DANCE YOUR ART OUT

By Mindy Wilson, UMFA director of marketing and communications

Get your art on and dance your heart out, this Saturday night from 8 p.m.-midnight at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts Reopening Dance Party powered by ArtsPass.

The night includes music by DJ Lishus, a photobooth, food trucks, T-shirt giveaway, prizes and a scavenger hunt through the museum’s snazzy new galleries, home to a knockout collection of art from around the world. The dance party is part of the museum’s two-day reopening festivities, which will treat visitors to new exhibitions, talks, tours, art making, films, yoga and more. Admission all weekend is free. See the complete schedule of activities here.

U students, staff and faculty are always admitted free to the UMFA with valid UCard thanks to Arts Pass, which makes it possible for you (yes, you) to use your UCard as a free ticket into the hundreds of arts events on campus each year. ArtsPass is available for ALL U students and includes screenings, performances, concerts and exhibitions by students and faculty from the College of Fine Arts’ five academic units and also provides free or discounted access to the professional arts organizations on campus: UtahPresentsPioneer Theatre Company, and, of course, the UMFA.

Along with exploring the museum’s reimagined permanent exhibition galleries, you can see two new temporary shows that open this weekend: “HERE, HERE,” a hands-on, interactive project by Las Hermanas Iglesias, debuts in the UMFA’s new ACME Lab, a flexible space for community engagement and artistic experimentation in the Emma Eccles Jones Education Center. World-renowned contemporary artist Spencer Finch’s new site-specific installation in the Great Hall inspires visitors to imagine a hike around Great Salt Lake.

The museum, located in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building on south campus, has been closed since mid-January 2016 for replacement of the building’s vapor barrier, essential for efficiently maintaining appropriate humidity levels. During the 18-month closure, UMFA staff went treasure-hunting through the museum’s collection, re-envisioning both the galleries and the visitor experience.

The goal, said Executive Director Gretchen Dietrich, was to make the most of the museum’s collection — unique in the state for its breadth and depth — and to deepen visitor engagement with the art on view.

“We’ve been thinking as much about people as we have about objects,” said Dietrich. “So many of the changes we’ve made are about connecting visitors of any age, ability and background in more meaningful ways with great art.”

About half the objects on view will be new to visitors, arranged with fresh storylines against a vibrant new color palette. Along with new perspectives on European, Pacific, Mesoamerican and Ancient Mediterranean art, you’ll find new dedicated galleries for African and Asian objects, a prominent new first-floor location for American and regional works, more modern and contemporary art on view, and more interactives.

Every word on every wall is new, too, sharing the latest research and encouraging your own interpretations. Some texts have been translated into Spanish, part of the museum’s effort to create greater access for its increasingly diverse audiences. Three new conversation areas give you a place to recharge and learn more about the art. Extended hours, new wayfinding and a new website, which debuted earlier this month, are all part of the new UMFA experience.

The UMFA is the fine arts museum for both the state and the university.