Things To Do

The Rebirth of One of Utah's Most Beloved Artistic Icons

After an 18-month-long closure, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts is re-opening its doors with a free, two-day public celebration on August 26 and 27.

By Michaela Wagner August 22, 2017

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The UMFA is hosting a free, two-day grand re-opening celebration on August 26 and 27 and you're invited to join in a weekend full of art.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) may have started off as just a small gallery on the University of Utah's campus in 1914, but today this venerable museum is the only institution in the state that collects, exhibits, interprets, and cares for an extensive collection of original artworks from nearly every global culture and time period in human history. After being closed since January 2016 for building upgrades and remodeling, the UMFA is finally ready to re-open its doors to the public. While the UMFA was closed, curators stayed busy researching collections and finalizing new storylines and layouts for the galleries to improve viewer engagement. Now they're ready to share this work and you're officially invited to join the UMFA for two days of fun, family-friendly activities held as part of a free public grand re-opening on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25 and 26. 

Even if you've been to the museum dozens of times before, visiting now is guaranteed to be a brand new experience. “We’re excited to welcome everyone back,” says Gretchen Dietrich, UMFA executive director. “The changes we’re making in how visitors engage with the art and the Museum’s unique spaces will make the UMFA more relevant than ever in the lives of our audiences.” Every word on the walls has been re-written by curators and educators to incorporate the latest historical research and individual interpretations. In addition to the numerous permanent exhibits covering European, Pacific, Mesoamerican, and Ancient Mediterranean art, the museum has also opened new dedicated galleries for African and Asian objects, a new narrative, and made a prominent new first-floor location for American and regional works as well as more modern and contemporary art.

During the weekend, you'll also be able to do everything from joining in on the four-hour dance party to catching film screenings, touring behind-the-scenes of the collections, and more. If you're an art lover, make sure to hop on one of the Curator Pick Gallery Tours for your chance to get the most insight into the varied collections of art, ranging from Chinese and South Asian art all the way to the American West and contemporary exhibits. Just make sure you sign-up when you arrive, space is limited! Bring the kids for fun at the ACME Lab where they'll be able to join in the piñata activity and interact with one of the visiting exhibits, Las Hermanas Iglesias: HERE, HERE. Throughout the day, the museum will also be hosting family art making activities. 

Check out the full schedule of events below.

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Part of the re-opening celebrations will include a four hour dance party at the museum.

Saturday, August 26th 

  • 10 a.m.: Behind-the-Scenes Collections Tour (ages 12+)*
  • 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.: “Let’s Take Shape Together!” activity with Las Hermanas Iglesias | ACME Lab in the Emma Eccles Jones Education Center
  • 12 p.m.: Curator Pick Gallery Tours* | American & regionalmodern & contemporary, or South Asian
  • 1 p.m.: Behind-the-Scenes Collections Tour (ages 12+)*
  • 1 p.m.: HERE, HERE “Opening Bash” Piñata Activity with Las Hermanas Iglesias | Outside
  • 2 p.m.:The Bboy Federation73 'Til Infinity | Great Hall
  • 4 p.m.: Curator Pick Gallery Tours* | EuropeanIlse Bing (photography), or Chinese
  • 4 p.m.: Behind-the-Scenes Collections Tour (ages 12+)*
  • 5 p.m.: The Legacy of Frida Kahlo Film Screening, co-presented with the Utah Film Center | Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium
  • 7 p.m.: The Legacy of Frida Kahlo Film (encore screening)
  • 8 p.m. - midnight:  Dance Party, powered by ArtsPass

Sunday, August 27th

  • 10 a.m.: Yoga in the Great Hall with Jendar Marie Morales
  • 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.: “Let’s Take Shape Together!” Activity with Las Hermanas Iglesias | ACME Lab in the Emma Eccles Jones Education Center
  • 12 p.m.: Behind-the-Scenes Collections Tour (ages 12+)*
  • 12 p.m.: Curator Pick Gallery Tours* | American & regionalmodern & contemporary, or ancient Mesoamerican
  • 2 p.m.: SENSEational: Accessing Art through the Senses | Modern and contemporary gallery
  • 3 p.m.: Boy and the World Film Screening, co-presented with Utah Film Center
  • 3 p.m.: Clarinetist Katie Porter Performance | Modern and contemporary gallery
  • 4 p.m.: Behind-the-Scenes Collections Tour (ages 12+)*
  • 4 p.m.: Curator Pick Gallery Talks | EuropeanIlse Bing (photography), or ancient Mediterranean

*Advance sign-up required. Sign-up begins one hour before each tour at the welcome desk. First come, first served. Limit 20 visitors per tour.

Following the grand re-opening weekend, the UMFA will resume its normal hours, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sunday, and 10 a.m - 9 p.m. Wednesdays. The museum is closed on Mondays and free each first Wednesday and third Saturday of the month, though free access may vary for special ticketed exhibitions.


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