Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
We Are UMOCA
For the last 86 years, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
has been showcasing complex and highly impactful contemporary art in Utah. But
UMOCA is so much more than the contemporary artwork displayed within our walls.
We are educators, artists, and innovators.
Our goal is to inspire artistic experimentation, community
enrichment and a connection to the world through engaging experiences. Our team
is comprised of dedicated, passionate—and, albeit, entertaining—individuals who
are mighty in our small number. Together, we help create the magic of the Museum,
including designing and providing our free community art education programs
that are necessary for the growth and longevity of Utah’s beautifully diverse
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company performs in UMOCA's Main Gallery (2015).
Why Contemporary Art?
Contemporary art is a mirror of right now: our ever-changing
ideas, cultures, and societies. It allows viewers to connect with others
through art by providing a platform to share their stories. We can learn from
one another through the narratives and ideas presented in contemporary art. And
as people, places, and technology evolve, so too will contemporary art be
redefined in the future. Put simply: contemporary art is each of us—our languages, our relationships, our politics, our
The opening reception of Idealogue (2016).
UMOCA aims to provide galleries and programs that create
open and inclusive dialogues that help people learn how to share their ideas
and express their opinions in constructive, challenging, and creative ways. The
beauty of contemporary art is that it allows us to examine and relate to
aspect’s of today’s world that are greater than and outside of ourselves. And
UMOCA believes this is necessary for creating global citizens who are engaged
in worldwide issues. It is this belief, and our passion for contemporary art,
that have guided us in creating award-winning educational programs that offer
opportunities for community members to explore the role of art in their lives
and the life of their community.
A Passion for
There is no “right” age at which you should begin or
complete your art education. UMOCA’s educational programs range from family
art-making projects to LGBTQ+ youth workshops to Art Fitness training for
adults. Art education exists in many different forms, but the benefits of all
of our community art programs are similar: they inspire the imagination, stimulate
thought and transform society.
Museum-goers at UMOCA.
In particular, one of UMOCA’s outreach programs is the Art
Truck. The Art Truck carries contemporary art from leading local and national
artists all across the state, visiting individuals at schools and public venues
who would otherwise have missed the opportunity to access UMOCA’s exhibitions
or art education programs.
UMOCA’s Education Facilitator Madeline Savarese
leads the Art Truck discussion and workshop.
The students we visit are bright and eager to explore art.
The current Art Truck exhibition is whereABOUTS
by Jaime Salvador Castillo and Michael Anthony García. whereABOUTS is an immersive and interactive installation that
investigates location, identity, and community. Students received a guided tour
of the Art Truck with a discussion led by a trained art educator, before diving
into their own art creations. Connecting students from different communities,
this exhibit allows them to learn about experiences that are different from
their own, while also encouraging them to think critically about their identity
and place in the world. Students explore their own communities through creative
map-making of their neighborhoods and share them with the rest of the class. On
August 12, a second, cumulative whereABOUTS
exhibition will open at the Museum, featuring an installation of collected
student artwork assembled by the acclaimed artists.
A student drawing during an Art Truck visit.
UMOCA’s programs create connections: connections to art, to
other people, to other places. They also build connections through to new
concepts and ideas. We hope that through our community programs, we create
spaces that allow individuals to build positive social connections and share
their experiences with others.
Our gallery spaces have held artworks by hundreds of
acclaimed national and international artists, but what UMOCA focuses on is strengthening
and supporting local artists. We offer residencies, exhibition opportunities,
and workshops to meet the needs of artists living and working in Utah.
A photo from Family Art Saturday: Glorious Goo
Utah has a rich contemporary arts culture, with new and
experimental artists emerging from nearby and local art programs, as well as
established artists who have been working in Utah for many years. Creative
Utahns distribute zines, post images of their work to social media, and run
brick-and-mortar artist studios, organize creative activist interventions, and
more. These artists create important dialogues across the state by sharing
their visions through contemporary media. UMOCA offers opportunities for local
artists to not only display their work in our gallery spaces but also build
their local and national network of art lovers and art professionals by hosting
panel discussions, receptions, and workshops.
UMOCA supports artists whose roots are grounded in Utah, so
that we can continue to build the creative vibrancy of our state.
UMOCA is proud to support local artists and communities, but
we couldn’t do it without the support of our sponsors and donors, especially
Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks. Strengthening the arts in our society
is key to supporting the healthy growth of our communities.
Group photo from UMOCA’s 2017 Out Loud Opening
Reception of Identities, Symbolism, and
Contemporary art will always exist, and will continue to
flourish and grow with time. New artists will write and rewrite its definition
endlessly, passing their notes, thoughts and mediums onto generations to come.
Nothing could be more exciting to UMOCA than the opportunity to be a part of creative
community building through contemporary art-making long into the future. UMOCA
represents the spirit of innovation, experimentation, and dialogue surrounding
the issues of our time.
Alex Vermillion is the
Communications Coordinator at UMOCA, soon to attend the Yale School of Drama in
the fall. In zir free time, Alex writes theatre reviews and interviews awesome
locals for SLUG Magazine. On weekends, you can catch Alex performing
with zir group of queer artists, or hiking around Utah’s beautiful
About the Kids Summer Passport
What is the ZAP Kids Summer Passport?
The passport will challenge you to visit new places. We know you like to explore. And we know exploring the world around you can help you build a better world. That's why we hope you'll join our journey to explore some of the best places in our own backyards. So, grab a passport -- and a friend -- and discover the superb destinations around you.
How does it work?
- Pick up a passport at your local Salt Lake County Library (while supplies last).*
- Visit the destinations listed in the passport between June 2 and August 20. Ask the destination to "stamp" your passport.
- Get "stamps" from five different destinations.
- Bring your passport back to the library to reserve your spot at the Final Destination Celebration at Clark Planetarium. It will be out of this world.
*While you're at the Library, take the Summer Reading Challenge for even more chances to win!
Do I need a passport for each child?
No. One passport works for the entire family. However, if each child wants their own passport, they are welcome to have their own. Just tell your librarian that you want one passport per child.
Who can participate?
The ZAP Kids Summer Passport is open to youth ages 17 and under.
How do I document my journey?
While you're getting "stamps" in your passport, you can document your journey online. Take pictures of your trip, so you can remember the new places you visited. If you post your picture online, use #exploreZAP for a chance to have your journey highlighted on ZAP's Instagram.
Can I keep my passport?
Yes. When you take your passport to the library, the librarians will check that you have five stamps and will give you the instructions for how to RSVP to the Final Destination Celebration. You can keep your passport as a souvenir.
What is the Final Destination Celebration?
If you visit five different destinations, take your passport back to your County library. You'll get instructions on how to reserve your spot for the Final Destination Celebration at Clark Planetarium on August 30 from 3 PM to 7 PM. If you attend the celebration, you'll be entered to win amazing journeys to even more cool places:
Winners will be chosen at random and must attend the Final Destination Celebration in order to win.
Do I need to pay to get in to the Final Destination Celebration?
No. Children and parents are invited to attend for free. In fact, Clark Planetarium is free to attend at any time. Movies and light shows are usually an extra cost that will be free for our final destination celebration.
What if I visited a Destination this summer before I had a passport?
Feel free to have your parent sign that you attended. We run on the honor system, and we're glad you visited a Destination!
Learn more about the Kids Summer Passport.
Passport Cover Design Contest
We asked you what zoo, arts and parks mean to you. Children from across the county submitted designs through their local library. We got a lot of great designs, and the competition to choose the winning design was so close. Each of the designs was so good.
We are happy to announce that Adventure is right outside your front door, by Sophia, got the most votes. This design will be printed on the front of our Kids Summer Passport this year! Congratulations, Sophia!
#1. Elephant by Hailey, Age 6, Taylorsville
#2. Adventure is right outside your front door by Sophia, Age 14, Draper
Medium: Pen & Colored Pencil
#3. The Wolf of the Moon by Ella, Age 11, West Valley City
Medium: Pen, Colored Pencil & Marker
Learn more about the Kids Summer Passport.
Travel the World at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum
Hangzhou: Connecting with China is the newest exhibit at Discovery Gateway, opening to the public
on May 19. Children of Hangzhou: Connecting with China presents four
children from Hangzhou in several environments, including at home, at school,
and in the countryside. The Chinese children will introduce themselves through
media and the activities of their daily lives. Visitors will discover that
Chinese life today mixes ancient traditions with modern lifestyles. This
exhibit is a bridge to learn about China and build cross-cultural
understanding. It features original artwork created to present a unique Chinese
aesthetic that delivers an immediate and unmistakable impression: You are in China.
Through this exhibit, Discovery Gateway
Children’s Museum strives to increase awareness around China. In distinctively
Chinese settings, visitors will “meet” children with different interests and in
different environments. The exhibit will dispel stereotypes and demystify the
nation of China. It is organized into several components with lessons and
activities woven throughout.
Gateway membership holders are invited to preview the exhibit on Thursday, May
18 from 1 – 3 pm. The grand opening of Children
of Hangzhou: Connecting with China will be Friday,
May 19 from 11 am – 2 pm. Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum will also host
several Chinese Dual Immersion school groups and encourage them to put their
studies to practice by engaging with the exhibit in their secondary language. The
grand opening will kick off with a Lion Dance performed by Calvin Smith
Elementary students, and several performances by artists from Utah’s Chinese
community will follow. The University of Utah’s Confucius Institute will
provide hands-on activities for children and families including Chinese paper
cutting, origami, and calligraphy.
Children of Hangzhou: Connecting with China was
produced by Boston Children’s Museum as part of the Freeman Foundation Asian
Culture Exhibit Series, funded by The Freeman Foundation and administered by
Association of Children’s museums. All underlying materials, including all
artwork and the use of Children of Hangzhou: Connecting with China characters
are used with permission of Boston Children’s Museum.
Kristin Jahne is
the Marketing Coordinator at Discovery Gateway Children's Museum. When she’s
not fixing member issues or analyzing data, you can find her interacting with
patrons around the museum or helping plan events for DG members.
An Earnest Ticket Tuesday with Pinnacle Acting Company
A winner has been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday with Pinnacle Acting Company. Congrats to Maria N. in West Jordan!
Stay tuned for future giveaways.