A Fresh Start: UMFA’s Doors Slowly But Surely Creaking Open


The Utah Museum of Fine Art is a few steps closer to its August 2017 opening and right now that means a few things: the Dumke Auditorium has been opened for films, UMFA’s monthly Creativity in Focus film series with the Utah Film Center are back on and the UMFA Cafe is open.

With food sales starting only just this past week, the cafe is slowly but surely getting into the swing of things. Now the pastry section is stocked and the coffees are brewing, food smells are permeating the air and the final requirement for any cafe — the customers — have begun filing in.

The customers are as diverse as the rest of the U’s population. Rhett Jones, manager of the UMFA cafe, describes the atmosphere as “blue collar gourmet,” which seems pretty accurate. The cafe is clearly meant to impress, furnished by adorably quaint white and orange chairs at square white tables, each table topped with a small floral centerpiece. In this way, it’s very high-end.

But even with these hoity-toity aspects, the cafe is largely for students.

Jones is quick to comment on that side of things. “I want skaters to come here as well as the Dean,” he said.

west_umfacafe-5And why shouldn’t it appeal to U students, skater and otherwise? Especially after the addition of wall seating for individual customers that boasts outlets along its length.

You’d have a hard time finding a better coffee shop hangout. The coffee is fresh as well as local, can be flavored with an assortment of syrups or made into anything you’d order at any other coffee stop. Teas are available as well, also with wide diversity.

Additionally, for when combinations of caffeine aren’t enough, there’s the food. Two new items grace the cafe’s menu now in addition to old favorites like soups, salads, melts and pastries: a turkey pesto melt and a caprese salad on arugula. I can personally vouch for the beautifully-delivered deliciousness of the latter. The pastries and breads are delivered fresh daily to make for truly yummy eats.

Alex Wonder, who has worked at the UMFA Cafe since before its recent closure and reopening, particularly recommended the apple brie on a baguette, saying it is even better now than before because of the baguettes’ freshness. You might want to consider the broccoli and swiss pastry too, though. Good luck narrowing those options — you may need to go back a few times.

The cafe is still working its way up to its former glory, but the process is going well so far. Stop by sometime — they are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with lunch servings starting at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 3:00 p.m. Let us know what you think of the upgrade!

west_umfacafe-2As for the rest of UMFA…

Work to continue installation of the vapor barrier, which is meant to extend the lifespan of the building at the same time that it protects the nearly 20,000 art objects contained within, is going well. Though a little behind schedule, UMFA administration is confident they will be able to open their galleries in time for their Aug. 26, 2017 deadline.

The staff members continue their work as well, ensuring the preservation of its history-rich items, while curators are busy dreaming up novel ideas for exhibits both old and new.

UMFA director of marketing and communications, Mindy Wilson said, “We worried a little that when we closed we’d be forgotten, but it feels like the opposite is true — we’re hearing that people really miss the Museum and can’t wait for it to reopen. The feeling is mutual — we can’t wait to welcome everyone back.”

Here’s a list of upcoming events going on within and around UMFA in the next few months:

Creativity in Focus Film Series: The Silence of Mark Rothko

Wednesday, Oct. 26 | 7 p.m.

Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium,    UMFA.

Co-presented with the Utah Film Center.


UMFA: Trevor Paglen Makes the Invisible Visible

Thursday, Oct. 27 | 7 p.m.

Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium, UMFA.


Understanding Transgender: A Discussion of Identity, Art, and Politics

Wednesday, Nov. 9 | 7 pm* | FREE

Salt Lake City Public Library, Main Library, Fourth Floor Conference Room [Note that this event is at City Library downtown, not the UMFA.]

*Refreshments served at 6:30 p.m.


Creativity in Focus Film Series: Eva Hesse

Wednesday, Nov. 16 | 7 p.m.

Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium.

Co-presented with the Utah Film Center.


Third Saturday for Families | Family Tree Printmaking

Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 | 1-4 p.m. | FREE

Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts & Education Complex, Art Works for Kids Auditorium [Note location: just a few doors down from the UMFA]


Holiday Market

Saturday, Dec. 3 | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. | FREE



Third Saturday for Families | Clay Pots

Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 | 1-4 p.m. | FREE

Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts & Education Complex,

Art Works for Kids Auditorium


Information courtesy of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts Director of Marketing & Communications Mindy Wilson

[email protected]