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