Because you are among the Salt Lake Art Center's important supporters, we are pleased to be able to share first with you the news that we will be changing our name in early 2012 to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA). In some respects, the new name is simply an acknowledgment that the Art Center has offered professional exhibitions of great quality for years.
In other respects, we hope the change of name will be of major significance, providing greater transparency to the general public about exactly what kind of experience they can expect if they walk through our doors. In just the last 12 months, for instance, we have exhibited (or are currently exhibiting) groundbreaking contemporary visual art by leading national and international artists, including: TED presenter Miwa Matreyek; MacArthur Genius Award recipient Bill T. Jones; Guggenheim Fellow Jennifer Nelson; Venice Biennale artist Daniela Comani; Rome Prize winner Mary Reid Kelly; recipient of the Leone d'Oro award for Lifetime Achievement, Barbara Kruger; and the inaugural recipient of the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting, Kim Schoenstadt. Two days ago, we opened a new exhibition by German artist and Fulbright scholar Mirko Martin, and in January we will exhibit artists working at the cutting-edge of digital media as part of Sundance Film Festival's New Frontier. At the same time, we have recommitted ourselves to the local community by designating the front-most gallery in our building exclusively for exhibitions year-round of Utah artists working in a contemporary idiom.
With two new permanent galleries recently opened in our building, an exciting curatorial vision that is striking a resonant chord with residents of Utah, a five-fold increase in our audience over the last 18 months, and a new premium café scheduled to open shortly, the change of name also signals high aspirations for the future. The great cities of this country have museums that not only exhibit "the art of today," but also contribute to downtown renewal, cultural tourism, national recognition and economic development that benefits the urban core; as the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, we stand ready to play this active role in the broader community. Even the local media have taken notice, with The Salt Lake Tribune recently acknowledging that changes in our programming may "put Utah-and new talent-on the national map," while Salt Lake magazine has stated that the institution has "a new lease on life."
Please help us continue to offer programming that engages our community in new ways, that broadens and emboldens our cultural curiosity, and that fosters an exchange of ideas. Whether you choose to give $40 or $500, please join us in making the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art the kind of civic institution you will be excited and proud to share with your family and friends.