Exhibition Celebrates 125 Years of Utah Art

By Reneé Leta

This month, the Utah Division of Arts & Museums celebrates its 125th anniversary with a reception launching a new exhibition in Cedar City. The traveling exhibition, 125 Years of Collecting, pays homage to Alice Merrill Horne, a state legislator who drafted and passed Utah’s “Art Bill” in 1899. The bill established a state art collection, which now bears her name: State of Utah Alice Merrill Horne Art Collection.

The traveling exhibition features works from Utah’s art collection, representing the principal artistic styles, cultures, and periods in the state’s visual art history, while showcasing fine art, public art and folk art.  

UMA’s traveling exhibition program began in the 1960s. Now the program offers up to 18 curated exhibitions, which are showcased in some 75 locations across the state annually. Exhibitions are displayed in Utah museums, colleges, community galleries, cultural centers, libraries, and schools. The exhibits and accompanying educational materials provide public access to quality visual art, nurture understanding of diverse art forms and cultures, promote creativity, and encourage cultural activities in local communities.

“I can attest to the importance of having a strong state arts and cultural agency that helps build and sustain arts and museums for a vibrant and engaged state,” says Natalie Young, Utah Museums Advisory Board member. “I am so excited to share the state’s art collection with Utah residents, especially those in Cedar City.” 

The 125 Years of Collecting exhibition began its tour schedule last fall at Manti Elementary and will be in Cedar City through May 28. Additional locations include the Kamas Library, Springside Elementary in Saratoga Springs, and Early Light Academy in Daybreak, and Hub City Gallery in Mount Pleasant City Hall.

“I’ve had the privilege of managing the traveling exhibition program since 2007,” says Fletcher Booth, who manages the program. “The purpose is to bring art throughout the state, particularly in areas that may not have access to original art or arts programming.” 

After the 2023-2024 season, the exhibition will continue to tour the state along with 16 returning and new exhibitions featuring watercolors, photography, and stories from Topaz, the Central Utah Relocation Center site. Registration for the 2024-2025 season opens May 1, and shows are booked on a first-come, first-served basis.

Schedule a touring exhibition here.