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A new UMFA outreach initiative explores the public role of museums.

By Mindy Wilson, public relations and marketing director, Utah Museum of Fine Arts

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) is launching a new outreach initiative dedicated to rethinking the public role of museums. The ACME Sessions — ACME stands for Art, Community, Museum, Education — are a bimonthly series of roundtable public exchanges where participants can dream and articulate new models of education and community engagement through art. The series is presented in partnership with the Salt Lake City Public Library.


Class visit

The first ACME Session, “Museums: What Are They Good For?,” will be held in the Salt Lake City Library’s level four conference room on Wednesday, March 9 at 7 p.m. (arrive early for refreshments at 6:45 p.m.). Local museum directors will share candid insights about their institution’s goals, challenges and efforts to be more inclusive. Discussion leaders are Gretchen Dietrich, UMFA; Sarah B. George, Natural History Museum of Utah; Alexandra Hesse, The Leonardo; and Kristian Anderson, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

“ACME Sessions are co-learning experiences,” says Jorge Rojas, UMFA director of education and engagement. “Our goal is to transform communities by exchanging information and knowledge contributed by all participants for the enhancement of everyone involved.”

The ACME Sessions will bring together Salt Lake City’s most creative, inventive and cross-disciplinary minds — educators, artists, museum professionals, university faculty and students, engineers, scientists, technologists, activists, researchers and others. Sessions are designed in collaboration with contributing community organizations and individuals and will explore topics such as the role of hip-hop in education, the best ways to build creative community, art and identity and more. Future sessions will be held at various library branches.

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The ACME Sessions are part of the UMFA’s new ACME Initiative, which also includes an ACME Lab — a flexible physical space for research, creative exploration and exhibitions — expected to launch within the UMFA when the museum reopens in spring 2017. The UMFA Marcia and John Price Museum Building is temporarily closed for remodeling and reinstallation, but the museum is hosting educational programs throughout the closure period.

For additional information, please visit