SMAC Presents the 2015 UMFA Campus Art Walk
Guest Blogger: Iris Moulton
In Spring of 2013, the Students’ Museum Advisory Council (SMAC) threw the first UMFA Campus Art Walk. Designed to be a self-guided tour of the often unnoticed art on the campus of the University of Utah, the event was a huge success, and to this day one of the first questions I get when I mention that I run the Museum’s student group is, Are you ever going to do the art walk again?
Good news: Yes.
This year’s event will be on Thursday, April 16 from 4–7 pm, and is FREE and open to the public!
This year, visitors will be able to choose their own adventure by beginning on either the patio of the UMFA or Kingsbury Hall. Each location will feature free food (while it lasts!) drinks, art-making, and performances. This is where you can get the map, and then head out on a self-guided tour of art around campus. Think of it as a gallery stroll, and that the galleries just happen to be places like the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building, the Marriott Library, and the center for mathematics on campus, the LeRoy Cowles Building.
We’re so lucky to have Kingsbury Hall as a partner for the event. Not only are they a hub for the performing arts on campus, it’s also quite convenient that they happen to have some incredible art! Attendees to any of the wonderful performances at Kingsbury Hall may notice the two murals flanking the stage, but it’s likely they rarely get the attention they deserve. You will find out more about the history of these murals, the artist who painted them, and the figures depicted in them during the Campus Art Walk.
On this year’s Campus Art Walk, you will have TWO chances to view art by students of the University of Utah: while on your self-guided tour, you can attend the opening of the Annual Student Exhibition in the Gittins Gallery of the Art Department. This showcase is always a do-not-miss art event, and each year I’m astounded by the talented students who call the U of U home.
Another stop on the tour for student art will be in the LGBT Resource Center in the building of the student union. Their current exhibition exploring identity and portraiture provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of students on campus.
While compiling this art walk, we hit on so many discoveries and campus connections! Remember the Gittins gallery I mentioned earlier? Well, there’s more than one painting by Alvin L. Gittins, the gallery’s namesake, highlighted in Kingsbury Hall.
If you happen into the Park Building while on the art walk, you’ll find we’ve featured murals by Lee Greene Richards, whose work is sometimes found hanging in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Though it’s not immediately apparent, these 1940 murals have a very current and very controversial element embedded within them. While Richards’ intent was to glorify the Prophet Muhammed, it still runs counter to Islamic practice and belief. For more on the long and fascinating history of depictions of the Prophet Muhammed, see here.
Intrigued? Well, this is just a sampling of the fascinating works we’ve found across campus. Join us April 16th to discover these hidden gems for yourself and see a side of the University of Utah you never knew existed.