While the Utah Museum of Fine Arts was closed to the public for renovation, the staff stayed busy with a new endeavor.
ACME (Art. Community. Museum. Education.) works to bring together organizations and people who are at the intersection of community and art. The program started in March 2016 and is the brainchild of Jorge Rojas, the museum’s director of education and audience engagement. ACME partners with the Salt Lake City Public Library and has bi-monthly sessions at various branches across the city. All sessions are free and open to the public.
“We do that so we can bring the museum into the community,” says ACME coordinator Emily Izzo. “We felt like it was more accessible to target audiences like west-side neighborhoods who might not want to go to the museum for a meetup.”
Each session is a different theme that revolves around topics and issues within SLC society itself. Previous meetings have focused on transgender identity, women in migration, hip-hop and education, dance and self-expression and how to build a creative community.
“The essence of the sessions is to gather the community to get to know one another, listen to each other, and learn from one another,” Izzo says.
ACME will also have special labs held at the museum.
“The whole goal of ACME is to rethink the public role of the museum. Maybe the community wants more than a place to go and look at art, maybe they want a place where they can go to discuss issues or topics relevant to them and dream up possible solutions,” Izzo says. “We are trying to provide an experience different from any other art museum.”
The session ideas and organizations are currently sought out by museum staff, though in the future they hope ACME will become a submission-based project.
“If people have ideas they can definitely approach us, but for now we try to find people who are doing interesting work and see if they want to share that with the public,” Izzo says.
The UMFA recently completed renovations and celebrated their grand reopening at the end of August. The first ACME Labs were held during public reopening parties on Aug. 26 and 27.
ACME Sessions were suspended for the summer but resume this fall. “Raising Socially Conscious and Conscientious Youth” will be held Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Visit the UMFA website for more information.