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Four Months and Counting: UMFA Readies for Reopening


April 25, 2017

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the queens of persia

The Queens of Persia at the Feet of Alexander the Great (The Tent of Darius), a seventeenth-century silk and wool French tapestry styled after a Charles LeBrun painting, will be new on view in the European galleries when the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) reopens August 26.

The usually picture-perfect galleries of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) look more like artists’ studios these days, with preparations in full swing for the Museum’s late August reopening.

On a recent morning, metal carts and gurneys sat piled with tools and gallon paint cans as the Museum’s preparator readied empty cases for new objects in the Pacific art exhibition. Nearby in the modern and contemporary gallery, collections staffers carefully mounted three Seer Bonnets by Angela Ellsworth, an artist with Salt Lake City ties. Downstairs in collections storage, a guest conservator assessed, cleaned and treated paintings, including Utah artist Alfred Lambourne's A Nook of the Desert (1875–1876), a new acquisition for the American and regional galleries.

umfa conservator robyn haynie assesses seer bonnet

UMFA conservator Robyn Haynie assesses Seer Bonnet (2010) by Angela Ellsworth before installing it in the Museum’s modern and contemporary gallery. The object, one of three such bonnets that will be on view, is made of 17,214 pearl corsage pins, fabric, and steel.

guest conservator

A guest conservator assesses a painting from the Museum’s collection to help staff develop a treatment plan.

The UMFA has been closed since mid-January 2016 for replacement of the building’s vapor barrier, essential for efficiently maintaining appropriate humidity levels. With that work successfully completed, staff are busy with the most comprehensive reinstallation of the permanent exhibitions since the Marcia and John Price Museum Building opened in 2001.

What will you see when UMFA galleries reopen the last weekend of August? Nearly half the artworks will be new on view, including not only recent contemporary and western art acquisitions but also a giant 17th-century French tapestry, works from the Museum’s African collection, Chinese ceramics and more. Most galleries will be reorganized along fresh storylines—thanks to months of curatorial research and re-envisioning—to give you new, more engaging ways to experience and interpret the objects.

The Pacific Island permanent exhibition, for instance, has been reconsidered under the guidance of a former curator from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who is also curating the Museum’s new gallery of African art. The modern and contemporary gallery will have a larger footprint and initially feature women artists from the collection exclusively. The American and regional galleries, reorganized around the theme of westward expansion, have been relocated from upstairs to a prominent first-floor gallery, so that visitors will see western art soon after they enter the building.

curator whitney tassie (foreground) and collections staff install british artist

UMFA curator Whitney Tassie (foreground) and collections staff install British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s Periphery (2013) in the modern and contemporary gallery. 

robyn haynie and guest curator virginia-lee web

Conservator Robyn Haynie and guest curator Virginia-Lee Web evaluate objects for the Museum’s new African gallery.

Meanwhile, curators and educators are collaboratively rewriting every wall and label text in the permanent galleries, seeking to expose viewers to the most current art historical research while encouraging them to explore their own interpretations of these works.

Aside from the reimagined permanent exhibitions, two new temporary shows will also be on view. HERE, HERE by Las Hermanas Iglesias will debut in UMFA’s new ACME Lab, a flexible space for creative exploration and exhibitions housed in the Museum’s Emma Eccles Jones Education Center. Contemporary artist Spencer Finch’s site-specific installation in the Great Hall will also premiere.

So mark your calendar for the UMFA’s public reopening celebration, featuring talks, tours, films, a dance party and more on Saturday, August 26, and Sunday, August 27. (Donors, VIPs and members will enjoy a sneak preview Friday, August 25.)

In the meantime, join us for an artist talk, film, ACME Session, Third Saturday for Families, or other exciting program this summer. Visit umfa.utah.edu, sign up for our e-newsletter, or follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up with the latest.

See you soon!

-Mindy Wilson

Mindy Wilson is the UMFA’s marketing and communications director. 


Explore Physics in the Air with Discovery Gateway’s SkyCycle!


April 20, 2017

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Have you ever wanted to soar in the sky with the greatest of ease? No, it’s not a flying trapeze, it’s the newest exhibit from Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum- the SkyCycle! 

skycycle

Opening April 22, kids and adults alike can explore principles of counterbalance and center of gravity while taking a thrilling ride on a 30-foot track. The SkyCycle exhibit has come out all the way from Orlando, Florida and was built by a company who produces rides for Disney World!

Members of Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum can get a special sneak preview of SkyCycle on April 21 from 2-5pm. They can enjoy free rides for the entire afternoon. 

The public opening of the SkyCycle will be the following day on Saturday, April 22. Starting with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and special guest speakers at 10:30 am, there will be music, prizes, giveaways, food trucks, and educational activities. 

Younger children and their families are encouraged to attend the opening event on April 22 and enjoy a Strider Bike Adventure Zone from 11 am – 2 pm inside the museum. Strider Adventure Zones are safe and friendly “Ride and Play” demo areas that encourage kids of all abilities from 18 months to 5 years to test ride a Strider Balance Bike and play with other kids, while improving and developing fundamental bike handling skills. 

balance bikes

The SkyCycle is made possible through generous support from the museum’s community partners, Kid to Kid stores and The Gateway. Kid to Kid is delighted to sponsor this new exhibit that will bring the love of physics to children and families across the Wasatch front and beyond,” says President of BaseCamp Inc. Brent Sloan. “The SkyCycle is a unique, playful and educational element,” said, Jenny Cushing, VP of Leasing for Vestar, “and we are proud to sponsor and have this attraction at The Gateway.”

-Kristin Jahne

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. 

The SkyCycle will be open during regular museum hours: 10am-6pm on Monday – Thursday, 10am-7pm on Friday – Saturday, and noon-6pm on Sunday. SkyCycle rides are $5 for regular walk-up or $3 with museum admission, and the first ride is always free for Discovery Gateway membership holders.  


Ticket Tuesday to Hairspray


April 18, 2017

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Hairspray Blog
Winners have been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday giveaway from The Grand Theatre. Congrats to Mckenna and Douglas in Salt Lake City!

Ticket Tuesday with Mountain West Ballet


April 11, 2017

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Mountain West Ballet blog


Winners have been chosen for this giveaway from Mountain West Ballet.  

Congrats to: Amy W. in SLC, Ingrid M. in Sandy, and Erin W. in West Jordan!

Stay tuned for more ZAP Ticket Tuesday opportunities.


The Wonders of the Universe: Pygmalion Productions' SILENT SKY


April 05, 2017

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You could say that this production has been nearly 40 years in the making. Since I was 10 years old, and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos opened by eyes to the wonders of the universe and the endless beauty it holds, I’ve been hooked. Though science in general has always interested me, astronomy and physics have been the field I would always come back to when I had a hunger for more science in my diet. Books like A Brief History of Time, Coming of Age in the Milky Way, and The Elegant Universe always inspire me to new perspectives, though I’ll be the first to admit that I will sometimes get lost at times.

director mark fossen at rehearsal

That getting lost, though, is part of the joy and wonder of it all for me: the knowledge that the universe is bigger and weirder than I can hold in my head is a great comfort. I find a true sense of awe is a lovely accompaniment to life's daily worries.

Silent Sky

What a joy it was, then, to find Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky. Gunderson is a fantastic new voice in American theatre, and to find this gem of a play highlighting the unsung contributions of early female pioneers in astronomy was like finding the golden ticket. I fell in love immediately with her story of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, who worked at Harvard Observatory in the early 20th century and nothing less than led us to finding the size of the universe. Prevented by her sex from even peering through a telescope, she pored through photographs and numbers as a “human computer” and found a pattern no one had ever seen. 

silent sky in rehearsal

After finding this play and falling in love, what better home could there be for it than Pygmalion Productions? When Teresa Sanderson mentioned to me they were doing a season looking at women in history I knew Silent Sky would be a perfect fit. Pygmalion Productions creates performances that share the human experience through the eyes of women, and this seemed like a way to tell not only a story of women in history but to talk about the current work still to be done encouraging and enabling young women to enter STEM fields.  

silent sky in table work

Heart-filling and inspiring, and with a deep sense of wonder, Silent Sky brilliantly marries science and the human heart. I am so excited to be part of the Pygmalion Productions team bringing it to Salt Lake audiences.

-Mark Fossen

Mark Fossen (Director) is thrilled to return to PYG after appearing in 2008 production of Sordid Lives. Local directing credits include The Glass Menagerie, The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, Our Town, Skin of our Teeth, and A Streetcar Named Desire at The Grand Theatre, Bellwether and Don Juan Comes Back from the War at Westminster College, Stage Kiss and The Fables Project at Wasatch Theatre Company; The Children’s Hour at The University of Utah; August: Osage County for Utah Repertory & Silver Summit; Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and As You Like It at Davis Arts Council; and An Ideal Husband at Pinnacle Acting Company. He serves on the boards of The Grand Theatre and the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, and is an adjunct instructor at Westminster College and the University of Utah. He is a graduate of the University of Utah and is currently completing his MFA at the University of Idaho. http://markfossen.info


Ticket Tuesday with NOVA SLC


April 04, 2017

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NOVA blog

Winners have been chosen for this giveaway from NOVA Chamber Music Series. Congratulations to Rachel in Magna and Amanda W. in SLC!

Starving Students at SLAC


March 28, 2017

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As an undergraduate student studying Vocal Performance, there were a few things I did religiously: Practice, homework, more practice, and stare at my bank account sadly as posters for the newest opera production at Pittsburgh Opera were plastered all over my dorm building. I knew that seeing professionals doing what I wanted to do was necessary, but it wasn’t possible on my meager pennies as a student. Sure, they had student tickets, but that was just half-off of the normal ticket price. Still just too expensive. 

starving students group

When I started working at Salt Lake Acting Company a few years ago, I thought about those times in my education. How could I help the theatre students around here to have better access to the professional plays at SLAC? Cynthia Fleming, SLAC’s Executive Artistic Director, has always been very dedicated to making theatre available to all age groups so we sat down to discuss how to make it even BETTER for theatre students in Utah. And voila! The Starving Student Artist Pass was born!

starving students for puppet class

The Starving Student Artist Pass is a $32 ticket package for current theatre students that includes one ticket to each of SLAC’s mainstage plays during the season. (SATURDAY’S VOYEUR and our annual children’s show are available as add-ons at a discounted rate!) Because of incredibly crazy schedule that theatre students have with rehearsals and other events all year long, the Pass also includes the flexibility to choose any night of a performance during the run with guaranteed entry. Starving Students never need to call ahead to get into a show. Even if it’s sold out, we’ll get you in. Guaranteed. 

BUT WAIT. 

There’s MORE!

winter masterclass

Also included in the Pass is access to masterclasses with visiting theatre artists including directors, actors, playwrights, designers, etc. FOR FREE. I mean, as a student, I know that this opportunity would have made me giddy with joy. These masterclasses could easily cost over $100 in cities like New York and I am so thrilled that our Starving Students get to experience them for free. Recent masterclasses have included short play composition and staging with playwright Julie Jensen and director Tracy Callahan, puppet work with Glenn and Linda Brown, acting tips with actor April Fossen, and we are so excited to be providing a Q & A with HAND TO GOD playwright Robert Askins coming up in just a few weeks. 

starving students group 2

Now in its second year, we have more than doubled the number of our Starving Student Pass-holders. We have students from the University of Utah, Westminster, Salt Lake Community College, Utah State University, and even Idaho State University.

The thing that always strikes me the most when I interact with the Starving Students is what incredibly talented, smart, passionate people they are. In a climate where so much is at stake in the arts, I have no doubt that the future of these theatre artists is brighter than we could ever imagine. Their voice is loud and strong, and their creative prowess will produce truly inspirational things. I can’t wait to witness it all.

-Olivia Custodio

Olivia Custodio received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her Master of Music from the University of Utah. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she is still trying to figure out fry sauce. Olivia joined the SLAC family in 2014, working in the box office, assisting in audience communication and development. In 2016, she became SLAC's Development Manager. A local actress, you may have also seen her onstage in many productions including SATURDAY'S VOYEUR, ART DOG, STREETLIGHT WOODPECKER, I'LL EAT YOU LAST, and various New Play Sounding Series readings at SLAC.


Ticket Tuesday with Wasatch Theatre


March 28, 2017

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WCT (2)


Congrats to Carli in Taylorsville! You are the winner of this giveaway to see Wasatch Theatre Company's DINNER by Moira Buffini. Stay tuned for more ZAP Ticket Tuesday opportunities!

A Pinkalicious Ticket Tuesday


March 27, 2017

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pinkalicious

A winner has been chosen for this giveaway from Utah Children's Theatre.  Congrats to Tomoe in SLC!


Culinary Art in the Mountains


March 21, 2017

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Alta Community Enrichment, ACE, hosts year round art classes in the mountains of Alta, Utah, these classes include the culinary arts.  An Alta resident and ACE aficionado, Julie Willis, opens her home to teach many of these classes which have included, Introduction to Soup Making and Introduction to Biscotti Making.  We are thrilled to share her instructions on how to make her amazing homemade biscotti.

biscotti at ace

Intro to Biscotti Making with Julie Willis

On a snow-chilled night what better thing to do then warm up with some fresh-made biscotti!

Julie Willis- Biscotti Baker Extraordinaire provided a wonderful recipe for some of the most delicious Biscotti Cookies we have ever had.

julie willis - biscotti baker

Here is a step-by-step recipe for you to try at home! Be sure to tag #ACEBiscotti and @alta_community_enrichment on social media to share your results!

What You Will Need:

  • 1/4 lbs Butter ( 1 stick)
  • 3/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 Tsp Kirsch (Cherry Liqueur)
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract 
  • 2 Cups + 2 Tsp Flour
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Almonds - Chopped
  • 3/4 Finely Chopped Chocolate

biscotti being made by event attendees

Baking Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 Degrees
  • As you combine the wet and dry ingredients, be quick but do not hurry.
  • Mix but do not beat.
  • Handle quickly so the heat from your hands does not melt the butter.
  • Form three small loaves and bake for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Loaves should be a very light brown on the bottom when they come out.
  • Place on a cooling rack and reset the oven to 300 Degrees.
  • Cut the loaves into equal sizes, then bake again for 10 minutes, flip and bake again for 8-10 minutes.

Tips:

Longer time = crispy biscotti | Shorter time = softer biscotti

Please join ACE at any of our year round events soon!  www.altaarts.org/events

biscotti dough

ACE’s mission is to create opportunities in the Little Cottonwood community for individual and group participation in arts, cultural events and education. ACE began in 1995 when community members recognized the need for professional coordination of successful grassroots community events. Since inception ACE has served as the Alta Arts Council by offering quality, diverse events and programs for free or very little cost to its attendees and strengthens our community by bringing people who live work and play in Alta together to share the arts, cultural events, and education.  

ACE currently offers 65+ year round diverse programs with the majority of events inspired by input from local artists and families. From small events, such as craft-making classes to larger events, such as the multi-day Snowflake Festival, ACE caters to the needs of our community. ACE strives to offer new events and old favorites to bring our community together.

-Sara Gibbs

Sara is the Executive Director of ACE.