The Art Truck Is Back on the Road!

Art Truck Stronger Shines the Light Inside graphic

For the 2021-2022 school year, UMOCA is visiting schools throughout the state in our traveling photographic exhibition, Stronger Shines the Light Inside. Presented in collaboration with acclaimed photographer Angie Smith, the show illuminates the refugee experience in Utah through photography, video interviews, and quotes. 

One of the stories shared on the Art Truck is of a young man named Heydar. Heydar sought refuge in Utah a few years after fleeing Iran. For months, he searched for an art museum in Salt Lake City. Finally, he found and visited UMOCA, which was “[his] first experience with freedom in art.” According to Heydar, in his native country, artistic expression was highly censored. He was inspired by the bold and authentic artwork shown in UMOCA’s galleries.

Of the 65 million people displaced worldwide, only 1% will be resettled safely in a host country. Although Utah only welcomes a small fraction of that 1%, we are fortunate to have two resettlement agencies: International Rescue Committee and Catholic Community Services. 

UMOCA K–12 Educator, Golda Dopp Ovalles, with artist Angie Smith during Art Truck visit

Another individual featured in the exhibition, a young woman named Asma, stated in a discussion on representation and role models, “I want to be the person I needed when I was younger.” Asma now works as a surgical technologist at Stanford Health Center as an MSPA candidate. In sharing Asma’s story and accomplishments, young students told our K-12 Educator that they too wanted to be a medical worker when they “got big.” They were impressed not just by her beautiful Miss Africa Utah crown and sash visible in her portrait, but by her disciplined and ambitious goal of making healthcare more accessible.

The power of art to unify, educate, and uplift is truly realized in our schools. We look forward to learning alongside more of Utah’s students in the Art Truck, as well as welcoming those newest Americans into our communities. An Educator Manual accompanies each Art Truck visit and provides teachers with the resources to further integrate the exhibition concepts into their curriculum. A video introduction, as well as art projects and templates expand each students’ Art Truck experience. 

If you would like to schedule an Art Truck visit, please go to and complete the short request form.