Gallery Stroll: Long Live Art!
A masterful work of art can capture the essence of a time and place and hold it safely for centuries. The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) safely keeps an impressive collection of over 2,000 pieces of art spanning 5,000 years, taking every precaution to care for and ensure the art’s longevity. Little known is that the museum’s current home in the Marcia and John Price Building on the University of Utah campus has a state-of-the-art humidity control system that takes our very dry Utah climate and pumps in 50-percent humidity to keep the paintings from drying and shriveling up—we could all use a system like this. This system is wonderful for the art, but it’s not been so kind to the Marcia and John Price building. Over the course of the next year to year and a half, the UMFA will undergo major renovations to update the “vapor barrier system.” Unfortunately, this means that the UMFA will be closing their doors on Jan. 18 until Spring of 2017.
“We want to accomplish two goals during this time,” says UMFA Executive Director Gretchen Dietrich—“Protect the building that protects the art and create brand-new experiences for our visitors. We want to help people make more meaningful connections with art and, by doing so, deepen their appreciation for the power of art in their own lives and in the broader life of our community.”
To kick off this project, the UMFA is hosting a weekend-long celebration entitled Long Live Art! on Jan. 16 and 17. Guests will be allowed to tour the museum for a “before look” or soak in the vastness of the UMFA’s permanent collection with a behind-the-scenes tour. Produce your own work with one of the family art-making activities, or sit back and enjoy a film in the Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium. Food trucks, performance art and a Saturday night dance party will round out the event. A complete schedule of activities are listed on the UMFA’s website, umfa.utah.edu.
A lot of time and effort has gone into scheduling and preparing for this closure and, while the doors will close on the building, many of the programs will live on in satellite locations, through the statewide traveling school program and, when possible, back in the Price building as areas of renovation are completed. ARTlandish Land Art, Landscape, and the Environment will temporarily take up digs in the J Willard Marriott Library and the Third Saturday Family Art program will take place at the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Complex a few minutes from the UMFA building on the University of Utah campus.
I am confident that the staff of the UMFA will keep us posted on the building’s progress and on any venue changes for the ongoing programs. Thank you, UMFA, for your commitment to the arts and ensuring that the building and its contents have a long and healthy future. I look forward to seeing the improvements and celebrating with a grand re-opening in 2017.
LONG LIVE ART!