The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) at the University of Utah (the U) has received a $5 million gift from longtime benefactors the Price Family establishing an endowment to support the UMFA executive director position. The Marcia and John Price Executive Director Endowment for the Utah Museum of Fine Arts will provide funding in perpetuity to support the salary, benefits, professional development, travel and other needs of the Museum’s executive director.
Marcia and John Price have been major supporters of the UMFA for many decades. The Prices’ close involvement in the construction of the UMFA’s current facility—the award-winning Marcia and John Price Museum Building, which opened in 2001—was instrumental and, at the time, the largest gift to a cultural institution in the history of the state of Utah. That donation, along with this current generous gift and Marcia’s longtime service as UMFA board chair, is a true testament to their love of and conviction in the importance of the arts in our state.
“The arts have been a true passion throughout my life, with the UMFA at the core,” said Marcia Price. “It has been a great honor to serve as UMFA board chair for decades working closely with the Museum executive director and staff to evolve and build the institution into what it has become today. Under Gretchen Dietrich’s guidance as current executive director, the UMFA has grown and matured exponentially. I am vested in the UMFA’s success and believe in Gretchen and her leadership to take the Museum to the next level. Endowing the executive director position ensures the support necessary to keep the UMFA at the highest level of excellence now and in the future.”
A U graduate, Marcia Price discovered her passion for the arts during her university days, in an “Art 101” course taught by Utah artist Doug Snow. That experience led her down a path of discovery and a lifetime of service to arts organizations locally and nationally. Among her many activities supporting the arts in Utah, Marcia has led students on UMFA tours, chaired the Utah Arts Council and served on numerous art organization boards, including those of the U College of Fine Arts, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera and UMFA Board of Directors, where she is currently chair. In 2022 she was awarded a Governor’s Mansion Artist Lifetime Achievement Award. On the national scene, she has served as a member of the National Committee for the Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and as a trustee of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.
“The Prices truly believe in the possibility and the power of people and organizations to make this community better and stronger,” said UMFA Executive Director Gretchen Dietrich. “Thanks to Marcia and John’s vision and philanthropic efforts, the arts in this community are thriving, and so many more people are able to benefit. This extraordinary gift means everything to us. It helps to ensure the financial sustainability of this wonderful art museum and the work we do to serve people all across the state and region.”
John Price, who fled Nazi Germany as a small child, also graduated from the U. He has dedicated his life to building businesses and supporting Utah’s economy and community. Ambassador Price has demonstrated his love and belief in the importance of giving back to the community, through his government and philanthropic efforts, and service on boards at the U and other organizations in town.
Through their foundation, the Price family has supported numerous arts projects and programs at the U and across the state of Utah. The Prices truly believe in the power of arts to transform lives, and they have worked hard to engage succeeding generations of their family in the activities of the foundation to carry forward the important work still to be done.
Gretchen Dietrich, who is in her thirteenth year as UMFA executive director, will be the first to hold the title of Marcia and John Price Executive Director. Under Dietrich’s leadership, the UMFA has flourished, with increased attendance, audience engagement and community outreach; higher revenues and new institutional support; and a heightened national profile. From 2015–2018, Dietrich served on the board of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and oversaw AAMD’s Education & Community Issues Committee. In fall 2019 she was selected to join the inaugural board of directors for Art Bridges, a new foundation dedicated to expanding access to American art across the country.
A gift of this nature supports not only the Museum but the entire community of Utah. As the flagship fine arts museum for the U, as well as the state, the UMFA is the premier location for hosting traveling exhibitions from around the nation and for fueling learning, reflection and inspiration through art for students, residents and visitors alike. It is the only institution in Utah that acquires, interprets and exhibits a comprehensive fine art collection from ancient to global contemporary objects.
Together, the Price family and the UMFA have created sustainability for the future of the leadership of the Museum, its exhibitions and all related research and programming throughout the years. This stability will also help to ensure that Utah students, residents and visitors will have an emotional, intellectual and joyful experience at the UMFA, now and into the future.