The donors to the institution we now know as UMOCA have made it possible for local art to be on display in Utah from the very beginning. Despite the market crash in 1929, a mere two years later Utahns rallied together to collect donations to move forward with their vision of a gathering place for the arts in Utah. Even after being told by the Governor at the time that it was “no time for a thing like that”, UMOCA’s founder, Alta Rawlins Jensen, moved forward with her vision. While the unemployment rate in Utah was astronomical, community fundraising took place everywhere, and through governmental support, financial aid, and much enthusiasm, the construction of the Art Barn was able to continue to completion.
The Art Barn opened in 1931 advertised with the famous words “The Art Center Belongs to You!” Upon opening, lifetime memberships were offered at the price of $1.00. Advertised as a rental space for parties, clubs, etc., it blossomed into an integral part of local culture. In 1933 a quotation in The New Deal Magazine said “The invitation to come [to the Art Barn] and participate is extended to all. There is not even the barrier of a fee.” The Art Barn was a space for creation, exploration and was inclusive to everyone. This same invitation is offered today. With no entrance fee, everyone is welcome to a space where differing ideas, opinions and point of views are exchanged through artworks on display as well as the types of discussions evoked by the works themselves.
This dedication and enthusiasm of the supporters of the arts has allowed UMOCA to continue Alta Rawlins Jensen’s vision, and thanks to the generosity of so many donors who donated to this year’s 90th anniversary campaign the future of contemporary art in Utah is bright. We would like to extend a special thank you to the following individuals:
- Elissa Oshinsky
- Steven Labrum
- Weiler Family Foundation
- Cynthia & Thomas McLoughlin
- Rebecca & David Bateman
- Rich Walje & Dr. Laura Neilson
- Leah Caldwell
- Karen & Richard Urankar
- Cass Hallacker-Covaleski & Bren Covaleski