The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is officially open for business. Free for students, active military members and UMFA members, the museum has revamped its style and is ready to show the world never-before-seen works in cohesive and inclusive ways.
Gretchen Dietrich, the executive director, shared a brief explanation for the closure of the UMFA in January 2016. “To maintain the works, the building has to be kept at a certain humidity that is hard for the building itself. So we closed our doors to replace the vapor barrier and re-imagined many of our galleries, which was difficult, because we couldn’t move the art — we didn’t have anywhere to put all of it!”
However, Maria Price, co-owner of the museum building, as well as all of the staff at the UMFA, are excited about where the museum has come from and where it is going. Price firmly believes that art museums and art itself play an important role in humanity: Art museums are here to strengthen our connections to each other and the past while reflecting those connections, how they were built and how they will continue to grow.
“We’ve been thinking as much about people as we have about objects,” Dietrich said.
This thought process brought three exhibits to the museum that have been translated into Spanish, the re-installation of all permanent galleries with corresponding wall colors, and art that has never been seen before due to a lack of wall space. The museum has also acquired 175 new works while its doors have been closed.
Over the weekend, the UMFA opened its doors to everyone for free tours and activities. This was sponsored in part by Salt Lake magazine, Phillips Gallery, TIAA and Lux Catering. Festivities included tours of the re-imagined galleries with the opportunity to ask questions to the curators of each gallery, all of whom are knowledgeable about the history of each painting, photograph and artwork that is part of their gallery and passionate about everything from the details of the art to the color of the walls. HERE, HERE artists, Las Hermanas Iglesias helped to make this an opening to remember with a successful pinata activity, and ArtsPass hosted a dance party that lasted until midnight.