The UMFA has been awarded the Utah Museums Association’s 2015 Award for Excellence in Programming for its efforts to raise awareness and appreciation of Spiral Jetty, the internationally acclaimed work of Land art by Robert Smithson located on Great Salt Lake.
The UMFA has done “remarkable work as local stewards (and collaborative partners),” to encourage public engagement with and appreciation of this important work of art, according to a UMA statement. The UMFA and Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College collaborate with New York-based Dia Art Foundation—the official steward of Spiral Jetty—to preserve, maintain, and advocate for the work.
UMFA staff have produced and distributed interpretive and educational materials designed to deepen visitors’ experiences, including printable guides and a Family Backpack visitors can check out for free at the Museum and take to Spiral Jetty for hands-on engagement. Museum staff have also hosted free public programming, presented Land art-related works by Smithson and other artists in its galleries, and developed online resources that serve visitors locally and worldwide.
Earlier this month, UMFA and GSLI hosted a free community meet-up that drew almost 100 visitors to the Jetty in a single afternoon, many for their very first time. The work’s exceptional art historical importance, unique beauty, and remote location regularly draw visitors and media attention from throughout Utah and around the world.
In 2016 the UMFA will expand its Land art-related outreach by hosting ARTLandish: Land art, Landscape, and the Environment, a year-long initiative of lectures, films, panel discussions, tours and other events that investigate our complex relationship with the Earth. (To receive information about this and other UMFA programming, please sign up for our twice-monthly e-newsletter.)
The UMA 2015 Award for Excellence in Programming was presented to UMFA staff Wednesday, October 8, at the UMA Awards Dinner at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. The award is given to an individual, team or organization that has shown superior achievement in any aspect of the museum field during the previous 18 months within Utah’s museum community.