism.