In the last few years, many have had to make do with less, but the financial crisis has made the creative community work smarter rather than harder. They have joined forces to produce, curate and promote large-scale events that surpass expectations set during a thriving economy. The leaders of this movement are not only becoming wildly successful, they are creating a sustainable, fruitful model for fellow organizations to emulate.
UMOCA has become a hotbed for these creative collaborations. Formerly the Salt Lake Art Center, UMOCA has been kicking butt and changing names! Their enthusiasm to create superior collaborations has given the public unprecedented access to Sundance’s New Frontier program, Craft Lake City artists, Spy Hop Productions and an organization close to my heart and paycheck, the Utah Film Center.
Every success story has battle wounds. Not enough funding, an awkward building, tired staff and an apathetic public were just a few of the hurdles Executive Director Adam Price inherited when he took over, three years ago. Slowly, strategically, the changes came: an increase in the local art presence, big ideas like the Contemporary Masters mini golf exhibit, the absorption of the wildly popular 337 Project and increased partnerships from local artists and fellow arts organizations.
Currently on display in the Main Gallery is the 2012 Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier exhibit curated by Senior Programmer Shari Frilot. Storytelling pushed to extremes, New Frontier’s interactive film, art and new media installations will engulf your senses and spit you out, asking for more. Luckily, you can come back again and again to contemplate the meaning of these wild rides. New Frontier remains on display until May 19.
Spy Hop Productions’ music, audio and game design instructors created Sonic Squeeze, which combines video games, drum machines and tone makers. Visitors create sounds by playing games on one of three stations. As most gamers know, you can go alone, but it’s always more fun with a team. Fun and fool-proof, everyone feels like a recording artist—I’m still waiting for my call from Columbia Music about my sonic sound. Sonic Squeeze remains on exhibit through March 24.
UMOCA and the Utah Film Center’s Creativity in Focus monthly film series is proud to present Arc of Light: A Portrait of Anna Campbell Bliss, Friday March 9 at 7 p.m. Bliss, a Utah resident, has received numerous awards and national notoriety for her work in multi-medium art. Her pieces incorporate elements of architecture, mathematics, computer technology, painting, printmaking and calligraphy. Bliss’ work can be found all over the state of Utah from the Utah Museum of Fine Art to the Salt Lake City Airport. The film is free and open to the public, and as a special treat for her Utah friends, Bliss will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.
With workshops, First Friday receptions, art talks, training, family programs and a lot of incredible modern art, it seems like Utah finally has a Museum of Contemporary Art. For exhibit hours visit utahmoca.org.