Margaret Curtis: This, too. is on view in the Street Gallery through November 9, 2024

UMOCA Matters

As many of you have likely heard, big changes are coming to downtown Salt Lake City with the development of a new entertainment, sports, culture, and convention district.  These changes provide an opportunity for UMOCA to continue our mission of working with artists and communities to build a better world – but in a new building in the downtown core. 

Because things are changing and evolving quickly, we’ve created this page as a place for updates, resources, and ways to get involved.  We hope you’ll visit often.

And a big thanks to those who helped boost our message to the City, County and SEG.  Like us, they believe that UMOCA matters.

The Latest

  • Changes to UMOCA’s building have the potential to amplify the work we’ve been doing all along with increased ability to meet the goals of our strategic plan.  That plan, laid out in 2020, called for making our building more visible, and addressing issues common to an aging building – setting us up for greater success. View UMOCA’s strategic plan here.
  • Our executive director, Laura Hurtado, discussed the potential of a new downtown building in comments at the May 21 Salt Lake City Council Meeting as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune.
  • We know that large scale change can be unsettling or worrisome.  But we also believe this potential change represents real opportunity for generational growth. Our future will be secured with creative thinking, problem solving, and multiple forms of public investment.  Let’s work together to secure our future.

UMOCA’s Mission has flourished since 1931—across different physical locations:

  • 1930—Alta Rawlins Jensen and other arts enthusiasts organize support for an art center, eventually known as the Art Barn, in Salt Lake City.
  • 1931—The cornerstone for the Art Barn facility is laid by Governor George Dern.
  • 1958—The Art Barn changes its name to the Salt Lake Art Center (SLAC).
  • 1979—Salt Lake Art Center opens its doors at its new 7,500-square foot facility as part of Bicentennial Arts Complex Project, which included Symphony Hall (now known as Abravanel Hall), at 20 South West Temple (the museum’s current location).
  • 2011—The Salt Lake Arts Center changes its name to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

Our Partnership with Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, and SEG:

  • As tenants of a Salt Lake County Arts and Culture facility for the past 50 years, we have long benefited from our relationship with the County who have been both champions and investors in our mission.  We are confident that the spirit of partnership will continue with Salt Lake City and Smith Entertainment Group. 
  • We are excited about the opportunity to reimagine the downtown experience and are inspired by the initial vision set by Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and the Smith Entertainment Group – who publicly said that “beloved institutions like Abravanel Hall and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art will remain on site with better connection points.”  We wholeheartedly agree with the statement that “the downtown experience will serve as the state’s anchor for arts, culture, sports and entertainment.”
  • We are committed to remaining a critical element in a vibrant downtown arts and culture scene.

UMOCA’s Impact at a Glance

  • 47,555 Visitors in FY2022–23
  • 28,533 Utah Resident Visitors
  • 19,022 Out of State Visitors
  • 10,340 Art Truck Student Visitors
  • 2,168 K-12 School Tour Participants
  • 132 Artists Exhibited
  • 16 LGBTQIA+ Youth Artists Exhibited
  • Nationally recognized and supported by top philanthropic arts organizations:

Ways to Stay Involved

  • Sign up for updates using the form below

Other Links & References

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Please tell us why UMOCA Matters to you.