The UMFA Officially Reopens to the Public


UMFA visitor sports mask in accordance with the museum’s reopening rules and regulations. (Courtesy UMFA)

By Hannah Keating, Arts Editor


After an abrupt closure in March to a steady shift to online exhibitions, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts has once again opened its doors to the public. Starting on Aug. 26, by limiting operating hours and inviting seniors and high-risk individuals to visit earlier than normal patrons, the museum launched into reopening — fully prepared to welcome regular patrons and new visitors to its galleries again.

With an update to the COVID-19 page on their website, the UMFA now presents a “Welcome Back” video from Executive Director, Gretchen Dietrich. The museum’s fearless leader explains the safety precautions in place within the museum’s physical space and the opportunities that exist both physically and digitally with the UMFA. With a closing wish of health to all of their supporters, she dons a mask and invites patrons inside the museum doors.

So, what is the museum offering moving forward? Those who missed out on the UMFA’s temporary exhibitions in the spring now have the opportunity to explore these diverse displays once again. Here at The Daily Utah Chronicle, we covered both the opening of “Beyond the Divide: Merchant, Artist, Samurai in Edo Japan” and the newest ACME lab “Utah Women Working for Better Days!” without a lot of time for the public to experience them. The museum reopening, for me if no one else, is a way to return to simpler, pre-isolation times of curiosity and wonder! It presents a second invitation to crowds to explore the scrolls and sculptures from a vibrant artistic period of Japan’s history, then celebrate the anniversary of women’s suffrage and the Utah women who worked hard to see it through.

The ongoing exhibitions at the UMFA remain, but I hope distance has made the heart grow fonder. Those looking for these staples of American and Regional, European, Modern and Contemporary, Chinese, African, Ancient Mediterranean, Ancient Mesoamerican and South Asian Art can find them throughout the museum galleries. The museum is even offering free admission to the community on select Wednesdays, the first of which was this past week on September 2.

Some of the UMFA’s programming remains online through this transition — their popular “Virtual Art + Yoga” sessions are scheduled to continue through the foreseeable future. The “Third Saturday for Families” series progresses with engaging, artistic activities for parents and kids. Tune in to learn leaf rubbing techniques, make salt dough sculptures and explore rug weaving through the remainder of the calendar year.

If you are looking to visit the museum, try to purchase a ticket in advance so you have the opportunity to go inside even with the 100-person capacity restriction. Make sure to bring your mask, stay physically distanced from other patrons and read up on the galleries you will get to explore in-person again.

If you are still wary about venturing into indoor public spaces, the UMFA has plenty of Land Art experiences to get you out of the house and into the intersection of art and earth. You can visit the Spiral Jetty or Sun Tunnels — all information is available here.
The UMFA’s new operating hours are Wednesdays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m., with 11 a.m. to noon reserved for seniors and high-risk individuals. “Beyond the Divide: Merchant, Artist and Samurai in Edo Japan” is open through Nov. 8. “ACME Lab: Utah Women Working for Better Days!” is open through Dec. 6. Visit the UMFA website for more information or to subscribe to their e-newsletter, and follow them on Instagram.


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